critical race theory, students, educators, power, structures, education, critical, people, critical thinking, society, questions, isms, critically, teaching, legislation, parents, race, racism, narratives, point
Think about what MLK stood for. He said he didn't want people judged on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character, you listen to some of these people nowadays, they don't talk about that. So we have a responsibility to stand for the truth to stand for what's right. And we're doing that. And we've put more resources and emphasis on teaching civics on teaching people about American history. But we also have to protect people and protect our kids from some very pernicious ideologies that are trying to be forced upon them all across the country. So today, we are going to be introducing to the public and we have legislators who are going to help us with this, a new piece of legislation for the upcoming legislative session, called Stop wrongs against our kids and employees at the stop woke act. And it's something that
and this will do a number of things that are very important one, it will put into statute, the Department of Education's prohibition on CRT in K through 12 schools, no taxpayer dollars should be used to teach our kids to hate our country or to hate each other.
And that's important, and that's all well and good. But I think what we've seen recently is you can legislate things like parents Bill of Rights, you can have certain things, and sometimes the school districts don't always follow it. And so we are going to be including in this legislation, giving parents a private right of action to be able to enforce the prohibition on CRT and they get to recover attorneys fees when they prevail, which is very important.
Steve Pearlman 01:59
Oh, holy crap, where do I even begin with this guy? That magnificent audio clip is of Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida mouthing off and flaunting his relative ignorance about critical race theory. And the only good thing I can say about him is that he sets up nicely the conversation we're gonna have today about how to think critically about critical race theory with him of course, being perhaps an iconic example of someone who isn't to begin with just to nitpick here a little bit as the pretentious intellectual I can be when confronted with political inanity, he references the name of his legislation as stop the wrongs against our kids and employees, which he calls the stop woke act. And yeah, we saw what you did there, Governor DeSantis Wow, that was clever. You co opted the term woke and its pop culture meaning of being racially sensitive and socially conscious. And you transformed it into an acronym for your own anti woke legislation. Wow, nice work. I would have loved to have been in that meeting. Because I bet that was a real moment of great excitement for everybody there. And I certainly hope that whoever thought of that got an extra Harrumph from everybody in the room.
I didn't get a haram fight of that guy. If the governor had run
Steve Pearlman 03:17
her up. But the stop woek Act an acronym for stop wrongs against our kids and employees wouldn't be w o ke would be W A oke or maybe Wak but not W okay. But as it turns out to Santos possibly misquoted his own legislation, which I think is actually stop wrongs to our kids and employees act. So it's curious that he doesn't know what his own legislation was called, especially when he was reading off of his notes. But that entire point that I'm making is really just about poking him in the chest because he's annoying. More importantly, I think this is reference to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, whom he only references as MLK.
Do you think about what MLK stood for? He said he didn't want people judged on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character. You listen to some of these people nowadays, they don't talk about that.
Steve Pearlman 04:14
Now, I know that I am certainly not in a position to speak for Dr. King, or what he would or would not favor if he were alive today. However, I am a betting man. And I would be willing to bet a great percentage of my rather meager worldly possessions that if he were alive today, Dr. King would not be standing on the stage with Governor DeSantis supporting legislation that opposes the study of structural racism in our society. I can't say for sure. I'm not going to speak for Dr. King, but I am allowed to wager and I would wager a great deal on that. The next issue I want to tackle about the Santas is legislation is the power that it gives to parents. And so
we are going to be including in this legislation, giving parents a private bit right of action to be able to enforce the prohibition on CRT and they get to recover attorneys fees when they prevail, which is very important.
