The sweeping push in Republican-led states to ban critical race theory (CRT) in K-12 education and at the university in some states (e.g., Idaho) is a misguided and, frankly, unhinged attempt to protect the status quo of white supremacy and patriarchy. It is backlash against movements for racial equity and justice, women’s and LGBTQ+ rights. It takes the language of critical race and critical gender theories and turns it on its head to confuse, anger and frighten. This is not new. Any attempt to enlarge equal opportunities for Black, Indigenous, people of color, women and queer folks is generally met with uncivil and violent push back: “You are trying to take away something that is rightfully mine and give it to some undeserving other. How dare you?”
It is not coincidence that this push comes after large gatherings of mostly peaceful protests that proclaim that Black Lives Matter, women’s rights and experiences matter, and queer lives matter. The critical theories that inform our understandings of inequities and injustices and demonstrate the need for dismantling systemic and institutional oppressions cannot be put back in a box. They illustrate the need for making progress against racism, sexism and heterosexism.
Utah’s Republican Legislature’s move to ban CRT, thinking that they can block the tides of progress against oppression, is a fool’s errand. At least know it for what it is before raising signs that read, “Don’t teach my children to be racist.” Misunderstanding of CRT’s analyses is clear here.
Heather E. Bruce, Salt Lake City