Over the past month, Americans have descended into a heated debate about “critical race theory,” and a bill aimed at banning it has made North Carolina the latest battleground. The controversy over the legislation, titled H.B. 234, has drawn some questionable allegations about what it would do.
Would the bill really incite “a fear-based approach to limit teachers’ ability to discuss the reality of racism in the United States and … limit students’ engagement with history, current events, and personal health, as well as their social and emotional learning” as the North Carolina Public School Forum put it?
That could not be further from the truth, and North Carolina parents need to know the facts about CRT and its defenders. Critical Race Theory emerged in the 1970s as a branch of legal studies. Its proponents argued that even after the Civil Rights Revolution, white supremacy remained fundamental to American society, and a broad critique of social institutions, not just formal legal equality, was needed to eliminate it. CRT soon spread. In the early 1990s, it was adapted for the realm of pedagogy to examine the gap in achievement between white and non-white students.
Charles Fain Lehman is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal.
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