In the waning years of the Obama Administration, a strident new form of race hustling emerged. Combining elements of identity politics, Foucaultean power dynamics, Cultural Marxism, and Nineties-style corporate diversity training, Critical Race Theory (CRT) emerged as a powerful ideological bludgeon with which to batter anyone with the audacity to be white.
At its core, CRT proposes a simple thesis: any person of color, in any material or spiritual condition, is automatically oppressed compared to white people, because white people benefit from inherent privilege due to their whiteness. Alternatively, black and brown people face systemic racism—racism present in the very structure of the West’s various institutions—so even when not facing overt acts of racism, they are still suffering from racism nonetheless. The source of white people’s “privilege” is that systemic racism benefits them at the expense of black people.
The problem is easy to spot: any personal accountability is jettisoned in favor of group identities, so any personal setbacks for a darker-skinned individual are not the result of that individual’s agency, but rather the outcome of sinister, invisible forces at play within society’s institutions themselves. Similarly, any success on the part of a lighter-skinned individual is due to the privilege that individual enjoys.
In such a worldview, there are literal black hats and white hats, with one group allegedly seeking to exploit the other. Such a worldview inevitably breeds jealousy, envy, and hatred. Black Americans who accept CRT come to hate white Americans prima facie; white Americans come to hate themselves for their inherent “sinfulness.”
It also breeds a dizzying, impossible set of shifting standards: on the one hand, whites are instructed to “educate themselves” and to “do the work” to account for their inherent racism. But doing so—say, by reading black American literature, or listening to black American music—is denounced as “cultural appropriation” (a ludicrous concept in and of itself; we should encourage cultural exchange, and the adaptation of cultural elements into artistic works). The task is impossible, just as atonement for the original sin of “whiteness” is impossible.
Taken to its logical extreme, CRT would demand nothing less than the annihilation of whiteness—in other words, white people. Indeed, some apostles of CRT have called for just that.
Healing and racial harmony—the ostensible goals of CRT—cannot be achieved within the framework of CRT. Indeed, the introduction of this malicious Weltanshauung accounts for the swift deterioration of race relations in the United States.
Fortunately, there is some pushback, as the nation is slowly waking up to the insidious influence of this destructive ideology. Columbia University linguistics professor John McWhorter (it shouldn’t matter, but he’s black) decried CRT, calling it a concept “that sees life as nothing but abuse of power, and teaches that cringing, hostile group identity against oppression is the essence of a self.” He also praised Dana Stangel-Plowe, a teacher at Dwight-Englewood School in Englewood, New Jersey, who resigned her position over the brain-deadening impact of CRT in her classroom. The Blaze.com features some key excerpts from her resignation letter, in which she spelled out the corrosive effect CRT had on her student:
In a lengthy letter, the former English teacher revealed her fears over the “hostile culture” that she said has overtaken the school.
“I reject the hostile culture of conformity and fear that has taken hold of our school,” a portion of her letter stated, and added that the school demands “students to see themselves not as individuals, but as representatives of a group, forcing them to adopt the status of privilege or victimhood.”
A portion of the letter also added, “[S]tudents arrive in my classroom accepting this theory as fact: People born with less melanin in their skin are oppressors, and people born with more melanin in their skin are oppressed. Men are oppressors, women are oppressed, and so on. This is the dominant and divisive ideology that is guiding our adolescent students.”
“One student did not want to develop her personal essay — about an experience she had in another country — for fear that it might mean that she was, without even realizing it, racist,” Stengel-Plowe added. “In her fear, she actually stopped herself from thinking. This is the very definition of self-censorship.”
Even more good news: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis—who is really on top of things right now—urged his State’s Board of Education to ban CRT from schools across the Sunshine State. The Florida Board of Education approved his rule. The rule does not require public school history teachers to ignore the reality of racism and the legacy of slavery and segregation in American history, but it insists that the nation’s history be taught accurately, not as a lurid morality tale in which white people were out to get blacks the minute they arrived in Jamestown in 1619.
Put more bluntly, in March DeSantis said that “Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money.”
In addition to Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Tennessee have also barred CRT from their curricula. Anecdotally, I know of several parents who have shifted to homeschooling their children, or have opted for parochial or private school educations, so their children won’t endure the mind-numbing, hateful effects of CRT.
Let’s hope that more States will follow suit. I can anticipate that some critics will encourage freedom of though, freedom of speech, etc., for educators. But CRT actively strangles those very things. At best, it should be taught as a theory to avoid, the same way we teach high school students about fascism and communism, not so they will emulate those ideologies, but so they better understand the concepts and tactics behind them.
End CRT, and let true freedom of thought and racial healing flourish.