Published: 07/16/2021 10:20:00 PM
Modified: 07/16/2021 22:20:07
Letters and Op-Eds in the Valley News demonstrate that the heat on critical race theory and diversity, equity and inclusion programs in schools has not dissipated.
The campaign of the conservative right to teach critical race theory in schools rages despite its political critics having no clue what it is. There is also the troublesome truth that critical race theory is not taught in schools – but the truth, regardless of convenience, is not the GOP’s current job.
Critical Race Theory is a theoretical framework for visualizing the compelling facts of racial prejudice. Its principal architect, the late New York University law professor Derrick Bell, was a guest of my old school, the Calhoun School in Manhattan, and was an elegant and thoughtful intellectual, not a shrill polemicist. Critical Race Theory is taught and debated in law school (not elementary school) as a means of examining legal theory and social policy to better understand systemic racial issues.
Well-orchestrated campaign suggests millions of angry parents are rising up against the ‘indoctrination’ of their children into an anti-racist ideology that preaches hatred for America and believes that all white people, including preschoolers , should bow their heads in deep shame at their complicity in the brutality of slavery. This propaganda appears to be the catalyst for New Hampshire’s absurd HB 544 and dozens of similar laws proposed in many states.
There is a campaign, but it is not led by millions of angry parents. It is run by conservative crooks who hide behind the credibility screen provided by “think tanks”, a crude misrepresentation of “thinking”.
One of those crooks is Christopher Rufo, a member of the Manhattan Institute, who persuaded the Trump administration to issue an edict banning diversity training in federal agencies. I suspect it didn’t take much to convince.
Rufo has written prodigiously on critical race theory, school curricula and much more – using what new York magazine described as a “questionable report” – and was also a researcher at the Discovery Institute, another “think tank” that promotes “intelligent design”.
It is true that some parents oppose diversity work in schools. Of course they do, because they oppose school lunches, the grade Suzy got in geometry, or the books Billy reads in first grade English. But they are reacting to the bogus conservative campaign; the campaign is not a response to widespread parental concerns. And shouldn’t we aspire to raise children who will work for a more just society than we allow them to be?
I started this post with one more intention, which I look forward to. Who exactly is indoctrinating whom?
Objections to diversity, inclusion and equity programs are really gaining the upper hand, given that they come from the right wing of the right wing.
What about the millions of children, including my entire generation, who have been brainwashed into the myth of white Christian exceptionalism? Or how we learned that the Mexican-American and Spanish-American wars were fully justified as “manifest fate,” rather than the brutal conquests that they were? Or how the Native Americans were rejected as primitive savages and that the taking of their ancestral lands was our divine right? Or that the civil war was about the rights of states, not slavery?
When I was a young boy, why did my school never mention racism or Jim Crow? I was “brainwashed” every morning into believing that there was “freedom and justice for all”.
Why do all public schools in America require students to swear allegiance to concepts they are too young to understand? Why do they have to stipulate that they live “under God” when the existence of God is much more theoretical than critical race theory? The Constitution prohibits the establishment of a religion but does not say much about critical race theory.
Every day, the most vocal and influential GOP leaders pledge their allegiance to the most prolific political liar in American history and perpetuate the “Big Lie.” This indoctrination threatens the future of our democratic republic.
Political charlatans who lie about critical race theory describe an insurgency as tourism. They indoctrinate gullible supporters into believing that vaccines are more dangerous than the disease they prevent. A conservative Fox News commentator opposes vaccines because he believes the coronavirus is part of natural evolution and is the natural way to bring down the herd.
Conservatives are spending millions to produce propaganda claiming climate change is a hoax. But they oppose teaching children the undeniable truth of racism.
Martin Luther King Jr. wrote: “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. I think he was too generous.
Steve Nelson lives in Boulder, Colorado, and Sharon. He can be reached at [email protected]