In a clearly desperate attempt to maintain the illusion that Critical Race Theory (CRT) is only about diversity and racial healing, author Kevin Kruse pulls out nearly every trick in the book to try to counter Ted Cruz's plain-talk truth telling.
In a surprise move, he does not attempt to use some narrow academic definition of CRT in an attempt to claim that what's going on across the country is something different, so sadly no Marxist dialectics or discussions of pedagogy and praxis (which always makes me think of Romulan home worlds anyway).
No, he leans all the way in on CRT, so I will too for purposes of this discussion.
Incidentally, among the titles that MSNBC used in various media formats for this article was this (being used on the web page as of this writing):
Ted Cruz's erroneous definition of critical race theory explains white America
He basically self-owns himself (or his editor does) before he even starts. Of course, he doesn't believe there is anything wrong with saying explicitly racist things ("white America?!") because race is a "fiction," but we'll get to that shortly.
Let's start at the beginning.
At the conservative Faith and Freedom Forum this past week, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, launched an attack on critical race theory. Such rants have become a staple for Republicans lately, but Cruz set himself apart by asserting that the legal theory was "every bit as racist as the Klansmen in white sheets."
Cruz offered no evidence for these claims, because there is none.
Or, put another way,
"Are you going to believe me, or your own lying eyes?"
The author is correct that Ted Cruz did not include extensive footnotes and citations in his speech, but if Kruse truly has not seen any evidence of what Cruz is talking about it is because he is deliberately ignoring it.
We have detailed the explicit racism in the current CRT teachings taking place at corporations and schools across the country. This is but one example among dozens.
Back to the article.
To say this is nonsense feels painfully obvious.
The Ku Klux Klan's ideology began with the premise that racial differences were an obvious biological and scientific fact and that all human activities had to be organized around that fact; critical race theorists take as their starting point the belief that race is a fiction, that it's an invented concept that has no basis in biology or science.
It is true, CRT proponents routinely make mouth sounds that resemble an assertion that race is merely a social construct hoping it will provide some air cover for the explicit racism that follows.
As air cover goes, it's right up there with what the Arizona got in 1941.
Regardless, they think that inoculates them and so they feel free to proceed and talk about "whiteness," "white people," "people of color," and generally speak in patently racist terms incessantly.
Make no mistake, CRT proponents can't stop talking about race. It's all they talk about. It's all they think about. It doesn't matter what its origin, social, biological, metaphysical, it's a distinction without a difference.
If you punch someone in the face because she is Asian, it doesn't matter whether you consider being Asian a social construct or a biological one. She's still going to need the same number of stitches.
The Klan worked to put its racist beliefs into action through Jim Crow laws in the South and immigration restrictions for the nation as a whole; critical race theorists have devoted themselves to identifying the remainders of that racism in the law and rooting it out.
They don't want to "root it out." They want to replace it with a new and all-encompassing improved racism. Here is some more of that evidence that Kruse doesn't believe exists.
And, most obviously, the KKK was a terrorist organization responsible for decades of white supremacist violence that included thousands of murders, mutilations and bombings of African Americans and other minorities. The law school professors behind critical race theory are not.
That's true. It's also true that Klan members wore white hoods whereas critical race theorists wear condescending smirks.
It's a logical fallacy to pluck out one attribute of a group, note that that attribute is absent in another group, and then conclude that there are no important similarities between the two.
Cruz said, to quote again:
"Critical race theory is bigoted, it is a lie and it is every bit as racist as the Klansman in white sheets."
That the Klan used violence and CRT proponents use threats of termination or academic failure is irrelevant to Cruz's specific argument. It's still "bigoted," "a lie," and "every bit as racist as the Klansman in white sheets."
"Critical race theory says every white person is a racist," the senator asserted. "Critical race theory says America's fundamentally racist and irredeemably racist. Critical race theory seeks to turn us against each other and if someone has a different color skin, seeks to make us hate that person."
