“If you watch the video, you’ll hear the teacher divide people into three groups: racist, anti-racist, and assimilationist.” The post first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion .
The Fairfax County School Board needs to Google “Streisand Effect”.
[The Fairfax County School Board took legal action to cover up its own mistake.] The Goldwater Institute’s Tim Sandefur reports on one of his organization’s new cases: When Debra Tisler and Callie Oettinger of Fairfax County, Virginia, suspected their local school district was wasting taxpayer money on excessive legal fees, they did what responsible and engaged citizens do in a democracy: They asked to see the receipts.
GET YOUR KIDS OUT OF PUBLIC INDOCTRINATION CENTERS: Mandatory CRT-Based Program Coming to a School Near You. Olly olly oxen free ! Also: Commies, leave the kids alone!
As I started to evangelize on this message, I realized that I would actually have to read the damn books if I wanted to have any credibility. I couldn’t just read the snippets and sound-bites. Just in the forward section of Critical Race Theory, an Introduction, was the most mind-blowing understanding of how racist this construct was:
“None of my professors talked about race or ethnicity; it was apparently irrelevant to the law. None of my professors in the first year talked about feminism or the concerns of women, either. These concerns were also, apparently, irrelevant. Nowhere, in fact, did the cases and materials we read address concerns of group inequality, sexual difference, or cultural identity. There was only one Law, a law that in its universal majesty applied to everyone without regard to race, color, gender, or creed.”
All I could think was “isn’t that what the Law SHOULD do???”
But no, CRT proponents seriously believe we need to parcel everyone out into little sub groups and attach a oppressor/victim status to each of them. Which child is going to be better off for this kind of thinking? It’s child abuse on either side! The purpose of CRT learning is to inflict equity. It is NOT about equality of opportunity.
You rightly support parents who resist the poisoning by K-12 public schools of schoolchildren’s minds with Critical Race Theory (“The Teachers Unions Go Woke,” July 8). But of course such resistance would be much easier and more sure in a regime of school choice. In such a regime, each school’s funding would depend exclusively on its ability to attract parents.
No lawsuit or political campaign can be as effective as would genuine competition among schools at obliging teachers actually to teach rather than to indoctrinate.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Hugh Hewitt pointed out, when stimulus payments had been authorized to parents in the amount of $250 per child, that amount would cover tuition at a large fraction of private schools, especially parochial ones. In effect, the Administration had passed a voucher program, if parents chose to use it that way.
I wonder how many parents have been able to use those payments that way.
NEWS YOU CAN USE: Manhattan Institute Offers Toolkit for Parents to Fight Back Against Woke Schools.
Something peculiar is spreading throughout America’s schools. A public school system just outside the nation’s capital spent $20,000 to be lectured about making their schools less racist.At a tony New York City prep school, a teacher was publicly denounced by the administration for questioning the idea that students should identify themselves in terms of their racial identity. Educators in California are locked in pitched combat over a statewide model curriculum overflowing with terms like “hxrstories” and “cisheteropatriarchy.”
Again, there’s a difference between teaching about Critical Race Theory and teaching in Critical Race Theory.
So how can you tell if a teacher, principal, or school board official tells you that, no, there’s no critical race theory here (as a lone heckler briefly interrupted my remarks in Loudoun County to inform me)? Here is a list (by no means exhaustive) of five key critical race theory principles. If your school or office does anything that includes these ideas, you can confidently call Bovine Manure when they deny it’s critical race theory.
The first and most important bedrock principle of critical race theory is that racism is not an individual, conscious decision to be a racist or act on that belief. No, it’s “systemic.” Racism, according to critical race theory’s purveyors, is written into America’s laws, institutions, and capitalist system. What masquerades as American culture is actually the norms and practices of white people.
“Critical race theory,” writes one of its main architects, Angela Harris, “takes the position that racism pervades our institutions, our beliefs, and our everyday practices.”
A second principle follows from the first: Behaviors and beliefs are inherent in identity categories, and thus the members of these categories must not adopt American culture—which, in their telling, is merely a conspiracy to perpetuate white supremacy. Members of minority groups must never assimilate to standard practices or norms, even those that appear neutral on the surface.
