History of The Present- Critical race theory

  • 2022– Historically black colleges received bomb threats

  • On this day February 1st, 2022, which was the first day of Black History Month. There were 57 historically black colleges affected on this day. Most of these historically black colleges were in the south area. Some of these historically black colleges were Xavier University of Louisiana, Spelman College, Fort Valley University, Mississippi Valley State University, and Jackson State University. Nothing warranted these threats but these threats have a clear reflection of how the education system has failed Black America. How? The fact that similar race incidents can happen nearly 100 years after which was the bombing of black Wallstreet illustrates the failure of the American education system as it reproduces and allows for harmful racist beliefs to exist and continue to harm others. This shows the need for critical race theory and as critical race theory provides the analysis of this very thing. This event contributes to my understanding of the present educational system because it makes me feel that various white people still to this day don’t want black people to succeed. In a sense, this is a way for white people to stop black people from advancing in this world which is educational opportunities. 

  • 2022– Republican legislators banned the teaching of critical race theory and anything revolving around race (in specific states)

  • There have been more bills introduced by Republican state lawmakers who are trying to restrain teachers from teaching about race, sexist ideas, and other conflicts of systemic inequalities that people may face in the classroom. This event contributes to my understanding of the present educational system because it is evident to me that people who are in power continue to not give or even want to give equality to everyone. Isn’t the purpose of schools to educate? If topics about racism, sexism, and other systemic inequalities aren’t discussed in the classroom then no one will be informed about real-life conflicts. Which, this will lead to people having a false viewpoint of specific topics. Who’s the blame? The higher-up political people are supposed to encourage and lead. Also, it shows that our education system isn’t necessarily a reflection of reality. While even currently it presents an inaccurate representation of history. Therefore, the efforts in not discussing these various topics only will make the problems worst. Republican legislators are trying to ban the analysis that the critical race theory offers.

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    • 2021– Report released that show disproportionate incarceration of African Americans

    • This event is a report that was released to the public about how African Americans are incarcerated way more than white people. The report shows the record for incarceration for African Americans, Latinx, and white people. It shows where the incarceration happens in each state, provides accommodations for amend, and some possible contributing factors to the ethnic and racial discrepancy in captivity. The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons says, “This report details our observations of staggering disparities among Black and Latinx people imprisoned in the United States given their overall representation in the general population. The latest available data regarding people sentenced to state prison reveal that Black Americans are imprisoned at a rate that is roughly five times the rate of white Americans. During the present era of criminal justice reform, not enough emphasis has been focused on ending racial and ethnic disparities systemwide” (Nellis, Ashley). Evident in today’s society the end result of mass incarceration has occurred from policies created by the white dominant culture that constantly strives to conquer others. The findings of this report adds to my thoughts about the educational system being flawed and needing some work. Clearly, the education system isn’t educating people about this important disparity that is happening currently that is targeting African Americans. I think the educational system could do a better job with informing people about this very topic. Even from my own personal experience, I was never informed about this disparity. From learning about this, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many more disparities out there that should be well known and improved. Critical race theory has a specific analysis on law and criminal institutions and this report explores the specific disparities of incarceration.

  • 2020– Pandemic covid-19 educational disparities

  • This is a time period that we all are most familiar with. It is a time when the outbreak of covid-19, which is a disease that makes people sick, has put a hold on people’s daily life. As many know, in-person classes were canceled due to the pandemic. These classes were forced to proceed virtually. The pandemic revealed disparities in resources of education. There were limited resources available to various people in the society,, especially Black, Hispanic, and low-income families. According to How COVID taught America about inequity in education, “The report also makes clear the degree of racial and economic digital inequality. Black and Hispanic households with school-aged children were 1.3 to 1.4 times as likely as white ones to face limited access to computers and the internet, and more than two in five low-income households had only limited access. It’s a problem that could have far-reaching consequences given that young students of color are much more likely to live in remote-only districts” (Simon, Clea). This quote highlights the fact that the pandemic disrupted Black and Hispanic households. This event contributes to my understanding of the present educational system because it shows how much many people rely on it. Not only in a literal sense to educate, but also a place to call home. For example, the food and shelter that it has to offer to various students is something that comes beneficial. Clearly, seen during the pandemic this resource was taken away from countless people. Critical race theory ties into a factor of this because the fact that critical race theory involves white over black involving material social relations which is proven through the disparities that has arisen from the pandemic of covid.