Steve Pearlman 05:13
Educators certainly have enough challenges on their hand without literally being policed by parents. And while I certainly want to affirm the idea that parents absolutely need to see what's happening with their children's education, and should absolutely have some voice in that, is it too much to ask that instead of approaching educators with angry, hostile, even splenetic emotions, that instead they approach educators with the intent of conversation and with great intellectual humility, unfortunately, although this is not the only issue where we've ever seen this happen, for sure, when it comes to critical race theory, we see so many example of parents frothing at the mouth with contempt and anger and hostility in how to rein in critical race theory. James Coplin quotes one parent who says we may not be PhDs or experts in education or reporters or detectives, but we're not stupid parents are the experts on their children. And maybe that's partly right. Maybe parents are the experts on their children. But if they're not experts in education, and given what is often an utter lack of understanding of critical race theory, can we not ask that they approach their concerns with respect and humility? I certainly don't have to say on this podcast that we as educators suffer a kind of resistance that few in other kinds of professions face because we have to wonder how often the brain surgeon when about to embark on surgery hears from someone's loved one? Well, I'm no doctor or expert in brain surgery. But I think it just doesn't happen as often, though, to be fair, as we look at all the anti vaxxers, I guess we are seeing this sentiment that I'm no expert in blank, but start to bleed out into other areas of our society much more perhaps, than it's healthy or that it has before. But despite all that very real frustration with parents who though perhaps well intentioned, we wish we'd approach these conversations with much greater humility and respect for educators as professionals. The real issue of today's podcast is obviously more about critical race theory itself, and how we can work with our students to think critically about critical race theory. At the outset of this discussion, it seems very important to note that I'm a privileged white guy and as a privileged white guy don't feel at all qualified or empowered or licensed or justified to in any way really speak to the importance of or value of or sanctity of critical race theory itself. And whether or not it's the right or best or valuable tool for approaching or addressing centuries of systemic racism within this country. I certainly hope that if not it, then something has increasingly meaningful effect on addressing the racism that persists in the United States. And it's sincerely my hope that if critical race theory in itself is not the answer, or a big part of the answer is that it is at least a good sign that we're having the conversation, that something like critical race theory has risen to a place of enough prominence in our society that at least we're talking about it and confronting the question of critical race theory itself. I hope that's at least a sign that we're moving in the right direction. Since there's a lot of confusion about this, I think it's at least useful to offer a dime's version of the history of critical race theory. And I don't think there's anything I'm saying here that's in dispute, critical race theory has its origin in something called critical legal studies, critical legal studies emerged in the 1970s. And the premise of critical legal studies was really fairly simple. And I think something that is, or at least should be entirely non controversial. What critical legal scholars theorized was simply that we cannot only look at the law on a case by case individual basis in terms of what happens in this particular case, or that particular case to this particular person or that particular person or even with respect to any isolated law in itself. Instead, critical legal studies theorized that to understand what's happening on micro levels, we also have to understand and appreciate what's happening on more macro levels. That power is embedded within larger institutional structures within our justice system, our legal system and our society in general. Society is composed of power structures, and those power structures and institutions should be interrogated and understood if we're going to understand the effectiveness and equity of those systems with respect to our society. as a whole and all of the individuals within it as Janelle George writes in a lesson on critical race theory, critical legal studies was a significant departure from earlier conceptions of the law and other fields of scholarship as objective neutral, principled and disassociated from social or political considerations. And again, that seems like a very non controversial proposition. If we look at it in terms of wealth. For example, it's simply empirically true that our justice system does not treat people of different means equally, the minimum wage earner who commits a crime is probably going to be afforded a public defender probably will not have much choice in which public defender is assigned. And despite all of the good intentions and noble efforts of that public defender, we'll have a public defender who nevertheless lacks significant resources, who is for all intents and purposes probably overworked and underpaid with too high a caseload to be able to devote as much effort to that particular case as that particular individual would probably like the wealthy person arrested for the same crime can avail themselves of attorneys or squads of attorneys or fleets of attorneys with virtually unlimited resources, and therefore, obviously has some advantages with respect to the legal system. That's a very simple example of a dis equity within our institutional structure of our legal system. As Brian bravely writes in toward a tribal critical race theory and education, CLS exposes contradictions in the law and illustrate the ways that laws create and maintain the hierarchical society in which we live. And that one seems important and it seems fairly self evident that these structures exist. And it's easy to see and I think, easier within our society to talk about in terms of something like wealth, but when it's talked about in terms of race, it suddenly becomes a lot more controversial and raises a lot more ire by a lot of people. As Janelle George writes again, in a lesson on critical