Letter To Editor: A Teacher’s Perspective On CRT

By: John Cabascango

It seems you can’t pick up a newspaper or surf social media without running into someone’s opinion about Critical Race Theory. Local leaders have warned that it will turn children against each other and cause them to hate their own country. That’s a damning accusation if true. However, who actually knows what Critical Race Theory is?

Critical Race Theory: an introduction by law professors Richard Delgado and Jean Stefanicic is often referred to as a good place to start. The book is somewhat accessible if you have done some graduate reading in critical studies, which raises questions over how this is supposedly being smuggled into the average high school classroom. Smuggling Shamu into a Petsmart might be less conspicuous.

Much more accessible is a series of articles “What Christians get Wrong about Critical Race Theory,” by Wheaton College’s Nathan Cartagena. He is clear that CRT is not a “single theory, method or analytical tool.” He outlines two assumptions of CRT, one that white supremacy has been maintained in the U.S. and that understanding the function of racism isn’t enough to change it.

What Cartagena outlines and Delgado and the late Derrick Bell argue at length is that U.S. History has been resistant to racial change because racism is woven into its fabric. Those who argue that the accomplishments of individual minorities demonstrate victory over racism do not address why the successes of people of color require such extraordinary combinations of both individual ability and circumstance.

In addition, teaching about slavery, migrant worker labor movements and Japanese Internment Camps isn’t CRT, just history. There are always going to be questions over an age appropriate level for certain aspects of history and considerations regarding students learning about people that look like them or have similar backgrounds. Those considerations aren’t CRT, just age appropriate level factors and cultural sensitivity. Neither require a law degree, or an extensive glossary of legal terms at the end of each textbook.

And what of the fear that children will hate their country because of what they learn in school. Well, Thomas Jefferson authored one of the world’s most brilliant historical documents and owned over six hundred slaves. Alexander Hamilton was certainly a mixed bag, but a catchy soundtrack certainly helped him become accessible. The challenges of getting students’ attention and weighing multiple sides of various issues does not require complex legal theories.

So you have to ask yourself, if it is unlikely that CRT is really being taught in high school, not to mention middle and elementary school, why is this such a hot topic? Is this really the primary battle of public education and the hill worth dying on?

I might offer the modest proposal that it is worth asking what or who you are fighting before charging off into battle. Tilting at Windmills makes for an entertaining story, but perhaps there are other battles more worth our time.

John Cabascango teaches English and Spanish in the International Baccalaureate Program at Smithfield Selma High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Literature and Biblical Studies and a master’s degree in Intercultural Studies and TESOL from Wheaton College.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. It isn’t being taught (not was it ever planned) in K-12 JoCo schools … Yet it IS in JCC. Where’s the outrage in funding?!?! He JoCo Commissioners just gave JCC $4 million!!! #hypocrites #aSuckerBornEveryMinute

  2. John, you sir are Don Quixote if you think you can change this narrative. You are a little too late trying to “reason” and “rationally explain” something that has been weaponized so quickly and feverishly. I do however respect the greater fool in you.

  3. Children shouldn’t be learning “assumptions”, John Cabascango, they need to be learning the FACTS.

    Sure some facts are ugly and hard to swallow. However, the facts prove time and time again that there is no systemic racism in 2021 in America. I challenge you describe even one case of it if you disagree. Please, I would love for you to demonstrate for everyone your progressophobia.

    The facts also show that white children are not intrinsically racist by virtue of birth any more than any other race.

    I could go on and on poking holes in the farcical CRT garbage and with both hands tied behind my back.

    • If I were wanting to educate myself on CRT, what credible sources could you suggest I use to do so?
      Also, you submit that “facts prove time and time again that there is no systemic racism in 2021 in America”, could you point me to the sources of those facts?
      Thank you!

      • But you’re not wanting to do that, are you Mr. Lockwood?

        I don’t do leg work for leftists. I won’t be giving you anything you can’t gather on your own.

        Here’s what you can do Mr. Lockwood.

        Citing your sources, describe here for everyone a racist system existing today in America.

        Also, don’t waste your time typing “I’m not a leftist.” The Germans who voted for Hitler and supported the Nazi party can’t claim that because they weren’t the ones at Auschwitz they’re not in any way responsible for the atrocities carried out there.

        It doesn’t work that way 😘, Mr. Lockwood.

        • Since I was merely asking some questions I can only speak to your first statement. I am certainly wanting to educate myself. I do my best to formulate my own opinions based on reliable sources. Mr. Cabascango cited several authors and works above. Doing so allows me to determine for myself through analysis of those sources from where he derived his opinions and if those opinions are supportable.

          I was honestly wanting to know the sources from where you derive your opinions. I’m certainly not asking for you to do any leg work for me, but I am asking for the favor of your referring to me the websites with the information you read or listing some authors or works that informed your opinions.

          • Don’t play coy Mr. Lockwood. The stench of your liberal intellectual superiority complex proceeds you. Perhaps your initial sarcasm isn’t the standard congenial gesture demonstrating good faith?

            If you genuinely wish to examine CRTs opposition, perhaps you should begin with the analysis of recent World history then American history. Therein you’ll find the the leading driver of death and inequality among minority groups in America are, and have always been, unchecked liberal ideologies.

