Analysis & Comment

Opinion | What Should We Be Teaching When It Comes to Racism and America’s Past?

Produced by ‘The Argument’

For many politicians and parents, there’s growing concern over critical race theory. It maintains that race and racism in America are about not individual actors and actions as much as bigger structures that lead to and maintain gaps between racial groups. The theory started in the legal academy, and some fear that it has begun to take over the American education system.

[You can listen to this episode of “The Argument” on Apple, Spotify or Google or wherever you get your podcasts.]

How concerned should you be? Jane Coaston and her guests disagree. Chris Rufo is a senior fellow and the director of the initiative on critical race theory at the Manhattan Institute. Professor Ralph Richard Banks is a co-founder and the faculty director of the Stanford Center for Racial Justice.

Mentioned in this episode:

“Critical Race Theory: An Introduction” by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, published in 2001

“How a Conservative Activist Invented the Conflict Over Critical Race Theory” in The New Yorker

“Does Teaching America It’s Racist Make It Less Racist?” podcast episode by “The Argument”

“Critical Race Theory: On the New Ideology of Race” panel discussion from the Manhattan Institute

(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

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“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek, Sarah Geis and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; additional mixing by Carole Sabouraud and Sonia Herrero; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.

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