Citical Race Theory Why it violates 1964 Civil Rights Act
Over the past few months, I have gone to rallies, sat in on school board meetings, and participated in numerous events and meetings regarding critical race theory. It’s changing education, influencing not only what is taught but also how courses are taught and the way students are treated. Wherever it goes, it creates a segregationist atmosphere that divides students based on their skin color, resulting in unequal treatment. Students are taught to view themselves as part of a group, sometimes explicitly.
In the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, third-grade students were asked to keep an “Identity Journal” that outlines who they are based on race, ethnicity, gender, and other categories, according to the Wisconsin Spotlight. Classroom activities like this, which teach and are influenced by critical race theory, clearly violate multiple sections of The Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title IV upholds equal protections based on race, color, national origin, sex, and religion and allows the Attorney General to address violations of these protections in public schools. Title VI prohibits recipients of federal funds from discriminating based on race, color, and national origin. These are supposed to protect everybody. Yet public schools are making distinctions among their students based on factors our country outlawed more than fifty years ago.
Critical race theory in the classroom is more than illegal. It’s detrimental to students, who receive lower quality education because of watered-down standards adopted in the name of equity. The Madison School District has been talking about ending honors courses in ninth and tenth-grade classes to “level the playing field.” Similar measures have been discussed or implemented across the state. Hidden in these conversations are low expectations for minorities. Though sometimes well-intentioned, providing extra resources and special treatment for minority students sends the message that they can’t accomplish great things on their own. It perpetuates the lie that systemic barriers are too big and hard work doesn’t mean anything.
Instead of following the good laws we have in place, schools are ignoring them, trying to create equity by treating students unequally. No matter the good intentions, using past discrimination to justify treating groups of children differently is a slippery slope. I can not help that I was born black. Others can not help that they were born white. Nobody can help what their ancestors did in the past. So nobody should have to be judged based on the color of their skin, something they cannot control.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Black supremacy is as dangerous as white supremacy, and God is not interested merely in the freedom of black, white, brown and yellow men.” “God is interested in the freedom of the whole human race and the creation of a society where all men will live together as brothers, and all men will respect the dignity and the worth of all human personality.”
It’s possible to teach students about the injustices of the past without repeating those failures and violating equal protection laws. Critical Race theory is not just teaching about racism. It’s an ideology that forces people to view others as part of a group, either oppressed or oppressor. When schools include it, they are teaching kids to look at the world in a way that is not natural to them. They’re teaching them to see superficial differences, instead of valuing people as individuals. It strips students of the rewards of working hard, studying, and learning, teaching them they need to rely on someone else to artificially level the playing field. Is that the message we want to send our kids? I think we should remind them of all we have overcome, teach them America’s true history, and unite around great achievements like The Civil Rights Act of 1964. The principles of equal treatment outlined in that law are ones we can all celebrate and work to defend.