CRT: What it is and Why it’s Important

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D. L. Patterson

For those unfamiliar with the term CRT it stands for Critical Race Theory and as Kimberle Crenshaw, a founding critical race theorist and law professor at UCLA and Columbia University tells us, it’s foundation goes all the way back to groundbreakers like Fannie Lou Hamer and W.E.B. Dubois.

In an October 2020 article by Faith Karimi of CNN, Crenshaw shares a synopsis of what critical race theory embodies. “Critical race theory is a practice.  It’s an approach to grappling with a history of White supremacy that rejects the belief that what’s in the past is in the past, and that the laws and systems that grow from that past are detached from it.”

In other words, critical race theory challenges white supremacy’s attempt to make it appear as though the laws, regulations, and social constructs utilized in America, up to and including those present day, are not heavily influenced by the racist, bigoted philosophies associated with this country’s white supremacist beginnings.

Even Donald Trump sought to eliminate school curriculum based on The New York Times 1619 Project saying it should not be taught in schools calling the notion of CRT “divisive, anti-American propaganda.”  Trump went on to say that “critical race theory is being forced into our children’s schools, it’s being imposed into workplace trainings, and it’s being deployed to rip apart friends, neighbors, and families.”

The federal government has always had an uneasy relationship at best with black and brown activism, labeling nonviolent advocate MLK as the most dangerous man in America.

The rather obvious takeaway from Trump’s verbal assault on the 1619 Project for me was that the white establishment could not afford to have a factual narrative about the black experience in America taught in schools and workplaces enabling the previously uninformed white masses to become aware of the true reality and depth of black oppression historically and thus rally to assist black people in their quest for dignity, equality, and even reparations.

While it is true that this awakening would most likely cause divides in white American families, their friends, and neighbors, it is a needful national wakeup call for those who’ve been mired in the 400-year malaise of apathy and privilege.

While I know it to be true that there are a number of white Americans that have no interest in the quest for equality and justice for the black community, there is a larger, ever growing contingent who truly care about the needs of black people.  The true history regarding the global impact of Black influence is being uncovered almost daily and as we know, Black ingenuity, invention, and labor were the keys to accelerated fiscal growth in the United States even though this reality is relentlessly under attack by the Caucasian status quo both here and abroad.  And by the way, for all of you that mistakenly believe that this suppression of Black social, legal, and fiscal equity is predominantly a GOP issue, think again.

In 1993 and 1994, which was the 103rd Congress, the House of Representatives was approximately 60% Democrat, the Senate was 57-43 Democrat with Democratic President Bill Clinton in the Oval Office yet John Conyers’ HR 40, the bill to discuss reparations never made it to the floor.  Even Obama’s first two years in office saw Democratic control yet no advancement of the discussion for reparations.   Keep in mind that Conyers’ HR 40, a bill which was introduced annually for 30 years without adoption, was formulated to create a panel to simply study whether or not reparations should be paid, not to automatically forward reparation payments.

This is not an issue drawn across political party lines, there are both advocates of the red and blue that favor white supremacy.

Do not be misled, this matter of equality and reparations for black America is not a zero-sum game, it is a long-standing, perpetual war for the heart and soul of America.