race theory, like proponents of critical legal studies, Critical Race theorists recognize that the law could be complicit in maintaining an unjust social order, where critical race theorists departed from critical legal studies was in the recognition of how race and racial inequality were reproduced through the law. And basically what happened was that some scholars within the critical legal studies community believed that critical legal studies was not addressing well enough the specific issue of race and racism and thus critical race theory was born. As for what critical race theory is, in present form, a number of scholars note that it is not easily quantified as one single thing. Again, referring back to Janelle George, she writes that we cannot view it as, quote, a static and narrow definition, but is considered to be an evolving and malleable practice. In other words, critical race theory, it seems at least from the scholars I've read is a premise with a series of practices wrapped around it. Not everyone agrees necessarily on exactly which practices are best or what have you. But the premise is basically that, as with critical legal studies, institutional structures hold power, and for critical race theories purpose, those structural forces are often not non racial. And when they are racial, they're often racist. And shouldn't we begin to interrogate that and unpack that if we're going to make strides with respect to racism in this country? I think ultimately, that's kind of a humble premise as to how it's manifesting or being applied, or how curricula should address that in our schools is a larger question. But that premise is pretty humble. But if we want to think critically about critical race theory, we don't even need to adopt that premise. though. I think it's true. We don't need to adopt it. And I'm going to explain why now and in doing so address some of the confusion, I think that's emerging around the term critical race theory. And that begins with the word critical. what so many people are hearing with respect to the use of the word critical is it's popular denotation it's popular denotation is that of criticism that we are critiquing when we are being critical because the average person only knows the colloquial use of the term critical and that's fine. There is no reason they should know any other definitions of the term critical, but the critical and critical legal studies and therefore the critical in critical race theory tracks back to critical pedagogy, and Paulo Freire re, the critical from critical pedagogy always refers to issues of power, not to issues of criticism in the sense of a movie critic, critical in the Frary incense in the critical pedagogical sense is always about examining power relations and power structures within any given context. That's what criticality is in critical pedagogy. It means also interrogating the power structures even within education itself. In fact, to quote Richard Shawl in his Introduction to pedagogy of the oppressed, there is no such thing as a neutral educational process. Education either functions as an instrument that is used to facilitate the integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it. Or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world. The development of an educational method that facilitates this process will inevitably lead to tension and conflict within our society. And I think we hear within those words written years ago exactly what we are encountering now, this initial reaction we see by parents, like the one I quoted earlier and by governors like DeSantis, and politicians, is that critical race theory as being critical of the United States in criticisms sense. Now, I'm not suggesting that there are not criticisms to be made in those respects. Of course, there are criticisms to be made. But that's not the point here in terms of the definition of criticality as it appears in critical race theory, critical race theory is proposing as critical legal studies did as critical pedagogy does that education should not inherently reinforce existing institutional structures? And rather that we should empower students to question and not just question but to transform those institutions, so as to create a better world. And so let's use that to contextualize things we heard DeSantis say
no taxpayer dollars should be used to teach our kids to hate our country.
Steve Pearlman 16:44
And don't we hear in DeSantis his words Shell's admonition that quote this process will inevitably lead to tension and conflict within our society and quote, and we hear another person say, at a meeting in Great Neck Long Island that quote, There is a major difference between teaching critical thinking and promulgating political ideology that is not based in any historical value, but is only promoted to instill in our children hatred, the feeling that they're not worthy division and have them believing based on the color of their skin that they are inherently racist. And in quote, we see a similar sentiment by James Copland, who proposes legislation that would curtail the teaching of critical race theory how to rein in critical race theory. He writes, quote, my model legislation would forbid public schools to require students or faculty to classify themselves as intrinsically racist or oppressive based on their race to ascribe personal responsibility or moral character based on race or to affirm worldviews holding that the United States is fundamentally or irredeemably racist. Whatever the merits or demerits of these ideas count me as a skeptic, they are much more akin to matters of political opinion or orthodoxy, like reciting the Pledge of Allegiance than to explaining the Lincoln Douglas debates the Emancipation Proclamation or the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Are we not really hearing in certain respects at least, that reactive resistance to teaching students to challenge existing power structures is that not to some degree, which sits at the root of those reactions, another part of those reactions for a lot of people, quite obviously, though, I cannot say it does or does not apply specifically to the people I'm quoting here today is simply that they're racist. And that tacit or explicit racism is embroiled within this greater issue of criticality. And it is challenging for anyone to separate the degree to which there are white people who are simply reacting racially to people who are reacting to criticalities challenge of power itself and institutional