Students should be treated equitably. However, structural and experiential inequities can create racial injustice. Racism and its intersections with gender, class, language, and immigration status may hinder educational experiences. Stereotypes and assumptions may lead to marginalizing policies limiting exposure to advanced curriculum causing students of color to be disproportionately represented in low level academic tracks.
The main tenets of Critical Race Theory,15 (CRT) include: a) racism is an ordinary and not aberrational; b) white and “other” interest convergence; c) race is a social construct; d) each group has a unique voice to share its story or counter-story; and e) whites as a dominant group have benefited from different racializations of the “other.” Originally developed to address Civil Rights issues of African Americans, other groups who share its basic tenets have adopted and expanded this concept beyond the black-white binary to address the needs of their specific populations.16 CRT values “experiential knowledge” which informs both thinking and research. Expanding this context is to include the needs of specific populations. Implicit in this expansion is the idea “valuing” others and their experiences allows for the integration of additional lenses for oppression stemming from colonization, immigration status, language, ethnicity, and culture.
LatCrit builds on and specifically addresses situations in which Latinx find themselves in everyday life, including immigration, language, identity, culture, and skin color.17 Both CRT and LatCrit frameworks share several core tenets: a) permanence of racism, b) interest convergence, c) color blindness, and d) counter storytelling.18 However, the tenet of permanence of racism sometimes applies differently to Latinx in that the federal court have ruled that in some instances Latinx should be considered white. However, language and racial linguistic ideologies continue to subordinate Latinx. Both CRT and LatCrit challenge the objectivity, meritocracy, racial equality and color blindness of the dominant ideology and its educational discourses.19
AsianCrit emphasizes and critiques the nativistic racism embedded in the model minority stereotype, immigration and naturalization, language, and disenfranchisement issues that relate to Asian people in the United States.20 It’s tenets include (a) Asianization (Asians as foreigners and as the model minority); (b) transnational context (how the lives of Asian Americans were and are shaped not only by national and transnational contexts such as US imperialism, the emergence of global economies, international war, and migration); (c) (re)constructive history (seeks to transcend invisibility by constructing a collective Asian American historical narrative); (d) strategic (anti)essentialism (dualing the oppressive nature of pan-ethnicity against identity politics used to empower the disempowered); (e) intersectionality-- acknowledging the intersection of systems of social oppression; (f) story, theory, and praxis (bringing the voices of Asian Americans and works of Asian American scholars to deconstruct and reconstruct the discourse; and (g) commitment to social justice.
Tribal Crit emphasizes that colonization is endemic to society as its primary tenet while acknowledging the role of racism.21 It holds that the concept of race alone does not address American Indians’ “liminality as both legal/political and racialized beings or the experience of colonization.” TribalCrit provides a theoretical lens for addressing many of the issues facing American Indian communities today, including issues of language shift and language loss, natural resources management, the lack of students graduating from colleges and universities, the overrepresentation of American Indians in special education, and power struggles between federal, state, and tribal governments.22
The telling of counter narratives serves to demonstrate the role of voice. Teachers assist students by providing a space for students to name their own reality and provide an outlet to create unique experiences. In this manner, teachers assist students to discover that black concepts like race are socially constructed. Educators can assist students to discover ways to circumvent barriers associated with underrepresentation.23 By appreciating the power of collective memory shaping the environment, teachers can help legitimate and provides a forum for students to examine the ideologies, beliefs, myths, and experiences of their view of nature and the environment.