Is it illegal to teach critical race theory at a school?

In the wake of a controversial New York University lecture by activist Colman Domingo, some parents and students have complained about critical race theory, which they believe has caused damage to the classroom environment.

Those parents and students — many of whom, like parents at the University of North Carolina, did not graduate from college — don’t understand that universities act like a carefully calibrated machine that is constantly being tweaked and reformed. The school, as its concerned faculty members point out, is a safe, reputable haven for liberal students who come from somewhere else.

Some of those college students come from conservative families who want their child to be taught by professors and schools who share their liberal sensibilities, not ideological kooks with shiny pedagogies for white-sounding things.

And the universities know that if their classrooms are, in fact, too liberal for the white power parents, there’s not much they can do.

Here’s where it gets tricky: A teaching assistant can, in theory, take a syllabus and by line edit it to create a policy of campus academia that is fit for the 21st century, one that best serves its target demographic and, what’s more, is well within the law.

Yes, this is a murky place. Yes, it’s a fast-changing, high-stakes arena — and yes, you can expect more backlash.

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