ASU Professor: Critical Race Theory Is Not About 'Demeaning White People'

Published: Friday, May 7, 2021 - 6:07pm
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Arizona State University
Rashad Shabazz.

Arizona lawmakers are close to passing a bill opponents say is part of a nationwide effort to ban teaching critical race theory in K-12 schools.

The bill, SB 1532, doesn’t reference critical race theory, but a new amendment by Rep. Michelle Udall states educators may not teach concepts that suggest one race, ethnic group or sexual is morally or intellectually superior or is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive.  

During the bill’s Wednesday hearing, Rep. Jake Hoffman said critical race theory is rooted in “hateful, racist and bigoted ideology” and teaches students that they are racist because of the color their skin. 

Those are misconceptions, said Arizona State University associate professor Rashad Shabazz who teaches CRT classes.

“It is not about making white people feel bad. It is not about trying to demean white," he said. "It is trying to undermine and destroy white supremacy. It is trying to create anti-racist policy.” 

Shabazz understands these discussions can cause discomfort, but said they’re necessary to illuminate how systemic racism works and find solutions. They're also necessary for students to understand how race is interwoven in many facets of American society, he added. 

“If we do not tell the story of their lives in ways that grapple with the salience of race then we will continue to deal with this problem of race and racism for generations to come.” 

The bill was approved in the House on Wednesday and has been sent to the Senate for final approval. 

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