Dear Editor,

What is critical race theory?

It is defined as a body of legal scholarship and an academic movement of the civil-rights scholars who seek to examine the intersection of race and U.S. law. It examines social, cultural, and legal issues primarily as they relate to race and racism in the U.S. It emerged as an area of historical and societal research about 40 years ago. It is not generally taught in K-12 public schools but is available as an area of research in some universities.

It would fall in the area of anthropology, an area that has existed from the beginning of academic study based on elements of human history, basic human psychological human functioning, historical legal decisions, historical economic decisions and individual self-interest. Anthropology is the study of human societies and cultures and their development.

When people ask why do some racial groups generally live where they do, interact with others or avoid interacting with others, or trust or distrust law enforcement, public institutions, or the honesty of public schools and the history taught, it is the result of a group’s oral and written history and reinforced by present day experiences.

Given the above, if we are going to improve racial or ethnic relationships and to understand groups of people with different histories particularly with significant long term negative experiences, we will need to listen and offer support in a context these groups can accept. That is the importance of this area of study.

Gilbert Engel