By Danny Haiphong, Black Agenda Report
Whatever the strengths and limitations of Critical Race Theory, the debate over its usefulness to establishment circles is indicative of the American Empire’s rapid decline
“The months-long protests and rebellions against racist policing forced the establishment to take a position on the United States’ ongoing legacy of apartheid.”
Critical Race Theory has become the latest target of the White Man’s Party (Republican) in its ongoing struggle for ideological primacy over the Democrats. Several primarily Republican state legislatures have banned Critical Race Theory from K-12 curriculums. At its core, the debate is a contest between factions of the U.S. ruling elite over how to best preserve the decaying legitimacy of American exceptionalism amid collapsing empire.
A recent spat between Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz and Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff General Mark Milley brought the contest between factions of the ruling class to a national audience . When pressed at a budget hearing by Republican lawmakers, Milley defended the use of Critical Race Theory in West Point’s curriculum. “I want to understand white rage, and I’m white” said Milley, who added, “I’ve read Mao Zedong, I’ve read Karl Marx, I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist.”
First, it is important to understand what Critical Race Theory is and isn’t. Critical Race Theory is an academic field of study that emerged from the work of scholars such as Derrick Bell and Kimberlé Crenshaw. Much of Critical Race Theory centers on race in the context of legal and institutional power and has become immensely influential in the debate over diversity and inclusion within universities, legal institutions, and corporate boardrooms. Critical Race Theory is neither akin to communism nor is it a generalized curriculum employed uniformly across public school settings. Some on the Black Left, including the late BAR editor Bruce Dixon, have criticized aspects of Critical Race Theory for their marginalization of class analysis and negation of the possibility for solidarity.