  • 2020– George Floyd was murdered by police

  • On May 25, 2020, A man named George Floyd was murdered by a white Minneapolis police officer named Derek Chauvin. George Floyd was innocent in this specific event where a racist white man kneeled on his neck for about 10 minutes which led to the death of George Floyd. This event contributes to my understanding of the present educational system because through education, you can see a clear relation to how police were originally slave patrols. This means that this is an inherently racist institution. Many don’t know this because it isn’t taught in the educational system and since there are many factors and influences that try to prevent teaching these types of things, this is the result of it. If accurate representation is taught within the educational curriculum, we can all be better equipped to work for social change and prevent racism that takes people’s lives. Critical race theory highlights the systemic racist police institution that disproportionately targets black people.

  • 2020– Former President Trump gives a speech on the Fourth of July

  • This event is a speech given by former President Donald Trump who feels as though teachers are promoting liberal viewpoints in their classrooms. In addition, teachers are also instructing students to ‘hate their country’. Just this incident itself projects the ideals against the public education system. Somewhat of the public education system is trying to give efforts into informing about countless systemic and historical inequalities that our society has/have faced. Furthermore, one of the supposedly biggest influencers in our society is trying to rebuttal this very thing. This event contributes to my understanding of the present educational system because it confides in my thoughts of not understanding the accurate historical history of marginalized groups just because of what he said. It is an example of how the white power structure attempts to influence all oppressed groups. Donald Trump is a product of the racism that resides in our institution that critical race theory explains.

  • 2015-Charleston church shooting

    On Wednesday, June 17th, 2015 near the time of 9:05pm at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church a shooting occurred. This church is located in Charleston, South Carolina. There was a white supremacist man named Dylann Roof who killed nine people who were in this church. He even killed the state senator of South Carolina and the senior priest of the church during a prayer service. This shooting actually promoted the South Carolina Assembly to remove the Confederate flag from state capitol premises. Furthermore, it motivated the Black Lives Matter movement as well. Additionally, it highly increased the advertence of terrorism in the United States and racial violence specifically against African Americans. This event contributes to my understanding of the present educational system because it shows me that this is what happens when you live in a country that doesn’t try to fight against white supremacy. A white supremacist was miss educated about anti-racist actions which led to something like this happening. Obviously, what he did was morally wrong but was he educated on anti-racist behavior? The action that was performed in this event was racist. Therefore, critical race theory says racism is an inherent part of American culture. This is seen evident in this specific event.

  • 2013 – Black Lives Matter was founded after Trayvon Martin is killed 

    This event is a social movement that began in July of 2013. It is used as a hashtag and a phrase to emphasize discrimination, racism, and inequalities that many African Americans lives face each and every day. The event of Trayvon Martin’s death is an unarmed 17-year-old boy who was shot by a man named George Zimmerman. These events contribute to my understanding of the present educational system because it exhibits that the education system is trying to give efforts in educating about social justice issues. Some institutions are trying to incorporate the black lives matter movement within their teachings in schools. In which, this demonstrates how the educational system is because in a sense, the black lives matter movement is an educational system. I say this because it is working to educate others about the inequalities that exist within the society which would be similar to a school where knowledge is spread. Some people are pushing for justice and inequality which has to be in education. Black lives matter has a very similar analysis to critical race theory where it studies racist ideals of many institutions.

  • 1995– Critical race theory introduced to the field of education

    Critical race theory is a concept in education that educates people about racism and race in many different institutions. Critical race theory was introduced to the field of law in the 1970s. Later, Gloria Ladson Billings and William F Tate IV brung the idea of critical race theory to the field of education with an article named Toward a Critical Race Theory of Education. This event contributes to my understanding of the present educational system because it makes me believe that there is some hope for change in the world. However, the fact that the idea of critical race theory isn’t very known by many people also alarms me. Critical Race theory isn’t taught in Michigan schools, so why is it such a hot topic? it says, “While being in the education field for 30 years, critical race theory has primarily stayed in college and university discussions and is still not a widely known theory. Carter-Andrews said that even most teachers didn’t learn the theory in their teacher preparation program.”If they studied it while they were in college, it might inform the way they teach, but they’re not teaching the theory to students,” Carter-Andrews said” (Burr, Alyssa). This quote clearly shows the fact that critical race theory isn’t taught in schools therefore many people are uneducated about this very thing. Even from my own personal experience, I never knew or even heard of critical race theory until recently in my life. There has been a fear created within the society that critical race theory paints the dominant group as villains and the other people as victims. Therefore, some people believe that this will lead to a dividend in society if this theory is taught. With this being said, this leads to the idea in the current present that Republican legislators are trying to ban this important topic from being discussed. However, this thesis is something that needs to be discussed due to all the inequalities that still exist today. 

