Trump says critical race theory borders on ‘psychological abuse’

Top line

A day before Juneteenth’s first celebration as a nationally recognized federal holiday, former President Donald Trump tore up President Joe Biden for embracing “Critical Race Theory” – a loosely defined academic framework that has become the most recent front of culture wars – and has gone so far as to claim that the teaching of theory borders on “psychological abuse.”


“Students are put through a new curriculum designed to brainwash them,” Trump said in an op-ed on the RealClearPolitics website, calling critical race theory “twisted” and “completely antithetical to everything normal Americans of any color would like to teach their children.

In reality, few American classrooms teach “critical race theory” as it was originally conceived, but that hasn’t stopped Republicans, including Trump, from using it as a guide. catch-all phrase to describe any attempt to teach students about systemic racism.

Trump argued that the “vile new left theory” teaches students that “judging people by the color of their skin is actually a good idea” and that the United States is “consistently bad”, instead of “Help young people discover that America is the greatest, most tolerant and generous nation in history.

Biden “endorsed” Critical Race Theory and forced it on American students when the Department of Education decided in April to prioritize providing federal grants to history departments that teach programs who “reflect the diversity” of all students and have used the controversial New York Times Magazine‘s 1619 Project as an example, Trump said.

Trump has proposed a “ban on taxpayer dollars in any school district or workplace that teaches critical race theory,” and more transparency for parents to see what children are learning in school.

Key context

Critical Race Theory is an academic framework centered on the idea that racism is systemic and ingrained in our system of government. He argues that when black people are disproportionately affected by macroeconomic events, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, it is no accident. Critical breed theory has been around for over 40 years and was created by jurists Derrick Bell, Kimberlé Crenshaw and Richard. Delgado, and others. Over the past year, Republicans have grasped Critical Race Theory as a crop-war talking point, arguing that the framework divides and teaches students to hate America. Five state legislatures led by the GOP have passed legislation banning its teaching in schools, and others are preparing to do the same. In December, Trump formed the 1776 Commission to promote “patriotic education” to counter the New York Times Magazine‘s 1619 Project, which drew attention to the role slavery played in the founding of the country, particularly the American Revolution. . In January, Biden dissolved the commission by executive order. In Trump’s editorial, the former president calls on states to create their “own 1776 commission to review the public school curriculum and ensure students receive a patriotic and pro-American education.”

Crucial quote

“For decades, the blaming America left has relentlessly pushed for a vision of America that throws our history, culture, traditions and founding documents in the most negative light possible,” Trump wrote. “Yet in recent years this deeply unnatural effort has shifted from telling children that their the story is wrong to tell Americans that they or they are bad.

Chief critic

“It is absolutely essential that we teach our children the truth about our country’s history at its best, and at its worst,” Vice President Kamala Harris said on a trip to News Hampshire in April. . “If we are ever going to move forward in a way that we learn from history and not repeat the mistakes, we need to know what those mistakes were. We need to know that these tragic moments have happened, so that we can make sure that they are not repeated. “


Trump’s editorial comes a day before June 17, a day celebrating the emancipation of African Americans. Biden signed a law Thursday making the day a federal holiday. Last year, following the George Floyd protests, Trump expressed support for making Juneteenth a public holiday. His 1776 commission report – which called on educators to teach slavery from a “much broader perspective” – ​​was notably published on Martin Luther King’s Day.

Further reading

Trump’s 1776 Commission, created to challenge controversial 1619 project, issues report on MLK (Forbes) day

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