The Long-Term Impact of CRT: Over the last several months, officials nationwide have attempted to ban critical race theory. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
Top Story: The Long-Term Impact of CRT
“Over the last several months, officials nationwide have raced to enact new laws and introduce new policies meant to shape how students discuss the nation’s past — and its present,” Cathryn Stout and Gabrielle LaMarr LeMee report for Chalkbeat. “Many of these efforts have attempted to ban critical race theory (CRT), the academic framework that examines how policies and the law perpetuate systemic racism. … The two maps below provide a snapshot of this turning point in American history and education.” In orange, Chalkbeat tracked 27 efforts to restrict education on racism, bias, the contributions of specific racial or ethnic groups to US history, or related topics. In green, the non-profit education news group tracked 11 efforts to expand education on racism, bias, the contributions of specific racial or ethnic groups to US history, or related topics. Here’s what both sides are saying about critical race theory:
On The Left
Left-leaning commentators think critical race theory is a valid academic field that should be introduced in schools across the country. They believe the GOP is attempting to galvanize its base by painting CRT as the new “bogeyman.”
“Fights against critical race theory are about power, and the left should stop engaging.” Maurice Mitchell, USA Today Opinion: “Spoiler alert: Critical race theory isn’t taught at a single K-12 public school in the country. …But if you’ve been following legislations popping up in statehouses and school board meetings from coast to coast, it’d be easy to think it has been a part of our curriculums for decades. … That effort isn’t about critical race theory; it’s about power and who gets to shape ideas. … Critical race theory isn’t the first term taken out of context by some on the right in order to create a boogeyman that misleads the public. It’s just the latest. … The backlash against critical race theory may not be based on anything real, but its threat to racial progress certainly is real. If bad actors brand racial equity and anti-racism as anti-white and anti-American, the stories we tell ourselves about America become less biography and more hagiography. If we raise a generation to believe all is well, we effectively halt the progress of what we could be.”
“The GOP’s Sharia Law Liars Are Hyping Critical Race Theory Now” Wajahat Ali, The Daily Beast: “Over a decade ago, I remember seeing a similar movie called ‘The Sharia Threat’ as a non-existent problem was transformed into a national ‘crisis’ within a few months. … Conservatives are now relying on the same strategy to attack CRT as an insidious, unpatriotic movement that seeks to attack white people and ‘dismantle the United States.’ … Here’s the four-step script that they’re using, and how progressives should respond this time. … Step 1: Manufacture the Bogeyman … Step 2: Re-define the bogeyman as an existential threat … Step 3: Galvanize the base … Step 4: Make laws to ban your bogeyman, and sell voters on the threat … They switched the villains but remained loyal to the same tried and true script, because why mess with a winning formula?”
“GOP’s ‘critical race theory’ astroturfing is the new tea party.” Hayes Brown, MSNBC: The culture war over critical race theory “gives me flashbacks to the early days of the Obama administration. The first tea party marches and protests began in 2009, just months after the election of the first Black president. … Fast forward to 2021 and the same people who were organizing and mobilizing the tea party’s forces are still calling the shots in the MAGA movement’s attempted return to power. The only difference is there’s no need to pretend that this isn’t about race. In fact, the grievances of white conservatives are now front and center. … Look no further than the Politico article from last week, which quotes Steve Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News and one-time senior White House staffer under Trump: ‘This is the Tea Party to the 10th power,’ Steve Bannon, Trump’s former adviser who has zeroed in on local school board fights over critical race theory, said in an interview. “This isn’t Q, this is mainstream suburban moms — and a lot of these people aren’t Trump voters.'”
On The Right
Right-leaning commentators call out left-leaning outlets for trying to gloss over the true essence of critical race theory. They view it as a Marxist ideology meant to divide and conquer the electorate.
“Battle Over Critical Race Theory” Christopher F. Rufo, Wall Street Journal: “Sensing that they are losing control of the narrative on race, left-leaning media outlets have launched a furious counterattack. Liberal pundits at the New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, and elsewhere have begun spinning a new mythology that presents critical race theory as a benign academic concept, casts its detractors as right-wing extremists driven by racial resentment, and portrays legislation against critical race theory as an attempt to ban teaching about the history of slavery and racism. All three charges are false. First, critical race theory isn’t an exercise in promoting racial sensitivity or understanding history. It’s a radical ideology that seeks to use race as a means of moral, social, and political revolution. … Second, the grassroots movement against critical race theory is nonpartisan, multiracial, and mainstream. … Third, state legislation about critical race theory bans a specific set of pedagogies—not teaching about history. … Critical race theory is a dangerous ideology that will take the nation into racial retrograde; Americans should have no hesitation in opposing it.”
“Moms Must Keep Hammering School Boards Until Critical Race Theory Is Dead” Carina Benton, The Federalist: “There have been few things more glorious to witness in recent weeks than the impressive array of courageous and relentless mothers around the country lambasting school boards for their support of vile critical race theory. These moms of different socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds are confronting and boldly holding to account school board members, administrators, and teachers who are indoctrinating innocent children with a destructive ideology. … It turns out everyday women don’t want their children being brainwashed to view the world through the lens of ‘whiteness,’ white racism, and white privilege. … Moms flexing their muscles may be exactly what’s necessary to force ethically delinquent school boards back into the sphere of integrity, intellectualism, academic rigor, and basic morality.”
“Critical race theory spreading – but parents pushing back and here’s how conservatives can help” Newt Gingrich, Fox News: “According to CRT, racism is a social construction that pervades every aspect of American life, benefiting all White people (regardless of their socio-economic standing) at the expense of non-White people. Advocates of CRT believe the solution is to undo many of the cornerstones of American society. The theory is a form of cultural Marxism based on race rather than class. … The media portrays CRT as a serious academic field confined to law schools. … It’s telling how adamant the left is about CRT only being taught in law school. Evidently, they know how bad it would look for CRT to be taught to younger kids. … Which of course is happening across the county. … On the surface, it may seem progressives are winning as CRT infects schools across America, but the fight against this racist indoctrination is really a winning issue for conservatives. … Because the American people know better and won’t be fooled by those pushing CRT on our children.”
Flag This: The Long-Term Impact of CRT
According to a June 18-20 Morning Consult/Politico survey, “30% of GOP voters said they’ve seen, read, or heard a lot about critical race theory, compared with 21% of Democrats. 48% of GOP voters view critical race theory negatively, including 42% who do so strongly. 32% say critical race theory should be taught in schools; 36% disagree.”
Whether you support or oppose critical race theory, one thing is for certain: the maps above highlight a potentially devastating long-term issue for the country. If children in different states are taught two different versions of American history, or at least asked to view it through two different lenses, existing culture wars will only be exacerbated for future generations. Any family, team, company, or country needs a shared set of beliefs to function as a cohesive, successful unit. Imagine a sports team wherein all offensive players learn a different playbook than their defensive counterparts. This would create confusion, lead to frustration, and usher in finger pointing and name calling. This is a microcosm of what’s happening on a national scale with CRT. It feels like establishing two different perceptions of the past will only set in motion a collision course for the future.
Flag Poll: The Long-Term Impact of CRT
Have you ever heard of critical race theory? If so, do you think it should be taught in schools across the country? Comment below to share your thoughts.