Critical race theory (CRT) continues to be in the news. Former Attorney General William Barr recently made his first public address since leaving the Trump administration. He criticized the “secular progressive orthodoxy through government-run schools,” and he suggested public funding of such education may be unconstitutional.
According to Fox News, Barr said, “The time has come to admit that the approach of giving militantly secularist government schools a monopoly over publicly funded education has become a disaster.” He touched on the fact that CRT is being taught in American classrooms as part of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) curricula. He called the curricula, “Marxism substituting race for class antagonism.”
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also spoke about the CRT as well as the “1619 Project” created by The New York Times. In a radio appearance on July 4th, Pompeo said the following:
If we teach that that somehow this founding of the United States of America was somehow flawed, it was corrupt, it was racist, that’s really dangerous. It strikes at the … very foundations of our country. I certainly worry about that.
It’s called critical race theory or the 1619 Project. … But at the end, they’re attacking the central understandings that we have shared together for 245 years and attempt to divide the country.
Christopher F. Rufo also spoke about CRT about three months ago at Hillsdale College. He defined critical race theory and explained how it works. He also shared some steps that we can take to destroy its effect in our nation. He said that we need to understand the history of Marxism to understand critical race theory. Critical Race Theory: What It Is and How to Fight It - Imprimis (hillsdale.edu)
Originally, the Marxist Left built its political program on the theory of class conflict. Marx believed that the primary characteristic of industrial societies was the imbalance of power between capitalists and workers. The solution to that imbalance, according to Marx, was revolution: the workers would eventually gain consciousness of their plight, seize the means of production, overthrow the capitalist class, and usher in a new socialist society.
Rufo reminded his listeners that there were “a number of regimes underwent Marxist-style revolutions, and each ended in disaster.” These socialist governments included the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Cuba, and others. These nations “racked up a body count of nearly 100 million of their own people.” These governments “are remembered for their gulags, show trials, executions, and mass starvations.” Rufo called said that “man’s darkest brutalities” were unleashed by Marx’s ideas.
The Marxist intellectuals realized that Americans “had never developed a sense of class consciousness or class divisions.” This is true because most “Americans believed in the American dream – the idea that they could transcend their origins through education, hard work, and good citizenship.” This realization did not deter the Marxist movement. They merely “adapted their revolutionary theory to the social and racial unrest of the 1960s.” They abandoned the idea of dividing capitalists and workers, and “they substituted race for class and sought to create a revolutionary coalition of the dispossessed based on racial and ethnic categories.”
America was fortunate in that Martin Luther King, Jr. had a vision that was more attractive. In addition, President Lyndon B. Johnson pursued the Great Society, and Richard Nixon campaigned on a promised to restore law and order. These actions delayed the Marxist ideas, but “the radical Left has proved resilient and enduring – which is where critical race theory comes in.”
Critical race theory is an academic discipline, formulated in the 1990s, built on the intellectual framework of identity-based Marxism. Relegated for many years to universities and obscure academic journals, over the past decade it has increasingly become the default ideology in our public institutions. It has been injected into government agencies, public school systems, teacher training programs, and corporate human resources departments in the form of diversity training programs, human resources modules, public policy frameworks, and school curricula.
The Marxist movement uses a “series of euphemisms … to describe critical race theory, including “equity,” “social justice,” “diversity and inclusion,” and “culturally responsive teaching.” Knowing that Americans would reject “neo-Marxism,” the movement chose innocent sounding words. “Equity … sounds non-threatening and is easily confused with the American principle of equality.” However, there is a “vast and important” distinction between them.
Indeed, equality – the principle proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, defended in the Civil War, and codified into law with the 14th and 15th Amendments, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – is explicitly rejected by critical race theorists. To them, equality represents “mere nondiscrimination” and provides “camouflage” for white supremacy, patriarchy, and oppression.
In contrast to equality, equity as defined and promoted by critical race theorists is little more than reformulated Marxism. In the name of equity, UCLA Law Professor and critical race theorist Cheryl Harris has proposed suspending private property rights, seizing land and wealth and redistributing them along racial lines. Critical race guru Ibram X. Kendi, who directs the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, has proposed the creation of a federal Department of Antiracism. This department would be independent of (i.e., unaccountable to) the elected branches of government, and would have the power to nullify, veto, or abolish any law at any level of government and curtail the speech of political leaders and others who are deemed insufficiently “antiracist.”
One practical result of the creation of such a department would be the overthrow of capitalism, since according to Kendi, “In order to truly be antiracist, you also have to truly be anti-capitalist.” In other words, identity is the means and Marxism is the end.
An equity-based form of government would mean the end not only of private property, but also of individual rights, equality under the law, federalism, and freedom of speech. These would be replaced by race-based redistribution of wealth, group-based rights, active discrimination, and omnipotent bureaucratic authority. Historically, the accusation of “anti-Americanism” has been overused. But in this case, it’s not a matter of interpretation – critical race theory prescribes a revolutionary program that would overturn the principles of the Declaration and destroy the remaining structure of the Constitution.
The above description does not sound like an America where most Americans would want to live. Anything that overturns the principles found in the Declaration of Independence or destroys the Constitution in any way is not good for America.