“[M]any Latinos naturally view information about time more generally and simply cannot see the judicial system’s need for specificity and exactitude,” writes Maria Ontiveros, a professor at the University of San Francisco, in her book “Critical Race Feminism.”
A third bedrock principle is that white people receive unearned privilege at birth, while other Americans are denied it. This “whiteness premium” has prevented the union of the working class.
Segregation, wrote the man widely recognized as the “Godfather” of critical race theory, Derrick Bell, “represented an economic-political compromise between the elite and working-class whites [that] gave to the poor the sense of superiority, while retaining the substance for the rich.”
A fourth principle is that meritocracy is myth. Since whites have rigged the system, all the ways we use to measure merit or success in education or work are far from objective. Hiring metrics and workplace benchmarks, and standardized tests for university admissions, must be eliminated.
On this we have, again, the authority of Bell, who wrote in “Popular Democracy,” a chapter in “The Derrick Bell Reader”: “In short, merit serves as the phony pennant of color-blindness, used as justification for opposition to affirmative action.”
The fifth and last tenet is that equity must replace equality. This may surprise those who think they amount to pretty much the same thing, but under critical race theory, the word equity has become corrupted, and has become the functional opposite of equality. Because the systemic racism that critical race theory’s proponents see everywhere has produced disparities under a capitalist system that rewards the wrong criteria, government must step in and treat individual Americans unequally.
Only in that manner will outcomes be equal.
And on this, we have no less an authority than our Vice President Kamala Harris: “Equitable treatment means we all end up in the same place.”
Any curriculum or training program that does any of the above is classic critical race theory. Any functionary who denies it has simply not read her Derrick Bell—or may be lying to you.Daily Signal
What makes discussions of CRT more complicated is that people are conflating teaching about CRT, which happens in law school, with teaching in CRT, which happens in grade schools and high schools.
When people say CRT isn’t being taught in grade schools, guess which sense they’re referring to.
One of the problems with discussing and debating CRT is that it’s a complicated set of teachings and beliefs about which people know very little, and which probably vary at least somewhat according to who is doing the trainings. The most pernicious aspects of CRT are often in the details of how the trainings and/or classes go.
There’s a liberal way to fight illiberalism. And it’s beginning to work.
The stories in the mainstream media this past week about the broadening campaign to ban critical race theory in public schools have been fascinating — and particularly in how they describe what CRT is. Here’s the Atlantic’s benign summary of CRT: “recent reexaminations of the role that slavery and segregation have played in American history and the attempts to redress those historical offenses.” NBC News calls it the “academic study of racism’s pervasive impact.” NPR calls CRT: “teaching about the effects of racism.” The New York Times calls it, with a straight face, “classroom discussion of race, racism” and goes on to describe it as a “framework used to look at how racism is woven into seemingly neutral laws and institutions.”
How on earth could merely teaching students about the history of racism and its pervasiveness in the United States provoke such a fuss? No wonder Charles Blow is mystified. But don’t worry. The MSM have a ready explanation: the GOP needs an inflammatory issue to rile their racist base, and so this entire foofaraw is really just an astro-turfed, ginned-up partisan gambit about nothing. The MSM get particular pleasure in ridiculing parents who use the term “critical race theory” as shorthand for things that just, well, make them uncomfortable — when the parents obviously have no idea what CRT really is.
When pushed to describe it themselves, elite journalists refer to the legal theories Derrick Bell came up with, in the 1970s — obscure, esoteric and nothing really to do with high-school teaching. “If your kid is learning CRT, your kid is in law/grad school,” snarked one. Marc Lamont Hill even tried to pull off some strained references to Gramsci to prove his Marxian intellectual cred, and to condescend to his opponents.
This rubric achieves several things at once. It denies that there is anything really radical or new about CRT; it flatters the half-educated; it blames the controversy entirely on Republican opportunism; and it urges all fair-minded people to defend intellectual freedom and racial sensitivity against these ugly white supremacists.
And no, 6-year-olds are not being taught Derrick Bell — or forced to read Judith Butler, or God help them, Kimberlé Crenshaw. Of course they aren’t — and I don’t know anyone who says they are.
But they are being taught popularized terms, new words, and a whole new epistemology that is directly downstream of academic critical theory. Ibram X. Kendi even has an AntiRacist Baby Picture Book so you can indoctrinate your child into the evil of whiteness as soon as she or he can gurgle. It’s a little hard to argue that CRT is not interested in indoctrinating kids when its chief proponent in the US has a kiddy book on the market.
