We dare say that most Americans have viewed with some bemusement calls – in the name of anti-racism – for the dismantlement of monuments and statues memorializing the roles of some heretofore heroic figures in American history. They were looked upon as efforts by some seeking places in the sun and a way to make a rather complicated point the easy way.
But it is time to recognize that what has been deemed a sophomoric frolic has now morphed into a serious movement that threatens to shred what is left of our American ethos – a set of ideals that has enabled America to become the wonder of the modern world – and encourage the further separation of Americans based on race. Ominously, the effort is now focused on our schools. All of this has a name: critical race theory.
Behind critical race theory is an ideology that is rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist country that has been driven and defined by its prejudices to the extent that its recorded history is in reality merely “white” – not objective – history.
It further posits that, accordingly, some people, simply on account of their race, are inherently oppressors or victims and that our racial identities are more important than our common status as human beings and Americans. Correlatively, white Americans are urged to publicly confess their iniquitous essence and do penance.
Forgive us, but this eerily calls to our minds the “confessions” that marked the Stalin-era purge trials in the Soviet Union.
Some may sneer, but this sort of nonsense is catching on, no doubt encouraged by the support from the Biden administration. The U.S. Department of Education has released a rule embracing Biden’s determination to push critical race theory.
Priority for U.S. history and civics grants will henceforth be given to educational curricula that “incorporate racially, ethnically culturally and linguistically diverse perspectives.” In other words, from here on in, subjective history is not something to be avoided. It’s something to be encouraged.
Here’s an excerpt from an op-ed we saw from a teacher chafing at the new approach:
My school, like so many others, induces students via shame and sophistry to identify primarily with their race before their individual identities are formed. Students are pressured to conform their opinions to those broadly associated with their race and gender and to minimize or dismiss individual experiences that don’t match those assumptions. The morally compromised status of “oppressor” is assigned to one group of students based on their immutable characteristics. In the meantime, dependency and moral superiority are cultivated in students considered “oppressed.”
All of this is done in the name of “equity,” but it is the opposite of fair. In reality, all of this reinforces the worst impulses we have as human beings: our tendency toward tribalism and sectarianism that a truly liberal education is meant to transcend.
In our view, critical race theory is an example of a remedy worse than the disease. While no one would deny the horror of the enslavement of black people here in America, it’s hard to understand how paying obeisance to racism is a step in the right direction if it’s racism that we’re trying to eliminate.