Critical race theory. Defund the police. These are just two of the phrases that are hotly debated in today’s society.
These words evoke strong emotions in listeners, and result in acrimonious arguments between those who agree and disagree with what they think the words mean.
Here’s the problem. When you dig a little deeper, we find that the real meaning of the phrase isn’t exactly what it seems.
For example, those who talk about defunding the police aren’t asking to fire police officers and bring anarchy to the streets. They want to remove police from situations where another entity (such as a mental health professional) would be better equipped to help. What they’re really suggesting might better be called refocus the police.
Critical race theory is not about being critical of all White people (as some have suggested). It’s about looking at the history of race relations in this country–the good and the bad–with a critical eye, including the perspective of those who suffered throughout our history. Perhaps a better name for this would have been something like From All Sides: The History of Race Relations in the US.
We had people say we couldn’t possibly have global warming when some areas were getting colder weather–leading to the phrase climate change. Veggie burgers have never been a big hit, but plant-based meat is flying off shelves.
The words you use to describe something matter. A rose by any other name may have smelled the same to Shakespeare, but today we need to be sure that the perception of a name might not be as sweet as we’d like.
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