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Classroom Conflict: Hoosier Politicians, Parents Brood Over Critical Race Theory

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Critical race theory been a hot topic at school board meetings around the state, and a pair of Hoosier politicians have even been leading the charge against it.

Critical race theory is an academic movement that attempts to look at America and its systems through the prism of race and teaches that racism isn’t just the result of individual actions – oftentimes, it’s the result of larger structural issues embedded in the country’s history.

Last week, Sen Mike Braun (R-IN) co-sponsored a resolution condemning teaching critical race theory in schools, saying, “Critical Race Theory seeks to portray the United States not as a united Nation of people, families, and communities striving for a common purpose, but rather a Nation of many victimized groups based on sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.”

Conservative politicians have echoed Braun’s concerns, saying critical race theory teaches students that the country is inherently racist, and students can be oppressors or victims based off skin color alone.

In an appearance on Fox News last month, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) slammed the practice, calling it “the exact opposite of what Martin Luther King taught us,” in reference to judging someone on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.

Rokita sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education last month calling on it to drop a proposal aimed at funding more inclusive civics and history programs. Twenty state attorneys general, including Rokita, say it’s a thinly veiled attempt to push critical race theory.

“What this is doing is injecting the warped politics of the Left into our classroom and then indoctrinating (students) to think that just because of the color of their skin, they may automatically be guilty of something and never redeemable,” Rokita said during a separate Fox News appearance.

The state hasn’t taken any steps to incorporate critical race theory into its curriculum, but politicians and parents alike are sounding off on the issue as it dominates the national discourse.

IU Richard S. Melvin Professor of Law Kevin Brown joined Indiana Newsdesk to discuss critical race theory and the controversy around it:

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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