HomeSchool Reform NewsCommentary: Critical Race Theory Is False and Endangers Fundamental Rights

Commentary: Critical Race Theory Is False and Endangers Fundamental Rights

By Jonathan W. Emord

Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a Marxist educational curriculum that divides students based on race, with students of color deemed “oppressed” and white students deemed “oppressors”.

CRT portrays American history not as a triumphant struggle of individual liberty and individual sovereignty against tyranny, but as an endless replay of white oppression of people of color. CRT defines all American institutions (all governments, businesses, and market-based transactions) as “systemically” and irredeemably “racist.”

Approximately 200 colleges and universities teach CRT. According to Manhattan Institute scholar Christopher Rufo, at least 30 public school districts in 15 states are teaching a CRT book in primary and secondary schools.

The apparent wish of those who subscribe to CRT is that all American institutions should be destroyed and replaced with a race-based Marxist state where all property of the “oppressors” is redistributed, all rights are skewed to favor the “oppressed,” and the “oppressed” receive “social justice.”

The aim of CRT appears nothing short of indoctrinating generations of youth at their youngest and most impressionable ages into despising the United States. CRT is not education. It allows for no debate and no dissent. It denounces any who dare challenge its teachings as colonialists, racists, and oppressors. It is not designed to educate and enlighten students. Rather, it is designed to turn them into political weapons, racial Marxists, and a new breed of race-hating Bolsheviks.

As with all species of Marxism, CRT teaches students to reject individual rights and liberty in favor of unquestioning allegiance to collectivist goals announced by Marxist leaders. CRT deems exceptionalism and meritocracy to be white supremacy. It marks most, if not all, figures in American history as white supremacists. CRT asserts that being proud of America or its emblems, such as the flag and the national anthem, is shameful bigotry.

Advocates of CRT conveniently ignore profound historical contradictions to their selective, indeed distorted, depiction of the American story. They omit reference to repeated efforts since the founding by people of all races and ethnicities to achieve equal justice under law for all.

Although CRT proponents are quick to recite that approximately 20 Black indentured servants arrived in the Jamestown Colony in Easter of 1619, they ignore that 100 white (youth) arrived four months before then from London. They ignore the fact that the arrival of the 20 Black slaves was a one-off event for Jamestown, with recurring shipments of white, not Black, indentured servants to Jamestown for years thereafter.

CRT advocates ignore that Irish and English slaves populated all 13 of the colonies and worked alongside Blacks past the time of the American revolution, all the way through the late-19th century. They ignore that over 3,000 Black Americans released from slavery owned slaves themselves by 1830. They ignore the fact that Black former slaves who owned slaves were among the wealthiest plantation owners.

For example, in 1860 on the eve of the Civil War, a Black man named Antoine Dubuclet owned over 100 slaves, had one of the largest sugar plantations, and was the richest slave owner in Louisiana. Although it is true that approximately 4 million Black people were in bondage in America by the time of the Civil War, it is entirely untrue that American slavery is a system marked exclusively by white ownership of Black slaves. The tragedy of slavery affected white people and Black people in all manner of grotesque permutations, not only in the United States but around the 16th through 19th century world.

CRT educators recite to our youth the additional falsehood that the founding fathers who owned slaves advocated for slavery. As historian C. Bradley Thompson explains in America’s Revolutionary Mind, those primarily responsible for the founding of this country were opposed to slavery and wanted to see it eliminated through political abolition.

The founders who owned slaves (e.g., Jefferson, Madison, and Washington) teetered on the brink of financial ruin much of the time and, so, the prospect of releasing their slaves carried with it almost certain bankruptcy. Consequently, they wanted universal political abolition of human bondage, which ultimately came about through the blood and suffering of the Civil War and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. That history is one of a persistent fight for an ever-expanding liberty derived from the self-evident truths of the Declaration, not of universal and unrelenting white supremacy.

Thomas Jefferson gets a bum rap from CRT educators. He is said to be a white slave owner and white supremacist, whose immortal lines in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence were meant for white males only. The opposite is true and borne out by the historical record.

At the very time Jefferson penned the immortal self-evident truths of the Declaration, he wrote a 168-word paragraph condemning George III for bringing slavery to the colonies, wherein he described slavery as a deplorable trade that deprived slaves of their unalienable rights. Jefferson explained in his autobiography that the paragraph he wrote was removed by demand of South Carolina and Georgia as a concession for their support of the patriot cause in the Revolutionary War.

Jefferson thus reveals a meaning for the Declaration contrary to the CRT propagandists’ narrative: He intended the self-evident truths of the second paragraph (e.g., that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights) to apply to humankind (men and women) and without regard to race or bondage status (to people of color as well as white people).

CRT means to destroy each child’s faith in the self-evident truths of the Declaration and in the United States as a bastion of liberty. Indeed, CRT teachings crush youthful hopes, aspirations, confidence and belief in America.

