UCLA Law launches project to track attacks on critical race theory

know about UCLA Law launches project to track attacks on critical race theory

Key takeaways:

  • Robust supply. The researchers reviewed nearly 24,000 media articles and identified 479 instances of anticritical race theory activity since August 2021.
  • Find what you need. The database allows users to filter content based on factors that are important to their purposes.

UCLA School of Law Critical Race Studies Program has created an innovative project to track and analyze legislative, regulatory, and administrative efforts to block or undermine the teaching of a more comprehensive history of the United States in schools across the country.

Critical Race Theory, or CRT, is the study of systemic racism in law, politics, and society. It has been criticized by local school boards, state legislatures, and even federal investigations, all of which have discussed or taken action that would ban its teaching.

“The project was created to help people understand the breadth of attacks on the ability to speak honestly about race and racism through campaigns against CRT,” said Taifha Natalee Alexander, project manager for CRT Forward. .

Law school CRT Progress Tracking Project is the first in the United States to accurately identify, catalog, and contextualize all of these efforts at the local, state, and federal levels. The project not only identifies and tracks anticritical race theory activity, but also analyzes the substance of the activity in its database to identify:

  • the type of conduct that is restricted or required;
  • the target institution of the regulation;
  • the specific characteristics of the behavior targeted;
  • enforcement mechanisms used to regulate behavior.
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The CRT Forward Tracking Project is the only database that compiles anticritical racial theory activity at the local, state, and federal levels in one place. Finally, the project is an interactive database that allows users to filter content based on factors that are important to their purposes.

Many of these efforts to influence K-12 curriculum development have used the term “critical race theory” incorrectly and undermined plans to include ethnic studies more broadly for students before they reach high school. college.

UCLA Law Critical Race Studies

The UCLA Law Critical Racial Studies Program, established in 2000, is the first law school program in the United States dedicated to critical racial theory in legal scholarship. In addition to Alexander, the CRT Forward team includes Noah Zatz, faculty director of the Critical Race Studies Program at UCLA Law; Cheryl Harris, Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Professor of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at UCLA Law and associate dean for community, equality and justice; LaToya Baldwin Clark, professor of law; and Jasleen Kohli, executive director of the Critical Race Studies program. The CRT Forward staff also includes law librarians and undergraduate and law school research assistants.

The CRT Forward team has reviewed nearly 24,000 media articles and identified 479 instances of anti-CRT activity since August 2021. Findings include:

  • The anticritical activity of racial theory is much more pervasive and extensive than is generally reported. Although media coverage often focuses on state legislative activity in traditionally conservative states, 49 states have proposed or enacted anti-CRT activities.
  • Most of the anticritical racial theory proposals have been made in Florida, Virginia, Missouri, and the United States Congress.
  • Anticritical measures of local school board racial theory account for more than 20%, or 110, of the total activity in the CRT Forward database. California, North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have introduced the most anticritical racial theory measures at the local school board level, and California has enacted five of the eight proposed measures.
  • Nearly half of the activities tracked in the CRT Forward database are based on concepts from the now revoked Trump Administration Executive Order 13950, often referred to as the “Equity gag order.” Just over half of the anticritical measures of racial theory (244 of 479) in the database use at least one concept.
  • The most common enforcement mechanism for these measures is the withholding of funds or the issuance of fines against individual teachers, administrators, schools, and entire school districts. Of the measures against critical racial theory that include enforcement mechanisms, 87% require funds to be withheld or fines issued for engaging in prohibited conduct.
  • Approximately 94% of the anticritical racial theory measures identified target K-12 and higher education. Eighty-two percent advocate police teaching in K-12 schools.
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CRT Forward is funded by a $400,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation Racial and Equity Fund and support from the UCLA School of Law. Along with the follow-up project, CRT Forward will continue to develop resources for advancing new ideas and legal tools that support anti-racist education, training and research.

“CRT Forward brings the research power and experience of UCLA’s unique Critical Race Studies program,” said Zatz. “We need critical racial theory to understand this assault on racial justice, where even naming structural racism is portrayed as unfair to white people. And we need CRT to develop legal theories of education and free speech that not only mitigate these attacks but put anti-racism at the center of a democratic society.”