Statement on Critical Race Theory
Legislative proposals are advancing across the U.S. that target scholars and teachers who discuss and teach issues of race and racism. These proposals and attacks inaccurately lump under the umbrella term of “critical race theory” a host of distinct fields studying issues of race and racism, including critical race and ethnic studies, African American studies, Asian American studies, Latinx studies, Indigenous studies, decolonial studies, among others. These attacks have also targeted scholars and teachers working at the intersections of race studies, transgender studies, and sexuality studies.
These proposals against critical race theory and the aforementioned fields advance wildly inaccurate caricatures of these fields and their concepts. These characterizations bespeak ignorance of the rigorous and dynamic work across these fields, work that has been peer reviewed, legitimized, and cited thousands of times by fellow scholars.
These proposals and attacks can have the effect of intimidating educators, undermining their scholarly and pedagogical expertise, and shaking their confidence to explore a wide variety of topics and questions in their classrooms. The proposals have raised threats of budget cuts, criminalization, loss of jobs, and other penalties. Such threats as well as the prospect of these threats can lead to teachers avoiding important discussions about race and racism for fear of reprisal. When this happens, it limits the access of students to a full range of scholarly ideas, debates, and modes of thinking, truncates the educational opportunities available to students, and impacts the quality of education that students receive.
In the face of these attacks and legislative proposals, the Loyola University Chicago (LUC) English Department recognizes the scholarly and pedagogical value and importance of the fields being attacked under the umbrella term “critical race theory.” We believe that the study of race and racism is an important piece of understanding the developments of and differences within cultures and literatures in the U.S. and the world. We affirm that these fields foster rigorous thinking about race and racism. We hold that such thinking is vital to the social justice mission and values of a LUC Jesuit education and is valuable training for students who will navigate a multi-racial, diverse nation and world in which racism and racial injustices are crucial challenges.
The LUC English Department commits to standing with all colleagues and faculty who teach on issues of race and racism or work in these fields. We commit to defending them if the attacks and legislative proposals that we’ve seen around the country or their effects reach LUC. We reject any attempts by parties external to the faculty to restrict or control curricula and pedagogy about race and racism. We commit to having the backs of all teachers teaching these fields and affirm that no faculty member should have to second guess their pedagogy or scholarship on issues of race and racism because of external political pressures. We hope that through these commitments we encourage all faculty who teach on issues of race and racism to exercise the fullest range of their scholarly expertise and pursue their fullest pedagogical potential in the classroom, without hesitation, reservation, or doubt.
Parts of this statement are indebted to the Joint Statement of the Deans of the University of California Law Schools about the Value of Critical Race Theory and the American Studies Association’s Resolution on Defending Academic Freedom Against Attacks on “Critical Race Theory.”