Critical Race Theory “in” Education: What It Is, Why It’s Wrong, How to Fight It

by | Mar 19, 2022

Critical Race Theory is a Marxist collectivist view of race and justice. It is called “Marxist” because it shares the same basic philosophical views as Marxism except that class is replaced with race.
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Opponents of individual rights and capitalism have controlled the educational system for decades, but the recent events involving critical race theory (CRT) represent a new level of political bias in our educational system that must be addressed or our schools will sink further into decline. CRT is a collectivist view of race and justice that is wrong logically, empirically, and morally and goes against our laws and form of government. This article explains what it is, why it’s wrong, and how to fight it effectively.

What is Critical Race Theory?

Although ideas like diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), wokeism, cancel culture, social justice, etc., are different, they are all influenced by CRT, so at times I may refer to them collectively as CRT for simplicity’s sake.

Critical Race Theory is a Marxist collectivist view of race and justice. It is called “Marxist” because it shares the same basic philosophical views as Marxism except that class is replaced with race.

According to David Prychitko at EconLib, “Capitalists…enjoy a privileged and powerful position as owners of the means of production and are therefore able to ruthlessly exploit workers.” These individuals control all of society and control “the system” in a way that reinforces their power and interests while preventing the lower classes from doing the same. The system is unjust because there is no way for the lower classes to change their status. It is “systematically” structured in this way.

Marxists blame individual rights and equality and the economic counterpart capitalism for this. Because of equality people receive widely different outcomes, which Marxists regard as unjust because according to them people born into the lower classes are unable to overcome a system that supposedly favors the upper class.

Marxists argue we should have “equity” instead of equality. Equity includes but is not limited to giving the poor “access” to free education, healthcare, and a “living wage.” Marxism seeks to end private ownership entirely and create a society where everything is collectively owned and everyone has approximately the same amount of material wealth and power.

Critical Race Theory makes the same basic argument as Marxism but in terms of race. Liz Wheeler says,

“Critical race theory is an offshoot of critical theory, the brainchild of the Frankfurt School, a group of 29th century Marxists associated with the Institute for Social Research.

…In 1937, Max Horkheimer of the Frankfurt School wrote a manifesto about “critical theory,” in which he claimed that when examining society, people cannot reason objectively. In classic Marxist fashion, critical theory divides everyone in society into classes of oppressed and oppressors, but posits that the so-called oppressed stand in the way of revolution when they adhere to the societal belief systems and cultural norms of their so-called oppressors. Therefore, the cultural institutions that stand in the way of the Marxist revolution must be destroyed through relentless criticism (hence the name: critical theory).”

According to CRT, society is controlled by white people for white interests and anyone else is at a disadvantage. There is no way to achieve the same as white people if you are black. Therefore, society needs to step in and provide help to black people to even the playing field, e.g., by admitting them into colleges, hiring them, etc.

But like in the Marxist economy example above it is not limited to a few affirmative actions. A fully developed CRT society would be one where there would be equal “representation” of all races and other demographic groups in everything: classrooms, businesses, management, etc. The government might even intervene at some point to regulate your social life, e.g, the friends you have, who you marry, what shows are on TV, where you live, etc.

 

Critical Race Theory in Practice

Higher Education

Critical Race Theory is now everywhere in education. John Ellis recently reported in the Wall Street Journal that prior to 1960 campuses were politically balanced. Then Marxist radicals began entering higher education and built their numbers over time so that by the turn of the century they had a 5 to 1 left to right ratio, which now Ellis estimates to be as much as 50 to 1. As the political balance has shifted to the left in higher education, the more leftwing perspectives have influenced teaching, research, and the administration of our schools at all levels.

At one time, CRT was primarily limited to law classrooms, but now it has become the framework by which all subjects in the liberal arts and social sciences are taught. That is, when you take a class in these two areas you are most likely learning it through the CRT perspective. That is, in English you are analyzing literature through the CRT perspective, when you take history you are looking at it through a CRT perspective, etc. And most definitely if you are learning how to be a teacher you are learning it from a CRT perspective.