Cruz offered no evidence for these claims, because there is none.
None that Kruse knows about or bothered to even look into. Again.
Making believe there is no evidence as opposed to addressing it honestly is one of the most anti-intellectual acts you can commit. This, from a professor of history at Princeton.
We need new elites.
Far from arguing that individual white people are all racist, critical race theorists assert that focusing on the actions of individuals is meaningless because racism is more deeply rooted in larger structural and systemic problems.
We've been detailing this sleight of hand for some time now. It's true that CRT proponents argue that we shouldn't focus on individuals because one, they have a reflexive neo-Marxist collectivist worldview, and two, it's an attempt to absolve them of Cruz's charge. It evaporates upon a moment's reflection.
By claiming "racism is more deeply rooted in larger structural and systemic problems," CRT is making a patently racist assumption without appearing to do so.
You see, it's not you, it's the system.
And it just so happens that if you're white, you're part of the system, and so a beneficiary of white supremacy and centuries of privilege (so shut up white boy).
But hey, that's not racist because it's totally different because systems and structures and structures and systems and...
Rather than believing America is "irredeemably racist," critical race theorists have stated that their reckoning with the submerged role of racism in America is a path to redeem the nation and fulfill the promises of emancipation and the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments.
That reckoning involves a neo-racist paradise, one where white people are forced to sit in the back of the bus.
It's an evil practice, no matter the victim.
Critical race theorists also do not seek to turn Americans against each other, but rather to help them understand the actual history of the nation they share as citizens.
First, we understand the actual history of the nation we share as citizens. Really, we do. They've been teaching the history of slavery and other depredations since the at least the '60s. I know, because I was there.
Second, I can't think of a more efficient method of turning Americans against each other than to have people stand on a line, call out attributes (most of which are immutable), and have them step forward and backwards to determine who is the oppressor and who is the oppressed, or determine your oppressor status with the "Wheel of Power/Privilege."
These are routine parts of CRT trainings and both were part of this little exercise in a Washington state middle school:
But I guess Kruse missed that one, too.
Cruz's claim that critical race theorists are "every bit as racist" as Klansmen is laughable, but it nevertheless fits into a larger historical pattern.
Ready for it?
While Cruz's claim that critical race theorists are "every bit as racist" as Klansmen is laughable, it notably fits into a larger historical pattern in which white southerners asserted that the critics of white supremacy were just as bad — or worse — than the defenders of white supremacy.
You had to know that was coming.
Yes, Ted Cruz is a racist because he accused the CRT proponents of being racist!
I have to admit, the suspense was killing me. Nice job setting it up, Kruse. Quite the payoff.
Kruse then recites a bunch of incidents from the '50s and '60s.
This is also classic of CRT. It's like we're all living in Jim Crow Alabama and the progress of the last 70 years never happened.
This is a tried-and-true line of attack from those who wish to preserve the status quo.
And claiming that pushing back against being called a racist makes you a racist is a tried-and-true line of attack from those who wish to peddle nonsense.
Kruse spends another few paragraphs saying basically the same thing, concluding with this:
It's bad enough that Cruz slanders them. But it's even worse that he uses the exact same line of argument against them that those segregationists did.
Why did Kruse spend nearly half his space on suggesting Cruz is a racist for daring to bring to light the inherent racism of CRT?
Because the most important thing they can do is to shut you up. Setting up straw-man arguments, using logical fallacies, and claiming you do not see what you plainly do will only go so far.
They need you to shut up.
One final point. This is not solely about anti-white racism. It is far more encompassing than that. It's patently racist against everyone. It is deeply condescending to people who are not white and thus deeply damaging. That's the point Cruz was making, if inelegantly. The racist assumptions CRT makes about people of color really are the stuff of KKK meetings.
CRT is evil destructive nonsense and we should all be allies against it. Black, white, or brown, it doesn't matter.
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