The goal of education of children this young is to cement the notion at the most formative age that America is at its core an oppressive racist system uniquely designed to exploit, harm, abuse, and even kill the non-white. This can be conveyed in easy terms, by training kids to see themselves first and foremost as racial avatars, and by inculcating in them a sense of their destiny as members of the oppressed or oppressor classes in the zero-sum struggle for power that is American society in 2021.
This is not teaching about critical race theory; it is teaching in critical race theory. And it is compulsory and often hidden from parents. It contradicts the core foundations of our liberal society; and is presented not as one truth to be contrasted with others, but as the truth, the basis on which all other truths are built. That’s why teaching based on CRT will make children see themselves racially from the get-go, why it will separate them into different racial groups, why it will compel white kids to internalize their complicity in evil, tell black kids that all their troubles are a function of white people, banish objective measurements of success to avoid stigmatizing failure, and treat children of different races differently in a classically racist hierarchy.
And this is why — crucially — it will suppress any other way of seeing the world — because any other way, by definition, is merely perpetuating oppression. As Kendi constantly reminds us, it is either/or. An antiracist cannot exist with a liberalism that perpetuates racism. And it’s always the liberalism that has to go.
What parents and principled teachers of all races can do is protest, show up to school board meetings, demand accountability and total transparency, share and spread the evidence of this indoctrination, demand answers from teachers and principals, and, if all else fails, pull their kids from public schools if necessary.
And what the rest of us should do is support them, come to the aid of fired teachers, shaken students, bullied educators, and intimidated mothers and fathers. And never, ever concede the idea that opposing critical race theory is racist. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Insist that you are not attempting to ban CRT but to allow it to be taught as one idea among many in a liberal education. And do not conflate CRT with honest, painful accounts of our history, which can be taught just as well within a liberal context.
The legacy of this country’s profound racism, the deep and abiding shame of its genocidal slavocracy, the atrocities, such as Tulsa, which have been white-washed, the appalling record of lynchings and beatings, the centrality of African-Americans to the story and success of this country: all this must be better explored and understood. There is nothing wrong and a huge amount right about black scholars taking the lead in shining light on what others might miss, building on past knowledge, helping us better account for it. White scholars, like the hundreds of thousands of white citizens who gave their lives to end slavery, have a crucial role to play as well.
But we must also unequivocally insist that all of this is only possible within a liberal system — that sees the individual and reason and equality as our foundations. Liberalism can live with critical race theory; but critical race theory is committed in its foundational texts to the overthrow of liberalism. And this matters.
It’s not just a culture war gambit. It’s a deep defense of our liberal inheritance. Once a generation grows up believing that there is no such thing as reason — just “white thinking” and “black thinking”; once it grows up believing that free speech is a device for oppression not liberation; once it sees our founding documents as cynical lies to perpetuate slavery and “white supremacy”; once it believes that no progress has ever been made in race relations, because the “systems” sustain unaltered “white supremacy” for ever, then we have detonated the foundations of a free society.
The Brearley School is a private all-girls school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It costs $54,000 a year to attend and, according to Bari Weiss, prospective families apparently have to take an “anti-racism pledge” to be considered for admission.
Brearley’s supposed commitment to anti-racism does not prevent it from discriminating on the basis of race in admissions and hiring. Nor does it stop the school from indoctrinating its students in the racist doctrines of critical race theory.
One parent has had enough. Andrew Gutmann has pulled his daughter out of Brearley and sent a letter explaining his decision to the families of every student body member (around 600 of them).
Bari Weiss presents the letter on her website. This is the full text:
Dear Fellow Brearley Parents,
Our family recently made the decision not to reenroll our daughter at Brearley for the 2021-22 school year. She has been at Brearley for seven years, beginning in kindergarten.
In short, we no longer believe that Brearley’s administration and Board of Trustees have any of our children’s best interests at heart. Moreover, we no longer have confidence that our daughter will receive the quality of education necessary to further her development into a critically thinking, responsible, enlightened, and civic minded adult.
I write to you, as a fellow parent, to share our reasons for leaving the Brearley community but also to urge you to act before the damage to the school, to its community, and to your own child’s education is irreparable.
