What is Critical Race Theory?

This theoretical framework offers a more complete historical perspective and a better context for understanding the present.

History is a very active social science, in previous articles we have talked about its ability to self-analyze and rewrite itself. Research, perspective, new data and readings are crucial in the construction of historical becoming.

Elements such as social or race consciousness can also influence a reassessment of both the story and the way it was written. An academic movement within the community of historians is an example of these changes of perspective on the past. We are talking about critical race theory.

Considerations of a systemic racism

Critical race theory is a theoretical framework for teaching history and other social disciplines. The term was coined by the jurist Kimberlé Crenshaw in the late 1980s. It consists of adding to the curriculum and to the conversation those items within the event or subject of study that could be marked by race and racial discrimination. For example, if we are dealing with the end of World War II, the return of veterans to the United States, and the consequent rise of the American suburbs during the 1950s, we cannot ignore the experience of African American soldiers and all. the legal framework that prevented them from being able to make an affordable home just like their white peers.

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If within a certain historical moment there is a legal barrier or socially reinforced custom that enables systemic racial discrimination, critical race theory is necessary to have a complete picture of how that moment in the past unfolded and what consequences it could continue to have in the future. Present.

In the specific case of the housing situation of African-American veterans of World War II, the consequences of this serious imbalance in obtaining houses can be reflected in the current difficulties of the African-American community to obtain prices and low loans compared to Caucasian Americans.

This is a basic example of how an analysis of the past with a perspective that covers aspects related to systemic racism is vital to understanding the current conditions of an entire demographic group. As a tool for research and historical contextualization, the role of critical race theory is difficult to discuss, but its presence in academic programs and classrooms opens another debate.

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Should it be taught in schools?

The most heated conversation on the subject of critical race theory is whether it should be present in classrooms. Racism is an extremely complicated subject and there is validity in the idea that it is not necessary to put a cognitive load of that nature on children. The problem with this argument is that it only applies if the children in question do not belong to any ethnic, racial or social group that is subject to discrimination.

In March of this year, a 9-year-old girl testified in the George Floyd case, one of the most notorious events of racial systemic violence of the decade. If such a young infant can be exposed to witness a homicide and testify about it in court, because racial violence is so terrible in her country, why deprive children her age of the tools? cognitive skills to understand and combat systemic racism under the argument that “it is complicated”?

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Race and racism are social constructs, as argued by Tony Morrison, Nobel Prize Winner for literature and activist for race awareness education. However, these constructs not only seriously affect the lives of millions of racial minority people in the world, they also play an important role in the design and implementation of economic systems.

To eradicate systemic racism a structural change is necessary, and this is practically impossible to manage without a historical and social education blind to the influence of the imbalances caused by social discrimination.

Have you ever heard of critical race theory before? Would you like to include the topic in your classes? If you are a student, did any course you have taken include the topic? What were your impressions? Tell us in the comments.

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