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?”
- Proper Grammar
- National Parks
- Being “color blind”
- Being apolitical
- Denying you are racist
- Apple pie
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.”