AUSTIN (Texas Tribune/KXAN) — On Wednesday, a conservative Austin thinktank released a list of words and phrases to alert parents that Critical Race Theory might be being taught in their kid’s classroom.
In a tweet that was deleted just as Wednesday’s political news shifted to building a wall on the Mexican border, the Texas Public Policy Foundation warned of the things to look out for if you’re worried about disagreeable historical content in public school courses in Texas.
See the foundation’s “How to Identify Critical Race Theory in the Classroom” chart:
The list of “buzzwords” include: “systemic racism,” “white privilege/supremacy,” “colonialism,” “social justice,” “Black Lives Matter,” “inequity,” “unconscious bias,” and “micro-aggressions,” among others. It should be noted these terms are not unique to what is considered CRT, but are widely used in various contexts when discussing race and equity.
CRT has become a major focus of Republicans recently, although there’s little to no evidence that the academic framework — CRT is not a standard, teachable class program — is officially being taught in public schools. According to the Washington Post, CRT dates back to 1970s’ law practices and aimed to address injustice in how the legal system has historically treated people of color.
But Republicans in particular have condemned the intention of CRT: instead calling it racist in and of itself.
In today’s usage, CRT refers to an overall examination of how the American legal system and society at-large have been marginalized by inherent white supremacy within. The authors in a Harvard analysis explain CRT identifies white privilege in an attempt to dismantle it. “Race,” they argue, doesn’t even exist, but is created by those at the top of the hierarchy to keep those deemed to be “lower” beneath them.
Texas lawmakers have tried to regulate use of critical race theory as an approach to teaching in public schools, and Gov. Greg Abbott has even said he wants to go further and might add this to the agenda of a special session starting next week.
“Equity, diversity and inclusion” is a phrase you’ll hear at many big companies — and many government agencies, too — from people trying to make sure certain groups don’t have an unfair edge over others. Supporters argue it’s what you do if you’re looking for a good CPA, and not just a good CPA who’s also a white male.
Supporters of teaching racial issues says students should know the country’s history and how it continues to disenfranchise people of color. It’s important, supporters say, for white and/or privileged Americans to learn how they enjoy opportunities Black and brown people are often not afforded, regardless of education levels or qualifications.
Critics of GOP lawmakers says the party is worried about keeping minorities in their place, and about how education and understanding may contribute to the majority — white people — becoming the minority.
Portions of this article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at www.texastribune.org. The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans – and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.