A serious debate surrounding the teaching of Critical Race Theory in schools in Virginia is currently taking place on social media.
The controversy emerged during Virginia’s gubernatorial election this week in which Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin are competing to become the state’s next governor.
Critical Race Theory has seemingly become a hugely important issue for voters in the state who are concerned that the racial theory is being taught in Virginia’s schools.
What is Critical Race Theory? And is it actually taught in schools in Virginia? Let’s explore the debate.
What is Critical Race Theory?
Critical race theory (CRT) is a body of legal scholarship and academic movement that surrounds racism in the US.
Founded in the 1970s by black law professor Derrick Bell, it examines social institutions, like the legal stystem, education system and healthcare system, and says there is racism embedded into every one of them.
As Brittanica reports, there are two key parts to CRT. First, it says that race is a “culturally invented category used to oppress people of colour”.
Secondly, it says that “the law and legal institutions in the United States are inherently racist insofar as they function to create and maintain social, political, and economic inequalities between white and non-white people”.
There is a debate about it being taught in schools
Right now, there is a huge debate going on in the United States about whether CRT should be taught in schools or not.
Across America, many states began banning CRT as they believed it portrayed all white people as oppressors and deemed all Black people as the victims.
This week, CRT has been at the forefront of Virginia’s governor elections. It all started when The Good Liars interviewed a man who claimed CRT is the most important issue in the Virginia election.
The video went viral on Twitter, gaining a staggering 6.6 million views, and led to a widespread debate about whether CRT is really taught in the state’s schools or not.
Is it taught in schools in Virginia?
Gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin has gained support after he vowed to ban Critical Race Theory in schools, but his opponent is arguing it was never even taught in the first place.
Whilst speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press, Terry McAuliffe insisted that CRT “has never been” taught in Virginia’s schools.
“And I really hate it, because it’s a racist dog whistle. And all Glenn Youngkin has done in this campaign is run down Virginia, run down our education system, run-down our economy,” he said.
“And when you think of this, right now, on critical race theory, Chuck, it’s not taught. So all you’re doing is pitting parents against parents, parents against teachers, and they’re using children as political pawns.”
The National School Boards Association has also said that CRT is not taught in K-12 public schools in the state.
Despite these claims that CRT is not on the curriculum, Fox claims that the term “Critical Race Theory” appears on the Virginia Department of Education website.
Fox further claimed that “several examples of the department promoting Critical Race Theory can be found” including a “presentation from 2015 that encourages teachers to embrace Critical Race Theory”.
Is CRT really taught in Virginia’s schools? The debate continues.