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By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
Call it the lie about Critical Race Theory that just won't die. The lie is that Critical Race Theory is somehow linked to the so-called Marxist Critical Theory dating back to 1790.
It is what conservatives want you to believe by repeating it over and over again in trying to paint the examination of race and racism played in law and institutions in this country into a wild Marxist plot to overturn the government.
Joining the craze questioning by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, of now future Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson in March during her confirmation hearing, First Liberty's Keisha Russell introduced it again during expert testimony.
"Critical race theory is a subset of critical theory that began with Immanuel Kant in the 1790s," Russell said in her testimony. "Critical theory rejected the principles of the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason on which the American republic was founded. … Today, in America, critical race theory teaches that whites are the oppressors."
The problem is that none of this is true. For Russell, who claims to be a constitutional scholar, to repeat this during a Supreme Court confirmation hearing is shameful. Thankfully, no Democrats bought into the rubbish and now Jackson, who said she never even studied Critical Race Theory, will sit on the highest court in the land.
But why does this lie continue to be repeated and, more importantly, why has it remained so effective in convincing lots of people that its true? True enough to a point where state legislatures across the country have passed or looking into bills banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory."
For starters, there is no link between Critical Race Theory and Critical Theory. It was made up whole cloth by conservative journalist Christopher Rufo in his long effort to find subjects to bolter conservatives. In short, the so-called connection is political spin which Rufo admits himself left him struggling to find even the slightest strands to make his case.
In making her statement about Critical Race Theory being a subtext of Critical Theory, Russell doesn't quote the founders of Critical Race Theory and actually examine their work and others on the subject, she uses a Washington Post opinion piece by Marc Thiessen, a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, and the former chief speechwriter for Republican President George W. Bush.
Really? Please. But this is what happens. Russell depends on you not doing your homework and taking her comments at face value without doing even the basics on the subject. This is exactly how half-truths, and disinformation are spread. You walk in with a theory, find any literature lying around that says the same thing you are saying it and present it without doing an ounce of rigorous research the public depends on us to do.
That has happened over and over again by those exploiting the complicated subject of Critical Race Theory. It is the reason why it is ONLY taught in law school and upper-level graduate classes. Yes, if they are teaching Critical Race Theory at your child's elementary school, those children are candidates for MENSA.
The Critical Race Theory movement actually developed from the work and writings of distinguished late Harvard University civil rights law professor Derrick Bell in the 1970s and 1980s, inspired by the Civil Rights Movement and its limited gains at the time. It probed how law and social structures set up from the birth of the country when it promoted slavery persists today and what can be done to eradicate those effects.
Even after a bloody Civil War, discrimination persistent through Jim Crow laws, excluding Blacks from the G.I. Bill, red lining, etc. Critical Race Theory tries to get at the heart of the lingering effects – and current practices still alive – that has created such a devastating outcome on the Black community and other people of color even though much of it goes sight unseen today.
Critical Race Theory reached the general masses with the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times 1619 Project which examined the founding of the country through the lens of race and how it impacted Blacks – how they were viewed and treated by law and social structures along with the long-term and short-term consequences that followed.
Conservatives have used the push-back as a rallying cry to accuse the movement of things that don't have anything to do with Critical Race Theory – including a Marxist plot.
Of course, we think the real target in all of this is to lessen or even eliminate the teaching of Black History, racism and slavery in the United States. It is time for historians, journalists and other communicators of goodwill to stand up and stop thinking these lies will just go away. Actually, they are being ingrained in the minds of people across all walks of life as the truth when it is clearly not.
Maybe Jackson's winning a seat on the Supreme Court could be a turning point but it's not enough. The anti-CRT machine will only be cranked up during the mid-term elections and we must speak truth against this nonsense at every turn or it will continue to have tragic consequences.
As African Americans, we know this better than anyone.
Question: Has Critical Race Theory come up at your school? What was the result? Respond in the Discussion section Below.
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