Critical Race Theory takes center stage during CMS Board Meeting Tuesday night

North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46) – Many parents and teachers voicing their opinions about what they think should be taught in their child’s classroom.

Critical Race Theory has been a hotly debated topic across the country, with many states considering adding it to their school curriculums, while others are working to ban it.

But what is Critical Race Theory at its core?

Two Charlotte legal experts explained it to FOX 46.

CMS has come under fire recently for reportedly paying $25,000 for a virtual keynote speaker for their staff members in June. That speaker is considered a top critical race theory author.

One of that author’s books is also on the CMS Summer Reading list.

Walter Bowers, a managing partner at Wooden Bowers Vinson explained that Critical Race Theory is really very simple.

He said, “It’s not an attack on culture, it’s not an attack on identity, it’s more of looking at various systems that are in place and asking the question ‘Is this particular system of lending, this particular system of housing, is the way that we educate our students, is that fair to everyone?”

Bowers said CRT opens up the door to talk about specific laws that used to be in place, especially when it comes to housing.

“It is certainly well known that throughout history there was a time where deeds had a certain clause that would prohibit African-Americans from living in certain parts of various cities. It wasn’t until 1968 that became illegal,” Bowers said.

Attorney at The Rhodes Firm, Khalif Rhodes said taking that kind of holistic look back in history is what CRT is all about.

He said, “No one likes to look back at who they used to be and so what they’re asking is for a country to look back; to look back at what they used to be and how that past has now had an influence, a direct influence, on our current present situation.”

Rhodes pointed out that Critical Race Theory isn’t new;  it’s been studied for decades, not always taught on its own, but rather woven into law school classes and higher education.

“You have some of these folks that are the most educated people on the planet, from Columbia and Harvard, Yale, and Stanford that have been doing this since the ‘70s and they’ve been talking about Critical Race Theory and in the ‘80s, it got more momentum, and in the ‘90s it got even more momentum,” Rhodes said.

While the idea is gaining more momentum, CMS said that they do not directly promote a doctrine of Critical Race Theory, but support continuing education for their teachers and staff.

The full statement reads as follows:

Our schools do not teach and do not promote a doctrine of Critical Race Theory. Our district does, however, actively support learning and professional development for our staff to recognize the shortcomings of systems that have long contributed to inequities that have led to disproportionate outcomes for students of various backgrounds. Those disparities exist throughout the nation and we recognize they exist here in CMS. Only by developing understanding of those systems and our roles in either supporting or ending them can we truly say we are committed to equity for our students.

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