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Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke has become one of the first Democratic Party leaders to speak out explicitly against critical race theory (CRT) in schools.
O’Rourke addressed a crowd from Texas to Victoria on Friday, where he was asked about the suitability of critical race theory for being taught in elementary schools. O’Rourke initially dodged the issue, telling a member of the crowd that CRT concepts aren’t taught in schools right now.
“And I think you and I are probably on the same page as well. We don’t see CRT being taught in our schools right now. It’s a course that’s being taught in law schools,” O’ said. Rourke.
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Immediately after his comment, a member of the public asked if O’Rourke supported CRT in schools, to which the gubernatorial candidate replied, “No, I don’t think so. [CRT] must be taught in our schools. »
CRT has proven to be a powder keg problem for Democrats over the past few years. Moderate lawmakers courting the middle of the political spectrum have attempted to distance themselves from the concept, which focuses on the impact of power structures and institutions on racial minorities, without outright condemnation of the ideology.
More progressive and left-leaning Democrats have either dubbed the CRT as a positive contribution to student education or denied its presence in schools.
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In a Manhattan Institute report, data showed the CRT was a losing issue in the election, with all but the leftmost voters.
“An overwhelming majority of voters of all political stripes oppose certain teaching methods inspired by critical race theory, such as the separation of children by race into ‘privileged’ and ‘oppressed,'” reads- we in the report. “However, there are wide partisan differences over whether students should be taught that the United States is a racist country or whether the curriculum should focus more on race and gender.”
“Public opinion on culture war issues tends to divide the Democratic coalition while uniting Republicans, suggesting that culture war issues are a risk Democrats must manage, while presenting an opportunity for Republicans,” adds the report.
Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, who lost to Republican Glenn Youngkin, has dismissed CRT as a “right-wing conspiracy theory” ahead of the 2021 election.
A woman had asked McAuliffe: “I was just wondering — with all the Republicans talking about critical race theory, and they’re making a big fuss about it, and that’s all the talk with the news in Virginia. That are you going to tell all these people who are educating about it?”
“It’s another right-wing conspiracy,” McAuliffe said. “It’s totally made up by Donald Trump and Glenn Youngkin. It’s who they are. It’s a conspiracy theory.”
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O’Rourke spoke to SXSW (south by southwest) Saturday, a music festival and media event in Austin, Texas.
O’Rourke faces current Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott in a bid to become governor, whom he called a “thug” in his SXSW chat.
“He’s a thug, he’s bossy,” O’Rourke said of Abbott on Saturday.
Fox News’ Cameron Cawthorne, Sam Dorman and Tyler O’Neil contributed to this report.