Rufo is an investigative journalist, and he has “developed a database of more than 1,000” stories of how critical race theory is being applied at the highest levels of the federal government. Employees are “forced to renounce their ‘white male privilege’ and write letters of apology to fictitious women and people of color.” First grade children in Cupertino, California, were forced “to deconstruct their racial and sexual identities, and rank themselves according to their ‘power and privilege.’”
Middle school teachers in Springfield, Missouri, were forced “to locate themselves on an ‘oppression matrix,’ based on the idea that straight, white, English-speaking, Christian males are members of the oppressor class and must atone for their privilege and ‘covert white supremacy.’ Fifth graders in Philadelphia were forced “to celebrate ‘Black communism’ and simulate a Black Power rally to free 1960s radical Angela David from prison, where she had once been held on charges of murder.” A school district in Seattle “told white teachers that they are guilty of ‘spirit murder’ against black children and must ‘bankrupt [their] privilege in acknowledgement of [their] thieved inheritance.”
Rufo knows from his investigations that “critical race theory is becoming the operating ideology of our public institutions.” He wrote, “it is not an exaggeration – from the universities to bureaucracies to k-12 school systems, critical race theory has permeated the collective intelligence and decision-making process of American government, with no sign of slowing down.” He called the movement “a revolutionary change” that is “turned against the American people.” The ideology will not stop on its own, and attempts to halt its encroachment have not worked for a number of reasons.
First, too many Americans have developed an acute fear of speaking up about social and political issues, especially those involving race. …
Second, critical race theorists have constructed their argument like a mousetrap. Disagreement with their program becomes irrefutable evidence of a dissenter’s “white fragility,” “unconscious bias,” or “internalized white supremacy.” …
Third, Americans across the political spectrum have failed to separate the premise of critical race theory from its conclusion. Its premise – that American history includes slavery and other injustices, and that we should examine and learn from that history -- is undeniable. But its conclusion – that America was founded on and defined by racism and that our founding principles, our Constitution, and our way of life should be overthrown – does not rightly, much less necessarily, follow.
Fourth and finally, the writers and activists who have had the courage to speak out against critical race theory have tended to address it on the theoretical level, pointing out the theory’s logical contradictions and dishonest account of history. These criticisms are worthy and good, but they move the debate into the academic realm, which is friendly terrain for proponents of critical race theory.
Rufo explained that critical race theory was “No longer simply an academic matter” because it has become “a tool of political power.” Therefore, the only way to successfully oppose it is “address it politically at every level.” He wrote, “Critical race theorists must be confronted with and forced to speak to the facts.” He explained that this can be done by forcing them to answer questions, such as: “Do they support public schools separating first-graders into groups of ‘oppressors’ and ‘oppressed’? Do they support mandatory curricula teaching that ‘all white people play a part in perpetuating systemic racism? Do they support public schools instructing white parents to become ‘white traitors’ and advocate for ‘white abolition’? Do they want those who work in government to be required to undergo this kind of reeducation? How about managers and workers in corporate America? How about the men and women in our military? How about every one of us?”
Laying out a strategy to combat critical race theory, Rufo wrote that a successful strategy would be threefold: “governmental action, grass-roots mobilization, and an appeal to principle. He reminded his listeners that President Donald Trump signed executive orders that banned critical race theory in the federal government, but President Joe Biden rescinded that order. However, Trump’s executive order provided “a model for governors and municipal leaders to follow.” Several states have passed laws banning CRT. In fact, Rufo “organized a coalition of attorneys to file lawsuits against schools and government agencies that impose critical race theory-based programs on ground of the First Amendment (which protects citizens from compelled speech), the Fourteenth Amendment (which provides equal protection under the law), and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which prohibits public institutions from discriminating on the basis of race).
The second way to combat CRT is at the grassroots level. There is “a multiracial and bipartisan coalition” emerging across the nation. Parents and teachers are speaking out against CRT in the schools, and employees are speaking out about the demands being made in the workplace. When Americans realize what is being forced upon the nation, they are standing up and demanding that it be stopped.
The third way to combat CRT is with principles. Americans must use moral language instead of being confined by the CRT categories. “For example, we often find ourselves debating ‘diversity.’ Diversity as most of us understand it is generally good, all things being equal, but it is of secondary value. We should be talking about and aiming at excellence, a common standard that challenges people of all backgrounds to achieve their potential. On the scale of desirable ends, excellence beats diversity every time.”
Americans should point out “the dishonesty of the historical narrative on which critical race theory is predicated.” In addition, we “must promote the true story of America – a story that is honest about injustices in American history, but that places them in the context of our nation’s high ideals and the progress we have made towards realizing them. Genuine American history is rich with stories of achievements and sacrifices that will move the hearts of Americans – in stark contrast to the grim and pessimistic narrative pressed by critical race theorists.”
The most important thing is that “we must have courage – the fundamental virtue required in our time. Courage to stand and speak the truth. Courage to withstand epithets. Courage to face the mob. Courage to shrug off the score of the elites.” We must overcome the fear and stand together because CRT will not be able to stand in the face of such courage. Besides, “courage begets courage,” and “Truth and justice are on our side.” If we stand together with courage, we will win.