  • 1991– Beaten by LAPD officers (Rodney King) 

    This event consists of a man named Rodney King being beaten by LAPD officers on March 3, 1991. He was pulled over by the police because he was caught speeding on the highway. These police officers were indeed white individuals. The LAPD and other police officers in a helicopter followed Rodney until he eventually stopped. Rodney was intoxicated when he got pulled over by the police. The police officers asked Rodney and the other people who were in the car to step out and lay flat on the ground. The other people complied with what the officers asked but Rodney was hesitant. Rodney did not lay flat on the ground, instead he kneeled and the officers were forcing him to get down. Rodney refused to obey the white officers and the officers proceeded in tasering him and later beating him. This event contributes to my understanding of the present educational system because it shows how the education system, at least from my previous experience, isn’t being taught this important event. I have never learned or even heard about this event in school. I learned about this event from social media and it alerts me in a way that why isn’t this discussed in schools? It makes me question why police brutality isn’t discussed in all schools, rather its public, private, charter, or a voucher institution. This event connects to the idea of critical race theory because this theory already questions racism and inequalities in a variety of different institutions. Therefore, racism has been previously found in the police institution and it can still be traced back to the present day. Additionally, critical race theory presumes that law is an important factor that sanctions the hierarchy of class, race, and gender inequality. Consequently, the law as in the police system specifically in this event is forcing punishment that isn’t warranted. 

  • 1985– MOVE bombing (Philadelphia) 

    This event is where Philadephia police bombed the residency of the black liberation organization called MOVE on May 13, 1985. This fire caused 11 people including children to die. There were 65 homes that were destroyed as well due to this bombing. This bombing killed a lot of families and destroyed blocks of homes. This event contributes to my understanding of the present educational system because I never heard about this event. I believe that something is flawed about the education system that doesn’t teach people about the United States bombing their own citizens essentially. This event is another example of how policing is targeting black people. Which this is spotlighting the main ideas of the critical race theory in confiding in the notion that there is racism present in multiple social structures. Policing social structure has a clear history of having racist motives and actions tied to their name. Therefore, critical race theory evaluates events such as this which are racist, and institutions that are built upon them. 

  • 1955 – Emmett Till is lynched in Mississippi in June; Rosa Parks sits at the front of a bus in Alabama on December 1, beginning the Montgomery Bus Boycott; MLK becomes leader

    There is a multitude of events that occurred within the year 1955. Some coin this year as the beginning of the civil rights movement. It is also a year of much injustice. Furthermore, Emmett Till was lynched in 1955 after being falsely accused of raping a white woman. This is also the year that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus. Here, Rosa Parks is seen as standing up for equality. Whereas Black people at this time were only able to sit at the back of the bus. She obeyed this and protested. She was determined to stand up for what she felt was right. Finally, the emergence of MLK was also during this time. Martin Luther King Jr. was the leader of the civil rights movement and an activist and priest who stood his ground and was determined to make a change within our society and for the lives of Black people. Now, this is a lot of information. However, it is all applicable to the current present today. Where critical race theory comes about. These events all connect to critical race theory as these were all events that show a clear rise of people who have been affected by racist institutions and them standing strong against them. Critical race theory emphasizes the important topics and beliefs that these people fought for and argued for. If it wasn’t for MLK or Rosa Parks, we may not have critical race theory today. We may have not even come close to the idea of critical race theory and its analysis existing today. This event contributes to my understanding of the present educational system because for once, I was actually informed about Rosa Parks and MLK, and the activists of the civil rights movement. Of course, these are the two main people that are solely discussed. We often miss out on other great Black leaders – such as Malcolm X, The Black Panther Party, and other Black leaders that White individuals demonized.

  • 1954 – Brown vs. Board decision

    This event is a 1954 supreme court case that made segregation illegal in public education. This case also ended the ‘separate but equal’ racist decision that was previously in effect. The supreme court decided that racial segregation of children in schools violates the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment. This event contributes to my understanding of the present educational system because it shows how even though this case has been passed, there is still segregation in schools today. However, since it is illegal to this day and it isn’t enforced through informal means, it is rather enforced through institutions in a sense or under-valuing homes. Whereas, if a black person moved to a predominantly white neighborhood, the white people would move out or make a big problem with the black person attempting to move there. In the end result, the community is segregated which leads to segregated schools. Another example would be the fact that some schools aren’t welcoming to other races if it’s not the predominance race that attends the school. How does this relate to critical race theory? Yet this is another institution that has inherent racism involved. Critical race theory analyzes racism in different institutions. Therefore, since segregation is still occurring today in schools and even in housing, critical race theory highlights these important inequalities. Furthermore, since critical race theory believes that people are bound by their particular social class due to a limitation in free agency, in a way this relates to how people of a specific social class are forced to be segregated in many different things such as school, areas of residency and careers, etc. 

