RACISM + EDUCATION

No One Is Teaching Kids Critical Race Theory. But, You're Missing the Point

Either we're going to inform or indoctrinate. The choice is yours.

Allison Wiltz
9 min readFeb 22, 2022

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Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

The number one response to the Grand Old Party's attacks on Critical Race Theory is "we're not teaching critical race theory in schools." It sounds like a response a teenager would give after their parents find them in a pickle— "Oh, no. We weren't smoking, mom." And while it's factual to tell the public that schools are not teaching critical race theory, this talking point isn't doing the heavy lifting some may think it is. It's not like these ritualistic denials have quelled the parental outrage because the outrage has never been about the actual theory. Many White parents don't want their kids to learn about race, ethnicity, or gender, and Critical Race Theory has become a scapegoat to obscure their motives.

And for those who keep saying "Critical Race Theory" is only taught in college courses, this is also a misleading statement. That assertion implies that theories deriving from academia remain caged inside college campuses, and that makes no sense. Coursework is naturally applicable, and Critical Race Theory is a casebook example of a theory's widespread impact.

A theory is an attempt to explain behavior. For instance, theories of depression are described in the Diagnostic Statistics Manual. Yet, K-12 teachers don't have to teach children psychology to help them understand a character's long-held sadness because the behavior predates the articulation of the phenomena.

Likewise, most high school students learn about "gravity" in physics class but ask students to describe the principles of Theory of General Relativity, and you'll likely hear crickets. Here's the rub. Not teaching the tenets of a theory doesn't mean that its impact isn't implicit in the curriculum. So, in that respect, conservatives are right. Many students do learn about race, but not in the explicit manner they suggest, and not with the intent to cause harm.

The notion that educators must explicitly teach theories to impact the curriculum couldn't be further from the truth—college-educated teachers design courses for K-12 courses. Yet, I don't see anyone…

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Allison Wiltz

Womanist Scholar bylines @ Momentum, Oprah Daily, ZORA, GEN, EIC of Cultured #WEOC Founder allisonthedailywriter.com https://ko-fi.com/allyfromnola