Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Kristjen B. Lundberg


Critical Race Theory (CRT) implementations within educational settings is a controversial and polarizing concept in the American political climate. Many Americans are strongly opposed to the idea of CRT within the classroom due to a misguided belief that children have no idea what race or racism is until it is taught to them explicitly. On the other hand, proponents of CRT argue that teaching children to ignore race further perpetuates racial discrimination and prevents children from adequately understanding racial injustice. There is currently a lack of research investigating perceptions of CRT implementations in education among parents. This research aimed to assess what psychological factors might motivate parents to oppose, or support, CRT in educational settings by presenting a sample of parents with lesson plans about Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech that had either a status-quo (racially colorblind) interpretation or a CRT-inspired (racially conscious interpretation). In particular, we hypothesized that for parents with a stronger endorsement of status-legitimizing beliefs, a set of beliefs encapsulating the idea that the status hierarchy is fair, permeable, legitimate, and anyone who works hard enough can succeed, exposure to a CRT-inspired lesson plan will prompt feelings of threat (decreased support and comfort, and higher negative emotions with the lesson plan condition). As predicted, parents who more strongly endorsed, or less strongly rejected, SLB statements were more opposed to, uncomfortable with, and felt more negatively (increased feelings of threat) about the CRT lesson plan condition compared to the status-quo condition. Discussion focuses on the potential real-world implications of endorsement of SLBs and opposition to CRT within educational settings.

Available for download on Thursday, June 27, 2024