States are right to pass laws against teaching critical race theory

www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2021/07/06/critical-race-theory-schools-racism-origins-classroom/7635551002/

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Title States are right to pass laws against teaching critical race theory
Description State legislatures are wise to ban schools from promoting race essentialism, collective guilt and racial superiority theory.
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ExploringFightforReparations,RacialJusticeAcrosstheCountryAcollectionofcartoonsonPresidentBiden,climatechange,TheboardoperatesbyconsensusandreachesitsopinionsindependentlyfromanyotherpartofUSATODAYoritsparentcompany,Gannett.Columns&LettersNewsSportsEntertainmentLifeMoneyTechTravelOpinionSubscribeVOICESWhatIdiscoveredaboutcriticalracetheoryinpublicschoolsandwhyitshouldn'tbetaughtStatelegislaturesarewisetobanschoolsfrompromotingraceessentialism,collectiveguiltandracialsuperioritytheory.ChristopherF.RufoOpinioncontributorYou’rereadingStatesarerighttopassCRTlawsForotherviews,read:Leavecriticalracetheorytoschools|TeachingcriticalracetheoryispatrioticAmericaisupinarmsaboutcriticalracetheoryinpublicschools.Lawmakers inCalifornia andschooldistrictsinWashingtonand Oregonhaveintroducedormandatedaspectsofcriticalracetheoryinthecurriculum;lawmakersinTexas,Idaho,Oklahoma and,mostrecently,Florida havepassedlegislationprohibitingteachersfrompromotingcriticalracetheoryintheclassroom. Butdespiteallofthefurorsurroundingthesebills,manyAmericansstilldonothaveafirmgraspofwhatcriticalracetheoryisandhowitmanifestsinpublicschools.I’maseniorfellow withthepublicpolicythinktankthe ManhattanInstitute andhaverecentlycompletedamultipartinvestigativeseriesaboutcriticalracetheoryinpublicschools–andwhatIdiscoveredshockedmetothecore. Criticalracetheory:WhatisitandwhydoRepublicansopposeteachingitinschools?Whatiscriticalracetheory?First,adefinition:CriticalracetheoryisanacademicdisciplinethatclaimsthattheUnitedStateswasfoundedonracism,oppression andwhitesupremacy–andthattheseforcesarestillattherootofoursociety. Somesupportersofcriticalracetheoryclaimitismerelya"lens,"arguingthat"raceisasocialconstruct" andthatracismis"systemic"notindividual, butthisisastrategicretreatthatfailstograpplewithsomeofthetheory'smorecontroversialconcepts.CriticalracetheoryreformulatestheoldMarxistdialecticofoppressorandoppressed,replacingtheclasscategoriesofbourgeoisieandproletariatwiththeidentitycategoriesofwhiteandBlack. Butthebasicconclusionisthesame:Inordertoliberateman,societymustbefundamentallytransformedthroughmoral,economic andpoliticalrevolution. Weneedcriticalracetheory:MyTexaspublicschoolsanitizedhistory,facilitatedinjusticeInsimpleterms,criticalracetheorycanbeseenasaformof“race-basedMarxism"; theyshareacommonconceptualframework. Criticalracetheorywasderivedfrom “criticaltheory,”a20thcenturyideology sometimescalled“neo-Marxism.”CriticalracetheoryinschoolsTothesurpriseofmanyAmericans,thisbasicpackageofideashasbecomepartofthecurriculuminsome schooldistrictsacrossthecountry.TheresultinglessonsI’vediscoveredthroughmyreportingaredeeplydivisiveandIbelieve borderonpoliticalindoctrination: ►InCupertino,California,anelementaryschoolforcedthird-graderstodeconstruct theirracialandsexualidentities,thenrankthemselvesaccordingtotheir“powerandprivilege.”►InSpringfield,Missouri,amiddleschoolforcedteachersinadiversitytrainingsession tolocatethemselvesonan“oppressionmatrix.” Thetrainerstoldstraight,white,English-speaking,Christianmalesthattheyaremembersoftheoppressorclassandhandoutswarnedof “covertwhitesupremacy.”►InNewYorkCity,apublicschoolprincipalsentparents literatureincluding"toolsforaction" and touting“whitetraitors” andadvocating forfull“whiteabolition.”