Fact Check By: Craig Jones, Newswise



"[I]n the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we're called to judge one another based on the content of our character and not the color of our skin," Youngkin said. "And that's why there's no place for critical race theory in our school system, and why, on day one, I'm going to ban it."

Claim Publisher and Date: Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin on 2021-10-31

Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin vowed Sunday [on Fox News] "Life, Liberty & Levin" to "ban" critical race theory on his first day as governor.

Critical race theory is an academic framework developed in the 1970s and 1980s that examines how systems and policies can perpetuate racism. The term is widely misunderstood and misused. People sometimes confuse the discussion of racial issues to be "critical race theory." The theory also has become somewhat of an all-encompassing phrase to describe race subjects some conservatives find objectionable, such as white privilege and systemic inequality.

According to Education Week...

Critical race theory is an academic concept that is more than 40 years old. The core idea is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies.The basic tenets of critical race theory, or CRT, emerged out of a framework for legal analysis in the late 1970s and early 1980s created by legal scholars Derrick Bell, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Richard Delgado, among others.

Since there is little to no evidence that critical race theory itself is being taught to K-12 public school students, we find the claim from Youngkin misleading. 

Rebecca Jacobsen, professor, education policy at Michigan State University explains...

There is a significant effort to frame CRT as a Red Herring in the political race leading up to the 2022 election season. In order to protect the public interest of schooling and the credibility of the teaching profession, it’s really important for people to actually research the issues and learn from multiple, trust-worthy, and verified sources (not just social media or their immediate friend groups).

What we have found through our research in Michigan where there is a bill in the legislature to ban CRT, CRT is not being taught in K-12. Some HS social studies and history teachers may face a formal ban on incorporating any part of the 1619 Project.

But in reality, because there is so much confusion about what is CRT and because the statements in the legislation are so broad, it is likely to impact what and how teachers teach topics related to race and racism. There will be a chilling effect on teachers being threatened by the perception of teaching anything remotely related to CRT.

In MSU's state of the state survey results collected in late Sept. and early Oct. with 1500 respondents in Michigan, we found that over one-fifth (22.6%) of respondents said they didn’t know what CRT was and only 6% of respondents could provide a mostly accurate definition of CRT.

We also found that people are being exposed to a lot of misinformation about CRT- including that it is an attempt to indoctrinate children or that it teaches kids to be racist. We asked respondents how often they had heard different statements (both accurate and inaccurate) about CRT. Eighty percent of survey respondents had heard at least one statement that we classify as inaccurate information. And despite the fact that CRT is not being taught in MI K-12 schools, 61% had inaccurately heard that teachers in Michigan were using the framework in their classrooms.

Teachers are likely going to shy away from discussing the ways that the historical legacy of racism that continues to shape our institutions, housing patterns, wealth patterns, etc. Additionally, teachers may wish to shy away completely from current issues and topics related to race relations in the US. This is a huge loss for students and society. Schools are the MAIN institutions where this type of dialog can happen, especially for children and is the only learning opportunity most future citizens have to practice in these types of conversations, a critical skill for a healthy democracy.