1. What is Critical Race Theory?
Critical Race Theory is a theoretical framework that critically examines how society and culture intersect with race, law, and power.
2. How does formal curriculum typically portray African & Native Americans?
That inaccurate Historical representations "depict American Indians as frozen in time; that is, wearing costumes... war paint, with bow and arrow" These stereotypical images are static, timeless, and ultimately damaging to students. History presents African American males as either ignorant and helpless or duplicitous and shiftless. And these "historical" images serve to reinforce the stereotypes that many students’ and teachers already possess.
3. What is the dominant means by which society receives its racial messages?
The most prevalent peddler of minority racial stereotypes is popular media. Through this medium, African Americans are portrayed as "stupid," "lazy," "dangerous," or “dirty”. And if addressed at all, American Indians are perceived as "simple," "primitive," "submissive," or "wild" These descriptors can and are used by non-minorities to rationalize and hence justify their racial privilege in society.
4. How can education promote personal awareness of biases?
Why might a person be bias in the first place? Why does a person cheer for one team over all the other choices? Maybe a friend cheers for that team, and they want to be supportive. Maybe that is the only team that the person knows anything about. Or maybe it’s because it’s the hometown team. Are they aware that they are being bias towards their team? They probably don’t. The person probably just goes on about how his or her team is better than everybody else’s and doesn’t stop to consider the many other teams there are to cheer for. Now this presents a narrow-minded style of thinking. If a person won’t be open to consider other teams to cheer for, then how will that person be open minded about things like race, gender, politics, or religion.
In education, the introduction of other viewpoints can allow for the opening of that narrow-mindset. Now in regular society these introductions happen all the time, but in education they occur in specific way that makes the students stop and consider the difference in viewpoint. How does this happen? It varies with individual students. That is a big part of a teachers’ job, is to open students minds to new and different ideas. To have students recognize their potential biasness and broaden it. Through the means, of having students listen to and speak upon the difference of opinions of fellow students and the teacher as well.