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How critical race theory is unfolding beyond Utah, on ‘Utah Politics’ podcast

Axios race reporter says public school teachers are keeping it simple

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Monica Wilbur expresses her opposition to critical race theory at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. Standing behind her is Betty Sawyer, who holds an opposing point of view.

The controversy over critical race theory is not confined to Utah. Several other Republican-controlled states are moving to restrict how race and racism are addressed in their K-12 classrooms.

Axios race and justice reporter Russell Contreras joins us this week to discuss how the controversy is playing out in other states.

He says fears that teachers are introducing the concept in their classrooms are mostly unfounded.

“In public schools, very seldom is someone bringing up critical race theory. That’s not the setting,” Contreras said. “They usually keep lessons very simple about diversity. I have never heard of a fifth-grade teacher saying they’re going to talk about critical race theory in a lesson about the American revolution. I’ve never heard of it.”

Contreras says many of the bills to ban critical race theory allow teachers to talk about issues like slavery, but they can’t discuss who was responsible, which affects our understanding of America.

“How can you talk about why Utah was founded without talking about the discrimination of LDS people in the American Midwest and Ohio? They faced violence based on their religious beliefs and had to flee west. Who is responsible for that?” he asks.

Russell Contreras on Twitter: @RussContreras

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