Critical race theory has been around for decades — why’s it a powder keg now?
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If you’ve been tuned in to the culture war at all in the last six to 12 months, you’ve probably heard a lot about “critical race theory.” You’ve probably heard less about what it actually is. We asked a critical race theorist.
“We had social inequality of serious dimensions … even after the victories of the civil rights movement in the embrace of a so-called colorblind society,” said law professor Cheryl Harris of the University of California, Los Angeles. “And we wanted to ask, what is the role of law in that? Is this an enforcement problem?”
CRT, as it’s sometimes called, posits that racism is not just perpetuated by individuals, it’s embedded into our institutions. But Harris said recent Republican efforts to ban CRT from schools aren’t really about those decades-old discussions, but an effort to create a political “boogeyman.” Some conservative thinkers have said as much.
On today’s show, we’ll go deep with Harris on the nuances of what CRT is and isn’t, and what the recent controversy around systemic racism in schools has to do with the voting restrictions we talked about last week.
Later in the show, we’ll talk about California’s new rental-assistance program, Juneteenth commercialization and the economic conditions that would cause the rich not to get richer. (Spoiler alert: There really aren’t any.) Plus we’ll hear from a listener who is celebrating becoming debt-free.
When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week, we’re explaining conservatorship, the Blue Angels and “The Fast and the Furious.” You can hear them all here. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.
Here’s everything we talked about today:
- “What is critical race theory, and why do Republicans want to ban it in schools?” from The Washington Post, which gives context to the Christopher Rufo tweets we discussed.
- “See which states have passed critical race theory bills” from NBC News
- “Critical race theory battle invades school boards — with help from conservative groups” also from NBC News
- “Fox’s anti-“critical race theory” parents are also GOP activists” from Media Matters
- “California Has a Plan to Pay the Back Rent for Low-Income Tenants. All of It.” from The New York Times
- “Where the World’s Richest 1% Are Gaining Wealth the Fastest” from Bloomberg
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