The Association of American Law Schools on Tuesday published a statement condemning “the efforts in many states to ban the use or teaching of critical race theory.” Ongoing attacks on critical race theory “and the censorship of those who have developed and teach it not only devalue academic freedom, diversity and excellence in teaching and scholarship but imperil them,” the statement says.
Critical race theory highlights structural as opposed to individual racism. It emerged in the 1970s from a group of legal scholars who sought to study how race and racism shape law and society. It’s only become a political football of late, with Republican legislators in multiple states attempting and in some cases succeeding in banning it from trainings and class discussions.
According to the AALS, “Banning critical race theory or censoring those who write about or teach it risks infringing on the right of faculty and students to engage in the free exchange of ideas; it also sets a dangerous precedent that the government gets to decide what ideas or theories are good or bad. This danger is even greater when those ideas and theories are distorted or mischaracterized for political ends.” Such efforts “undermine one of the primary purposes of education: teaching students how to think for themselves.”