CRITICAL RACE THEORY: What It Is, Where It Came From, and Where It's Going
A. WHAT IS "CRITICAL RACE THEORY" IN GENERAL?
Christopher Rufo, who works with the Heritage Foundation and is an expert on the subject, describes Critical Race Theory (CRT) this way: "Critical race theory is the idea that the United States is a fundamentally racist country and that all of our institutions including the law, culture, business, the economy are all designed to maintain white supremacy. And the critical race theorists argue that all of these institutions are in a sense beyond reforming, they really need to be completely dismantled in order to liberate the oppressed people.
CRITICAL RACE THEORY is a policy, or in this particular case, a plan to have educators and administrators in our North Carolina public school system emphasize RACE and how racism is inherent and prevalent in our society and in our country as a whole - whether intentional, unintentional, direct, subtle, incidental, or systemic. And by emphasizing it and teaching it to our children, they are indoctrinating them also to focus on race and to see things in terms of race. We're talking about children whose brains are not yet fully developed and who are especially vulnerable and susceptible to what is taught to them. As we all know, discrimination and racism go back to the days of slavery and then the and apparently to progressives and Democrats, the discrimination still continues. In fact, they say, it's now engrained into our system.
Inherent in Critical Race Theory is the notion that whites are "privileged" in this county and therefore somehow bad; they are seen as "oppressors" who overwhelmingly benefit in our society. And African-Americans continue to be victims of discrimination and systemic racism; they continue to be the oppressed.
This, in essence, is what Critical Race Theory is all about.... A system, a society comprised of "oppressors" and the "oppressed." Some inherently benefit from this system and others inherently are discriminated against. This is what is being promoted in our public schools, at least in certain ones (certainly all the ones in the Wake County School system), but it is looking like the policy will catch on with other school systems in the state. I don't see what good the policy does or what good it could possibly achieve.
B. WHAT IS "CRITICAL RACE THEORY" AS IT RELATES TO NORTH CAROLINA?
CRITICAL RACE THEORY is a policy, or in this particular case, a plan to have educators and administrators in our North Carolina public school system emphasize RACE and how racism is inherent and prevalent in our society and in our country as a whole - whether intentional, unintentional, direct, subtle, incidental, or systemic. And by emphasizing it and teaching it to our children, they are indoctrinating them also to focus on race and to see things in terms of race. We're talking about children whose brains are not yet fully developed and who are especially vulnerable and susceptible to what is taught to them.
School policies, and especially new "Biden era" curriculum standards (social studies, for one) include its teachings or depending on the state, include elements of CRT, which most school board members have never taken the time to read through. CRT is being taught in North Carolina public schools, to varying degrees, depending on the school system. Wake County is the worst.
I find this next part is particularly offensive and subversive:
Critical Race Theory gives educators the ultimate authority to encourage students to "view problems and issues through the lens of race" and therefore takes the task of raising our children and influencing them away from their parents and puts them in their hands. It is an insidious policy that is based on self-shaming, continued victimization, and hatred and shame for our country.
Some people - and I'm talking about Democrats, progressives, Marxists, leftists, the Black Lives Matter movement - see racism everywhere. The idea that America is fundamentally flawed because some people harbor racism in their hearts and minds and that this equates to systemic racism is ridiculous. It's absolutely preposterous and demeaning to white people and insulting to our system of laws and our history of judicial rulings. We, as Americans, have abolished slavery, abolished segregation, and have gone as far as to institute affirmative action policies in almost all areas of education and business. Back in the 1860's, we adopted the Reconstruction era constitutional amendments (13th, 14th, and 15th), in 1953, the Supreme Court handed down the Brown v. Board of Education ruling ending school segregation, and in the 1960's, Congress passed civil rights legislation - the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. That's a history of a country recognizing its past sins and wanting to do the right thing. This is what should be taught and emphasized in our schools.
I love this comment that one parent gave: "My parents always told me that it doesn't matter whether people like you; it matters whether or not the law protects you, and it does."
And I also love the remarks that US Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) gave last night, April 28, following President Biden's address to Congress. He said: "America is not a racist country. It's backwards to fight discrimination with different types of discrimination, and it's wrong to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present."
Rep. Scott also said: "We embrace traditional American values. We love people, not parties. We love the content of one's character, not the color of one's skin. Our nation stands in greatness because we fought back against the darker angels and we believed in the better angels. I wish the Democrats would look in the mirror and ask themselves: 'Would they put up with such conduct from anyone other than themselves?' If they aren't willing to police themselves, don't look to the other side."
