Critical race theory “argues that historical patterns of racism are ingrained in law and other modern institutions and that the legacies of slavery, segregation and Jim Crow still create an uneven playing field for Black people and other people of color,” per The New York Times.
The reasoning behind the exclusion of Black parents and scholars came from the leader of the committee, Republican Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin, who wanted to use the hearing to focus on parents who were upset with the teaching of critical race theory and complaints ignored from school officials.
“I felt today it was important to hear from people who have tried to go through the official cycle of authority within their districts and have basically been turned away,” she told committee members.
O’Laughlin did note that she invited an associate professor of teaching who specializes in Black history, but he declined to testify.
Missouri NAACP President Rod Chapel called it “ridiculous” to have a conversation about inequity while “excluding the very people who are saying we’ve been treated inequitably,” per the news outlet.
“That talks more to the kind of hearing that they wanted to have than the information that they wanted to gather,” Chapel told reporters after the hearing. “They wanted to hear from their friends who were going to support their political talking points.”
The senator promised that there will be more hearings on critical race theory and that the public will be invited to weigh in on the topic.
“I’m certain this won’t be the last conversation,” she said.