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The Left wanted a culture war. It got one. Now it’s upset.

Many Americans think the current cultural craze regarding critical race theory, aka CRT, began last year after George Floyd was murdered by a police officer.

The truth is that Floyd’s death, along with visceral hatred for Donald Trump and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, merely served as a golden opportunity for race-obsessed educationists to jumpstart their already-obsessive dogma.

But the noxious CRT has been around for many years, albeit under different appellations. My former school district used (the ridiculously misnamed) “Courageous Conversations” which comes right from the CRT playbook. Many like-minded programs used at schools across the country do as well, with similarly clever, and purposely incorrect, monikers.

Just like how progressives are claiming they never called for defunding police (the GOP did!), they are claiming that 1) CRT opponents don’t even know what the theory is (see MSNBC’s Joy Reid below), and 2) since CRT is a college law school concept, it’s not being used in lower education.

If this is the case, then why did the National Education Association recently adopt a measure noting it will “research the organizations attacking educators doing anti-racist work,” and then will make recommendations to local affiliates regarding counter-measures?

“The attacks on anti-racist teachers are increasing, coordinated by well-funded organizations such as the Heritage Foundation,” the NEA’s “rationale” reads. “We need to be better prepared to respond to these attacks so that our members can continue this important work.”

MORE: CRT, ‘whiteness’ reach new absurd and inane heights

In a June 30 Education Week story titled “Four Things Schools Won’t Be Able to Do Under ‘Critical Race Theory’ Laws,” author Eesha Pendharkar writes the CRT debate “has driven the passage of laws restricting how teachers talk with students about America’s racist past.” Many states’ bills are “vague and myopic,” she says. (More on that in a bit.)

Pendharkar laments that language in the bills prohibit making students feel “discomfort, guilt [or] anguish” about their race or sex. As has been documented by The Fix and elsewhere, this is because CRT-based teachings blame white people — or “whiteness” or whatever type of “white” you can think of — for virtually every ill in the world today. This used to be known as “racism.”

(Ironically, students’ “discomfort,” “guilt” etc. are a big deal when it comes to teaching classics like “To Kill a Mockingbird” and having school resource officers in school buildings.)

Another article by Andrew Ujifusa says Republicans are using CRT as “a cudgel in their attack on teaching and curricula,” and quotes a state teacher of the year as alleging the reaction against CRT is “white backlash plus moral panic.”

The far-left Zinn Education Project goes much further, with teachers vowing to disregard any anti-CRT law in order to teach the “truth”: that the United States “was founded on dispossession of Native Americans, slavery, structural racism and oppression; and structural racism is a defining characteristic of our society today.”

Robby Soave (left), a former College Fix editor and now senior editor at Reason, says CRT “can’t be banned” but should be “exposed” and “mocked.” I agree with his concerns regarding freedom of expression; some anti-CRT bill language is overly broad and could lead to First Amendment hassles. However, Soave’s definition of CRT is overly simplistic (“the idea that structural racism is embedded in many U.S. institutions”), and he appears to underestimate the grasp and reach of CRT-inspired efforts. Consider how former Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner defined critical race theory:

[CRT] turns its back on the Western tradition of rational inquiry, forswearing analysis for narrative. Rather than marshal logical arguments and empirical data, critical race theorists tell stories — fictional, science-fictional, quasi-fictional, autobiographical, anecdotal—designed to expose the pervasive and debilitating racism of America today. By repudiating reasoned argumentation, the storytellers reinforce stereotypes about the intellectual capacities of nonwhites.

Soave admits that prominent and not-so-prominent (anti-)racism activists are “clearly inspired by critical race theory,” and whether or not these folks admit this “is almost beside the point.” Which brings us to this: If progressive educationists like Ibram Kendi and Robin DiAngelo get to define concepts like “whiteness,” “white supremacy” and “white privilege” however they wish — expanding meanings to absurd lengths — why is there such an outcry when CRT opponents like Chris Rufo (see video above) voice their much more accurate definitions of CRT’s antics?

MORE: It doesn’t matter how nicely one sells it. CRT is terrible.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.