structures and the status quo and the way things are, those things are inseparable, of course, because part of those power structures certainly are racial, but part of that and I can't ascribe to it a particular percentage. And I'm not saying it's the majority of it, but part of it is simply the fact that people will always react to anyone who's trying to challenge their power. And that is where unfortunately, popular misconceptions of critical race theory are emerging. If Critical Race theorists and critical race theory curricula within the schools was, in fact, quote, instilling in our children hatred, the feeling that they're not worthy division and have them believing based on the color of their skin, that they are inherently racist, and quote, then I too, would oppose critical race theory, but I wouldn't oppose it on the grounds that there is an inherent racism within our society, and that even the most well intentioned people like myself cannot have tacit subconsciously embedded racist attitudes or the very least points of privilege. I'm sure that's the case. But I would oppose Is that kind of teaching? Because I would oppose the teaching of any such doctrine within our educational system, because I don't believe that the educational system should indoctrinate to any particular point of view, even if it's a point of view with which I agree. Because whatever my personal view is, or what ever anyone's personal view is, should not result in doctrinal efforts with our students and their worldviews. And that goes for liberal ideologies. And it goes for conservative ideologies. And by the way, just as a note, many scholars noted that critical legal studies and critical race theory itself was not necessarily a liberal ideology, in fact, in its inception was very critical of aspects of liberalism itself. But that's not really the point here. As I said, I too would oppose education that indoctrinate students into believing that they are intrinsically racist or that the United States is intrinsically or irredeemably racist as a country. It might be, but my objection is not on the merits of that particular point of view. My objection again is against indoctrination, had a go Ge will resume in just a moment. But first, if you're a high school, college or graduate school educator, then I'd like to offer you a full free preview of my online level one critical thinking program for students. I actually developed this program because so many educators have asked me for a way to jumpstart their students critical thinking skills. This program, which is approximately a three hour student experience does the following. It teaches your students three essential mindsets for thinking critically, it teaches them a copyrighted neurobiological process for thinking critically about any subject in any discipline. And then it does something particularly distinct, it prompts students through a step by step process in which they actually compose a very short essay entirely driven by their own critical thinking. Students can complete this program outside of class with no impact on your class time, and you can see the final product when they're done. I think you'll find this to be an exceptional program for your students. But whether you assign it or not, I'm confident that it will be an asset to you in terms of infusing critical thinking in your own approach to teaching. So provided you're an educator, I'd be excited to grant you a free preview of this program, please just come to the critical thinking initiative.org/podcasts Sign up with a.edu email address. Or if you don't have a.edu email address, just email info at the critical thinking initiative.org. With confirmation that you're an educator, again, please just come to the critical thinking initiative.org/podcasts and sign up for a free preview of the entire program. Please make sure you either sign up with a.edu email address, or email me at info at the critical thinking initiative.org with other confirmation that you're an educator and I'd be excited to grant you free access to a program preview. And for everyone who's listening. Please remember to like and share pedagogy. Find the critical thinking initiative on Facebook and LinkedIn and follow me on Twitter at at Steve J. Perlman. That's at Steve J. Perlman. Now back to headed Goji. My objection, again, is against indoctrination to any particular worldview. And I don't mean that to say that any education can be neutral or non doctrinal in any certain respects, it can't be. But I do think we need to do as much as we can to avoid the imposition of any person's particular ideology or worldview upon students. And that returns us to the nature of criticality because I think the only thing that's healthy for education to do, and not just healthy, but imperative is to train students to think critically about the world. And part of that means thinking critically about power structures, including educational structures in which they exist. That's simply intellectually honest. And it's not to say to them, that we want you to believe this particular ideology or that particular ideology, it is to empower them to be cognizant of ideologies and power structures and ideas, to be able to think critically about those. And thus, in doing so, advanced knowledge, advanced perspective beyond whatever it is we take the truths to be today. And yes, that in itself is an ideology, but I'm comfortable with that ideology. I'm very comfortable with suggesting that education should be about training students to think critically and engage the world such as to challenge any and all existing conceptions of what's good and true to form better ones. As to what better is we hope they determine that well through good critical thinking skills. And to add to that, yes, I certainly believe that if students do critically engage the world and the United States and many of their roles in it, they might indeed just so happen to find that there is in fact racism and classism and sexism and other negative isms, in our society, in our country and in our world. All of this talk of isms forces me to have to reflect on the words of the great Ferris Bueller. It's not
that I condone fascism, or any backmatter. isms, in my opinion are not good. The person should not believe in an ism, you should believe in himself. I call John Lennon, I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me a good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I can be the walrus, I still have to bum rides on people.
