There has been a lot of fuss lately about the title critical race theory. While I respect the sincere intentions of academic thinkers who came up with this theory in the 1970s, I think it is time to change the name now because it is too easy to misunderstand or twist its meaning.
The word theory usually is used to describe a phenomenon that is based on some factual observations, but generally not enough facts to claim certainty. So theorists add in, what they believe are reasonable suppositions and imagined possibilities to come up with a theoretical framework.
For example, the theory of evolution is based on observable common features among different species of plants and animals over the course of billions of years of fossils, etc. You don’t have all the facts because it all happened a very long time ago, but the pieces of the puzzle you do have support the theory of evolution.
Modern racism, on the other hand, is a mere 400 years old. Modern racism is accompanied by thousands of pages of written shipping and sale records of humans, public news articles, court documents, plantation records, family diaries, and countless Jim Crow code laws -- all of which clearly illustrate the factual inhumane injustice of racism. No speculations, no suppositions, nor imagined possibilities are needed to begin to comprehend the crushing real-life physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual realities of racism. The facts speak for themselves.
So from where I’m at in my race-re-education process, I now think it is an insult to all Black, brown and Indigenous people to use the term critical race theory. There is nothing theoretical about racism. It is real -- plain and simple.
If we want to begin to help to heal the racial divide, then we should all learn and teach real and true history -- and don’t make it all mushy and open to question by calling it “theory.” Just the facts, please.
Note: RedHeart RedHeart serves on the Red Wing Human Rights Commission. This letter is a personal opinion.