Lawmakers, parents, think tanks, and conservative pundits have waged a war over how to teach students about systemic racism. As of this recording, 27 state legislatures and 165 national and local organizations have made efforts to restrict education on racism. As a result, school board members have been ousted, and some educators have resigned over the death threats, social media bullying, and harassment they’ve received from those who are adamant that teaching a more inclusive history harms students, according to the ACLU.
These activists and lawmakers have centered much of their anger on a framework called Critical Race Theory. Though they’ve used it as a catchall for wokeness, political correctness, and leftist indoctrination, the term actually refers to a body of legal scholarship from the 70s and 80s that says racism is not just a result of individual prejudice, but something embedded in the legal system and in government policy, The organization writes.
Kimberlé Crenshaw was among the scholars who developed the theory. She also coined the term “intersectionality,” a framework that takes into account how a person’s identities combine to create unique forms of discrimination or privilege.
She is a Distinguished Professor of law at Columbia University and at UCLA, co-founder of the African American Policy Forum at Columbia, and host of the podcast “Intersectionality Matters.”
Crenshaw joined the ACLU in a podcast to help us understand the true meaning of Critical Race Theory and how it became a political flashpoint in schools and beyond.