Critical Race Theory, abbreviated CRT for those who can’t spell Critical or Race or Theory, is a complicated concept. It began as a law school study in the 1970s and '80s as legal scholars sought to understand the changes brought about by the Civil Rights Movement. What they discovered is that systemic racism is still prevalent in our society.
That’s a far cry from the twisted interpretation those on the right are pushing. Instead, they have defined CRT as a method of indoctrination being used by Liberal educators to make their White students ashamed of their national heritage. They claim it is being taught in classrooms from kindergarten on up as part of a Woke ideology.
These definitions are as far apart as night and day. One explores the complex issues of social and economic inequality as a law school subject, while the other purports that it is some nefarious plot against White Americans that is being force-fed to elementary students in classrooms all over the nation.
Conservatives have used the boogeyman of CRT to hijack school boards all over the country. Politicians are running on the platform of eliminating Critical Race Theory from our classrooms.
That is the equivalent of a nothing burger since it never existed in the first place. So, they will claim credit for eliminating something that was never there to begin with.
Nice job, Republicans! No doubt you will next claim to have found Bigfoot, uncovered the set where the moon landing hoax was perpetrated, and made the monumental scientific breakthrough that water is indeed wet.
But, as it turns out, they have a solution…sort of. An Oklahoma school superintendent has proposed that it would be allowable to teach about Black history, such as the Tulsa race massacre, so long as you don’t mention race as a factor. That way, White students wouldn’t be made to feel ashamed of the role their relatives played in the horrific events. In echoing a distorted version of Martin Luther King’s speech, he reasoned that students should not be judged on their skin color. It’s certainly ironic that those trying to erase Black history are using Dr. King’s words to do it.
Apparently, it’s now unacceptable to say someone is inferior just because of their skin color. At least that’s the case if you are White. Blacks are still being abused by law enforcement. Asian-Americans are being told to “go back to where you came from”. Muslims and Jews face religious persecution and threats, and even acts, of violence.
But hey, let’s not discuss that because it might make some White students feel bad.
The Florida Model of Critical Race Theory for Dummies
Facist Florida Governor (and hopeless candidate for president) Ron DeSantis has been attacking educators on a regular basis. If it’s not his hatred of the LBGTQ community, it’s his distorted interpretation of CRT, not to mention his color blind “solution”.
DeSantis has declared that Florida is “where woke goes to die”. No Ron, it’s where right-wing retirees go to die. It’s home of the Early Bird Special and sprawling MAGA communities like The Villages, where golf carts outnumber automobiles but run a close second to motorized wheelchairs.
So, it’s not a surprise that, in a land populated by Archie Bunkers, you would have a state longing for “The Good Old Days” of Jim Crow where women knew their place and homosexuality was something you kept in a closet. Their Maalox addled minds, hyped up on Viagra, long for the carefree halcyon days of the 1950s suburban lifestyle of white picket fences and White neighborhoods.
The Florida Model is being spurred on by paranoia. Right-wing media is pushing the Great Replacement Theory, that is based on the conspiracy theory that Democrats want open borders because illegal immigrations will somehow overwhelm god-fearing White Americans with their satanic ways. It’s a scare tactic similar to when the NRA makes the false claim that Democrats are out to get your precious guns whenever someone proposes sensible gun control legislation.
And DeSantis is only too happy to fuel this paranoia by attacking teachers who, he claims, are indoctrinating children with their woke Liberal agenda. He has taken to attacking the teaching of Black history as an example of this, declaring it to be the perfect example of CRT. He is using this fear mongering to ban books and re-write curriculum in a twisted way.
His self-appointed members of the Florida Department of (mis) Education have determined that it’s okay to teach about the Tulsa Race Massacre so long as you compare it to the Black Lives Matter protests. Also, the 1920 Ocoee and 1923 Rosewood Florida massacres could only be discussed as “acts of violence perpetrated against and by African Americans“. They also want it taught that slaves were actually able to personally benefit from their bondage by learning a marketable skill. (Not likely they’d be allowed to get any financial benefits from it, but that’s a distraction from the tremendous “advantages” gained from their captivity).
Never mind that this is eerily similar to the proposed, and rejected, Texas textbooks that suggested some slaves were actually happy to be in their situation. It’s what White parents want their children to be taught, and not the actual history being presented by professional educators, that matters, especially when it comes to DeSantis and his racist cronies remaining in office.
There you have it. Critical Race Theory for Dummies.
Moms for Liberty (And Other Misleading Labels)
The Proud Boys are primarily middle-aged men. The Oath Keepers say they are protecting the Constitution, but they have blatantly violated this oath by attempting to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. The Boogaloo Bois got their name from a B movie sequel (Breaking 2: Electric Boogaloo ) that was based upon a dance craze that most of their members are too young to remember.
So, as far as names go, none of these groups is what they say they are. The same is true about Moms for Liberty. If anything, they want to take away the liberties of already marginalized groups like the LBGTQ population, immigrants and minorities. They want to ban books and hijack curriculum that fails to meet their right-wing, religious-based expectations.
The pandemic created a new breed of domestic terrorists. They were grounded in conspiracy theories, founded in religious hypocrisy and hounded those who didn’t agree with them. The group Moms for Liberty was anything but.
They called the coronavirus a hoax and mocked mask mandates and safety precautions such as mask wearing and social distancing as they harassed educators into returning to the classroom and made certain parents’ rights were heard when it came to these protocols, causing some school districts to abandon these sensible measures in favor of the more vocal minority.
They had yet to coalesce as an organized movement but were still able to hijack school board meetings and threaten members to to the point many resigned or did not seek reelection. They took that opening to place those with similar ideologies on school boards throughout the country. It was then that they became more organized as they recognized that there is strength in numbers.
Once in control of the school boards they took over by intimidating the former members, they began to organize into a national movement. They were labeled an extremist group after one of their chapters quoted Hitler to defend their racist, anti-LBGTQ motives. They also have an affiliation with the right-wing Proud Boys.
Despite, or maybe because of, their extremist views, many Republicans seeking to be their party’s nominee in 2024 are seeking their endorsement. It’s because they share their beliefs. They see their facist ideas as a means of gaining power. They admire how they are transforming education into a propaganda tool to promote the very indoctrination process they accuse Liberals of instilling.
If this process is successful, there will be nothing left of our democracy. Our once great nation will devolve into an authoritarian theocracy similar to the Taliban we fought in our nation’s longest war. America as we know it will cease to exist as we are brought down by extreme nationalism and dangerous ideologies.
We can’t let that happen. Vote Blue!