Battle over Critical Stroke Theory

Critical race theory is the final battleground of the culture war. Since the murder of George Floyd last year, key concepts in critical race theory, including “systemic racism,” “white privilege,” and “white fragility,” have become ubiquitous in elite institutions. American. Progressive politicians have sought to implement “anti-racist” policies to reduce racial disparities, such as income programs reserved for minorities and the distribution of racially segregated vaccines.

The ideology provoked a huge backlash. As Americans sought to understand Critical Race Theory, they discovered that it divided Americans into racial “oppressor” and “oppressed” categories and promoted radical concepts such as “spiritual murder” (which schools public policies are supposed to do to black children) and “abolish whiteness” (a so-called prerequisite for social justice). In the classroom, critical lessons inspired by racial theory often turned into sessions of race-based struggle, with public schools forcing children to classify themselves according to a racial hierarchy, subjecting white teachers to “anti-racist therapy” and encouraging parents to become “white”. traitors.

Alarmed state lawmakers backed down. In the past few months, lawmakers in 24 states have introduced, and six have enacted, legislation prohibiting public schools from promoting fundamental concepts of critical racial theory, including racial essentialism, collective guilt, and racial superiority. Parent groups across the country have rallied to oppose critical race theory in the classroom, arguing that it cultivates shame among white students and fatalism among minority students. According to a recent YouGov poll, of the 64% of Americans who have heard of critical race theory, 58% view it unfavorably, including 72% of independent politicians.

It is a major handicap for the political left. Sensing they were losing control of the race narrative, the left-wing media launched a furious counterattack. New York Times liberal pundits,

The Washington Post, MSNBC and elsewhere have begun to launch a new mythology that presents Critical Race Theory as a benign academic concept, presents its critics as right-wing extremists motivated by racial resentment, and describes legislation against critical theory of race. race as an attempt to ban teaching about the history of slavery and racism. All three charges are false.

First, critical race theory is not an exercise to promote racial sensitivity or to understand history. It is a radical ideology that seeks to use race as a means of moral, social and political revolution. The left-wing media have sought to present it as a “lens” for examining the history of racism in the United States, but this soft framing obscures the nature of the theory, which maintains that America is an irreparably racist nation and that the constitutional principles of liberty and equality are mere “cover-ups”, in the words of researcher William F. Tate IV, for white supremacy. The solution, according to prominent interpreters of critical race theory like Ibram X. Kendi, is to abolish capitalism and install an almost omnipotent federal bureaucracy with the power to overturn all laws and silence all rhetoric. policy that is not “anti-racist”.

Second, the popular movement against critical race theory is non-partisan, multiracial, and dominant. Parents revolted against critical training in racial theory in high schools in liberal cities such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The most successful campaigns have been led by racial minorities who oppose the manipulative and harmful practices of critical race theory in the classroom. Asian Americans in particular have argued that critical race theory undermines merit-based admissions, advanced learning programs, and academic standards.

Third, state critical race theory legislation prohibits a specific set of pedagogies, not the teaching of history. Left-wing media claimed that bills in states such as Idaho, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas would prohibit teachers from discussing racism in the classroom. This is clearly wrong. The laws of those states would simply prohibit teachers from forcing students to believe that a race “is inherently superior to another”, that a race is “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive” or that an individual “wears it. responsibility for acts committed in the past by other members of the same race. The same bills explicitly say that teachers can and should discuss the role of racism in American history, but they cannot humiliate or treat students differently based on their racial background.

This problem will not go away. Critical race theory has taken a dominant position in many elite institutions, including public school bureaucracies and graduate schools training new teachers and professors. Parents, honest journalists and lawmakers should continue to fight the tide of disinformation, share stories about the damage critical racial theory is doing to their communities, and develop a plan to combat it in local institutions. Critical race theory is a dangerous ideology that will drag the nation into racial demotion; Americans should not hesitate to oppose it.

Mr. Rufo is Associate Editor-in-Chief of the City Journal.

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