Tennessee Republicans earlier this year passed a law in response to the conservative panic about “critical race theory,” barring the teaching of certain concepts in classrooms including “teaching that one race or sex is inherently superior to another; ascribing character traits, values, moral or ethical codes to a specific race or sex; that the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist or that a meritocracy is inherently racist or sexist,” according to The Tennessean. Critics argue that Republicans in Tennessee and around the country are trying to ban the teaching of history they don’t like.
My first thought is almost always: Right wing cancel culture is out of control and a threat to free speech.
But in this case, using the law to silence discussion of civil rights and civil liberties is exactly the type of systemic racism that critical race theory predicts.
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. Critical race theorists are generally dedicated to applying their understanding of the institutional or structural nature of racism to the concrete (if distant) goal of eliminating all race-based and other unjust hierarchies.