It cannot be stated strongly enough that Brearley’s obsession with race must stop. It should be abundantly clear to any thinking parent that Brearley has completely lost its way. The administration and the Board of Trustees have displayed a cowardly and appalling lack of leadership by appeasing an anti-intellectual, illiberal mob, and then allowing the school to be captured by that same mob. What follows are my own personal views on Brearley’s antiracism initiatives, but these are just a handful of the criticisms that I know other parents have expressed.
I object to the view that I should be judged by the color of my skin. I cannot tolerate a school that not only judges my daughter by the color of her skin, but encourages and instructs her to prejudge others by theirs. By viewing every element of education, every aspect of history, and every facet of society through the lens of skin color and race, we are desecrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and utterly violating the movement for which such civil rights leaders believed, fought, and died.
As a teacher, my first obligation is to my students. But right now, my school is asking me to embrace “antiracism” training and pedagogy that I believe is deeply harmful to them and to any person who seeks to nurture the virtues of curiosity, empathy and understanding.
“Antiracist” training sounds righteous, but it is the opposite of truth in advertising. It requires teachers like myself to treat students differently on the basis of race. Furthermore, in order to maintain a united front for our students, teachers at Grace are directed to confine our doubts about this pedagogical framework to conversations with an in-house “Office of Community Engagement” for whom every significant objection leads to a foregone conclusion. Any doubting students are likewise “challenged” to reframe their views to conform to this orthodoxy.
I know that by attaching my name to this I’m risking not only my current job but my career as an educator, since most schools, both public and private, are now captive to this backward ideology. But witnessing the harmful impact it has on children, I can’t stay silent.
My school, like so many others, induces students via shame and sophistry to identify primarily with their race before their individual identities are fully formed. Students are pressured to conform their opinions to those broadly associated with their race and gender and to minimize or dismiss individual experiences that don’t match those assumptions. The morally compromised status of “oppressor” is assigned to one group of students based on their immutable characteristics. In the meantime, dependency, resentment and moral superiority are cultivated in students considered “oppressed.”
Recently, I raised questions about this ideology at a mandatory, whites-only student and faculty Zoom meeting. (Such racially segregated sessions are now commonplace at my school.) It was a bait-and-switch “self-care” seminar that labelled “objectivity,” “individualism,” “fear of open conflict,” and even “a right to comfort” as characteristics of white supremacy. I doubted that these human attributes — many of them virtues reframed as vices — should be racialized in this way. In the Zoom chat, I also questioned whether one must define oneself in terms of a racial identity at all. My goal was to model for students that they should feel safe to question ideological assertions if they felt moved to do so.
It seemed like my questions broke the ice. Students and even a few teachers offered a broad range of questions and observations. Many students said it was a more productive and substantive discussion than they expected.
However, when my questions were shared outside this forum, violating the school norm of confidentiality, I was informed by the head of the high school that my philosophical challenges had caused “harm” to students, given that these topics were “life and death matters, about people’s flesh and blood and bone.” I was reprimanded for “acting like an independent agent of a set of principles or ideas or beliefs.” And I was told that by doing so, I failed to serve the “greater good and the higher truth.”
He further informed me that I had created “dissonance for vulnerable and unformed thinkers” and “neurological disturbance in students’ beings and systems.” The school’s director of studies added that my remarks could even constitute harassment.
A few days later, the head of school ordered all high school advisors to read a public reprimand of my conduct out loud to every student in the school. It was a surreal experience, walking the halls alone and hearing the words emitting from each classroom: “Events from last week compel us to underscore some aspects of our mission and share some thoughts about our community,” the statement began. “At independent schools, with their history of predominantly white populations, racism colludes with other forms of bias (sexism, classism, ableism and so much more) to undermine our stated ideals, and we must work hard to undo this history.”
Students from low-income families experience culture shock at our school. Racist incidents happen. And bias can influence relationships. All true. But addressing such problems with a call to “undo history” lacks any kind of limiting principle and pairs any allegation of bigotry with a priori guilt. My own contract for next year requires me to “participate in restorative practices designed by the Office of Community Engagement” in order to “heal my relationship with the students of color and other students in my classes.” The details of these practices remain unspecified until I agree to sign.