Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Cricital Race Theory a necessary tool in society

In response to the June 10 letter “Race theory in schools panned”:

There is importance in listening to different arguments. When it comes to the topic of racism, however, the facts speak for themselves. Have you looked at the news and seen who is being disproportionately killed and discriminated against in this country? There is no room to challenge anti-racism or Critical Race Theory. Something or someone is either racist or not. As white people are not victims of racism but rather the historic perpetrators of racism, white people must listen to Black voices on what is and is not racist. A white person’s refuting of anti-racism diminishes the lived experiences of Black people, which normalizes racism. I will now clarify what Critical Race Theory is and why it is a necessary tool in American society.

I learned Critical Theory in high school English class junior year; we read from Lois Tyson’s “Using Critical Theory.” It must be understood that not all white people are racist in Critical Race Theory, but, as Tyson says, “the evils of (American) slavery are still with us today in a heritage of racial bias that is so thoroughly built into American law, politics, and social behavior that many white Americans are unable to see it.” Critical Race Theory never suggests that all white people are racist. Instead, there are white people who overlook racism because it is not always overt. Racism runs deeper than white people lynching Black people in plain sight.

Racism is the drug laws that penalize crack cocaine users (consumed more by Black Americans) more harshly than cocaine users (consumed more by white Americans) in spite of the fact that both drugs impact the same areas of the brain (they travel through the mesocortical and mesolimbic pathways and into the ventral tegmental area). Racism is the 1921 Tulsa massacre not being taught in schools and the lack of reparations to repair the destroyed Black self-built wealth (Tulsa was the home of Black Wall Street; after a white woman falsely accused a Black man in Tulsa of sexual assault, white supremacists destroyed the Black neighborhood in the city). Racism is how predominately Black and non-white neighborhoods have a greater presence of police than white neighborhoods and how that fact is misinterpreted as Black people commit more crime (more police equates to more eyes enforcing law to the masses — the opposite with less police). Racism is the strategic outlining of voting districts in both Red and Blue states around Black and other racial minority neighborhoods so an election’s outcome is more controlled (exactly what happened to Stacy Abrams in Georgia). Racism is how the median wealth in 2020 of Black families is $17,000 and the median wealth is $171,000 for white families in America (see the Joint Economic Committee’s “The Economic State of Black America” by U.S. Rep. Don Beyer).

Without Critical Race Theory, these facts would be overlooked. Systematic racism is indisputable and these are only a few examples to back the point. America is inherently a racist country given that the first European settlers used genocidal tactics to wipe out the Native Americans and then kidnapped Africans for slavery. The 13th, 14th, 15th Amendments to the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act move the nation away from this atrociously dark history, but with the facts I just stated, these laws are not enough. Without applying Critical Race Theory to social issues, we neglect America’s innate tendency to favor white people. A rejection of Critical Race Theory denies Black Americans’ lived experiences of oppression.

Living in the second-whitest state in the nation, Vermonters are likelier to have a subconscious racial bias and polarizing response to discussions of racism because we lack the perspective of Black Americans. I imagine many of my ideas come across as radical, or leftist. I don’t care. To the white people reading this and feeling attacked, sit with that discomfort of being told you have white privilege. It does not mean you are inherently racist or that your life is not hard; it means that the color of your skin does not make your life harder. Critical Race Theory brings us to an awareness of reality in America. Neglecting these facts and the urgency of this theory only allows for racism to permeate. Any opposition supports racism and it is not up for debate.

Julian Roy

Middlebury

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