A critique of Critical Race Theory: II

Critical Race Theory — CRT — reminds me of the fable of the three blind men describing an elephant. The man touching its side said it is like a wall. The man touching its trunk said the elephant is like a snake. The third man held the tail and said the elephant is like a rope.

Lawyers, academics, politicians, school boards, corporations, citizens all seem to have different interpretations of what CRT means. Depending on what part of it you look at, it can be a wall, or a rope, or a snake.

As I mentioned yesterday, a general view held by the Associated Press says that CRT “seeks to reframe the narrative of American history,” believing that federal law has preserved the unequal treatment of people on the basis of race and the country was founded on the theft of land and labor.

But it is not the only one. A pro-CRT Facebook friend, in seeking to explain it, suggested I read this paper published by a master (racist term) of education at the University of Wisconsin in 2009, which means it may be hopelessly dated by now.

Asking an academic to comment on CRT is like asking a cannibal about vegetarianism, but anyway. Before I get to him, the Inquirer on June 11 had matching pro/con op-eds under the headline, “Should Pa. schools adopt Critical Race Theory curriculum”?

The author of the pro, Keziah Ridgeway, said up front that most people “couldn’t give a good working definition of what it is.” Ah, Keziah agrees with me, but then offers this definition: 

CRT was developed “to shed light on the intersections of law, race/racism, and gender inequality within power structures in our country . . . Racism is in the building blocks for every institution in the United States. This country was literally built on slavery and genocide.” This is what she wants taught in American schools. 

Not built on the political principle of Democracy, the ethical values of our Judeo-Christian culture, nor the economics of capitalism. No, slavery and genocide.

Keziah says she lives in the “Lenapehoking territory of Philadelphia,” virtue signaling the original inhabitants, and describing herself as a teacher, activist, and — uh-oh — “wife and mother.” Here she gets demerits from the woke who would rewrite her nouns into the gender-free (and vague) “spouse” and “birthing person.”

On the con side, while agreeing that prohibiting the teaching of CRT is not good, they say it “maintains that white supremacy and its attendant structural racism is a defining (if unacknowledged) characteristic of the law and society generally.”

However, they add, “a central tenet of CRT is that the very concepts of reason and truth themselves reflect nothing more than ‘white privilege’. . . CRT suggests that the concept of merit is itself racist.”

Not just merit. You know what else is “racist?”

Yes, even blinking apple pie. And the above list is not exhaustive. Some blockhead (usually in academia) comes up with an addition every week. African-American Brandeis Prof. Leah Wright Rigueur says CRT comes from “a niche section of academia.” 

Coming from the same source is the white supremacy pyramid, which I am printing for laughs. Tell me you are 100% innocent. I’m not. I believe there are two sides to every story, and I don’t believe in mass incarceration.

You listen to CRT and you conclude we must be the most racist, horrible people in the world, living in the worst country in the world. Actually, we are not and what our schools need more than CRT is critical thinking.

OK, back to the University of Wisconsin pap, by Nicholas Daniel Hartlep, which uncovered five components of CRT. 

1- Racism is ordinary, not aberrational. 2- It is an interest convergence. 3- The social construction of race. 4- The idea of storytelling and counter- storytelling. 5- Whites have actually been recipients of civil rights legislation. 

Is that clear? No? You can read his 16-page paper for yourself. I’d advise a soft chair and a hard drink. 

You can also use Dr. Google to find other versions of CRT. Knock yourself out.

Now we get to the other end of the telescope, and the dozens of reports from across the country that woke teachers have been telling white students they are oppressors.  

At the same time, telling nonwhite students they are oppressed. 

Each statement is a lie. The second one is worse and more damaging — and I have seen numerous Black parents who don’t want their children to feel diminished in any way, who don’t want them to believe that failure is an option because, well, after all, you are oppressed.

Earlier, I gave the AP version of CRT.

Here is the poisonous version and this is the one parents are raging against in schools.

This fringe holds that racism is embedded in the American character, psyche and history (see yesterday’s column mentioning the 1619 Project) and that America is irredeemably racist, that all white people are born racist. And remember, denying you are racist proves that you are racist. Damn clever.

The white racists would include the 360,000 Northerners who died in the Civil War to end slavery, as well as murdered activists such as civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and Viola Liuzzo, reporter Paul Guihard, postman William Lewis Moore, Rev. James Reeb, and others. All racists.

Here is an irrefutable fact: If you make judgments based on a person’s color — that is racist, by definition.

The same academics who dream up ideas like CRT teach that Black people can’t be racist, that only the people in power can be racist.

Anyone living in reality knows that is a crock.

Racism is a toxic fountain and — sadly — people of all races drink from it.

I think we all agree that slavery is an indelible stain on our history, which, yes, you did learn about in school.

Didn’t you? There was no cover up.

 African-Americans suffered centuries of slavery and then seven decades of segregation on these shores. That cruelty should be taught in school without sugarcoating. So should the displacement of Native Americans by an expanding population of white settlers. 

Those are facts.

