Since the killing of George Floyd last year in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department, critical race theory and its key concepts of white supremacy, white fragility and systemic racism have been much discussed in America, see here and here. CRT maintains that America is an inherently racist nation and that the constitutional principles of freedom and equality are mere camouflages for white supremacy.
So what is critical race theory and what does it say? The Brookings Institute scholar, William Galston, has recently given an excellent overview. He points out that:
- Critical race theory denies the possibility of objectivity. “Scholarship is inevitably political.”
- The theory moves race to the center of our focus. It aims to “recover and revitalize the radical tradition of race-consciousness.”
- The theory strongly criticizes the civil rights movement. It is argued that the civil rights movement scored some symbolic gains for black Americans but left their material conditions mostly unchanged. According to CRT, civil-rights law can mitigate the consequences of illegal and unjust acts, but it can do nothing to redress the continuing impact of past oppression.
- Critical race theory rejects the principle of equality of opportunity. Equality of opportunity is a myth, not a reality, in today’s America, and those who pursue it are misguided. The real goal is equality of results, measured by black share of income, wealth and social standing. The metric of merit is unacceptable because merit serves as a repository of hidden race-specific preferences for those in power.
- Race-conscious policies such as affirmative action are diversionary. The aim of affirmative action is to “create enough exceptions to white privilege to make the mythology of equal opportunity seem at least plausible.” Such policies are an inadequate response to the persistence of white supremacy.
- The anti-racist Ibram Kendi says that “the only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”
Conclusion. Critical race theory is a dangerous ideology that would take the nation into racial retrograde. It is one thing to present an honest view of American history in public schools but quite another to focus on the “1619 Project.” Hiring practices and workplaces should be fair and welcoming to all, but mandatory diversity training, premised on the ubiquity of unconscious racism, is coercive and insulting. Americans should have no hesitation in opposing CRT and its offshoots.
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Agree completely, Jack. Unfortunately, much like the Marxism that existed prior to the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, progressives have the mind set that if you ‘tell a lie as many times as possible, the lie becomes truth.’ And that explains the progressive support for both the Critical Race Theory (CRT) and the 1619 Project. But the other voices that have had such a dominant role in the publicity for both issues has been the progressive press and the progressive wing of the National Education Association.
Here’s my take on how to combat CRT in the public schools. Make it an after school activity for both teachers and students. And let it be taught by the members of local education associations. Finally, do not allow any tax dollars to be used for this after school activity that is on a volunteer basis. All expenses to cover any books, pamphlets, videos, etc. must be paid by the local education association and parents who wish their children to sit through this kind of forced fed Marxism.
I totally agree with you. No support for CRT with tax dollars! That should solve the problem in a practical sense,
Reading your essay about Critical Race Theory left me with one overwhelming thought. What would the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. might have said about this concept? My intuition is that it already exists within his August 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Here is my own view of this complicated Social Dilemma.
Every resident person of a community must accept and honor a responsibility to offer Kindness and Respect to every person they safely encounter every day. The expression of Kindness and Respect is especially important when interacting with:
* women before, during, and after a pregnancy;
* each infant and toddler;
* every disabled person; and
* any possibly homeless person.
When also expressed within your family, your neighborhood, and your neighboring communities, this shared Kindness and Respect builds trustworthy communities. In effect, this shared Kindness and respect builds healthy survival for their community during their bad times as well as their good times.
Finally, every resident person needs to steadily upgrade their adaptive skills for living within our complex society. Interpersonal stigmata must not disturb our shared expressions of Kindness and Respect. Every person will now understand the complexity of this personal responsibility. Remember, good things are possible ALTOGETHER.
Expecting mutual kindness and respect in personal interactions is a very high standard! Let’s strive for it but be realistic about its chances for success.
CRT is so cookoo that it is likely to fade away soon from social consciousness. But dumb ideas do come along temporarily every now and then.