C. WHEN DID CRITICAL RACE THEORY COME INTO EXISTENCE?
Teaching Critical Race Theory in the North Carolina public schools is not a product of any bill or policy adopted by the NC General Assembly or by an executive order issued by Governor Cooper. It is a policy that was initiated, embraced, and adopted by teachers themselves. From what I've read, it was adopted by teachers in the Wake County School system last year. (I should mention that a form of Race Theory was officially articulated back in 1989).
If you want an eye-opener regarding Critical Race Theory and how it has made its way into North Carolina's public school system, check out this informative article, titled "Subversive Education," written by Christopher Rufo on March 17 of this year for City Journal:
North Carolina's largest school district launches a campaign against "whiteness in educational spaces."
Last year, the Wake County Public School System, which serves the greater Raleigh, North Carolina area, held an equity-themed teachers' conference with sessions on "whiteness," "microaggressions," "racial mapping," and "disrupting texts," encouraging educators to form "equity teams" in schools and push the new party line: "antiracism."
The February 2020 conference, attended by more than 200 North Carolina public school teachers, began with a "land acknowledgement," a ritual recognition suggesting that white North Carolinians are colonizers on stolen Native American land. Next, the superintendent of Wake County Public Schools, Cathy Moore, introduced the day's program and shuffled teachers to breakout sessions across eight rooms. Freelance reporter A.P. Dillon obtained the documents from the sessions through a public records request and provided them to City Journal.
At the first session, "Whiteness in Education Spaces," school administrators provided two handouts on the "norms of whiteness." These documents claimed that "(white) cultural values" include "denial," "fear," "blame," "control," "punishment," "scarcity," and "one-dimensional thinking." According to notes from the session, the teachers argued that "whiteness perpetuates the system" of injustice and that the district's "whitewashed curriculum" was "doing real harm to our students and educators." The group encouraged white teachers to "challenge the dominant ideology" of whiteness and "disrupt" white culture in the classroom through a series of "transformational interventions."
Parents, according to the teachers, should be considered an impediment to social justice. When one teacher asked, "How do you deal with parent pushback?" the answer was clear: ignore parental concerns and push the ideology of antiracism directly to students. "You can't let parents deter you from the work," the teachers said. "White parents' children are benefiting from the system" of whiteness and are "not learning at home about diversity (LGBTQ, race, etc.)." Therefore, teachers have an obligation to subvert parental wishes and beliefs. Any "pushback," the teachers explained, is merely because white parents fear "that they are going to lose something" and find it "hard to let go of power [and] privilege."
[And so, the Wake County Public School district adopted an official EQUITY IN ACTION plan].
The Equity in Action plan encourages teachers to override parents in the pursuit of antiracism. "Equity leaders [should] have the confidence to take risks and make difficult decisions that are rooted in their values," the document reads. "Even in the face of opposition, equity leaders can draw on a heartfelt conviction for what is best for students and families." In other words, the school should displace the family as the ultimate arbiter of political morality.
The equity plan outlines this new ideology in chart format, announcing the district's commitment to a series of fashionable instructional techniques, including "color consciousness," "white identity development," "critical race theory," "intersections of power and privilege," and "anti-racist identity and action."
The equity program in the Wake County Public School System is a massive enterprise. Founded in 2013, the district's Office of Equity Affairs has now amassed a $1 million annual budget and hosts an ongoing sequence of school trainings, curriculum-development sessions, and teacher events. In 2019, for example, the office hosted a series of "courageous conversations" about race and a five-night discussion program about the podcast Seeing White, which asks listeners to consider how "whiteness" contributes to "police shootings of unarmed African Americans," "acts of domestic terrorism," and "unending racial inequity in schools, housing, criminal justice, and hiring."
According to Wake County Public Schools, the purpose of these programs is to achieve "equity," which it defines as "eliminating the predictability of success and failure that correlates with any social or cultural factor." This is naïve, at best. Cultural traits such as family environment, transmitted values, and study habits have an enormous influence on academic outcomes. The radical-left educators believe that this is an injustice. They see their job as leveling cultural differences, grouping students into the categories of inborn identity, and equalizing outcomes.
The administrators have the logic backwards. Rather than seek to level cultural factors, they should seek to uncover and then cultivate the cultural traits that lead to academic success across all racial groups. Despite all the recent focus on racial issues in education, the greater disparity in student outcomes today is, in fact, related to social class. As Stanford's Sean Reardon has shown, the class gap in academic achievement is now twice as large as the race gap-precisely the opposite of what it was 50 years ago.