Steve Pearlman 25:51
So is he effectively being a good critical pedagogue in the sense that he's challenging the question of isms himself and questioning the existence of power structures? Or is he being a bad critical pedagogue? Because he's ignoring the existence of isms which clearly do exist? Or is he being a privileged white male who is able to issue the importance of isms because he doesn't feel as though he's subjected to them, or he's above them, or they're intrinsic to his world? Now, I don't know. And I feel as though I have to do an entire podcast devoted to Ferris Bueller, which I'd love to do, and seems in some ways, like a moral imperative, just because it's Ferris Bueller. But I think we should hold that off for a different time. In the meantime, let me speak to one particular example of how critical race theory is manifesting in curricula. And I need to say at the outset that I don't take this to be a typical example of how critical race theory is being applied in academia. And I say that for two reasons. The first reason is that I don't believe there is a typical example of how it's being applied. And in fact, most of my research suggests that for all of the controversy around critical race theory and education, it's actually not manifesting very much at all. There are very few examples relative to an entire country of where it's actually taking place. And the other reason that I think that this isn't a typical example is that I think it's a somewhat extreme case of how critical race theory could be applied academically. This is ultimately coming from an article Lok elementary by Christopher Ruffo. In January of 2021. My own research into the stain particular happening seems to affirm much of what's being described here, though, it's impossible to really know all of the things that actually occurred in this classroom, but this is about an elementary school in Cupertino, California, and it's dealing with third graders, and the teacher engaged these third graders with a goal of having them reflect on their quote unquote, power and privilege. According to Rufo. Quote, The teacher asked all students to create an identity map listing their race, class, gender, religion, family structure and other characteristics. The teacher explained that the students live in a quote, dominant culture of quote, white middle class cisgender, educated, able bodied Christian English speakers, who according to the lesson created and maintain this culture in order to, quote hold power and stay in power. And according to Rufo, the teacher had the students deconstruct their own intersectional identities and quote, circle the identities that hold power and privilege on their identity maps, ranking their traits according to the hierarchy. Now in looking at this example, let me first dispel any concerns I personally might have that such a discussion might make students uncomfortable, while discomfort always needs to be kept at appropriate levels relative to the age of the students and their maturity. I do not subscribe to the idea that education is bad if it makes students uncomfortable with themselves or uncomfortable with their society. Nor do I care if it makes students feel bad about their racial identities or their points of privilege. If those points of privilege exist for those particular students, or if there are important things to be learned about the power of race in our society, reflecting on those things, even if it creates discomfort for students is exactly what education is supposed to do. Again, this goes back to the idea of criticality. criticality means examining power structures, and part of examining power structures has to mean examining our own place within those power structures. And that should not just be for people who are less privileged, it also has to be in fact, for people who are more privileged. Secondly, is it a problem to have students create some kind of identity map that locates for them where they might fit within relative points of privilege or power or not fit in relative points of privilege and power in our society? That again, is part of what education should do. It is part of what critical education should do. But if there is credence to the objection to this exercise, by this educator, it is if Ruffo is accounting is correct that the teacher taught students didactically or directively, at least that we live in a culture of white middle class cisgender educated, able bodied Christian English speakers. Do I think that our culture has largely promulgated the narrative of white cisgender educated, able bodied Christian English speakers? Yes, I personally think so. But if we observe criticality, as explained through Paulo, Frary, and critical pedagogy, and then through critical legal studies, and then through critical race theory, criticality centrally involves the interrogation of power structures, including those within the classroom. And therefore, it's sort of an antithetical proposition, even though well intentioned, that in contending with critical race theory in the school, we should at once want students to become aware of power structures that might be racist or oppressive in other regards, structures that certainly do exist, and didactically telling them that those structures exist. The didacticism, the directedness, of that educational moment is in conflict with the critical of critical pedagogy itself, because in critical pedagogy, the educators and the students work collectively to understand the nature of power and power structures. So again, I want to be really clear here and saying, I think the challenge to this particular example of critical race theory in the classroom is not the points that it's raising. It's the methodology through how it's raising it. And I think the teacher was exceptionally well intentioned, I think the goal here is to move