Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Don’t Ban CRT. Expose It.

Here’ my take on this “critical race theory” controversy.
“Conservatives” (at least those of the pop-culture variety) have started using “critical race theory” as a label for anything they find ideologically objectionable. The same way they use woke, SJW, politically correct, etc. Actual CRT is something much narrower than what they are pointing to.
But what “conservatives” usually do is identify something that is genuinely problematic and merits criticism, and bend such criticisms to their own obscurantist purposes, thereby making all criticisms of what they are attacking look foolish.
What they are rightfully pointing out is a shift among some sectors of “progressive” opinion away from “totalitarian humanism” (statist and other forms of institutionalized authoritarianism for the sake of enforcing ostensibly “progressive values” and the resurrection of pre-modern caste politics with an ostensibly “liberal” egalitarian gloss) toward what might be called “progressive National Socialism” which assumes a more specifically racial determinist outlook. For example, through the “medicalization” of races/ethnicities as the equivalent of diseases.
If you take the word “whiteness” out of the article I linked to in the comments below and replace it with another ethnic label, the article could be something out of some journal of pseudo-science published by the Third Reich.

By Andrew Sullivan

There’s a liberal way to fight illiberalism. And it’s beginning to work.

The stories in the mainstream media this past week about the broadening campaign to ban critical race theory in public schools have been fascinating — and particularly in how they describe what CRT is. Here’s the Atlantic’s benign summary of CRT: “recent reexaminations of the role that slavery and segregation have played in American history and the attempts to redress those historical offenses.” NBC News calls it the “academic study of racism’s pervasive impact.” NPR calls CRT: “teaching about the effects of racism.” The New York Times calls it, with a straight face, “classroom discussion of race, racism” and goes on to describe it as a “framework used to look at how racism is woven into seemingly neutral laws and institutions.”

How on earth could merely teaching students about the history of racism and its pervasiveness in the United States provoke such a fuss? No wonder Charles Blow is mystified. But don’t worry. The MSM have a ready explanation: the GOP needs an inflammatory issue to rile their racist base, and so this entire foofaraw is really just an astro-turfed, ginned-up partisan gambit about nothing. The MSM get particular pleasure in ridiculing parents who use the term “critical race theory” as shorthand for things that just, well, make them uncomfortable — when the parents obviously have no idea what CRT really is.

When pushed to describe it themselves, elite journalists refer to the legal theories Derrick Bell came up with, in the 1970s — obscure, esoteric and nothing really to do with high-school teaching. “If your kid is learning CRT, your kid is in law/grad school,” snarked one. Marc Lamont Hill even tried to pull off some strained references to Gramsci to prove his Marxian intellectual cred, and to condescend to his opponents.

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