LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Born out of the Civil Rights Movement, Critical Race Theory started as a way of examining laws through the lens of race and how laws can keep the powerful in power.
Some state lawmakers want to ban CRT in Kentucky's schools. Two bills have already been pre-filed that seek to ban CRT. They say it creates division and interracial hostility because they believe it teaches students that white people are oppressors and Black people are victims.
But some scholars say that's not correct. They say CRT is being misrepresented as something that it's not. They're worried these bills could actually prevent teachers from teaching history as it happened and from multiple perspectives.
John Davis is a veteran History professor and currently teaches at Hopkinsville Community College. He says Critical Race Theory is nothing new.
"This has been around as long as there's been people, you know," said Davis. "So, no – it's not a new phenomenon at all. It’s nothing that we haven’t already been wrestling with. It has evolved slowly and that it suddenly becomes a crisis. I don't see the crisis."
Davis says to ignore or diminish the race component in the building of America is akin to dismissing our origins and how we got here.
"There was a desire – and I emphasis desire rather than need – for labor," said Davis. "You had this need for labor or this desire for labor in America where you had all this land. It was sort of a new problem. And you had all these African slaves coming in after 1619 and so this changed the legal infrastructure. There’s no doubt about that."
Davis has taught CRT in the classroom from the beginning. He says it's important to learn about other cultures and our society's treatment of such – to allow young adults to draw their own conclusions.
"Race is one of the major ways of looking at history and making sense of it, just as gender is, just as economics is," Davis says. "I don't see any problem with it, certainly among the upper level high school students, I would say not a problem at all. And many of them come into my class and they know this – they’ve been taught it. They’re not fanatics. They’re not racists. They’re not haters of the system. Nobody hates America because of this."