Likewise, CRT controls all of the research in these areas. If you want to be a professor it is most likely only possible if you publish from a CRT perspective. If you contradict it or its basic premises you will not be published let alone tenured.

Up until about two years ago, CRT was limited to classrooms and research, but it did not enter into the administration, that is, the day to day operations of higher ed. This was because it is political philosophy. To endorse it and require it as belief or practice from students, faculty, and administrators, would be to discriminate against people’s political philosophy. But now even that has changed as new faculty are required to submit DEI statements and current faculty are required to attend DEI training and be evaluated on their DEI work in annual evaluations.

K12 Education

Critical Race Theory is in our K12 schools as well despite the fact that the left including the mainstream media deny this. For one, the primary justification for public education today is CRT. The idea is that without public education white people would receive a better education than black people simply because they are white. Therefore, we need public schooling so that black people do not fall behind.

Two, the majority of teachers are trained and licensed through teacher colleges, which are at the university level of course and therefore subject to everything that is described above and worse. Indeed, teacher colleges are probably the worst examples of CRT in higher ed there are and for good reason. The leftists know that in order to change the culture they cannot be confined to higher ed. The ideology would only affect college students. CRT needs to be exposed to children as early as possible.

One would think that teacher colleges would be places where teachers are taught the most effective methods of instruction. By now we should have fully developed curriculums in the four main subject areas from preschool through twelfth grade that are effective at developing children’s minds. Instead, a highly politicized methodology is taught. New teachers are taught all the foundational ideas underlying CRT and teach CRT pedagogy to aspiring teachers who take their methods into their new jobs.

It is true that many K12 schools do not teach CRT explicitly, but it does not have to be taught explicitly to students for them to be taught CRT ideas or for them to be negatively affected by it. We know that state school boards like Virginia and California explicitly recommend it as a guided framework for schooling. California’s new K12 math curriculum proposal introduced to the public in 2021 is just one example. The public reacted so negatively  to this proposal that the school board shelved a vote on it until a later time, which means they are waiting until the CRT backlash dies down before they vote on it.

The backlash is based on the proposal’s reliance on a CRT document “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction: Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction.” The first paragraph of the document doesn’t begin with the importance of math to a developing mind or what math knowledge or math teaching strategy is necessary to improve math learning. No, instead, it begins of course with a far leftwing perspective:

“[This] framework for deconstructing racism in mathematics offers essential characteristics of antiracist math educators and critical approaches to dismantling white supremacy in math classrooms by making visible the toxic characteristics of white supremacy culture (Jones and Okun 2001; dismantling Racism 2016) with respect to math.”

According to this text, white supremacy is everywhere in math instruction. Some indicators are the following characteristics in people and instruction:

  • Perfectionism
  • Sense of Urgency
  • Defensiveness
  • Quantity Over Quality
  • Worship of the Written Word
  • Paternalism
  • Either/Or Thinking
  • Power Hoarding
  • Fear of Open Conflict
  • Individualism
  • Only One Right Way
  • Progress is Bigger, More
  • Objectivity
  • Right to Comfort

In other words, if math directly or indirectly promotes the values and characteristics above it is a form of white supremacy. Apparently black people do not practice or value these things?

Numerous other examples of CRT in our schools exist. The 1619 Project is a leftwing reframing of U.S. history that argues the country was founded to protect the institution of slavery not to create a state that recognizes individual rights. According to the Pulitzer Center, The 1619 Project curricular materials have been made available to over 4,000 educators in all 50 states. Since The 1619 Project was published, numerous historians have condemned it for its distorted view of history.

Several states, counties, and cities across the country are now banning gifted education in schools because black students are not represented “equitably” in them, places such as Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, New York, Montgomery County, MD, Pennsylvania, and Virginia to name just a few. Over a 1,000 colleges and universities have stopped using the SAT because of the perception that they are “biased” towards “white culture.”

Why Critical Race Theory is wrong

There are many reasons why CRT is not only wrong, it is destructive for education and society.

