The Minneapolis and St. Paul mayors refused to comment on the decisions made by the U.S. Conference of Mayors embracing the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in K-12 schools. At the conference, the mayors adopted Resolution Number 68, called “In Support of Critical Race Theory in Public K-12 Education.”
The communications director for St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter told The Minnesota Sun that he would not be able to offer any comment asking about Carter’s position regarding the resolution passed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s office also told The Sun that they wouldn’t be able to “accommodate” the “opportunity.”
“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the nation’s mayors support the implementation of CRT in the public education curriculum to help engage our youth in programming that reflects an accurate, complete account of BIPOC history,” the resolution reads.
Only three mayors who were in attendance voted “No” on the resolution. Those mayors were: Bryan Barnett (Rochester Hills, Michigan), Christina Muryn (Findlay, Ohio), and Francis Suarez (Miami, Florida).
The resolution defines CRT as “the practice of interrogating the role of race and racism in society, in which racism can be seen across systemic, institutional and interpersonal levels operating over the course of time and across generations.”
The resolution also describes their understanding of the basic tenets of CRT:
- Recognition that race is not biologically real, but it is socially constructed and socially significant as a product of social thought not connected to biological reality;
- Acknowledgement that racism is a normal feature of society and is embedded within systems and institutions, like the legal system, that replicate racial inequality, meaning that racist incidents are not aberrations but instead manifestations of structural and systemic racism;
- Rejection of popular understandings about racism, including claims of meritocracy, colorblindness, and arguments that confine racism to a few bad apples, in recognition that the systemic nature of racism, which is codified in law, embedded in structures, and woven into public policy, bears primary responsibility for reproducing racial inequality;
- Recognition of the relevance of people’s everyday lives to scholarship, embracing the lived experiences of people of color, including those preserved through storytelling, and rejecting deficit-informed research that excludes the epistemologies of people of color.
It also argues that “learning and scholarship” that does not recognize or illustrate race is “not demonstrating ‘neutrality.’” The resolution also says that a merit-based system that does not utilize race is an “adherence to the existing racial hierarchy, challenging white privilege and exposing deficit-informed research that ignores, and often omits, the scholarship of people of color.”
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Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun | Star News Network. Follow Hayley on Twitter or like her Facebook page. Send news tips to [email protected].
Photo “Melvin Carter” by St. Paul Mayor’s Office. Photo “Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey” by Tony Webster. CC BY 2.0.