What would you call a teaching or a theory, if you will, that labels all people as racist if they belong to a certain race or ethnic group?
Is it sinful to believe and assert, for example, that all people with dark hair are less intelligent than those with light hair and that this is due simply to their hair color? How about asserting that all people of a certain skin color are predisposed, systemically, to be or do evil in some way or another?
These ways of thinking are examples of bigotry at first sight and yet are very close, if not identical, to what is being spread under the banners of “critical race theory” and “antiracism,” among other misleading labels.
This clear bigotry is precisely what Texas State Representative Steve Toth’s bill, HB 3979, seeks to limit in Texas public schools. And yet, in its Texas Take email newsletter, the San Antonio Express-News described the bill with this headline: “TX Republicans advance bill restraining school lessons on racism.”
The bill, passed by the House on May 11, does not restrain school lessons on racism, its ugliness, or its existence. Rather, the bill attempts to restrain one nasty form of bigotry and racism from being introduced as a supposed cure for another.
According to a Texas Tribune report: “Toth’s legislation says a teacher cannot ‘require or make part of a course’ a series of race-related concepts, including the ideas that ‘one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex,’ or that someone is ‘inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive’ based on their race or sex.”
The teaching that people are inherently racist because they are white, or other things too, and that their individual morality and actions play little or no role in such racism, is central to “anti-racism” teaching based in critical race theory.
These ever more popular teachings assert that racism cannot be helped in certain people. Racism just exists “systemically” and other people, separate from the group targeted for scorn, can by definition nevere be racist—even if they act in an objectively racist manner.
These ideas, in and of themselves, are the most radical of racist beliefs.
Using critical theory to inform classroom teaching is nasty and bigoted and is built on exactly the type of stereotyping, or broad-brush painting, that encourages beliefs about entire races, or ethnicities, of people insisting they are predisposed, or even destined, to such things as low intelligence, violence, sexual promiscuity, or a host of other archetypes used by racists throughout the ages.
These theories flow from Marxism and the Frankfurt School and as such largely reject the concept of the individual will (and responsibility) for that of the collective will. In rejecting individual morality, action, and responsibility, proponents of critical theory engage in exactly the thing they claim to disparage: The broad-based subjection of groups of people by other groups of people to automatic assumptions of fault. In the case of bigotry and racism, this is what its adherents mean by the “systemic racism” and “anti-racism” fad.
Such “theory,” a leftist divide-and-conquer practice, reinforces the idea of inherent fault in people due to their social class, race, ethnicity, or religion. The goal of this practice seems to be to provide a pretext for one group of victims to turn the tables and subject and victimize another group in the same manner.
How do such ideas help our classrooms or our society? How does talking to children about race in a way that doesn’t just suggest, but demands all are guilty of bigotry and racism through amorphous inherent systemic processes, aid the process of de-popularizing racist thought?
Telling children they are inherently racist is likely to instill in many a dangerous and unproductive lifelong angst and in others an acceptance of racism they can then use to justify their own racist thought and action—if one can’t help it then why not go with the flow? People do seem to opt for that excuse against reform time and again.
The word “justice” is often used by these critical theory promoters, as in “social justice,” but there is little justice in tit-for-tat eye-for-an-eye revenge as social or political policy. There is certainly nothing progressive about it in the true sense of the word unless we are talking about progressing toward the bottom of the worst type of hate and tribal warfare.
When an idea or a movement rejects the concept of each individual having a unique soul who will be personally, individually, accountable to God for thoughts, words, and deeds, such folly leads to the encouragement of that which was to be avoided.
If your faults are systemic and present merely because you were born into a certain systemic environment (race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, etc.) then, again, what is the point of bothering with the avoidance of sin or with working to reform your thoughts and actions to a more ethical state?
Proponents of “antiracism” and critical race theory are not asking their targets to reject and renounce racism. These movements have little interest in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s colorblind society where people are judged by the content of their individual characters. Instead, they are demanding their targets admit to being racist and bigoted, now and forever, without regard to their personal beliefs and actions. Individuals are not seen, you will remember, as unique individuals but simply cells of a larger organism or group.
This is what my historian friend Robert Zimmerman meant when he opined that one could not find a better way to create a race war than proceeding down the current path the Left has taken. We may well turn a population that has worked to reduce racism for decades into a group that begins to embrace it. If whites, Jews, or any other group are so gummed with the racist label, at some point many in that group will begin to resent those making the accusation—to the point that the response will mirror the very racism that it was intended to crush.
Evil ideas, those that go against our conscience, are much easier to hold and spread when people are seen not as individuals but as mere representatives of groups. Many soldiers can testify to it being much easier to fire into a large grouping of the enemy than it is to do so one on one, face to face. We see another version of this daily on social media where perceived distance and anonymity lead to a nastiness significantly more rare in personal interaction between present individuals, especially strangers.
The ideas critical race theory adherents are pushing, like all that springs from Marxism, are destined to produce the opposite result of what they claim to champion. And for the sake of American and Texas culture, it is our duty to oppose the use of these dehumanizing group-think stereotypes in our public schools. We need children who recognize the ugliness of racism without being branded as racists simply because a bunch of aggrieved followers of Marxist critical race theory say they are based solely on the color of their skin.