Texas candidate for governor Beto O’Rourke became one of the first Democratic Party leaders to explicitly state an opposition to critical race theory (CRT) being taught in state schools.
O’Rourke made the surprising comments while speaking to a crowd in Victoria on Friday when he was asked about the theory’s appropriateness and relevance in grade schools.
Though O’Rourke dodged the questions at first, as he told a member of the crowd that the tenets of CRT are not being promoted in schools currently, he did go on to give a more direct response.
“And I think you and I are probably on the same page as well. We don’t see CRT being taught in our schools right now. It is a course that is taught in law schools,” he stated initially, but once an attendee asked O’Rourke directly if he supported CRT in schools, the candidate said, “No, I don’t think [CRT] should be taught in our schools.”
In the past few years, the theory has become a key issue for Democrats as moderate lawmakers have attempted to separate themselves from the idea, which revolves around how power structures and institutions are shaped by racial majorities and in return affect racial minorities.
Generally, more progressive and left-leaning Democrats have affirmed CRT as a positive force or denied its existence in schools. A recent report from the Manhattan Institute showed that CRT has become a losing issue in elections with all voters except those who are most left-wing.
“An overwhelming majority of voters of all political stripes oppose certain Critical Race Theory-inspired teaching methods, such as separating children by race into ‘privileged’ and ‘oppressed,’” said the report.
“However, there are large partisan gaps over whether students should be taught that the U.S. is a racist country or whether the curriculum should focus more on race and gender.”
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