EXPLAINER: So much buzz, but what is critical race theory?

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump has railed against it. Republicans in the U.S. Senate introduced a resolution condemning any requirement for teachers to be trained in it. And several Republican-controlled states have invoked it in legislation restricting how race can be taught in public schools.

The concept known as critical race theory is the new lightning rod of the GOP. But what exactly is it?

The term seemed to appear in statehouses and at political rallies almost from nowhere. Over the past few months, it has morphed from an obscure academic discussion point on the left into a political rallying cry on the right.

On Wednesday, for instance, critical race theory became a flashpoint during a congressional hearing into the military’s approach to addressing racism and extremism, when Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, against accusations by Republican lawmakers that the effort is creating division and hurting morale.