One of the difficulties in discussing Critical Race Theory is that the term has become entwined with the ideas in Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility. Endless disclaimers that Critical Race Theory (CRT) is about systemic rather than individual racism seem specious to those who conflate the idea with the so-called “anti-racism training” associated with DiAngelo, and the passive-aggressive personal confrontations offered in her training sessions.
Educators and others are legitimately concerned about undoing the self-esteem of white students. I imagine that many race-training sessions at workplaces are intimidating to adults, but the idea is even more of a danger to classroom teaching.
No teacher should enter a classroom and announce that “I will be very cautious about this, but you need to understand that you all as individual white people are perpetuating racism in this country.” You cannot have a real discussion after that, no matter how gently you try to approach the subject. As a long-time teacher of American history, I hope to show that it is possible to discuss racism and the years of protests against it without intimidating students of color or white students.