There has been a lot of discussion lately surrounding famous actor Bryan Cranston’s opinion on whether or not critical race theory (CRT) should be taught in schools. For those who are confused about what CRT is, it is an ideology that racial bias is involved in several parts of our society, critically in legal and social institutions. The term has been popping up more and more in the news as ongoing debates surrounding the topic carry on.
Cranston has been pushing that CRT should be taught in schools and that our country does not do enough to hold itself accountable for its history. He wants people to look at our stained history and think about where and how it went wrong, as well as how we can change and truly learn from it.
Something that stuck out about his stance, however, was his use of former president Donald Trump’s infamous statement: “Make America Great Again (MAGA).” He brings it to our attention that, historically, white people are the only ones who have been treated well by this country. America has never been great for our Black population and trying to make it great “again” insinuates an exclusion.
People have raised issues with this viewpoint. They don’t understand how MAGA could possibly be racist, despite Cranston’s explanation. This truth is cemented by actions Trump took during his presidency.
It doesn’t take much to prove Trump’s racial bias. While the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests were on an incline in 2020, Trump repeatedly disapproved. He referred to BLM protesters as “thugs” and “anarchists” in multiple tweets. On May 29, 2020, he tweeted, “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
Mind you, that phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” stems from the civil rights movement. This was said by Miami Police Chief Walter Hadley in 1967. This recycled bigotry puts the phrase in an even poorer light.
When we contrast Trump’s response to BLM protestors against his reaction to the protestors who stormed the capital, the difference is clear. Trump described them as, “great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long.” Interesting how he can remark on the unfair treatment of a group of people in this context, but not in the other.
The real icing on the cake with this reaction is that the latter group of protestors caused $1.5 million in damages. On top of that, more than 225 people were charged for assaulting and resisting officers. The reason why Trump still heaped them with praises is unfortunately obvious and rooted in this country’s history of excusing white extremism.
What people need to realize is that CRT is not labeling all white people as oppressors. It teaches how racism has been woven into our political and social systems, and it informs us about the privileges white people have in controlling the system.
I’m happy Cranston took the time to discuss it. With how loved he is on social media for his performances in “Breaking Bad” and “Your Honor,” his platform will be beneficial in spreading awareness of CRT. I’m also happy that Ramapo takes the time to educate students on the subject. It is very disheartening thinking about how I never knew about this ideology until college. It goes to show how twisted some people’s perceptions of CRT are.
Featured photo by college.library, Wikipedia