Critical Race Theory, My Interpretation
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. How de-evolved has society and humanity gotten? Seriously. While going over news reports today, I keep running into one story after another that makes me wonder how we ever survived until this point in history. When are people, both left and right, going to grow the hell up and act like adults.
All of this fighting over ideological differences, instead of acting like the adults you are suppose to be, does three things: continually disenfranchises different social groups and communities, destroys economic ability to make things better in those communities, and drives our society further into another dark age.
Buckle up cupcake. It’s going to be a bumpy ride through my assessment.
Critical Race Theory. This is NOT new. The original CRT was written in the 1970s. Why are we just now hearing about it? Simple. It is time to open the wounds of a nation’s sins to light. Are those sins real? Yes they are. From the founding of our nation where a person of color was labeled as 2/3 of a person to emancipation releasing the ownership and forced labor of slaves to the introduction of forced labor within the prison system (mostly former slaves) to lynchings across the nation.
Now, I understand I’ll be labeled many derogatory things for my views, and that’s fine. Because only someone with no heart, no intelligence, and a whole lot of self loving arrogance will use vehement wording and emotion to counter a truth they don’t like. Let’s dive in and let the hate begin.
CRT has areas of contention against the status quo. And while most understand this to be about the black community, it also represents the arrogance of all members and communities of our society that have felt the rage, control, and hatred of the powers that have always been.
The idea that racism is ordinary not aberrational. By ordinary, the concept means built within the system of governance in the forms of redlining, education, social services, medical and legal services, to mention just a few. Guess what, the writer was right. All of these areas were (and still are) issues that need addressed and eradicated.
Redlining, for those that don’t know, is the process of mapping areas that separate certain social groups and social communities from being able to receive the same benefits as others. Termed redlining, this separation was mapped with a red line of ‘they don’t belong this side of the stop line’ mentality. This started with housing and financial ability to keep the black community away fro those that wrote the rules. While we still see it today in housing and financial sectors, we now see it in the redistricting of voting ability.
Minorities (not just the black community) feel this in other areas as well. Minority schools and educational districts are highly underfunded in both educational material and infrastructure. They also have worse education, employment, and medical ability rates than their white counterparts.
The idea of interest convergence. Convergence means when to things come together. This part of CRT is simple. Minority communities only get their protected rights when the interest of the white controlling powers meets up with the interest of the minority community. Using that idea with the 1960s and the Civil Rights movement and Civil Right Act, this is pretty accurate. Post WWII, despite helping to end the madmen of the Axis powers, white soldiers cam back to abilities in housing, education, and work. Minority soldiers (despite being hailed as heroes by people like the French) came back to the same old same old. Back of the bus, can’t live in this area, and lynched for actions against the white majority. The Montgomery Bus Boycott started the ball rolling (a small bit) by shutting down a public transit system. Men Like MLK, Medgar Evers, and John Lewis put their lives on the line to end the white only/black only segregation. Selma, Birmingham, Greensboro. These names and places are equated with the Civil Rights movement. So are groups like the Black Panthers. What won these rights in 1964? The fact that white America was financially draining itself fighting these battles. The convergence? The rights of education, riding in the front, eating at the counter, and voting converged with the semblance of a peaceful period that allowed the white powers of government to say, see, we did it.
Social construction of race. This one is easy. The term colorblind doesn’t help any issues. Here’s why. To be colorblind, two things need to occur. The first is recognition of color. Second, the misunderstanding that color equates to a person’s humanity and ability. Both of these ideas mean one thing to those that use the term, color does matter. Being that color is just pigmentation (melanin levels) that has evolved depending on the part of the world a person or a group of people live in, what needs to be seen is the value of the person or people. So, someone is black, brown, olive, white, etc should be the last thing seen. Here’s why. Each ethnic group, each country of citizens not only have worth (which for some is a foreign concept) but their diversity adds flavor to a society and culture that would be drab without it. Think of it this way. Non-European peoples gave us things we take for granted every day. From the stop light and medicines to food, music, art, literature. There is not one facet of American life that hasn’t been forged, incorporated, enjoyed, or treasured by those original people’s brought it. The diversity that each culture has brought to these shores (and those already here) should be honored and celebrated. But, because those that brought these things to our culture and made our lives better are of a different nationality, different skin tone, different language, different faith, we see the product as great but the producer as less. And because they are thought of as less, people treat their pets better than they treat another human being. To see them as human and worthy of respect, means those that don’t (those in power) would have to look at themselves and the system and admit it’s wrong, it harms, and needs changed.
