One thing I’ve realised from Critical Race theory is that most, if not all, of the problems start with ignorance. Some people just don’t understand that even though you people live in the same place as you it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are having the same experience and would be given the same opportunities. In different spheres of life such as the workplace, school, certain communities and even the church, the chances are the same for everyone.
We are all in a race where success and happiness are at the finishing line, but instead of everybody beginning on the same starting line, different potentials they might have such as race, sexual orientation and gender, all contribute to place certain ahead of others, giving them the advantage above others. The bible summed it in Ecclesiastes 9:11 that “…the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all”.
This where Critical race theory comes in. It entails fighting for everybody to start at the same line by educating people on certain controversial topics such as the Black white Binary, Affirmative action, Intersectionality and more.
A very controversial topic that I find crucial to discuss is Affirmative action. With what I’ve learnt about affirmative action from critical race theory I find it important to note that it has good intentions, but it is not perfect. The first step to perfecting affirmative action starts with the definition itself. Richard Delgada and Jean Stefancic define it thus: “Critical Race Theory Affirmative action: Policy that strives for increased minority enrollment, activity, or membership, often with the intention of diversifying a certain environment such as a school or workplace.”
I understand the importance of having a diverse campus, but I feel as though there are other aspects of the students life that should be taken into account, such as the background of the student, where they grew up, their financial status as well as what else they can offer to the school other than diversity. I think if they’re going to use affirmative action to boost the chances of somebody getting into a school then the main focus should be on the background of the person.
Just because a person is of a specific race doesn’t necessarily mean they need the upper hand in getting into college. For example, if a white male immigrant from Ukraine had to learn English from scratch and had a father who worked in a dry cleaning service and earned a 1300 on the SAT and a black female from Bedford, New York, whose father owns a company and scored a 1010 on the SAT Affirmative Action should work in favour of the white male despite his race. Unfortunately, even in this situation affirmative action would work in the black female’s favour which is not fair because although she is black she has had a different experience growing up than a lot of black females in America.
On the other hand, it is also a wonderful concept because it acknowledges the struggle a lot of black and Hispanics face. Public school education isn’t the same everywhere in America. Say a black male from the Bronx and a white male from Montauk both apply to the same university and the black male gets the upper hand besides having worse grades. It is to be remembered that the white male had the upper hand growing up in a community where public education isn’t as far off private as a lot of schools in poorer communities.
It brings me back to the race analogy I described. That white male has been ahead in the race his entire life growing up in that family, and that community giving him the upper hand with college as well is like hanging him the gold medal before the race is even over. So, I see it as only fair that the black male’s struggle is recognized in the college admissions process.
Suffice it to say that affirmative action fights for recompense for the struggle of black people due to the system which has been against them for generations. I don’t think it’s fair to make a black person who was raised in a situation such as the one I described feel like they need to apologize for getting the upper hand in one aspect of life when white people get the upper hand every day, even with things as simple as being stopped at a stoplight.
I feel as though this is one, if not the only, time in which a white person can somewhat empathize with how black people feel every day and should see it more as a learning opportunity rather than try to fight it. I want to stress that critical race theory is not trying to tell white people to apologize for the privilege they were born into, but rather to recognize it and work to dismantle the system which was put in place by the ignorance of their ancestors many years ago and is still effective today. Ignorance is dangerous and can have very harsh and long lasting effects.
Critical race theory therefore underscores the importance of groups such as #Black lives matter. If this theory is understood there would be no reason to fight against a group like that because there would be a mutual understanding that minorities are fighting for equality, not superiority.