Neither side knows what it’s talking about.
Critical race theory (CRT) is a toxic ideology, radical and extreme. It’s beyond political correctness. It’s beyond progressivism. Given its toxicity, I decided some years ago to have nothing to do with it, pro or con. Yet it has jumped into the headlines.
I regret that the media have taken sides. Mainstream news articles almost never describe CRT as I know it. Many cite a definition given by the American Bar Association which I find misleading, and I question why they would refer to it anyway rather than quoting from a CRT practitioner directly; other than that the language such practitioners use may be too arcane for a general audience.
CRT can’t be taught in the K-12 schools …
Many widely-held, objectionable beliefs pre-date CRT by decades. Stokely Carmichael invented the concept of systemic racism in 1967; I will not examine that in detail now. Others that have been commonplace since long before:
- No white person truly means well.
- Everything white people have, they stole from blacks.
- All inconvenience any black person meets, is white folks’ fault.
- Any inconvenience any black person meets, profits white folk.
- All white people today share blame for wrongs done by some white people in the past.
- America was founded on racism.
These are not CRT. An expression of CRT is more along the lines of the following:
“Yes, all White people are racist in that all White people have been conditioned in a society where one’s racial identity determines life experiences/outcomes and Whiteness is the norm and the default. That includes me!” read an all-caps Instagram post from Slater, who serves as assistant dean of student affairs.
She added in Saturday’s post that while she doesn’t “hate White people,” she does hate “Whiteness.”
The notion that “all White people are racist” is not new. CRT has at most provided new rationalizations to undergird the objectionable beliefs I have mentioned.
The dean’s statement — that’s the language of CRT. It could have come straight from a CRT textbook; there are many CRT textbooks in the many college courses on CRT. One can call it mumbo jumbo; one can call it sophistry; for certain, it is not likely to be comprehensible to any student in the K-12 world. CRT cannot be directly taught in that world.
… but it can control curriculum.
The furor began last fall, when President Trump issued an executive order forbidding the use of CRT in diversity trainings for government agencies and contractors. There is little dispute that CRT has essentially taken over the diversity training industry. It also appears to have taken over the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics and also the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and has insinuated itself into curriculum planning at the state level in Virginia.
I have no evidence that CRT has, as yet, impacted anything that goes on in the classroom.
The opposition is no better.
Typical of opponents’ tantrums, Tatiana Ibrahim confronted the Carmel, New York school board, earning much acclaim from right-wingers for her belligerence. However, she never referred to a single tenet of CRT, and never identified any time or place or teacher who ever said anything offensive to her child, or what that may have been.
Focal to the opposition has been one Christopher Rufo, a fountain of misinformation, who has been very influential in muddying the waters. His expressions, and those of those who rely on them, have conflated CRT with any concept about race they don’t like.
Related: The man behind Trump’s campaign against ‘critical race theory’ (yahoo.com)
Related: Critical Race Theory: NBC Left Out Key Details in Story on CRT Fight at Maine School, Parent Says | National Review
How does any of this relate to how I live my life from day to day?
The City currently has me housed, with between 150 and 200 other homeless people, in a three-star hotel, given COVID. The population here is 95% black. The question of race almost never comes to mind, except when I contemplate controversies like the one discussed here. My greatest current spiritual challenge is to develop a positive attitude toward two individuals, two out of the two hundred, who happen to be jerks.
Their skin color is immaterial to me.
No matter what anyone thinks, no matter what anyone says, I mean to accept and love each person I meet, just as he or she is. No preconceptions based on anything.
Last night I was brainstorming to find something upbeat, to serve as the basis for my next podcast. Settled on the song, “My Favorite Things.” But that, in turn, recalled to me the real reason I oppose CRT; why I called it “toxic.”
The more I’ve grown spiritually, the more I pay attention to the affective (emotional) dynamics of any situation. As to CRT, the required affect to entertain any of its propositions is negative and pessimistic anger and hostility and contempt for the “other.” This originates in the thought system from which CRT was born, “critical theory.”
We choose to bring into this world either light or darkness, hope or despair. I want to both be happy myself, and also love my neighbor. I want the courage I need to do my best and be my best, and also encourage my neighbor with the wherewithal to face “life’s inevitable difficulties — the broken shoelace, flat tire, toothache, cranky boss, wayward child, divorce, job loss, bereavement, cancer.”
CRT does none of those things, but rather militates against all.