            In fact, since we’re on the topic of systemic racism, the number one killer of blacks and minorities in American history IS legislation and partnerships championed by white Democrats i.e. Jim Crow, the 1994 crime bill aka Jim Crow 2.0, Margaret Sanger and her “Planned Parenthood”.

            I can go on and on but since you may or may not have an adequate understanding of history a conversation between you and I would bear no fruit in the end.

            Thank you for trying. I suggest you find another conservative to play with.

          • I’m not certain why you believe my asking questions and requesting sources indicates a liberal intellectual superiority complex, no political ideology has ownership of rational inquiry and critical thinking.

            What confuses me about your points is that you challenge me to produce an example of systemic racism, which would thus necessitate CRT in order to begin to dismantle it, when in fact you produce an example yourself by stating that liberalism is the cause of systemic racism in recent U.S. history. I pointed this out in my other comments (two in fact, it didn’t look as if the first posted, but sure enough, whoops!).

            So which is it? Is there no systemic racism problem causing inequality in the U.S. or is there a problem and it’s root is liberalism?

        • Since I last replied, I actually did run across some evidence from a source that may answer your challenge to describe here for everyone a racist system existing today in America.
          According to yourself, A. Abernathy, when responding to another editorial on this website you stated, “Liberalism is a racist system created by whites. In fact Ms. Moore, Liberalism has killed more blacks than any single system in America.”

          Here is a link to the page where your comment can be seen.
          https://jocoreport.com/letter-to-editor-operation-critical-race-theory/

          • While your compliment is flattering, liberalism isn’t a person or institution with authority, which is but one requisite of systemic racism. All the boxes in the definition of Systemic Racism must checked before that assertion can be given in the affirmative.

            Liberalism is a set of various insidious ideologies which are held by people who have authority over certain aspects of our everyday lives. I’m of the opinion that liberalism by itself doesn’t check that box. But, I’m just one person.

            Now, the democrat party? 🤔 That’s something different than liberalism. Though, they do vigorously espouse liberal ideologies.

            Is the Democrat party a person or institution with authority that is currently enforcing systemically racist laws or mandates? Yes they are an institution however currently, they aren’t enforcing or enacting systemically racist laws. While it disgusts me, college/university would be the appropriate place for adults of sound mind and discernment to learn Critical Theory. There these adults can make up their own minds.

            Should they force CRT on impressional children K-12? Absolutely not. However, if they chose to pass laws or institute mandates forcing CRT on children then yes they have checked all the boxes.

            The Democrats are playing with fire while walking a tight rope. They would be wise to tread carefully. We are watching their every move.

            But these are just my own personal opinions, I’m sure some here would disagree with me. 😂 And that’s ok too.

  4. This article right here shows CRT is bullsh*t.

    The author cited another author that said CRT assumes “that white supremacy has been maintained in the U.S.” I can think of two events, one in 2008 and one in 2012 that disproves this in an instant. The election of Barack Obama, a black man for US President. If a nation really has maintained white supremacy, it wouldn’t have allowed this to happen.

    But of course, once you point this out, CRT CONVENIENTLY gives an excuse why this happens. “Those who argue that the accomplishments of individual minorities demonstrate victory over racism do not address why the successes of people of color require such extraordinary combinations of both individual ability and circumstance.” So white supremacy is still a thing, it’s just those few minorities just skirted by? That doesn’t make any sense. Also, using this excuse inadvertently destroys the racism narrative. It’s not a race problem, it’s an individual problem. The success of someone is determined by how hard they work to make it happen.

    Like I said, CRT is bullsh*t. It doesn’t belong in any school because the theory just doesn’t hold up once you apply rational thinking. And the fact that this “educator” can’t see that really bothers me that this person is teaching our kids.

  5. Maybe the ‘fight’ is against the implementation which separates people by race and specifically shames them.

    • Could you elaborate on this to help me understand? Who is being shamed and how does CRT do that?

  6. I’m so glad you have a view of CRT that is not very controversial. Unfortunately, this topic has had an ever-changing definition, from your writers and Gramsci, to the racial fighters of the 21st century in Kendi and Hannah-Jones. At its core, CRT morphed from Critical Theory and Critical Law Theory, which at their core, argued to criticize everything, and tear down all the institutions, by law, by rally, or by revolution… and allow Marxism to flow right now. The newest innovation is now trying to divide by race, and tear down institutions by race, instead of wealth or law.

    Keep it out of the schools.

    • My understanding of how CRT would be implemented in schools would be as a critical tool for students to evaluate our society for themselves using historical events and writings from various authors. Could you point me to the sources that establish that the CRT to be applied in the classroom is a different one that is no longer related to Critical Theory? Is the CRT that would be implemented one that would force students to think a certain way? Do you know the definition that the school board is planning on using for their ban of CRT? It makes me wonder what would stop educators from simply applying techniques of CRT in their classrooms and corrupting our children anyway.

      I would imagine that if we, as a society, are teaching our children at home the skills to think for themselves that CRT would not have any of the detrimental effects that you or anyone else on this comment board asserts about it. Of course, that assumption is based on the fact that if our youth, in being taught to think for themselves, reject CRT. God help us if they don’t, for they will be able to vote in just a few short years.

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