More than 30 people attended in person and many more via Zoom as Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Interim Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs and Equity Initiatives Timothy Berry gave a talk called, “Critical Race Theory: Why They Be Trippin’?”
Berry addressed in the beginning of his speech that he would not be talking about what CRT is, but rather would address the backlash to the theory and why people are responding in this manner, as this allowed for a more progressive discussion.
In the early minutes of his speech, Berry pointed out that CRT is something that has been around for years, “Critical race theory is not new. In fact, I would say it’s also not new to discuss race in a critical fashion.”
Some of the claims about this theory include, as Berry stated, “separating people out by race and causing division. It teaches black children that they are inferior; it makes white children feel blamed for racism in the past, and it is indoctrinating people into a Marxist world, in other words socialist.”
One of the latest claims about CRT is that teaching it is un-American and goes against traditional American values.
“Guess what? I agree with this one,” he said. “This is against American values, actually. In American values there’s an assumption that there is a ‘we’ and that there has always been a ‘we.’ Who is ‘we?’ On this one, I say they are actually right.”
MNSU first year graduate student Samuel Oluwadoromi helped coordinate the event. He said he was influenced by the Turning Point USA event held in October. Turning Point USA is a politically conservative student organization on campus that hosted conservative firebrand Charlie Kirk, an event that drew hundreds of people to campus.
“My motivation was just creating that conversation, especially seeing a counter-event at the beginning of the month, and pushing that greater conversation. I wanted to make that possible,” Oluwadoromi stated.
One thing Berry wanted to get across in this speech is about how to move forward with this discussion and make some change for the better. Some ways to move forward included white allies and solidarity, recognizing the majority, and celebrating Black joy.
Listening to stories and understanding the problems at hand is another way of making positive change.
“You believe in things you don’t understand, you suffer,” Berry stated.