What is Critical Race Theory, and why is there so much controversy surrounding it?

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 2:37 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Across the nation, the controversy continues over how racism is taught in schools. Some including lawmakers on Capitol Hill have called these conversations Critical Race Theory.

To get a better understanding of what CRT is Gray DC asked Jazmyne Owens, a PreK-12th Policy Advisor at Washington, DC think tank New America.

“It’s a legal theory,” said Owens. “It came out of law school. It’s a theoretical framework that was developed in the 1970s and 80s as a way to understand the intersection of race, power and politics.”

Following the growing social justice movement sparked by George Floyd’s murder, the conversations on race have grown in our nation’s classrooms.

But Sharif El-Mekki, who runs the Center for Black Educator Development in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, says there are no actual plans to teach school-aged children CRT.

“This is not a course that most students are actually taking in Prek-12,” he said.

El-Mekki says conversations about racism in schools is not Critical Race Theory, but there are other perspectives to teach that aren’t being taught.

“It’s hard to understand history if you’re not looking at it from whose voices were centered, who was marginalized.”

El-Mekki’s perspective is one that’s now being debated in school board meetings across the country.

It’s also happening on Capitol Hill, where Republican lawmakers have introduced several bills and resolutions against the teaching of Critical Race Theory.

That legislation has slim chances of passing with Democrats in control of Congress.

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