to a more equal society to empower people who are disempowered to make people who are for whatever reason privileged to become aware of those points of privilege, those are noble goals. But if students are just told the nature of power structures, then we are missing the opportunity to teach them to identify those power structures for themselves and to question those power structures for themselves and to question their role in those power structures for themselves. If the only way they learn that they are privileged is because we tell them that they are privileged in manner x one today, they are not learning how to identify how they might be privileged in manner x two tomorrow. And the nature of critical theory is to build within the students the capacity to constantly be agents who can for themselves recognize power structures and their place within those structures and how to change those structures, not as directed by the educator, but in collaboration with the educator. That's not to say the educator is an equal in all respects, the educator can be a leader, just not a didactic crap. And this I think, brings us back to the very reason that critical race theory is garnering so much ire from so many people. On one level, again, it's fairly obvious, there are just a lot of people who either consciously or subconsciously and tacitly have racist attitudes, or who might not want to admit or confront the racism in our country in its past, and in its present, they do not want to admit any privilege to whiteness in our society, and they will resist tooth and nail efforts to undermine the power and the power structures that are connected to that whiteness. On another level. We are also seeing the fear of asking students in any way to challenge power structures in general. To quote Dr. Rita Kohli, an education professor from the University of California, Riverside, quote, When the students discuss anti racism at school, they usually start to question the school's own system. They formed social justice clubs, debate the school's policies on suspensions, and even decide to ban the police from schools and quote, now whether or not all of those individual things that the students might do are positive or negative or thought through I don't know, but where people, including educators are resisting critical race theory is that if we start to talk about with students, the nature of racial power structures and sexist power structures and other power structures within our society, one of the first power structures that students also begin to question and identify and see is that of education. But if our educational system cannot hold up to students scrutiny of its power structures, and what it's up to, then as a shameless reference to my book, America's Critical Thinking crisis, the failure and promise of education than I say. Because it's so frail that it can be undermined so easily by the students, then it needs our reconsideration. And if we are too afraid to allow them to challenge it, then shame on us. As for how to approach the teaching of critical race theory In a classroom or how to incorporate it into educational practice overall, I'm certainly not an expert on how to do that. But I will say a few things. First, if we go out, and we tell students that they are, in fact racist or privileged, some students may be open minded and receptive to that message. But many students just because of how our brains work, we'll have negative emotional reactions to that and therefore immediately become resistant. And their resistance, therefore, is somewhat counterproductive to the overall aim of having a space where people can discuss and reflect openly upon power structures, including or primarily racial power structures within our society. But it is possible to turn those directive messages into points of inquiry. And I also think that's ethical. And I say that again, not because I don't think there is racism, because I think the function of education is always to empower the student to discover and challenge and be aware of and locate themselves within and transform power structures for themselves. So let's take what is one of the points of controversy around critical race theory. And again, critical race theory is not a singular thing. It is not a singular practice, it is not one set of curricula. It is a premise on which there are multitudes of variations of application. But one facet of critical race theory that is in the discussion and seems to inspire a great deal of controversy is the role of oral narratives or personal narratives relative to things like researched written accounts of things that have happened, some critical race theorists argue that African Americans and African American culture has a wonderfully rich oral tradition in its history. And that oral tradition should be valued in the academy and our understanding of the world more than it is. And what a great point of inquiry that is for students, as it might be appropriate to a given subject matter. And I don't know if it's appropriate to all or not, or some more than others. But as it is appropriate to a given subject matter, shouldn't we, in fact, engage them on those questions? Who has gotten to control the story? In what ways has the story been controlled? And in saying that, let's remember, all historical narratives are controlled, and all historical narratives are controlled by those in power, who have benefited from the promulgation of those historical narratives, in every society, in every culture in all of history. So we can start to engage students in that process of discovery, asking them again, who controls this narrative, who has set precedent for the degrees to which we are to value different kinds of accountings of history? What kind of methods have we adopted as normative? And why? How might we calibrate the incorporation