Under CRT, children of color are led to believe that all white people hold them back, and are thus incentivized to hate white people. White children are led to believe that they are responsible for holding children of color back by their mere existence and are urged to feel guilt and shame for their skin color. The white race is said to oppress people of color even in the absence of overt discrimination: Just being white is oppression.

CRT is racism of the most insidious and egregious kind because it profoundly harms the most vulnerable and impressionable in our society: children. It turns their natural acceptance of others into an unnatural hatred for others, based on an extreme superficiality, variance in skin pigmentation.

CRT is child abuse. It is psychologically devastating to children of color, because it makes them believe from grade school forward that they are destined to fail no matter what they come to know or what they do—all on the false assertion that society is systemically racist and will not let them succeed. CRT is psychologically devastating to white children, because it demands that they accept from grade school forward that they are unavoidably empowering a racist system, destined by their ancestry and skin color to victimize all people of color, regardless of their intentions.

In this way, children are taught to hate themselves, hate those of other races, hate this great nation, and hate all American institutions. They are led to believe that the solution to this self-loathing and hopelessness is the destruction of everything of worth, all enterprise, and all governments.

By constantly employing race as a means to degrade and demean children, CRT causes children to experience the same kind of post-traumatic stress disorders suffered by other victims of mental abuse and torture. Children who are taught that they are doomed to failure because of their skin color or are destined to abuse others because of their skin color are invariably driven to have low self-worth and perceive everything around them as evil. CRT is a doctrine of destruction, self-destruction and societal destruction.

CRT satisfies the classic legal definitions of child abuse common in the states, and most states have strict penalties for child abuse. For example, in New York, a person responsible for mental abuse of a child is subject to criminal and civil penalties. In Rhode Island, child abuse occurs when a person responsible inflicts mental injury on a child or creates a substantial risk of mental injury, and Rhode Island imposes criminal penalties for child abuse. In California, it is unlawful to willfully cause a child to experience unjustifiable mental suffering, punishable by up to 6 years in prison.

Moreover, when public schools force children to be categorized, stigmatized, and treated differently based on race, they patently violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. When the federal government does likewise, such as with police officers, it violates the Equal Protection component of the Fifth Amendment. Consequently, CRT may be enjoined by state and federal courts based on these equal protection violations, not to mention comparable state law violations.

What must we do? Whether or not you reside in a school district where CRT is being taught, it is essential for parents to educate their children about the blessings of liberty, about the history of Americans triumphing over tyranny in favor of individual rights and sovereignty, and of what it means to be an American.

Children need to appreciate that the United States is a land of boundless opportunities where even those wrongly discriminated against have so often overcome that discrimination to achieve magnificently. They need to learn these essentials throughout their childhood and they need to be encouraged to inform their parents if educators try to convince them that America is evil, their parents are racists, America is filled with race hate or white supremacy, or that they are destined to perpetual failure or to oppress those of other races.

In each instance where CRT is taught, those responsible must be identified with their names and positions broadcast to alert all parents of the threat posed. Parents should be encouraged to demand the resignation of teachers, faculty members, and administrators who implement CRT. Parents should unite to sue the institutions, teachers, faculty, and administrators for child abuse and for violations of the Equal Protection Clause, seeking to enjoin CRT instruction and compensate those whose children have suffered psychological harm, including loss of self-worth.

In states where CRT curricula were approved by school boards, parents should vote the members who support CRT out of office, replacing them with those who will teach the facts of the American story without political bias.

Following the great example of Gov. Ron De Santis of Florida, parents should only vote for governors who pledge to legally abolish CRT instruction in public schools (likewise for those running for state representative and state Senate). Twenty-five states have either introduced or passed bans on CRT in public education at present.

The great silent majority must be heard now. We need to legislate, sue, vote, and protest CRT out of existence. We need to be relentless in that pursuit because those who labored zealously for years to overthrow the standard pedagogy and impose CRT will fight tenaciously to preserve it.

Jonathan W. Emord
Jonathan W. Emord
Jonathan W. Emord is a constitutional and administrative lawyer who has appeared before the federal courts and agencies for 35 years. He is the only attorney in American history to have defeated the U.S. Food and Drug Administration eight times in federal court. He served as an attorney for the Federal Communications Commision during the Reagan Administration and as a Vice President at the Cato Institute. Emord is the author of numerous published works and five books: The Authoritarians: Their Assault on Individual Liberty, the Constitution, and Free Enterprise from the 19th Century to the Present (2021); Freedom, Technology, and the First Amendment; The Rise of Tyranny; Global Censorship of Health Information; and Restore the Republic. Former Congressman Ron Paul calls Emord “an expert in constitutional theory and history” and “an expert litigator with a long string of legal victories over the federal bureaucracy” (from Paul’s Foreword to Restore the Republic). Emord is a columnist for U.S.A. Today Magazine and has appeared on several national programs, including the Stossel Show (Fox Business Channel), McCuistion (PBS), and Coast to Coast AM with George Noory, and in several documentaries.



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