Via Red State. “This is amazing! This is democracy! We can defeat this poison with this kind of honesty and passion,” tweeted an excited Andrew Sullivan about a truncated version of this clip featuring radio host Ty Smith, which now has several million views and counting.
If there was any doubt that this subject is now fully mainstream within the GOP, none other than Donald J. Trump has an op-ed about it out this morning offering suggestions on how parents can resist the indoctrination of their kids.
First, every state legislature should pass a ban on taxpayer dollars going to any school district or workplace that teaches critical race theory, which inherently violates existing anti-discrimination laws. Inspired by my executive order last year, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and other states have already taken steps to pass such laws. It needs to happen everywhere — and Congress should seek to institute a federal ban through legislation as well…
Third, parents have a right to know exactly what is being taught to their children. Last year, many parents had the chance to routinely listen in on classes for the first time because of remote learning. As students return to the classroom, states need to pass laws requiring that all lesson plans have to be made available to parents — every handout, article, and reading should be posted on an online portal that allows parents to see what their kids are being taught. Furthermore, in many places, there are rules preventing students from recording what teachers say in class. States and school boards should establish a “Right to Record.”…
Fifth, any parent who objects to the material being taught to their child in public school should get an automatic voucher, empowering them to pick another school of their choice. The government has no right to brainwash students with controversial ideologies against their parents’ will.
One sticky problem with Critical Race Theory is that it’s not easy to define, something red-state legislators have learned the hard way when asked to defend their bills banning it from public schools. I’m not confident in my own ability to define it, frankly — although I know enough to know this isn’t true:
its kinda amazing: juneteenth is gonna be a federal holiday for reasons teachers won't be allowed to explain to their students out of fear critical race theory backlash
— Astead (@AsteadWesley) June 16, 2021
Teachers can certainly still teach the history of racism in America (and have an obligation to do so), but I understand Wesley’s worry that some parents might leverage a ban on CRT as a way to prevent lessons that reflect badly on the country irrespective of their accuracy. My understanding of CRT is that it focuses on “structural racism,” which some treat as an accusation that each and every white person, including white children in schools, is hopelessly racist. That’s not it, though. (Well, sometimes it is, actually.) It’s the idea that white people alive today benefit collectively and individually from the American institutions established by their white ancestors. Individual whites can be non-racist but they’re destined to find life in America easier to navigate in certain ways than blacks do despite their good intentions. Calls to end “whiteness” are a call to end that special racial privilege, not to eliminate white people or whatever.
Of course, the distinction between “you, white person, are irredeemably racist” and “you, white person, have an advantage in this irredeemably racist country” is finer than some lefties pretend. “Unsurprising that many don’t easily see a clear difference between (1) blaming individual whites for past structural racism and (2) claiming individual whites enjoy unearned privilege today from past structural racism and must take themselves down a peg to eschew these advantages,” tweeted Nicholas Grossman. A college student might be able to bear that distinction in mind but a middle-school student may understandably conclude from a discussion of structural racism that the white kids in class are all being called racist and the black kids in class are being told that they should resent them.
In theory both sides could compromise here by agreeing that students should learn how racism influenced American history but should avoid conversations about “structural racism” until their secondary education. Instead we’re going to get the usual polarized camps in which one side wants to introduce structural racism to eight-year-olds while the other is willing to limit lessons on racist history to a few days of class time on slavery and that’s it. So it goes. Here’s Smith.