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Monday, August 15, 2022

Boyd: Critical race theory: ‘the boogeyman of 2021’

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If there is one thing conservatives know how to do it is whip people into a frenzy. When the right takes a stand against an enemy, they come out in full force, attacking day and night.

In years past, it’s been gay marriage, unisex public restrooms, Christmas, taking a knee and abortion (it’s always abortion) that conservatives have waged a cultural war against. I can go back further in history and find even more evidence of the right’s culture wars in America. The target du jour is critical race theory.

You probably never heard of critical race theory until a few months ago. I heard of it before, but it wasn’t part of my everyday vocabulary — nor was it part of my every other day vocabulary. Critical race theory didn’t have much of a presence in most Americans’ lives until the Republicans made it the boogeyman of 2021.

Now it’s critical race theory this and critical race theory that. Every time I turn around someone is talking about how critical race theory will be the death of America. You have parents speaking against critical race theory at school board meetings. They don’t want their children to learn critical race theory. News flash: they’re not.

The sad part about all of these anti-critical race theory people is they don’t even know what it is or who’s learning it. It speaks volumes about Americans when all you have to do is repeat how terrible a thing is over and over, and we’ll latch on to it and run with the narrative. It’s happens over and over and over. You’d think by now we’d pick up on the manipulation, but we don’t. We mindlessly parrot what we’ve heard. How are we so easily fooled?

I should step back for a minute and actually explain what critical race theory is, so when you argue against it, you’ll actually know what you’re against. Critical race theory (CRT) says race is a social construct and racism is embedded in legal systems and policies not just individual prejudice or bias. The 40-year-old academic concept was created by legal scholars Kimberle Crenshaw, Derrick Bell and Richard Delgado and others as a framework for legal analysis.

As I stated earlier CRT is the boogeyman of the day, and it seems anything and everything related to race as it concerns education is considered CRT now. Culturally relevant, culturally sensitive and anti-racism education are viewed as CRT and under attack as well. As of July 12, 26 states have introduced legislation to ban CRT or limit the discussion educators can have about sexism and racism. So far, 10 states have banned CRT. Don’t ever let anyone tell you what can’t be done in this country. When we want to make something happen, we do — regardless of how foolish it is.

It’s telling that CRT became all the rage after we saw a summer of protests regarding police brutality against Black people and a centering of Blackness in America, especially as it relates to systemic racism. The backlash against CRT is really a backlash against Black people and us moving the needle of social justice. Those who don’t like what’s happening are feeling the squeeze. I should be clear here that not all opponents of CRT are right wing or white.

It speaks volumes that white parents who’ve come out en masse against CRT are doing so to protect their children. The fear is CRT will harm white children by making them believe they’re inherently bad. If we teach children the truth about this country, white children will become self-loathing, self-hating people who are guilt-ridden about being white. I had to stop writing for a second so I could laugh. Yet, It’s OK for Black children to receive an education that fuels self-loathing, self-hate and guilt about being Black. For hundreds of years Black children — and all other children — have received the message that there’s something wrong with being Black. The moment, though, people decide it’s well past time to be truthful in schools, it’s seen as harmful to children and anti-American. That really means white children and white America.

Opponents of non-existent CRT in schools are really anti-Black and pro white supremacy. Sorry not sorry to have to be the one to tell you.

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