Why do we distrust Critical Race Theory? First, because the term has no fixed meaning - it may mean teaching history including the significance of race and ethnicity; or it may mean discriminating against individuals today for things done by other people at other times.

Second, we cannot tease out who were victims and who were heroes from 150 year ago. Do the descendants of the Harper Ferry raid, or Silas Soule of Sand Creek, or men who died fighting for the union, get a pass? Do Native Americans who took their black slaves on the Trail of Tears and held them in slavery in Oklahoma, or who predated on other Native Americans, have to pay? What about the Buffalo Soldiers who fought Native Americans and Philipinos? What about the Irish, fresh off the boat on New Orleans, hired by slave owners to drain Louisiana swamps because the work was so dangerous and Irish labor so cheap that it made more sense to use Irish than slaves? Or the child labor in coal mines and factories? Or poor white sharecroppers? Where do recent immigrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East fit in?

Recommended for you