Editorial—Critical Race Theory

not just a hot button issue


Joleigh Martinez/NW

North Wind Staff

Last week NMU hosted a Critical Race Theory forum, which allowed students and other members of our community to ask questions to four faculty panelists about the hot button topic. Many of our staff felt that CRT has quickly become more of a headline or a catchy slogan rather than the incredibly nuanced school of thought it actually is. 

Considering this, we felt that NMU hosting this kind of event was a necessary and correct step in the right direction. Because of CRT’s popularity in media, it’s often hard to know what it stands for. 

Allowing room on campus for faculty members from our campus to speak on how it influences their fields of study was beneficial for fostering an environment where POC feel listened to and increased the chance of an ongoing racial discussion here in Marquette. 

Some important topics covered in the forum brought to light how intersectional CRT is. Many people associate the theory solely with the slavery of African Americans but CRT has a much wider gaze. At the forum, it was discussed that some bills that have been proposed or passed are so vague that they could allow for the seizing of Indigenous lands. 

Moreover, allowing anti-CRT bills to be passed in educational settings can be argued as anti-American as it denies students and teachers the right to education and free speech. At the end of the day, most recognize that it is a school of thought — not a mandate for all learning. To limit the education we receive is an act of oppression. 

Additionally, making room for POC-created theory diversifies and encourages empathy; not just in an educational setting. Many recognize empathy as a necessary and crucial part of leadership success. Simply put: education makes us kinder. Most can agree we need more of that.

As a primarily white institution, NMU has more work to do than most. Some of our staff are locals of the area and felt that this forum was a unique opportunity to diversify their education. Considering this, it is absolutely crucial that NMU continues to put on forums like this. 

Moving forward as a community, our relearning of how race impacts our social, governmental and educational systems must be ongoing. The choices we make now regarding how we address race, as individuals and as a university, will have an impact on our future. Ignoring or brushing off the reality of how systemic racism is in our society will only perpetuate the problem.