on Critical Race Theory: We Don’t Get to the Truth Until Suffering Speaks | Notice

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Pamela Hall sells t-shirts and masks while chanting for justice outside the Hennepin County Courthouse on March 8 in Minneapolis as jury selection begins in the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin. Photo by Max Nesterak / Minnesota Reformer.

The late historian John Henrik Clarke explained the preoccupation of the dominant subculture with manipulating history.

Europeans “began to manipulate history in the 15th century to justify the slave trade,” Clarke, a pioneer in Pan-African studies, said in an interview with Tony Brown on Brown’s eponymous show in the 1970s.

Modern racism incubated during this time, Clarke said.

Critics of Critical Race Theory – a catch-all for the study of American history and institutions as extensions of racial injustice that influence law, economics, and culture – embody the explanation from Clarke.

What had to be hidden, mainly from our foundation until today?

Much of what critical opponents of racial theory still want to hide. It’s horrible, but it’s our story.

Most of us have learned, for example, about slave traders and slave owners, but never about slave breakers, who employed horrific means to shatter the minds of enslaved Africans.

Slave breakers tortured husbands to death in front of pregnant women, hoping not only to break the spirit of the woman, but also to instill fear in the unborn child. The slave breakers also severed fetuses from their mothers’ wombs and killed them in front of their fathers.

“You can’t enslave a man and say he’s a human being,” Clarke said.

“The American Slave Trade”, by John R. Spears, “From Slavery to Freedom”, by John Hope Franklin, “The Negro Family in the United States”, by E. Franklin Frazier, “Antislavery,” by Dwight Lowell Dumond and “Malcolm X on Afro-American History” all refer to this process.

Could a company justify this really grant equal rights to blacks?

This is not the case, and attacking critical race theory offers ways to justify disparities in racial wealth and health and other forms of socially designed inequality.

Slavery engendered sharecropping and leasing of convicts, during which people systematically deprived of employment were arrested for vagrancy, imprisoned, and then worked until death.

African Americans suffered segregation and a period of lynching that lasted into the 20th century. Crowds attended the lynchings. Some have recovered the skin and teeth of the victims as souvenirs. Others made postcards of the show.

The massacre of the Tulsa race in 1921 was no exception. Similar incidents have occurred in places like Wilmington, North Carolina, and Springfield, Missouri.

This period gave way to discrimination in housing.

Our government has offered loans to white families leaving urban housing projects for new homes in publicly funded suburbs. Black families were explicitly denied such loans and could not escape to better schools or create wealth by owning home ownership like the emerging white middle class did.

Richard Rothstein’s “The Color of the Law” expertly detailed these practices, explaining that current housing models are not an accident but the result of explicit government policy.

The bipartite report of the Kerner Commission in 1968 dealt with these housing models.

“What white Americans have never fully understood – but what blacks can never forget – is that white society is deeply involved in the ghetto,” the report read. “White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society tolerates it.”

These types of housing still hamper efforts to integrate schools and educate people.

Many Americans are rightly ashamed of this story. Others who don’t know – or don’t care to know – are the people angered by Colin Kaepernick and others who pursue critical discussions focused on racial theory.

But attempts to hide this story are wrong.

How to escape prosecution for a crime?

Silence the witnesses.

The only mistake in critical breed theory is its name. It’s not a theory at all. It represents the lived experience of blacks. And I didn’t mention red lines, environmental racism (Flint, Michigan), police terror, mass incarceration, or the way the government typically slammed into interstate highways through black communities.

Race remains an organizing principle in America. Any racial calculation requires an understanding of this fundamental fact. From the three-fifths compromise to the Dred Scott decision of the United States Supreme Court that slaves had “no rights that the white man was required to respect,” until today.

Yes, we have revised the Constitution and no, Scott is no longer a precedent. But there is much more to be done, and critical breed theory is part of this healing process.

We only come to the truth when suffering speaks.

Critical opponents of racial theory – some of whom also whitewash the Jan.6 insurgency – want to keep their knees on the neck of the truth, in the hopes of silencing the horrors and suffering of the past.

Maintaining our current status quo depends on it.

This commentary originally published in Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom; follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.


The Minnesota Reformer is an independent, non-profit news organization dedicated to keeping Minnesota residents informed and uncovering stories other media can’t or won’t tell.





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