  • 1931– Scottsbarren boys falsely accused of raping two white woman 

    This event is where nine young black men were falsely accused of raping two white women. This destroyed the lives of young black men. They were almost executed and they spent time in jail for a crime that they did not commit. These men were eventually freed but their lives were not the same. This event contributes to my understanding of the present educational system because once again I was not informed about this event in my education experience. Events like these were only taught in African American classes therefore if you didn’t choose to take the class then you were not informed on important necessary information. I question the education system in the efforts of why events like these aren’t discussed or taught in regular instruction. This is an example of how the American criminal justice system has never worked in favor of African Americans. However, critical race theory specializes in racism in law and makes it of crucial importance to society. 

  • 1921– Bombing of black wallstreet 

    This event took place on June 1, 1921 in Tulsa, Oklahoma an area called black wallstreet was burned to the ground by bombs by white hatred mobs inspired by the Ku Klux Klan. This area was a successful business area that was black ran and it was one of the wealthiest all-black communities in the nation. Also, it was known for being a very prosperous black community in the early 1900s. It has been estimated that 300 black people died, 800 people were sent to the hospital and 10,000 people were left homeless due to this bombing. The bombing destroyed 600 various businesses in the community such as supermarkets, schools, libraries, banks, hospitals, churches, restaurants, and private airplanes. The Tulsa race riot of 1921 is what sparked off the bombing of black wallstreet. This event contributes to my understanding of the present educational system because the educational system isn’t teaching these important events that need to be taught to the youth and highlighted so that people can be aware of past inequalities that are interconnecting to issues today. I was not informed about this event in an educational setting instead it was from social media. Critical race theory plays a role in this because white individuals have shown that they oftentimes result in violence to maintain inequality. Critical race theory analyzes this at both an individual and institutional level. 

  • 1896– Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court decides controversial “separate but equal” doctrine

    This occurrence is a supreme court case that was created on May 18, 1896. This case was a racist decision by the supreme court that allowed for segregation laws to be incorporated by local governments and states. The phrase ‘separate but equal’ comes from this case which means whites and blacks were separate but given the same equal ‘opportunities’ such as services and public facilities. In which, the equality that was given was at least required by the Equal Protection Clause. With this case being active and approved, this led to tons of segregation laws being enforced in many states and local governments throughout the country. It created a lot of unrefined legal and social treatment of black people. According to Cornell Law School, “Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law; for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the negro group. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to retard the educational and mental development of negro children and to deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racially integrated school” (Cornell Law School). This quote is discussing the importance of how the law creates inequality. Specifically, in this situation, it is evident that the law of ‘separate but equal’ has made a clear path to inequality because why should a child who has the same qualifications or is the same age as another group be denied based on their skin color. Critical race theory synthesizes this very thing! Critical race theory assumes that law makes right for ranking of race, gender, and class inequality. The supreme court legitimized this law as a cover-up to oppress black people and believed that nothing was wrong with it. Additionally, this law was in place and active for 60 years. This event contributes to my understanding of the present educational system because it exposes to me where segregation even began at. The fact that the case was open and active for 60 years until Brown vs Board happened is really profound. It makes me frustrated and sad at the same time that this is how society used to be. 

  • 1881 – Booker T. Washington established Tuskegee Institute

    This event is an educational institution that was established by Booker T. Washington in a one-room shack with a class that Washington taught about thirty students. This college has been at the center of African Americans’ favor.  It taught African Americans specific skills to assimilate into the workforce.  This event contributes to my understanding of the present educational system because if it wasn’t for determined leaders like Booker T Washington to pave a way for growth and experiences for African Americans back in the day, then in a way it wouldn’t be possible today. This is probably one of the first institutions that focussed on the experiences of African Americans that were in the United States to focus on success for individuals. In a sense, this allowed for the existence of concepts like critical race theory to come about just because of the simple fact that African Americans were allowed the opportunity to have their own educational institution. African American institutions soon followed the creation of this HBCU. It was through educational systems like that that the analysis that critical race theory gives was created. 

  • 1775-1783– Black soldiers fought in The Revolutionary war

    This event is where black soldiers fought on both sides of the revolutionary war. They fought on both the British side and the American side searching for freedom. This illustrates how African-Americans are at the very foundation of this country as they fought for its founding. Along with this, African-Americans literally built this country. This connects to critical race theory as it exhibits how the black experience is the American experience. Critical race theory should be a mainstay in the American curriculum as African Americans were at the foundation of the nation.  This event contributes to my understanding of the present educational system because the American education system is not teaching that African Americans were the glue that kept this country together. We are often taught that it was enslaving white men that built this country – when in reality it was the forced labor of Black individuals’ that built this country. 