For one, there is no evidence for CRT’s primary claim that society is “systematically” racist and that black people are unable to achieve on the same level as white people because of this racism. While individual racism still exists, it must not be preventing black people from succeeding in life. Black people have achieved as much as white people in all areas of society and at all levels. They have been A students, honor students, valedictorians, admitted to the best colleges, performed well on standardized tests, are teachers, policemen, business owners, millionaires, billionaires, doctors, lawyers, state governors, state and federal congressmen and senators, supreme court justices, four star generals, secretaries of state, vice presidents, and presidents. If society was systematically racist this would not be possible.

Second, the claim that education is culturally or racially biased, namely, that it favors white culture but not black culture, is false. Leftists say the stats prove it. White students perform better than black students in school, so school is racist. Using this same logic, education would actually be biased to favor Asians since Asians outperform white people as well. Is it odd that an American system of education is designed best for Asian students but not as good for white students and this same fact is actually evidence that American education is white supremacist?  How can it be both white supremacist and Asian supermacist at the same time? Wouldn’t white supremacy be against Asians as well? This is an example of the logical incoherence that is common in CRT.

Third, implicit in the CRT argument is the irrational importance placed on cultural/racial representation. Everything in society is analyzed from the perspective that equal racial representation is inherently a good thing. The value is held as an absolute without any evidence. Indeed, one might call this obsession a religious like faith. Why must races be equally represented in everything? Could it be that individuals do not value everything equally? In short, equal representation has no inherent value at all. It is meaningless.

Fourth, is so-called “representation” a problem? One example that is often given is the so-called “under-representation” of black students in gifted classes. The perception is that black students are not represented equally as the other races. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, in the 2013-2014 school year, black students accounted for about 10% of the students in public school gifted programs. The rest of the racial breakdown was 18% hispanic, 58% white, and 10% Asian. According to the 2020 U.S. Census, the racial breakdown of the U.S. is 13% black, 18% hispanic, 60% white, and 6% Asian. In a class of 20 students, black students would be under-represented by about half of a student, hispanics and whites would be equally represented, and Asians would be  over-represented by about one student. This is not evidence of racism in gifted programs.

Fifth, CRT as a method of instruction has no evidence to back it up. There aren’t schools and classes that are using the pedagogy consistently and comprehensively and that also have black students outperforming other black students not receiving the same instruction. In fact, it is probably hurting black students. If we consider what the California math curriculum is proposing, black students would be told that “one right answer is wrong,” “do not be objective,” and “there is no urgency to complete your work.” How well would you do in school if you consistently thought and acted this way?

Sixth, CRT is a racist ideology. By saying we need to have race conscious everything, a world where every race is represented equally, you are in effect sanctioning racism. But biological race don’t exist. The Genome Project has confirmed what scientists have suspected for years, that there is very little genetic variation within the human race itself. You are more likely to find genetic variation within the “races” than between the races.

Seventh, CRT goes against the beliefs underlying our founding documents and our laws. When CRT is endorsed by any public authority it is essentially discriminating against your political viewpoint, which is a violation of the 1st and 14th amendments. As wrong as that is, it’s even worse when you consider that the taxpayers are paying for it. Does it make sense that the government is supporting a political philosophy that is totally at odds with its form of government? This is a major reason why there should not be public instruction. It cannot be politically neutral. Education will always have political implications, so it is inappropriate for it to be run by the state. State run schools are pillars of every dictatorship for a reason. To oppress people you must control their education, their minds.

How to fight Critical Race Theory

The best way to fight CRT is by not agreeing to its premises, claims, or policies. You should resist it at every opportunity, but in order to do so effectively one must at some point make an argument for why they disagree with it and will not participate in it.

