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.