M L Berg, Minot
One of the main tenets of Critical Race Theory is that racism is embedded in the fabric of American society and its institutions. This is surely a truism. If it were not so, why was federal legislation required to assure the civil rights of minorities in such areas as education and housing?
That even the Supreme Court of the United States is not immune in this respect, is vividly brought out in a book written by Walter Echo-Hawk. Walter Echo-Hawk is an author and lawyer who has litigated for decades to secure legal rights for Native Americans. He is a member of the Pawnee tribe himself. I might mention that the novelist James Fenimore Cooper met a Pawnee chief who was visiting Washington, D.C., to negotiate with President James Monroe in 1822. Cooper was so impressed by the Pawnee chief that he made him the hero of the fifth, and last, of his Leather Stocking Tales; this fifth tale is titled The Prairie. (The Last of the Mohicans is the second of Cooper’s Leather Stocking Tales.)
Echo-Hawk’s book is called In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided. These cases stretch from the late 18th century, at the start of our Republic, down to the middle of the 20th century. What many of them have in common, is a racist point of view detrimental to the rights of Native Americans.
It is Echo-Hawk’s hope that, by discussing these matters, people will come to realize that changes need to be made. In the case of the Supreme Court, he writes that “the Court needs to find some theory other than conquest, colonization, or racial superiority to justify its decisions” (page 6).
In a similar way, the point of considering Critical Race Theory in the first place, should be to prompt people to make changes, so as to establish equality throughout a racially blended society.