►AndinPortland,Oregon,myinvestigationfoundthatstudentsarenotonlysubjectedtoacriticalracetheorycurriculum,butalsotrainedtodeveloptheirso-calledwhiteidentity andaretaughtaboutracialjusticeinthetermsof"revolutionand/orresistance." USATODAYOpinionnewsletter:Gettheday'sbestinsightsinyourinbox.Inpractice,criticalracetheoryinschoolsisaformofstate-sanctionedracism.Thelessonstrafficinthreekeyconcepts:raceessentialism,collectiveguilt andracialsuperioritytheory.First,theselessonsprimarilyreduceindividualstudentstotheracialcategoriesof“white,”“Black”and“peopleofcolor,”whicharethenloadedwithvalueconnotations–“white”studentsarelabeled“oppressors,”while“Black”studentsarelabeled“oppressed.”Don'tembracefalseequivalents:Racialequityisimportant,butitdoesn'ttrumptherighttoexcelNext,thisframeworkteachesstudentstothinkthattheybearresponsibilityforandarethebeneficiariesofhistoricalcrimescommitted byindividualswhosharedthesameskincolor;consequently,theymustatonefortheir “whiteprivilege."Criticalracetheoristsinpractice sometimesrefer tothisas"internalizedracialsuperiority"withinwhitepeople.Finally,criticalracetheoryascribesamoralsuperioritytoindividualsbasedontheirrace–whitesaredeemedinherentlyracistandoppressivebecause,asaBuffaloPublicSchoolslessonphrasedit, "allwhitepeopleplayapartinperpetuatingsystemicracism"; peopleofcolor,bycontrast,aredeemedbythistheoryinherentlyvirtuousandliberatory. StatesarepushingbackStatelegislatures,worriedthatchildrenwillbeindoctrinatedintothisdestructiveideology,areabsolutelyrighttoprohibittheselessonsinpublicschools.Criticalracetheoristshavetherighttoexpresstheirbeliefsasindividuals,buttaxpayersarenotobligatedtosubsidizetheirbeliefsandincorporatethemintheschoolcurriculum.Legislationprohibitingcriticalracetheory achievesthreeimportantprotections.First,theyprotectstudents’andteachers’FirstAmendmentrightofconscience–theycannotbecompelledtobelieveinracialtheoriesthatviolatetheirsenseofbasicdignity.Second,theyupholdthebasicpremiseofthe14thAmendment,whichguaranteesthatindividualsmustbetreatedequallyunderthelaw,regardlessofrace.Third,thelegislationensuresthatastate’spublicinstitutionsreflectthevaluesofthepublic–inarepresentativedemocracy,votersdecidewhichvaluestotransmitthroughpublicschools,andlegislatorshavetheright,eventheduty,toshapethecurriculumtothoseends. Excellenceispunished:AsianAmericanstudentshaveatargetontheirbacksthankstocriticalracetheoryUltimately,thebeautyofthestatelegislationisthatitispoliticallyneutral.ThelegislationinTexas,forinstance, prohibitsschoolsfromrequiringormakingpartofacourse theideas thatanyraceis“inherentlysuperiortoanother,”thatanindividual “bearsresponsibilityforactionscommittedinthepastbyothermembersofthesamerace,”orthatanindividualshould“receiveadversetreatmentsolelyorpartlybecauseofhisorherrace.” ThebillswouldoutlawaKuKluxKlan-sponsoredcurriculum aswellasaCRT-sponsoredcurriculum.Liberals,moderates andconservativesshouldunitebehindthissimpleproposition:Publicschoolsshouldnotpromotestate-sanctionedracism,nomattertheintentionandnomatterthetarget.Americansofallbackgroundsshouldsupportthislegislation–andaskwhy,afterdecadesofprogress,somepoliticalfactionswanttodragthecountrybackintotheuglypoliticsofracialdivision.ChristopherF.Rufo isaseniorfellowanddirectoroftheinitiativeoncriticalracetheoryattheManhattanInstitute.Heisalsoacontributingeditorat CityJournal. FollowhimonTwitter: @realchrisrufoAboutUsNewsroomStaffEthicalPrinciplesCorrectionsPressReleasesAccessibilitySitemapTermsofServiceYourCaliforniaPrivacyRights/PrivacyPolicyPrivacyPolicyDoNotSellMyInfo/CookiePolicyContactUsHelpCenterMyAccountGiveFeedbackGetHomeDeliveryeNewspaperUSATODAYShopLicensing&ReprintsAdvertiseCareersInternshipsSupportLocalBusinessNewsTipsSubmittingletterstotheeditorPodcastsNewslettersMobileAppsFacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedInPinterestYouTubeRedditFlipboardRSS10BestReviewedJobsMoonlightingSportsWeeklyStudioGannettUSATODAYSports+ClassifiedsTheCityTheWallStorytellers©2021USATODAY,adivisionofGannettSatelliteInformationNetwork,LLC.
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