Oral Argumentation

The first line of defense against CRT is in oral argumentation in our daily lives as individuals, students, faculty members, parents, etc. When someone makes a CRT claim, you should challenge it on the grounds explained above for why it is wrong. When a teacher is teaching CRT in his classroom or teaching from a CRT perspective, when a university requires new hires to submit DEI statements or faculty to take DEI training, when a school district or teacher wants to teach a book with an obvious leftwing bias that has no other legitimate reason to be taught that could obviously be replaced with something else and still have benefits, etc. All these and more are opportunities for you to object to CRT for any of the reasons given above. Remember that CRT proponents have no logical or empirical evidence for their beliefs, so you are at an advantage. Be civil, but firm. Provide logical evidence based oral argumentation.

Written Argumentation

In addition to oral argumentation in your day to day life, you should submit written argumentation for your beliefs and rights. This should be directed to publications like newspapers, magazines, and journals as well as to authority figures like teachers, principals, superintendents, local and state school boards, professors, university chairs, deans, or chancellors, university boards of trustees, and state and federal politicians. Your complaints should identify CRT for what it is and why it is wrong and most importantly why a tax supported system has no right to endorse it since it represents a political viewpoint at odds with our government and laws.

Legal Action

Finally, if oral and written communication does not work, legal action should take place. Indeed, this has already been done. Individuals and groups have already successfully sued school districts, state boards, university systems, and states on the basis that CRT violates their 1st and 14th amendment rights. A coalition of activists, lawyers, and politicians is building to use the law and legal system to fight CRT.

 

Critical Race Theory Tactics

As you fight CRT, the left will use certain tactics to counter your claims. Understanding what they are will better prepare you for what to say or do. Perhaps the most helpful piece of information is that the left does not want you to know CRT is a collectivist political belief system. If that is true then they are guilty of political bias, which is against the law in a public school. The left also knows that communism is unpopular, so CRT has to be packaged and marketed in a way that the culture will accept. The following tactics all serve the same purpose, namely, to deny it is what it is, so successful make sure to call it what it is.

Denying that it exists

When accused of putting CRT in the schools the left have said repeatedly that it is not in school. They mean, of course, that it is not explicitly taught in the K12 classrooms. While at this time there might not be any official documented case of it being taught, I doubt that is true and it is most likely only time before it is. But that is besides the point. What is important is that it does not need to be taught explicitly for it to be in the schools. As I have already shown, the entire public school system is part of the CRT framework. This should be said in response to any denial that it is in schools.

Saying your racist for criticizing it

The response to this should be that CRT is actually by definition racist since it demands that we think and act on the basis of skin color. Explain that there is no such thing as biological race and that one cannot fight racism by being racist.

Saying it’s just “talking about race”

You do not have to invoke a CRT perspective to talk about race. You can talk about race from a completely different non CRT perspective, namely, the one that is implied in this article.

Claiming that you are complaining

You have a legitimate reason for complaining. CRT is a political viewpoint. Would the left like it if education explicitly promoted the philosophy of individual rights and capitalism everywhere? Where are the capitalist public speakers, training sessions, etc. on campus?

Silence and hibernation

This has been the recent tactic since the Virginia governor’s election. The left are aware of the national backlash against CRT. Faculty senates that made demands to the admin that DEI become required training have now shelved their votes for such policy shifts. But they haven’t gone away. They are just delaying the vote until such time that the backlash dies down. Likewise, school boards like California have shelved the equitable math program for a later date when the parents aren’t as mad. The best thing to do here is to kill it completely. Do not let it come back because it will as soon as the left sees an opportunity. These institutions need to be threatened with shutting them down unless they get back to their main mission of teaching the truth in an unbiased way. No political endorsement by the school direct or indirect should be the demand.

Retaliation

If you are a student or faculty member expect subtle hard to prove retaliation. The three levels of argumentation above are the best way to fight this, oral, written, and legal argumentation and action.

 

Critical Race Theory is an attack on the American political system based on individual rights

The vast majority of our schools are no longer functional, namely, dedicated to discovering and disseminating knowledge and truth and teaching the young how to think objectively and logically. On the contrary, they are teaching students flawed knowledge and skills directly or indirectly like CRT, the ultimate purpose of which is to dismantle our laws and system of government protecting individual rights.

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A professor of educational theory and practice with specific research interests in Objectivist education, curriculum development, and the epistemology of education.

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