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School systems throughout the country have been debating the implementation of critical race theory (CRT) policies in their schools. Here in North Carolina, dirty tricks such as withholding $7.9 million of necessary funds have even been used to get around Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of a statewide anti-CRT policy. Innocent students have been thrown in the middle and parents have protested loudly. However, the policies being discussed have absolutely nothing to do with CRT and more to do with basic anti-racist and diversity teachings. Even what outsiders claim is NC State’s CRT curriculum requirements fall short.

The most recent advancement in the CRT controversy was the adoption of anti-CRT policies in early October by Johnston County School District. Johnston County is the seventh-largest school district in North Carolina, and therefore it is an influential role model for the North Carolina school system. Its anti-CRT policy is based on three major requirements. One, no American hero or foundational document can be questioned, undermined or portrayed negatively. Two, the notion that racism still exists in society today cannot be encouraged. Three, all students must be groomed to follow society's laws and avoid any acts of rebellion, including acts of civil disobedience.

This policy does not even begin to cover the complex legal teachings of true CRT. It instead just inhibits the promotion of minority experiences and the acknowledgment of the mistakes of the past. As a result of these standards, fundamental conversations about the socio-cultural role of race in society during moments such as the civil rights movement and the legalization of the slave trade will be whitewashed.

One major argument for this policy is it will discourage students from taking part in discordant or potentially criminal activities, such as protests. However, the lessons being avoided aren’t divisive or harmful to teach. They are simply a more accurate portrayal of what our history looks like when it’s not whitewashed and biased. Additionally, the resulting actions of students are not criminal in intention but rather necessary social movements needed to achieve change.

True CRT goes much deeper into theoretical analysis than Johnston County’s anti-CRT policies. It is grounded in the revolutionary work of Kimberlé Crenshaw and W. E. B. DuBois. Together, these scholars crafted an academic movement meant to challenge liberal America’s approaches to racial justice in legal settings. Overall, it focuses on the idea of racism as a social construct that is intertwined with the concept of intersectionality. 

These intertwining perspectives are said to be what results in white supremacy and discrimination because they oppress minorities as a the social price for uplifting majorities. CRT sees liberalism, the false idea of truth and colorblindness as some of the biggest contributing factors to the racial justice problems in America.

CRT is, in reality, much more complex, theoretical and radical than what is being taught in American schools. Even NC State does not teach true CRT despite claims that it does. The closest NC State comes to teaching CRT is its anti-racism approach to academics, which is enforced through discrimination and harassment education modules

Some classes under the GEP U.S. Diversity requirements are known for having a more candid and diverse outlook on their curriculum. Jennifer Nolan, an associate professor with a doctorate in English, is one professor known for addressing literature and history in a critical and anti-racist manner. However, it is extremely rare for even Nolan’s classes to address the works of the core intellectuals of the CRT movement. If the works of the CRT movement are not being used, is NC State really teaching true CRT, or is it just promoting anti-racism and pro-diversity perspectives? 

The debates being held at NC State, Johnston County and in the North Carolina government aren’t really about CRT. They are simply about basic acknowledgement of racism and white privilege. Using the verbage “critical race theory” to defend or deny the teaching of America’s mistakes and the role of race in socio-cultural forces is little more than propaganda used by those in power to control the narrative and suppress minority culture. Not even NC State is innocent in this culture war. We all need to do a better job of calling this what it is, an anti-racism movement and culture war

Staff Columnist

I am a second-year studying psychology with a minor in non-profit studies. I started writing for Technician the summer of 2020 as a correspondent.