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Letter: Critical Race Theory is not taught in schools

CRT does not call for shaming white people, particularly children, and holding them responsible for America’s original sins of slavery and racism.

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To the Editor:

Consider this fact: “Critical Race Theory” (CRT), the new pet Republican outrage-inducing bogeyman, is not taught in South Dakota schools, colleges, or universities.

Yet, Gov. Kristi Noem is so utterly terrified that the subject might ever be taught in the state that she drafted new legislation this month to pre-emptively ban its teaching anywhere in South Dakota — which, let’s just remind ourselves, it isn’t now.

The concept is only taught very sporadically in U.S. higher education but nowhere in elementary and secondary schools.

Read more letters to the editor sent to the Mitchell Republic here.

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In other words, for pre-college schools Noem’s knee-jerk is a “solution” in search of a “problem” that doesn’t exist. For colleges and universities, CRT’s a valid, substantive subject for history and civics curricula, but Noem’s goal is naked censorship throughout education in South Dakota because she doesn’t happen to agree with it, not that it’s bogus in some way.

This censorious bill comes after the governor signed a related executive order in July barring her Department of Education even from applying for any federal grants in history or civics until after the 2022 state legislative session. The purpose of the order is “to ban grants that tie to critical race theory, a topic that has become a hot-button topic among conservatives and educators alike in recent months.”

If you don’t know what CRT is, it is a somewhat arcane academic theory sporadically taught in a limited way in some higher-ed institutions. It is based on the “premise that race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings but a socially constructed (culturally invented) category that is used to oppress and exploit people of color,” according to Encyclopaedia Britannica.

“Critical race theorists hold that racism is inherent in the law and legal institutions of the United States insofar as they function to create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites, especially African Americans.”

It does not call for shaming white people, particularly children, and holding them responsible for America’s original sins of slavery and racism.

The goal is to educate citizens about the perpetual injustices they bequeath.

Rick Snedeker

Mitchell

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