100th Anniversary Of Tulsa Race Massacre: Oklahoma’s Republican governor, Kevin Stitt, was on the planning committee commemorating the 100th anniversary of the infamous Tulsa Race Massacre, which occurred in 1921. However, Stitt was thrown off of the committee last week for signing a measure into law that prohibits many components of Critical Race Theory.
Because the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission includes both Republicans and Democrats, Stitt’s earlier addition could be interpreted as a respectful nod to authority as well as a bipartisan contribution. Oklahoma, a very conservative state, elected a Democratic governor for the first time in 2002. Nonetheless, according to the panel, Stitt’s inclusion was “purely ceremonial,” and his support for the law was deemed antithetical to the commemoration’s spirit.
“The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commissioners met Tuesday and unanimously agreed to cut ways with Governor Stitt,” according to a statement released on Friday. The statement further said that no elected officials were engaged in the decision.
Despite being “disappointed,” the commissioners were grateful for Stitt’s work thus far.
While some states, such as Connecticut and California, have passed legislation allowing certain aspects of Critical Race Theory to be taught in schools, others, such as Idaho, are considering prohibiting CRT or parts of it from being taught in schools. About the next few years, the debate over where you can and can’t learn CRT is sure to become quite politicized.
Theorizing Race in a Critical Light
Critical Race Theory (CRT) is more of a lens through which to view the world than a field of study or a specific topic area. CRT assumes that American social and political life or the social and political life of western culture in general, is based on the same assumptions that gave rise to racial consciousness.
CRT proponents like Kimberlé Crenshaw and Derrick Bell argue that western culture is inherently white supremacist, in the sense that it was built on the humanity of people who shared their whiteness. The structures that these white people erected were intended to protect and perpetuate their type.
It was a two-day massacre that occurred when a white mob attacked and damaged the properties of black residents residing in Greenwood, Tulsa, which was at the time the most affluent African-American enclave in the United States. Because it was home to highly successful and profitable black-owned businesses, it was even dubbed “Black Wall Street.”
After a 19-year-old black shoeshiner named Dick Rowland was accused of raping a 17-year-old white female elevator operator named Sarah Page, a brawl erupted. This accusation is thought to have been prompted by Rowland tripping and falling on Page. Initially, the white woman refused to press charges.
However, a white-owned local newspaper publicized the incident, calling for his lynching. On May 31, 1921, Rowland was processed and hauled to court, but tensions between the white crowd who had come to lynch Rowland and the black people who were also present to secure his safety erupted into a 24-hour armed struggle.