  • 1706 – First police patrols at plantations to prevent runaway slaves, South Carolina

    This is the event where policing was invented. The very foundation of policing was to hold Black individuals down and oppress them. At the foundation of modern-day policing is racism. I say this because the very first police were tasked with capturing runaway individuals attempting to escape slavery. The police are an institution of upholding the status quo – that status quo is racism. If it was not for this event, then critical race theorists would not have much analysis of the institution of law. For example, policing and law are connected. If policing is built on racism, then the law is undoubtedly built on racism. Therefore, this event is essentially at the foundation of critical race theory. It is also evident how policing is inherently racist and still continues to show today in society. This event contributes to my understanding of the present educational system because I never learned about this in school. This is a recurring theme. The racist history of this country is often not taught and overlooked. It is often not discussed in education. Especially since police brutality has been a mainstream topic within our society. We can never fully reconcile this country’s racist past till we fully learn and teach these important topics within our classrooms. 

  • 1619– Slave ship that came over

    In this year, Africans were kidnapped from the continents of Africa and brought to the Americas and traded for goods. They exploited them and forced them into indentured servantry to do labor such as growing tobacco, cotton, and rice. This connects to critical race theory as this is the beginning of the racial hierarchy within the Americans – later developing into the United States. Critical race theory establishes this analysis as this is the first moment that racism became a foundational aspect of the United States. This connects to critical race theory because this is where the injustices that African American face started. This event paved a way for critical race theorists to interpret racism. Though not a country at the time – it later obviously became the United States. This event contributes to my understanding of the present educational system because oftentimes the brutal history of slavery is sugarcoated. In other words, an inaccurate representation is given. For example, there have been textbooks found that give a different representation of what really happened. These have been found and called out by other Black people who were disappointed that their children were given inaccurate information. 

Works Cited

George Floyd is killed by a police officer, igniting historic protests, 25 May 2021, https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/george-floyd-killed-by-police-officer. Accessed 9 May 2022.

LAPD officers beat Rodney King on camera, https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/police-brutality-caught-on-video. Accessed 9 May 2022.

Brown v. Board of Education: Summary, Ruling & Impact – HISTORY, 11 January 2022, https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/brown-v-board-of-education-of-topeka. Accessed 9 May 2022.

“Bomb threats: FBI says 57 HBCU institutions and churches targeted since January.” The Tennessean, 23 February 2022, https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/american-south/2022/02/23/bomb-threats-hbcu-black-colleges-churches-targeted-fbi-investigation/6910491001/. Accessed 9 May 2022.

Burr, Alyssa. “Critical Race theory isn’t taught in Michigan schools, so why is it such a hot topic?” MLive.com, 8 July 2021, https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2021/07/critical-race-theory-isnt-taught-in-michigan-schools-so-why-is-it-such-a-hot-topic.html. Accessed 9 May 2022.

Campbell, Adina. “What is Black Lives Matter and what are the aims?” BBC, 13 June 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/explainers-53337780. Accessed 9 May 2022.

Fettig, Amy. “The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons.” The Sentencing Project, 13 October 2021, https://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/color-of-justice-racial-and-ethnic-disparity-in-state-prisons/. Accessed 9 May 2022.

Fisher, Reve ‘. “The Real Story of the Destruction of Black Wall Street.” Black Then, 23 February 2022, https://blackthen.com/the-real-story-of-the-destruction-of-black-wall-street/. Accessed 9 May 2022.

Momodu, Samuel. “The Charleston Church Massacre (2015) •.” Blackpast, 30 September 2017, https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/charleston-church-massacre-2015/. Accessed 9 May 2022.

Schwartz, Sarah. “Map: Where Critical Race Theory Is Under Attack.” Education Week, 11 June 2021, https://www.edweek.org/policy-politics/map-where-critical-race-theory-is-under-attack/2021/06. Accessed 9 May 2022.

“Separate But Equal | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute.” Legal Information Institute, https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/separate_but_equal. Accessed 9 May 2022.

Simon, Clea. “How COVID taught America about inequity in education.” Harvard Gazette, 9 July 2021, https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2021/07/how-covid-taught-america-about-inequity-in-education/. Accessed 9 May 2022.

Strauss, Valerie. “Trump: Public schools teach kids to ‘hate their country.’” The Washington Post, 5 July 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/07/05/trumps-newest-assault-americas-public-schools-they-teach-kids-hate-their-country/. Accessed 9 May 2022.

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