Since the Republican Party has absolutely no interest in addressing the material concerns of the American people—because doing so would necessitate shoveling less money to wealthy donors and corporations through tax cuts—conservative politicians are forced to rely on inane culture war issues to keep their voters distracted from the things that actually affect their day to day lives. This strategy in turn necessitates a constant stream of newly manufactured controversies to get worked up over and the latest one off the conveyor belt is the outrage over Critical Race Theory.
Boiled down to its simplest form, Critical Race Theory is an approach to studying extant laws, institutions, and cultural norms through a lens that recognizes the historic, systemic racism baked into all of them on some level. Its aim is to build a more fair and equitable society by identifying areas where racism still exerts influence.
Republicans refuse to even acknowledge that systemic racism exists and so they are trying to present Critical Race Theory as some twisted form of reverse racism. They have begun to push the false narrative that Critical Race Theory is being used to teach young white children that they are evil, racist creatures when the reality is that CRT is largely relegated to the upper echelons of academia. There is a concerted effort by right-wingers to turn CRT into a catch-all scare phrase for anything they don’t like, much the same way as they have redefined the term “Marxism.”
It was only a matter of time before former President Donald Trump decided to weigh in on the reactionary bugaboo du jour and today he published an Op-Ed doing just that. In a piece entitled “A Plan to Get Divisive & Radical Theories Out of Our Schools” published on RealClearPolitics, Trump whines about CRT and outlines his plan to fight it. Given his well-documented aversion to reading, it seems most likely that Trump had someone else write the Op-Ed for him and then simply slapped his name on it.
The piece starts off by accusing Biden of dividing America along the lines of “race and gender at every turn,” an incredibly hypocritical smear coming from a man who got elected on a racist platform and proceeded to spend much of his presidency attacking people of color and targeting immigrants along the border.
Trump goes on to claim that President Biden is “indoctrinating America’s schoolchildren with some of the most toxic and anti-American theories ever conceived.” He incorrectly asserts that these children are being taught that they are “evil,” a popular right-wing talking point with no basis in reality. Trump writes that Critical Race Theory is being used to “brainwash” students and that it teaches them to judge people based on “the color of their skin.” CRT does no such thing, but Trump has no interest in the truth. This Op-Ed is about scaring white voters.
The lengthy article goes on to call teaching Critical Race Theory—which is not actually a part of the curriculum in American schools—a path to “national suicide.” Trump and his fellow Republicans have a twofold approach here. First, they want to convince Americans that Critical Race Theory is an existential threat, then they want to redefine any teaching of racist history as Critical Race Theory. The ultimate goal is to ban any discussion of racism in the classroom, further empowering the racists who deny racism exists.
In the Op-Ed, Trump eventually lays out his multi-step strategy for defeating CRT:
- State legislatures ban cutting taxpayer funding for any school or employer that teaches Critical Race Theory.
- Each state creates a “1776 Commission” to ensure students receive “a patriotic, pro-American education.”
- Schools make lesson plans available to parents so they can remain vigilant against CRT.
- Parents “organize locally” to fight “political indoctrination” in schools.
- Parents are given an “automatic voucher” if they object to what their child is being taught so they can send their child to a different school.
- States clamp down to make sure that teaching credentials are not given to people who are “radicalized” and ensure that teachers “instill a sense of love for America” in students.
- Remove tenure at public K-12 schools.
The Op-Ed concludes with more fearmongering as Trump urges parents to act to save their children “before it is too late.” It must be reiterated that this entire so-called controversy has been conjured from thin air by conservatives so they have something new to complain about. Trump’s steps are completely unnecessary because not only is Critical Race Theory not what he claims it is, it’s not even being taught to students.
Read the full piece here.
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