To the editor: Two school board candidates, Andrew Graham and Jeffrey Rentzel, have publicly attacked Critical Race Theory. What does it mean that they do so?
Very briefly: Critical Race Theory (CRT) holds that “race” is a social convention unsupported by science, and that racism, far from being just personal bigotry, is built into our society through laws and policies. It’s a concept taught in universities and law schools. There’s no CRT curriculum for K-12 schools, and there’s no evidence that it’s being taught in any school district.
So why do Graham and Rentzel bother to condemn it?
They are not so ignorant; they already understand that CRT is a legal theory that isn’t taught to schoolchildren. But they also understand that “CRT” is a code — not that there’s something cryptic about critical race theory, but that “CRT” acts as a dog whistle.
When somebody condemns “CRT,” somebody who clearly hasn’t studied it, you know that they stand against social responsibility, honest national introspection, and even the mere awareness of racial injustice. You know that, to them, protecting the conscience and the notional innocence of white people matters more than protecting actual victims of racist harm.
This is part of a national movement to legislate a Great Forgetting, a bleaching of the white conscience to bring absolution for past injustices and freedom from accountability for current ones. In the name of patriotism, at least a half-dozen states have enacted memory laws banning “divisive” teaching that causes “discomfort” or “anguish” on account of race, and such laws have been considered in dozens more.
By diverting responsibility from our historically most privileged ethnic group onto the victims of inequitable policy, this Great Forgetting will worsen racial inequality.
When they proclaim their condemnation of imaginary CRT in the schools, Graham and Rentzel extend a couple of big, racist middle fingers to Black people especially and to victims of American racism in general. They show their contempt for honesty, for accountability, and for our national capacity for self-correction. They don’t belong anywhere near our children’s education.
Elect Erin Morotti and Chrya Sanderson to the school board.