To teach that all white people are racist is not a fact. It is an opinion based on political ideology invented by Far Left academics and social scientists with a wild hair up their heinies. It is a lie and should be confronted without fear.

It is also a fact that remnants of racism exist within some of our systems. That can and should be taught. And those remnants should be rooted out. 

But it is not a fact that racism is the system. That is an opinion, and a wrong one. And it is called Critical Race THEORY because it is not a fact, it is unproven.

Our systems now are designed to combat almost any kind of bigotry you can name, starting with racial. 

Some of the laws confronting bigotry, listed by attorney Peter Kirsanow, include Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Sections 1981, 1982 and 1983 of the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1871, the 14th Amendment, the 15th Amendment, the Fair Housing Act, the Voting Rights Act, and thousands of state and local equal-opportunity and anti-discrimination laws.

That is “the system.”

What it gets down to is this: Teaching the factual history of the nation is academically and morally honest. It should be objective in elementary schools.

Engaging in racist group guilt is itself intellectually dishonest, subjective — and racist.

I’ll give the last word to African-American Dr. Glenn Loury of Brown University: “How many times can you tell [white people] that they are intrinsically racist, that their lives are built upon an unearned privilege? How many times can you accuse them of failing to see your humanity, when in fact you’re living in the freest country and you are the richest people of African descent ever to have walked on the planet? I’m talking about Black Americans.” 

27 thoughts on “A critique of Critical Race Theory: II”

  1. Excellent, Stu. I think you covered everything to date with this scourge. Unafraid, we must continue to speak out against it and other woke absurdities.
    IMHO, This is your best and most important piece over these last two years. Thank you so much.

    Echoing Tom’s thoughts. Great work by a real journalist !
    Yesterday, I ‘thought’ that CRT still meant ‘Cathode Ray Tube”. Most of you readers knew it as the picture tube that we stared at. Especially when the T.V. stations went off the air at midnight.
    Today I’m thinking ( wrongly ) that CRT actually means ‘Critical Roman Treaty’! Thinking that Rome was one of the earliest and largest conquerors in the known world. They did not have treaties, thus ‘conquer’. They did enslave everyone that they did not kill. Their expansion program took then to Great Britain. Rome had company over the years. The Arabs, Germans, Russians to name a few then Africa had their share also.
    We at the top of the food chain, called human beings, conquer and take. Not our biggest positive gift to the world, but we did it, and still conquer.
    Here in the United States of America, we have many laws as you correctly pointed out. The problem with these laws is that they are seldom used and most definitely, not used fairly.

  3. Thank You,for telling the truth about this marxist poison.It must be stopped.School boards must be replaced and teachers fired who teach Marxist propaganda to our children.What they are doing is the same thing Hitler did with his youth corps called Brown Shirts.Don’t believe me look it up.

  4. Quite excellent, Stu! This two-parter should be made into a short TV series, just based on its own merits. Problem is, no one would show it.

  5. The long game of the Left is coming to fruition. The Left has co-opted education, media, entertainment, finances, government, et cetera. Its goal of destroying the USA and remaking it in the image of something we sought against for so many years is visible on the near horizon. Question is, what can we do to undo the damage? Thank you for these two articles. It helps to know the enemy, though I am not sure how we can turn things around.

      Vince and all,
      Years back, there was a ‘morning drive’ guy on NJ101.5. Conservatives talk radio with a lot of common sense. Jim Gearhardt had regular followers and contributors. One person was a newspaperman from North Jersey. Between the two of them, ‘GRIP’ was born. ‘Get Rid Of Incompetent Politicians’. They believe(d) in term limits and a whole lot more.
      Our only weapon is our Vote, and as we know, most of us do not use that weapon. We are not a threat to politicians. This latest excuse for an elected official proves the point. Give us $300.00 per child ! I would call that, ‘buying votes’.

  6. Great article Stu, trying to make sense out of a complicated theory that doesn’t have to be so complicated. Can we agree that there’s no biological, genetic difference between races? White Supremacy is a load of crap. Racism helped whites to excel, not any inherent superiority. Racism does exist in our society and non-white people need to be able to air their grievances. That is basically CRT. Let’s not make it rocket science.

      1. I agree with you. Racism doesn’t control society but it controls those who espouse it. I think some of them have posted on this thread. They know who they are.

    1. Your comment indicates a lack of understanding in regard to CRT. This is not about airing your grievances. The premise of the “theory” may have merit in understanding how interactions with people of color are perceived. However, this “theory” is not being taught as a theory, but is often presented as factual proof of oppression.

      This is a constructed narrative, that does not allow for dissent as you have demonstrated by referring to some of the responders of this blog as racist.

    What does critical race theory look like in practice? Last year, I authored a series of reports focused on critical race theory in the federal government. The FBI was holding workshops on intersectionality theory. The Department of Homeland Security was telling white employees they were committing “microinequities” and had been “socialized into oppressor roles.” The Treasury Department held a training session telling staff members that “virtually all white people contribute to racism” and that they must convert “everyone in the federal government” to the ideology of “antiracism.” And the Sandia National Laboratories, which designs America’s nuclear arsenal, sent white male executives to a three-day reeducation camp, where they were told that “white male culture” was analogous to the “KKK,” “white supremacists,” and “mass killings.” The executives were then forced to renounce their “white male privilege” and write letters of apology to fictitious women and people of color.

