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Critical Race Theory: Why It's Being Fought; Why It Must Be Taught

Tulsa Race Massacre Finding Graves
Sue Ogrocki/AP
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AP
AMERICA'S HIDDEN HISTORY: Workers use ground-penetrating radar to search for unmarked mass graves from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, at Oaklawn Cemetery in Tulsa, Okla. As the U.S. marks 100 years since one of its most shameful historical chapters, researchers, including descendants of Black victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre, resumed a search for remains believed to have been hastily buried in mass graves. (07/17/2020) (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki File)

For decades, the term “Critical Race Theory” was known only to law professors and historians, but lately, it’s been all over the news. CRT was first introduced more than 40 years ago by legal scholars Derrick Bell, Kimberlé Crenshaw and Richard Delgado. The theory holds, basically, that racism is not simply a matter of inter-personal animus. Rather, it’s also a social construct, embedded systemically in institutions, and advanced in public policies.

Last fall, the Trump Administration banned diversity training in government agencies and in the military. And when some school systems began incorporating resources like the New York Times 1619 Project in their history curriculums, Republican lawmakers in statehouses and in Congress began drafting and passing legislation to ban the teaching of CRT in schools.

Today on Midday, a conversation about Critical Race Theory and an examination of why it’s become the latest flashpoint in the culture wars.

Tom's first guest is Congressman Andy Harris, who represents Maryland’s first district. He is one of the 36 House Republicans who are sponsors of a House Resolution that would disallow Critical Race Theory from being taught in K-12 classrooms.

Later in the program, Tom is joined by Dr. Rashawn Ray, the coordinator of the Critical Race Initiative in the Department of Sociology at the University of MD, and a Rubinstein fellow at The Brookings Institution.

We're also joined by Charles Fain Lehman, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and a critic of CRT's inclusion into US public school curriculums.

AndyHarrisRashawnRayCFLehman-combo.jpg
Paul Morigi/Paul Morigi
Rep. Dr. Andy Harris (R, Dist. 1); Dr. Rashawn Ray, UMd's LASSR and Brookings Inst.; Charles Fain Lehman, Manhattan Institute

All our guests joined us today on Zoom.