Letter: What really is 'Critical Race Theory'?

Posted 11/23/21

To the editor:

For months, Pete Hewett has been sounding the alarm over Critical Race Theory (CRT). In his most recent hand-wringer, he writes, “Critical race theory ideology is real. It is …

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Letter: What really is 'Critical Race Theory'?


To the editor:

For months, Pete Hewett has been sounding the alarm over Critical Race Theory (CRT). In his most recent hand-wringer, he writes, “Critical race theory ideology is real. It is divisive, dangerous, and destructive. It already exists in our Bristol Warren schools in one form or another.”

He then tells the reader who may not know what CRT is, to “do some minimal google research. It is not hard to find. Become better informed.”

So I did. Here is what the American Bar Association website says (CRT began as a legal concept back in the 70s):

“CRT is not a diversity and inclusion ‘training’ but a practice of interrogating the role of race and racism in society that emerged in the legal academy and spread to other fields of scholarship. Crenshaw—who coined the term ‘CRT’—notes that CRT is not a noun, but a verb. It cannot be confined to a static and narrow definition but is considered to be an evolving and malleable practice. It critiques how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers. CRT also recognizes that race intersects with other identities, including sexuality, gender identity, and others. CRT recognizes that racism is not a bygone relic of the past. Instead, it acknowledges that the legacy of slavery, segregation, and the imposition of second-class citizenship on Black Americans and other people of color continue to permeate the social fabric of this nation.”

Interrogating the role of race and racism in society — is that not what we should be doing in this country that prides itself on the belief of equality and justice for all? Hewett calls CRT an “ideology,” but if it is, what are its principles? That racism has existed, and continues to exist, in America? Hardly radical thinking.

And if talk of race and racism, of slavery and segregation, are “divisive, dangerous, and destructive,” we can ask: “To whom?” Certainly not to those who have paid the price for institutional racism and and race-based policies. What Pete Hewett sees as divisive, dangerous, and destructive can to other people — me included — seem simple truth-seeking and truth-telling, perhaps leading a path toward rehabilitating racial justice in America.

The real threat, the real source of what’s “divisive, dangerous, and destructive” in America is not CRT, but that cesspool of misinformation, Faux News, with its three-headed gorgon, Carlson, Hannity, and Ingram, and its smurfs of The Five. That so-called “news organization” and its scorched earth entertainment philosophy is what is “divisive, dangerous, and destructive” to America. Not CRT.

Jerry Blitefield
58 Beach Street

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.