By Julie Reeder
The first in a series unwrapping what Critical Race Theory is, its origin and the cultural revolution it is bringing to America.
Why are parents battling school boards across the country over Critical Race Theory? Why did President Trump ban it from government agencies, only to have President Biden reverse the decision? Biden’s administration immediately pushed full steam ahead with what many see as divisive and damaging curricula on race in the classroom through a proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Education.
The rule’s consequences were more than academic. It infused critical race theory into the whole of the federal government’s primary governing law concerning K-12 schools, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. And if Congress standardized state civics metrics, the rule would have been incentivized with a billion-dollar-a-year cash infusion.
It’s all around us, yet most people don’t know what it is. If you are an avid reader of Village or Valley News you likely have some idea since we have done several pieces on it. But it’s quickly becoming the new institutional orthodoxy.
What is it exactly and what are its origins?
Its foundation is in Marxism/Socialism and class conflict which ushered in the bloodiest century ever with China under Mao Zedong, the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin, Cambodia under Pol Pot and Cuba under Fidel Castro.
Estimates are that 100 million people were killed. It was a division built on class conflict. Karl Marx believed that industrial society's answer to the imbalance of power between capitalists and workers was revolution. Overthrow the evil capitalists, the educated and anyone who opposes and brings in a new socialist society. But all the Marxist style revolutions ended in death and disaster.
After the show trials, executions, mass starvation (they killed the productive farmers), gulags, etc., it was just mass devastation.
In the mid-1960s Marxist intellectuals in the West still were drawn to the idea of socialism, but the worker revolution idea didn’t work in the U.S. because of the rapidly improving standards of living. Americans, many immigrant families from all over the world, had experienced the American dream. People could succeed with hard work and education. They had experienced it firsthand. The middle class was too large, too hopeful and too successful.
So they adapted the revolutionary theory to the social and racial unrest happening in the 60s. They substituted race for class. However, at that time, the rise of Martin Luther King, Jr. provided Americans a path for race inequalities through the Civil Rights movement which promised equality and freedom under the law. Americans preferred improving their country to overthrowing it.
But the radical left socialists have lived on in academic institutions. They’ve never gone away and now their divisive ideas are spreading like wildfire through our educational systems, governmental agencies, teacher training programs, and corporate human resources departments in the form of diversity training programs, human resources modules, public policy frameworks and school curricula.
And a built-in safeguard for CRT is that if you oppose it, you are labeled a racist or an oppressor, or are “canceled.”
No one wants to be labeled a racist or an oppressor, another ironic sign that our culture opposes racism.
Critical race theorists are masters of language, the hardcore Marxist ideologues know that “Marxist” or “neo-Marxist” wouldn’t be popular. But euphemisms that make CRT sound great are words like “equity,” “social justice,” “diversity,” and “culturally responsive teaching.”
But it’s important to know the definitions. Equity sounds non-threatening and is easily confused with equality, but they are very different. Equality as defined 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, are explicitly rejected by critical race theorists. While these events transformed America for the better, to them, equality represents a minimal effort, “mere nondiscrimination” and provides “camouflage” for white supremacy, patriarchy and oppression.
Christopher Rufo, a writer who documents the phenomena of poverty, homelessness, critical race theory and other afflictions, in a speech at Hillsdale College, said, “In contrast to equality, equity as defined by CRT is 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., unelected and 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.’”
Rufo continued that “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 anti-racist, you also have to truly be anti-capitalist.” In other words, identity is the means and Marxism is the end.’”
According to Rufo, “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.”
Next week we will focus on what CRT looks like in practice.
This is the first in a series reprinted from Valley and Village News, May, 2021. To read more about cultural and controversial subjects like CRT, check out Julie Reeder’s book, “Just My Opinion,” for sale on Amazon.