of different kinds of narratives, or otherwise excluded narratives from the conversation? And asking those questions, I personally believe that students will come to see some inevitable truths about the role of race, and sex and class and so forth in our society, and how those are fortified certain power structures and the acceptance of certain kinds of narratives over others. And in doing so, we're asking students to think critically, because we're asking them to reflect upon themselves, their roles in the world and power structures and the role of power structures in shaping thought, and belief and culture, and so forth. And I want to reinforce the point that was made earlier, and the central point of critical pedagogy, which is that all education ultimately revolves around power, all education revolves around power, without exception, because it is always governing not only in certain respects, how students should think, but also what students should think. The educator who stands at the front of the room and lectures, is adopting a certain kind of power is creating a certain kind of power structure is indoctrinating students to embrace certain kinds of power structures. And those are different structures than the educator who might engage students more collaboratively, or engage them in peer work, or welcome the CO investigation of the examination of power structure in general, including those of the classroom and the educational system. And when we hear critiques, so many from politicians and parents that schools should just teach facts and shouldn't engage in questions of race, and therefore they're really saying shouldn't engage in questions of power, we are hearing an utter misunderstanding of the nature of education at its nucleus. At its nucleus. Education is about power, what the facts are, and which facts we choose to teach and how we choose for students to have to learn those facts are all reliant on certain structures of and conceptions of power. And I would argue subconsciously, you maybe a lot of those objectors understand that they want students just to learn the facts because the facts have been comfortable for them and convenient for their lives. And the facts for them might be that the United States eliminated racism when the country ratified the 15th Amendment, that for them as a comfortable fact, it is a fact that they don't want challenged, but in critical theory in critical pedagogy and critical legal studies, and therefore I think in critical race theory, the nature of criticality remains the same. We don't want to teach students any facts. We want to engage students in critical thinking about not just what truths are, but how we get to determine which truths are and who has guided, and what cultural factors and societal factors have guided our understanding of what is true and right and good. And for ourselves. As educators, I think we might also need to engage some questions provided by Dorian L. McCoy and Dirk J. Rodricks. In critical race theory in higher education, 20 years of theoretical research and innovations. What they suggest is that educators if not people in general, but educators certainly might start to ask themselves some very important questions. How might I embody whiteness in my scholarship, research and practice? What was is my role in perpetuating the existing norm? Why am I here? Who is in what interests are being served? To whom am I accountable? How and where am I complicit in incremental change? Especially as it relates to equitably serving the needs of historically marginalized communities in academia? How is this connected or grounded in a colorblind ideology? I think those are responsible questions for educators to always be asking themselves, not only with respect to race, but with respect to any kind of marginalized community, any kind of marginalized student, and an overall investigation and reflection upon the role we're serving within larger power structures than ourselves. What is the construct of education? And what role are we playing in it? And in saying that, as educators, we need to engage those questions about everything all the time, I do not mean for a second, that race should not at this time rise to a more primary point of that discussion for us in our country today at this particular time, and I don't know how to balance. And I don't think there are perfect answers to how to balance questions of race with questions of class with questions of sexism with questions of gender discrimination, and sexual identity, and so on and so forth. But if we are going to ask our students to critically engage the world, then we must do so as well. And we must critically engage the power structures of which we are apart and in which we play a role. And if that is uncomfortable for us, then good because if we as educators are not willing to confront our own uncomfortable truths, even in just the nature of the question themselves, regardless of the answers to which we come, if we're not willing to engage uncomfortable questions, then we certainly cannot in good ethic and with good conscience, and with strong intellectual fortitude, asked students to engage those truths, either. So returning to Governor de Santos,
so we have a responsibility to stand for the truth to stand for what's right.
Steve Pearlman 43:32
Yes, we do. But we're not supposed to teach students what is true. We're supposed to give them the critical thinking skills and the opportunities to figure out what is right even when that's inconvenient, or even if it makes them uncomfortable with themselves or even who makes them sad, because telling them what is true always disempowers them intellectually, but teaching them how to figure out truths and how to improve our society and how to change structures that need revision, empowers them and empowers all of us as a result.