BY LEN CABRERA
Just like the “equity” bait-and-switch Alachua County pulled with the charter amendment last November, advocates of critical race theory (CRT) use flowery language, misrepresentations, and intimidation to dismiss the true purpose and philosophical heritage of their radical agenda.
According to Education Week, CRT is just about “how racism has shaped public policy since the nation’s founding.” This is the language CRT proponents use to claim those who oppose CRT want to ignore the nation’s history of slavery and racial tensions. For example, after the State Board of Education banned CRT, Alachua County Education Association president Carmen Ward said CRT opponents are trying to whitewash history and added, “The State Board of Education needs to have more respect for our educations [sic] that are teaching students to think critically and to also understand our racial narrative in our country.”
The American Bar Association (reported by WCJB) claims CRT “critiques how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers.” That statement is pure garbage. People of color have served as U.S. President, U.S. Vice President, department secretaries, and in countless positions at the top of our national and state governments. Alachua County has a black sheriff, a black Supervisor of Elections, a black county commissioner, and two black school board members. The City of Gainesville has a black police chief and a black city commissioner (there were two black commissioners before Gail Johnson resigned). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a little over 20% of Alachua County’s residents are black. If this is a “racial caste system,” our nation and county must not be doing it right.
This overblown rhetoric about a “racial caste system” should warn people that CRT may not be what proponents claim it is. One of the original (and most incoherent) proponents of CRT is Derrick Bell. In a 1995 article in the University of Illinois Law Review, he claimed there is no objective truth, just “privileged choice.” He also said CRT cannot be criticized or understood by those who say CRT’s arguments are ineffective. So CRT cannot be true, criticized, or understood, but it must be implemented in classrooms.
The four cornerstones of CRT
To get an honest description of CRT (and know why it’s not appropriate for grade school students), you have to understand what CRT is built on. According to Delano Squires, there are “four cornerstones: Karl Marx’s conflict theory, Antonio Gramsci’s theory of cultural hegemony, the Frankfurt School’s critical theory, and Derrick Bell’s critical legal studies.”
At its core, CRT artificially divides history into white and black (as is done in classes like African-American history at Newberry High School). CRT is pseudo-scholarship that “is purposely political and dispenses with the idea of rights because it blames all inequalities of outcome on what its adherents say is pervasive racism” (Jonathan Butcher and Mike Gonzalez). It takes brave, intellectually honest teachers to stand up against CRT because anyone who sees though the lazy arguments of CRT proponents is accused of being racist.
Decades ago, when students at George Mason University demanded a new course on black economics, the faculty took it seriously until Walter Williams, the only black professor in the department, asked, “Which direction does a demand curve slope in Africa?” He was disgusted that the school even considered such a ridiculous suggestion because economic principles hold true regardless of race. Walter Williams was not shy about his views on the misrepresentation of black history, either.
CRT’s true purpose: activism and transformation
The key component of CRT that proponents always hide in these discussions is the true purpose: activism and transformation. In their book, Critical Race Theory (2017), Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic wrote, “Unlike some academic disciplines, critical race theory contains an activist dimension. It tries not only to understand our social situation but to change it.” CRT is just another tool in the “progressive” toolbox to destroy our nation’s founding principles. So when people claim elementary schools are not teaching CRT, they are partially correct. The schools are not teaching CRT academically, but they are implementing the CRT worldview to indoctrinate students, just like Derrick Bell suggested in 1995.
CRT proponents like to present themselves as ground-breaking, forward-thinking progressives, but the incoherent thinking behind their politics of envy dates back to Cain and Abel. In more modern times, their thinking comes from Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality (1755), which described two kinds of inequality: natural (physical) and moral (political). Rousseau wrote that political inequality comes from a king or is otherwise authorized “by the consent of men.” These inequalities–remember, according to Rousseau, these things only come about because one class oppresses other classes–include things like wealth, honor, and “different privileges.” (That same language is regurgitated today.)
If it seems CRT activists are determined to destroy our way of life, they’re simply following Rousseau’s guidance. He said his imagined “political inequality” would continue “until new revolutions completely dissolve the government or bring it nearer to a legitimate institution.” Of course, Rousseau never defined what a “legitimate institution” is.
The Declaration of Independence is based on individual rights
Our founders did not hesitate to define legitimate government in our Declaration of Independence as one that has the consent of the governed for the purpose of protecting individual rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Note that they listed individual rights, not group rights. They were against redistributionist policies because the “pursuit of happiness” was known to include the right to property as an extension of one’s own faculties and labor. For example, James Madison, the primary author of the U.S. Constitution, wrote: “Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.” (See his essay “Property” from 1792.)
That is clearly not the philosophical lineage of CRT proponents. They do not talk about individual rights but group power dynamics. They echo Rousseau, as do our city and county commissioners and school board members. That’s why they had a tyrannical COVID-19 response, determined to create new classes (masked and unmasked, vaccinated and unvaccinated) and why they are more concerned with the “rights” of people who don’t speak English or who are temporary residents of our area than with the people who have lived here for a lifetime and find themselves unable to afford rising GRU rates and property taxes.
Over time, Rousseau’s ramblings were further twisted by Georg Hegel (1820) to effectively deify the State (“The state as a completed reality is the ethical whole and the actualization of freedom.”) A couple decades later (1848), Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels imagined a fictitious war between the haves and have-nots. As with Rousseau, their proposed solution was a revolution to dissolve the status quo. Also like Rousseau, they do not define the conditions for their end-state “workers’ paradise.” (Similarly, COVID-19 lockdown proponents refuse to clearly define objective criteria to end their totalitarian policies.)
Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto feeds directly into CRT: “But these Socialist and Communist publications contain also a critical element. They attack every principle of existing society.” The point is to tear down existing society to make way for their unspecified utopia.
Recruiting minority groups to create a revolution
These dead white guys are the philosophical ancestors of today’s proponents of “equity” and CRT. For them, the “cause” effectively becomes the reason for existence. They are “true believers” who share the collective fantasy of “the infinite perfectibility of human nature… that by changing man’s environment and by perfecting a technique of soul forming, a society can be wrought that is wholly new and unprecedented” (Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, 1951).
The current manifestation of the envy crusade is directly descended from Herbert Marcuse, whose pseudo-intellectual gibberish in the 1960s failed to explain why there had been no Marxist uprising in the U.S. He butchered the language and redefined words to provide the illusion of academic rigor. Here’s a sample of his “thinking” from the 1965 essay, “Repressive Tolerance“:
“This essay examines the idea of tolerance in our advanced industrial society. The conclusion reached is that the realization of the objective of tolerance would call for intolerance toward prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions, and the extension of tolerance to policies, attitudes, and opinions which are outlawed or suppressed… Conversely, what is proclaimed and practiced as tolerance today, is in many of its most effective manifestations serving the cause of oppression.”
By the 1970s, Marcuse decided to recruit “oppressed social minorities” and the “women’s liberation movement” to fulfill Marx’s fanciful revolution, and critical theory was born. Like other types of Marxist analyses of society, critical theory is all about creating categories of oppressors and oppressed.
CRT questions the very foundations of the liberal order
In Critical Race Theory, Delgado and Stefancic described CRT as “a collection of activists and scholars engaged in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power… [CRT] questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law.”
Like Marx, the ultimate goal of CRT is to justify redistributive policies to reach some utopian equality of outcome. Delgado and Stefancic complained that under our system of government, “rights are almost always procedural (for example, to a fair process) rather than substantive (for example, to food, housing, or education).” This is the same negative vs. positive liberty debate that’s been going on for years. Even Barack Obama admitted that positive liberty is a violation of the U.S. Constitution, which prevents the government from doing things to us (negative liberty) but does not require or permit it to do stuff for us (positive liberty).
Also like Marx, CRT is inherently racist because it deals with group stereotypes and prejudices. CRT uses race rather than class and property ownership to create oppressor/oppressed groups. Derivative versions of CRT also include gender and ethnicity to bring more groups into the revolution. Lindsay Perez Huber, for example, pushes “Latina/o Critical Race Theory” (LATCRIT). In a 2010 article in Educational Foundations, she wrote: “Racism is defined as, the assigning of values to real or imagined differences in order to justify white supremacy, to the benefit of whites and at the expense of People of Color, and thereby defend the right of whites to dominance” (italics in the original). This is exactly what CRT does: it assumes all disparities in outcome are caused by race, so by Huber’s own definition, it is racist.
Emphasizing differences instead of similarities takes us in the wrong direction
Delano Squires says CRT is “a Marxist framework that causes racism and teaches people to judge each other based on skin color.” Squires relates more to Frederick Douglas than Ibram X. Kendi and likens the attitudes of CRT and antiracists to slave traders who treated blacks as property rather than people, writing that “[The respective conceptions of racist slave traders and antiracism advocates] have different starting points but they both reach the same conclusion–absent benevolent interventions, the American Negro is without agency, direction or purpose, a vessel of melanated chaos driven by historical trauma and extant oppression. Both groups see black people as incapable of moral reasoning and bearing no responsibility for our own actions.”
Here’s what Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, former chief of staff to Martin Luther King, Jr, wrote in 2015: “Today, too many ‘remedies’ — such as Critical Race Theory, the increasingly fashionable post-Marxist/postmodernist approach that analyzes society as institutional group power structures rather than on a spiritual or one-to-one human level — are taking us in the wrong direction: separating even elementary school children into explicit racial groups, and emphasizing differences instead of similarities.”
More colorful and entertaining responses to CRT can be found on YouTube from angry parents like Ty Smith, who agreed with Walker’s assessment and said CRT is “absolutely doing the complete reverse” of what Martin Luther King, Jr, argued for. This Colorado Springs father said that he is not oppressed and his kids are only victims of “their own ignorance, their own laziness, and their own poor decision-making.”
Our own ignorance, laziness, and poor decision-making empower our corrupt educational establishment to push CRT and present dishonest, incomplete accounts of our nation’s founding and history for the purpose of indoctrinating future radicals. Don’t trust the rehearsed talking points of CRT advocates. Read the original sources for yourself: Derrick Bell, Richard Delgado, Kimberle Crenshaw, Ibram X. Kendi, Robin DiAngelo, Nikole Hannah-Jones, etc. You can find excerpts of many of them in Mark Levin’s book American Marxism. Compare their ramblings to the governing philosophy espoused by our Founding Fathers in The Federalist Papers or search other original works at the Online Library of Liberty.
It’s also important to be aware that nice-sounding terms like diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, culturally-responsive teaching, and social-emotional learning are all related to CRT and are used to gain support from people who want everyone to have an opportunity to succeed. But all of these policies focus on equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity and actually implement the systemic racism that CRT proponents claim to oppose.
CRT is inherently racist and goes against the founding principles of our nation and the civil rights movement. Rather than being some new enlightenment movement, it continues a dark philosophical heritage that is shared by China, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela. It’s just rebranded Marxist ideology that always leaves suffering in its wake.