The UP Beaumier Heritage Center will host a forum and Q&A on Critical Race Theory. The forum will be held at Jamrich 1100 and on Zoom, February 17 at 7:30 p.m. and will feature several NMU faculty members to moderate and speak at the forum.
While the theory was originally created in the 1970s as a response to “color blindness”, CRT has become a hot topic lately. Laws have been passed in 16 states preventing and/or prohibiting its teaching and eight states have pre-filed or introduced similar laws, including Michigan.
However, the purpose of this forum is not to implement it in NMU classrooms as a framework and guideline.
“The truth is, there are scholars around the world who apply the CRT perspective in their research, writing, and teaching, but are not necessarily the advocates of all of its principles or theories,” Truckey said. “A professor might see value in some of the CRT’s perspectives and not in others. It is the glory of academic freedom and it is necessary for universal education. I’m sure there are many professors on campus who are influenced by CRT and teach some aspects of it in their course, but that’s not a mandate of the department or the university and should never be the to be.
According to the NAACP FAQs about CRT, in its simplest form, is an academic/legal framework that indicates that systemic racism is part of American society.
“A common belief among critical race theorists is that these institutions were originally created in part to protect the institution of slavery,” Truckey said, “Therefore, much of our history in this country, especially as it relates to race relations and economic inequality, can be better understood if we appreciate the role that slavery and racism played in the creation of our society.
The CRT has five tenets or tenets which are widely recognized. Race is a social construct, the centrality of racism in American society, a commitment to social justice, POC storytelling or experiential knowledge and interdisciplinary perspectives.
“Like all schools of thought, CRT can shed light on aspects of our past that many don’t see or understand,” Truckey said, “[The purpose of the forum is] to help students and the public better understand what CRT really is, how it is taught and used in an educational environment, and why there has been such a massive backlash against it. This is not to defend it as gospel or correct, it is to view it for what it is, a school of thought with its supporters and detractors.
In addition to what CRT is, the professors in the forum will discuss the impact of CRT on their respective fields of study from their perspective. Faculty will include Alan Willis, history; Lesley Larkin, English; Carter Wilson, political science; Meghan McCune, anthropology.
Those interested in participating in the forum can join in person or via Zoom, the access code is 294976. The forum will limit the session to 100 participants in person only.
For more information, contact Truckey by email at [email protected] or by phone at 906-227-1219.