For more than a year Conservatives have been waging war against the misconceived Critical Racial Theory that created it yourself. The right-wing campaign against the so-called CRT has largely resulted in a chorus of hysterical voices asking, Won’t someone think of the poor white kids ?! “CRT tries to make children feel guilty about the color of their skin,” said Ron Nate, co-sponsor of the Idaho anti-CRT bill, shortly after the bill was passed in May. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who successfully led the state school board last summer to ban CRT from public school classrooms, tweeted in June that “Critical Race Theory teaches children to hate our country and hate one another.” Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed an invoice To shut up history educators about lessons that could result in students “feeling unwell, guilty, agonizing, or any other form of psychological distress due to the race or sex of the person”. To accomplish this goal, Republican Senators in Texas recently drafted and passed yet another anti-CRT bill – after discarding wording introduced by outnumbered and outvoted Democrats, including the “history of white supremacy” of slavery and the Ku Klux Klan., should have been taught, “and the way in which it is morally wrong.” “We don’t want to teach these little white children to feel guilty about what previous whites did generations ago,” Senator Bryan Hughes told a local news agency about why he filed the law.
Eight states have passed laws and 20 others have proposed laws to outlaw a version of critical racial theory entirely in keeping with the Conservatives’ own vision. In reality, the graduate school’s 40-year-old framework offers a prism on racism as “a structured reality embedded in institutions,” as law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw described it in an interview with this magazine. But those behind the current anti-racist education movement have publicly admitted repurposing CRT to make it “toxic,” as conservative activist Christopher F. Rufo put it, and branded it as anti-white propaganda. The legislative descendant of this misinformation movement is a series of laws that seek to restrict history teaching. In Tennessee, shortly after state lawmakers approved an anti-CRT measure, a teacher who published an article by Ta-Nehisi Coates on the intersection of racism and Trumpism was sacked; in Texas, a Republican legislature is currently circulating a list of 850 books on race and other issues he violates the new anti-CRT law.
What becomes clear as the CRT social panic unfolds is how its followers steadfastly believe and propagate the idea that complete historiography – one that includes long-ignored perspectives and experiences and, consequently, the contradictions between the American craze and the painful reality the brutal exploitation of the land – is somehow historically inauthentic or a kind of frivolous addition to the textbook narratives of white benevolence and heroism. In addition to pretending to save white children, conservatives have made breathless accusations of national treason, calling the CRT “anti-American,” “a crusade against American history,” “racist education and anti-American revisionism,” and – wait for it – “Marxist.” The idea behind this is that an inclusive American history is a specifically black history. Listen to the throngs of angry white parents at school council meetings and it becomes clear that they believe history is a zero-sum game – that a story that documents the existence of blacks is undermining and obliterating white American history. Like Blackness himself, these people somehow see black history as both inadequately American and inherently anti-white.