    This year, I produced another series of reports focused on critical race theory in education. In Cupertino, California, an elementary school forced first-graders to deconstruct their racial and sexual identities, and rank themselves according to their “power and privilege.” In Springfield, Missouri, a middle school forced teachers to locate themselves on an “oppression matrix,” based on the idea that straight, white, English-speaking, Christian males are members of the oppressor class and must atone for their privilege and “covert white supremacy.” In Philadelphia, an elementary school forced fifth-graders to celebrate “Black communism” and simulate a Black Power rally to free 1960s radical Angela Davis from prison, where she had once been held on charges of murder. And in Seattle, the school district told white teachers that they are guilty of “spirit murder” against black children and must “bankrupt [their] privilege in acknowledgment of [their] thieved inheritance.”

    I’m just one investigative journalist, but I’ve developed a database of more than 1,000 of these stories. When I say that critical race theory is becoming the operating ideology of our public institutions, it is not an exaggeration—from the universities to bureaucracies to k-12 school systems, critical race theory has permeated the collective intelligence and decision-making process of American government, with no sign of slowing down.

    This is a revolutionary change. When originally established, these government institutions were presented as neutral, technocratic, and oriented towards broadly-held perceptions of the public good. Today, under the increasing sway of critical race theory and related ideologies, they are being turned against the American people. This isn’t limited to the permanent bureaucracy in Washington, D.C., but is true as well of institutions in the states, even in red states, and it is spreading to county public health departments, small Midwestern school districts, and more. This ideology will not stop until it has devoured all of our institutions.

  8. Stu, I admire your courage in taking this topic on. In Canada, we struggle with our own historical demons, primarily the past mis-treatment of our indigenous population, to which the apostles of CRT are equally determined to apply their magical thinking.

    My own difficulty with CRT is that it begins with the obvious and proceeds to the ridiculous. That past generations held racial views and enacted related policies and actions that our generation rejects is obvious, and should be instructive.

    It is therefore important that in teaching history, we acknowledge the past with clear eyes and honesty. In this regard, I’d take you somewhat to task for skating over matters with statements like “the displacement of Native Americans by an expanding population of white settlers”. It was a good bit more horrendous than that. And, in North America, this is part of our shared history, and should not be minimized. Both our nations were British colonies, just for different periods. Both our nations maintained colonial treatment of minority populations for a considerable period of time after achieving our independence from the Crown, to the detriment of those populations. An honest and objective historical perspective on this is necessary and overdue.

    This does not imply the need for self-flagellation, which achieves nothing, or perhaps less than nothing. And this does not negate all the greatness our nations have achieved, which is to be celebrated.

    I would not argue that racism does not exist, nor do you. I think we’d both place responsibility for this at the feet of those who indulge in it, rather than some abstract notion of ‘systems’ and unrecognized bias. The ‘lived experience’ of many of my non-white or non-Christian friends, and their all-to-frequent abuse at the hands of idiots and malcontents is disturbing. We all have a responsibility to confront this sort of thing whenever we encounter it. This, rather than some sanctimonious sense of collective guilt for the sins of the past, is our legitimate challenge.

    The mere fact that we can be having this discussion is a measure of the progress that has been made in this difficult area.

    Thanks for your thoughtful contribution.

    1. From obvious to ridiculous… good line.
      Per Native Americans, I am punished for not saying enough, when I needed say nothing at all. There were many other sins committed, say, in the name of capitalism. Was trying to focus on the race aspect.

      1. Point taken. I perhaps failed to appreciate the extent to which historic racial issues are linked to the Black/White narrative in the U.S. In Canada, our historic race issues are predominantly linked to indigenous peoples.

        1. HAPPY THURSDAY !!!
          David ,
          I gave Stu a ‘pass’ on the kind, gentle remark concerning my Father’s people.
          I’m sure that you read Stu on a regular basis. If that is true, then you have read my rants – ( can’t help myself ) when I “GO OFF THE RESERVATION “!
          Stu was/is focused on the problems on the streets and hopefully, another time, my pallie will really open up some eyes by discussing the plight of the real people.
          BTW David. Philly has a infamous historical sight nearby. Carlisle, PA was the home design of the proposed ‘schools’ for the Indian children. These torture chambers were also built in Canada.

  9. I am definitely going to post this one on my FB page. We need to speak out and confront this outrageous ideology! I will say, that the focus on past transgressions of those who came way before us and with whom most of us have absolutely nothing in common has made me think harder about the ongoing stuggle of our native Americans. I now give more generously to St. Joseph’s Indian School http://www.stjo.org who provide a great learning and living environment to hundreds of Lacota Indian children in South Dakota and college scholarships, too. If any of you can recommend other good charities assisting our native Americans, please let me know. These are the forgotten people who deserve a chance through better education and training.

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