PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — An Allegheny County councilwoman has introduced a resolution asking all local school districts to teach critical race theory.
But some state lawmakers want to prohibit such theories from being taught in Pennsylvania, calling them racist and divisive.READ MORE: More Than 240 Runners Complete 150-Mile Relay From Pittsburgh To Maryland On Great Allegheny Passage
It all comes down to how you define critical race theory.
“It absolutely is racist,” said Pennsylvania Rep. Barbara Gleim, a Carlisle Republican.
“It basically says that if you’re white, you’re racist,” she added.
“It is not racist. It is not racist to identify racism,” said Allegheny County Councilwoman Liv Bennett, a Northview Heights Democrat.
Bennett wants Allegheny County Council to recommend that all local school districts teach critical race theory, while Gleim has introduced a bill to prohibit that.
Is critical race theory a racist, anti-white concept?
Yes, say its opponents like Gleim, who led a rally at the state Capitol on Wednesday to oppose critical race theory.READ MORE: Judge Refuses To Seal Records And Proceedings In Custody Case Involving U.S. Senate Candidate Sean Parnell
“It asserts that racism is a permanent component of American life, and there is nothing that you can do if you are white to eliminate racism out of your being,” said Gleim.
Bennett, who authored the council resolution, said that’s not critical race theory.
“What it does say is that there’s been a history of holding up white supremacy in this country where the goal is to assimilate to whiteness,” Bennett told KDKA political editor Jon Delano. “Does that make every white person racist? Absolutely not. But does that mean we all should examine where we have racist tendencies? Absolutely.”
Bennett said America was built on racist ideologies, and it is important to teach that, along with the history of Black, brown, and Indigenous peoples.
“It’s a history issue. It’s being comprehensive in our history and making sure everybody’s history is being told and not just uplifting a certain class or race,” said Bennett.
Gleim said she has no problem teaching everybody’s history. She said her legislation would prohibit teaching that one race is superior to another or is entitled to special treatment based on race, or that the United States or Pennsylvania is fundamentally racist.
“What you teach cannot shame or blame or impart some type of guilt on any child, no matter what color their skin is, OK? You can’t do that to a child,” she added.MORE NEWS: Ohio House Democrats Call For Action On Legislation Removing Time Limits For Sexual Assault Victims To File Lawsuits
This whole debate has politicized what was originally a legal concept to explain why racism continues when it’s been illegal for years. But watch for politicians to talk a lot about critical race theory in the coming months.