Truth Is What Our Schools Need

Truth Is What Our Schools Need

In the name of “antiracism,” racism is being taught to American children. Fundamental facts of our country and its founding principles are at best being overlooked and at worst being distorted and denied.

The following is excerpted from Hostages No More: The Fight for Education Freedom and the Future of the American Child, published today by Center Street.

The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020 set off a racial reckoning in the United States. The issue of race and how it is perceived and experienced in the United States was suddenly everywhere. Much of this national soul-searching has been a long-needed corrective. It has opened many Americans’ eyes to the experiences of their fellow Americans. It has shown us that life for some of our countrymen and women is marked by injustice and inequality. It has taken us back to the dream of Martin Luther King Jr., who called for the promise of the American founding—of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—to be guaranteed to all Americans.

But this reckoning has also called forth a poisonous ideology that rejects the belief in the fundamental goodness of America held by Dr. King. It is an ideology that writes off America as irredeemably racist—founded on the exploitation of minorities, especially African-Americans, and dedicated to their continued exploitation. This America is divided into oppressors and the oppressed. White people are racist simply because they’re white. Other groups are automatically victims by virtue of the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, or their perceived gender. Far from being rooted in judging people by the “content of their character,” the America portrayed by this ideology is divided and at odds. And it can’t be healed. It can only be torn down and remade.

Critical race theory (CRT) became the catch-all phrase for all the racialized, divisive ideas about race being taught. Parents of all political persuasions and races were alarmed by what they saw. Their children, they believed, were being taught to hate their country and themselves. The education establishment responded to parents’ growing concern with condescension, denial, and technicalities. Defenders of the new teaching, from President Biden to school union bosses to members of the Loudoun County school board, told parents they were seeing things. What they claimed was on their children’s computer screens wasn’t there because, they said, CRT is not being taught in elementary or high schools. It was a “decades old” theory taught only in colleges and law schools.

That was and is a complete evasion. It may be true that CRT is taught in colleges and law schools, but that doesn’t mean the racism that animates it hasn’t found its way into elementary and high school classrooms. It has.

In 2019, an audit of Loudoun County schools by a consulting firm called Equity Collaborative concluded that the district’s public schools were a “hostile learning environment” for minority students and teachers. The county then paid the same firm almost $400,000 to create and implement a “Comprehensive Equity Plan.” Loudoun County High School changed its mascot from the “Raiders”—which was linked to Confederates in the Civil War—to the “Captains.” They produced a video apologizing for segregation. Teachers were required to undergo training for “cultural sensitivity.”

One of the training programs the Equity Collaborative offers teachers is called “Introduction to Critical Race Theory.” It defines CRT as centered on “the permanence of racism” in America. It is embedded in our system and even in the beliefs we hold. To overcome this internalized racism, teachers and students must reject tenets of liberal democracy such as “color-blindness, the neutrality of the law, incremental change, and equal opportunity for all.” These ideas function, the program continues, not to protect the inalienable rights of all, but to “allow whites to feel consciously irresponsible for the hardships people of color face and encounter daily and also maintain whites’ power and strongholds within society.”

In other words, the foundations of liberal democracy only perpetuate racism and injustice. But what were teachers supposed to do with this information? Keep it to themselves? Teach it in a law school class? No. The prompt for the final breakout session of “Introduction to Critical Race Theory” asked teachers to contemplate “How might you use CRT to identify and address systemic oppression in your school, district, or organization?”

Some Loudoun County teachers complained about a chart used in the training sessions that broke down Americans into two groups—one that “experiences privilege” and the other that “experiences oppression.” Christians were listed among the privileged, while non-Christians were deemed oppressed.

None of this stopped Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate for Virginia governor in 2021, from claiming that it was I who had “made up” CRT.

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