MSNBC Says Joy Reid ‘Schooled’ Christopher Rufo in Critical Race Theory Debate After She Refused to Let Him Speak

MSNBC host Joy Reid on Wednesday invited Manhattan Institute senior fellow Christopher Rufo on her show to debate critical race theory, but constantly interrupted him and filibustered to prevent him from making his points. During the thirteen minute discussion, Rufo was allowed only four minutes of speaking time, and was interrupted about fifteen times, according to Fox News.

Reid had previously lashed out at Rufo for making “white man demands” because he had challenged her to a debate on the topic of CRT. Rufo explained on Twitter that he challenged Reid to a debate after she had “denounced” him repeatedly on her show.


Reid eventually accepted the challenge, allowing Rufo on her show to debate CRT, but constantly interrupted and talked over him to avoid an honest discussion of the issues.

At the beginning of the segment, Rufo told Reid that she had spread “four key false pieces of information” about CRT: that it “wasn’t being taught in schools,” that most American students have been taught what she calls “confederate race theory” and that slavery was “not so bad,” that state legislation will “prevent” schools from teaching the history of racism, and that CRT isn’t rooted in Marxism.

“I think that all four of those claims are wrong and I would love to discuss them tonight,” Rufo said, not realizing that Reid would spend most of the interview making her own points and talking over him.

MSNBC posted the debate—laughably titled “Joy Reid Schools Critical Race Theory Critic On Legal Scholarship”—onto YouTube with Rufo’s opening remarks (which you can see below) edited out.

After Rufo’s opening salvo, Reid derided what she called his “talking points memo” that “definitely seems to be working” with Republicans, and cited various comments Rufo had made that she insisted were false. Whenever Rufo attempted to explain his thinking, she talked over him and went on to her next point.

Reid began by assailing Rufo for calling “How To Be an Antiracist” author Ibram X. Kendi the “guru” of CRT, when Kendi said in a statement that he “doesn’t identify” as a critical race theorist despite his admiration for the ideology.

As she continued her rant, Rufo tried to jump in. “Joy, let me respond. This is not a monologue. This should be a dialogue, right?” he said.

“Well, it’s my show. So it’s how I want to do it,” Reid shot back, cutting him off to talk more about Kendi.

When finally allowed to respond, Rufo noted how “interesting” it was that advocates in favor of CRT are now “running away” from the “label of critical race theory” and attempted to quote “Being White, Being Good” author Barbara Applebaum, and  “White Fragility” author Robin DiAngelo before Reid interrupted to say DiAngelo is “not a critical race theorist.”

“What you’re doing here is you’re playing a series of word games,” Rufo told Reid, who proceeded to talk over him again.

Rufo complained, “Let me respond at least once! I haven’t even gotten a full sentence out!”

Reid replied, “Because I’m not going to let you… I don’t allow people to just make up insane lies on this show. It’s just not really right to do that.”

“At least let me get a full sentence in,” Rufo insisted. “Am I right or wrong?”

Reid responded by declaring that “Robin DiAngelo is not a critical race theorist,” and admitted that she didn’t know who the other author was.

She asked Rufo what he believes the term “whiteness” means, and finally allowed him to give an extended answer.

“Whiteness is the idea that there is some kind of metaphysical category in the world that all white people are reduceable to this essence of whiteness. Then what happens is they load negative connotations, Rufo said, adding that the definition includes “reductive racial categories” such as “white fragility,” “white privilege,” and “internalized white superiority”  which critical race theorists impose onto individuals. He added that he actually agrees with Kendi that “we should fight race essentialism,” but that CRT actually  “enshrines race essentialism.”

Rufo then tried to give some examples of how CRT is being taught in schools (which Reid denies), but she interrupted him to say she already knew what he was going to say because it was in his “talking points” he’d used before.

Characterizing him a “quasi historian,” Reid went on to ask Rufo if he was aware that “the term ‘whiteness’ was actually formed in the United States” by the colonists. “Before then ‘whiteness didn’t exist as a thing!” she said, as if  making a profound point.

“Of course,” Rufo replied. I agree with that.”

Reid continued to bluster on about how colonists distinguished themselves from Africans and Native Americans by their skin color.

“People who you don’t like who are doing this sort of wokeness training are saying that whiteness has always had power,” Reid said. “There used to be a saying, ‘I’m free, white, and 18. It was commonly said in the 50s and 60s,” she added, to buttress her argument that “whiteness” is about power.

“So people who don’t want to decouple whiteness from power, that’s what you’re annoyed by, right?” Reid asked, without giving Rufo a chance to respond.

As she blathered on, Rufo answered her question. “No!” he said, laughing.

In an attempt at a big “gotcha moment,” Reid then played some clips from a talk Rufo gave at the Claremont Institute where he said that he doesn’t have time for the highly technical, Hegelian “interpretations of this stuff, nor does he “give a shit.”

“You’re really just having a campaign to take everything that annoys white Americans, and white conservatives,” Reid said, as Rufo objected. “No, that’s not right,” he said.

“You want to make a campaign and stuff everything in there that people get annoyed, and you want to stuff it all into Critical Race Theory,” she blustered on.

“What I don’t think is right is forcing 8-year-olds in Cupertino, California to deconstruct their racial identities and rank themselves according to power and privilege,” Rufo said, as Reid talked over him.

“That’s not Critical Race Theory,” she interjected.

Rufo said that part of his battle was fighting against “the manipulation of language,” and while Reid talked over him, argued that he was “linking their euphemistic terms with subversive content” because the left has a habit of making radical statements, and “then backing away from it, and dancing around it.”

As Reid talked over him, Rufo continued: “It’s not going to happen. Parents all over this country—they know what’s happening in schools, they know what’s happening in public institutions, and you’re seeing people revolt against this divisive identity politics. And you can dance all you want, but you’re not going to stop people from understanding what’s happening in the classrooms.”

“You’ve taken sort of all of these ‘wokeness’ moments… the things that annoy conservatives and you stuffed them into the name ‘critical race theory.’ It’s really like ‘Christopher Rufo Theory,” Reid argued back.

Aren’t you just taking wokeness stuff that annoys you and calling it Critical Race Theory?” Reid demanded.

“No, not at all. The idea of the codification and decodification of language comes from the pedagogist Paulo Freire,” Rufo replied. “My strategy is to take these techniques and use them against their own ideology,” he explained, pointing out that his strategy has been “enormously successful.”

“You made up your own thing,” Reid argued. “And I’mma give you credit for one thing. You did create your own thing. Not a lot of guys in their 30s have created their own thing, labeled it something that already existed as a name, slapped that brand name on it and turned it into a successful political strategy. It’s creating a lot of hell at school board meetings, but you did accomplish that.”

Toward the end of the interview, Rufo declared Reid as the “most prestigious Christopher Rufo Theory scholar in the world,” adding “I hope that next time, you at least give me a chance to complete two sentences.”

The vast majority of the commenters on MSNBC’s YouTube video blasted Reid for constantly interrupting, and talking over her guest.

“Why did she even bring him on if she didn’t want to allow him to speak?” asked one commenter, speaking for most.

Reid’s primetime show, “The ReidOut with Joy Reid,” is in 15th place among cable news shows, according to Cable Rankings.

Following the “debate,” Rufo posted onto Twitter the points he was not allowed to make on Reid’s show.

About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

Photo: (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images Ms. Foundation for Women)

Support Free & Independent Journalism Your support helps protect our independence so that American Greatness can keep delivering top-quality, independent journalism that's free to everyone. Every contribution, however big or small, helps secure our future. If you can, please consider a recurring monthly donation.

Want news updates?

Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.

Comments are closed.