Story telling and counter-story telling. This part is easy to figure out. Each side has a story. The side of the minority communities is simple. The oppression through the time of the nation (colonial to now) has been one of oppression of the controlling power over the other. From indentured servitude and slavery to attempted genocide and lack of protected rights. The minority has tried to tell its story to closed ears of those that make law and policy. The counter-story is the one spoke of in the history books and permeating through the halls of political power. This side of the story is rather arrogant and self-promoting. it goes in stages. Emancipation was stage one. Look, we made them a free people, yeah for us. 1964 was stage two. Look, we made them equals on the surface, yeah for us. The Obama presidency was stage three. Look, we elected the first black president. Yeah for us, look how far we have come. What this story doesn’t say is that the majority of legislation is only window dressing. No real substance for these stories because, while legal, they do not present the unseen.
White Power. This is one area that combines a few things. It combines a white superiority complex and institutionalized white supremacy. The prior is the reason for the latter. As already mentioned above, when the nation was founded, the black community was denied its right to humanity by being classified as only 2/3 human. This allowed the concept of property over humanity. And amazingly enough, Jewish-Christian ideology played into this. Misunderstanding of some scripture equated black with sin and unrighteousness. Meaning unworthiness. And since Jesus didn’t specifically say to end slavery, but said for the master to treat the slave properly and the slave to obey his master, those claiming Christianity used those concepts to commit genocide of the ‘heathens’ and enslavement of those deemed unworthy to be counted as human. This superiority complex lead to inherent and institutionalized dogma within governmental and business operations. From redlining in housing while districting communities, to dis-allowance of basic rights and protections. From white only seats and water fountains to sundown towns (officially ended in the 60s but unofficially hasn’t ended). From the slave fields to overused incarcerations.
There would be no need of special education weeks and/or months for minority groups if history was properly taught. Meaning the whole truth no matter how brilliant or ugly it is. Marches and protests wouldn’t required if the powers that be would have listened and since our founding and had not labeled the black community as 2/3 human. Less non-violent incarcerated and less police involved shootings would occur if the powers that be would not always see the members of the black community the same way that they always have.
I don’t agree with the forced removal of monuments or logo icons. I don’t agree with the burning of cities. I don’t see every police shooting as justified (most aren’t when perpetrated against minorities). I see issues with both sides of the discussion. What I do understand is this. People will only redress grievances peacefully as long as they are being heard. And at a point when that isn’t being heard, more has to be done to draw attention to those grievances. We saw this the uprisings around the Middle East when the people were tired of their oppressive governments. We see it in places like France when the agricultural community needed to be heard. It was only a fallacy to think it wouldn’t eventually happen here.
Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tamir Rice didn’t deserve the end of their lives that they received. These lives, and countless others, fell to a highly flawed system of bad training, lack of humanity, and the inherent ideas of superiority. While groups like the Proud Bois are allowed to to do as they will, a group like the NFAC was condemned for using their Constitutional protections of the 1st and 2nd Amendments.
Changes need to be made in every facet of American life and some systems need to be restructured. But the first thing that truly needs to happen is simple. The powers that be on all levels, from the federal government to the local business need to finally SHUT UP AND LISTEN!
Minority communities have valid grievances. They have for centuries. It’s time to listen. CRT was developed to announce those grievances, define them, and work toward fixing them (truly fixing them). Hatred is a learned and taught trait. The teaching of CRT to the next generation tries to change that trait. Tries to fix it.