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Florida Republican Rep. Says Gov. DeSantis Is Right To Ban Critical Race Theory From Schools

Republican Florida Rep. Byron Donalds reaffirmed his support for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ critical race theory ban from the state’s new civics curriculum.

“There’s no room in our classrooms for critical race theory. Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money,” DeSantis said during a press conference this week.

“Governor DeSantis is absolutely correct,” Donalds said Friday on “Fox News Primetime.”

“Yes, we have dark spots in our history. I’m the first to acknowledge that, but we also have to understand that our country is the great story of redemption in world history,” Donalds said. “We are a far better country than we were 100 years ago, 200 years ago. And, we need to embrace our history, but also understand and embrace the country we are today and the country we continue to become every single year going forward. So I applaud the governor and his decision. We need to see more of that in the other 49 states.”

“[Critical Race Theory] underpins identity politics, an ongoing effort to reimagine the United States as a nation riven by groups, each with specific claims on victimization,” the Heritage Foundation said in December.

DeSantis said Florida will instead focus on an “actual, solid, true curriculum and we will be a leader in the development and implementation of a world-class civics education,” Fox News reported.

DeSantis pledged to spend $106 million to support civics education in Florida after receiving additional funding from President Biden’s coronavirus stimulus package that was signed into law last week, according to Fox News.

COLUMN BY

CHRISTOPHER TREMOGLIE

Contributor.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

If Critical Race Theory turns everything into race, isn’t it racist?

An unpleasant incident at an elite US women’s college shows the danger of trusting feelings over facts.


Last week the New York Times resurfaced a notorious racial profiling incident that took place in 2018 at Smith College, in Northhampton, Massachusetts. The story has struck a chord globally because of the light it sheds on the race struggle underway in the United States—a struggle now rippling across the Western world.

Smith College is the largest of the “Seven Sisters”, elite colleges for women in northeastern US; tuition, room and board for its students are about US$78,000 a year. Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, and Gloria Steinem are amongst its distinguished alumnae.

In the summer of 2018, Oumou Kanoute, a black student, was eating lunch alone in a dorm lounge. She was approached by a janitor and a campus police officer who inquired as to what she was doing there.

The encounter was distressing for Kanoute, who felt it to be part of a year-long pattern of harassment. “All I did was be Black,” she later wrote on Facebook. “It’s outrageous that some people question my being at Smith College, and my existence overall as a woman of colour.” She was especially upset that the officer was likely carrying a firearm.

The president of the college apologised to Kanoute, put the janitor on paid leave, and hired a law firm to investigate the incident. Apologising for the affair, the president wrote,

This painful incident reminds us of the ongoing legacy of racism and bias in which people of colour are targeted while simply going about the business of their ordinary lives.

In the months following, officials at the college emphasised “reconciliation and healing” and announced anti-bias staff training and the creation of separate dormitories for students of colour.

The problem, of course, is that the investigation eventually found no “persuasive evidence of bias”. As a Times opinion columnist highlights, “the narrative of racist harassment of a minority student at an elitist white institution turned out to be comprehensively false.”

Michael Powell, the Times reporter covering the story, summarised the findings of the law firm’s investigation:

Ms. Kanoute was determined to have eaten in a deserted dorm that had been closed for the summer; the janitor had been encouraged to notify security if he saw unauthorised people there. The officer, like all campus police, was unarmed.

Unwittingly, Powell exposes the postmodern dilemma underlying the events at Smith College. He writes of “the tensions between a student’s deeply felt sense of personal truth and facts that are at odds with it.”

Truth be told, Kanoute’s “deeply felt sense of personal truth” did a lot of damage. She named and doxxed a janitor and a cafeteria worker who weren’t even involved in calling campus security that day. The stress of this caused a flare-up of lupus in one and anxiety attacks for the other—not to mention death threats.

And there was of course the national impact: the amplification of claims that the United States is “systemically racist”—a narrative that was never tempered by the ultimate findings of the law firm, since the news cycle had long moved on.

Owing to their breed, bogeymen aren’t easily put back in cages.

We know this, not just from the Smith College incident, but a string of apparently racist incidents that have turned out to be short on facts and long on a “deeply felt sense of personal truth”. Jussie SmollettBubba Wallace and the Covington Affair are just a few that spring to mind.

To the credit of the New York Times, columnist Bret Stephens was permitted to dissect the incident in an insightful piece called “Smith College and the Failing Liberal Bargain”. (This was a somewhat surprising compromise from an outlet that suffered multiple newsroom revolts over comparable stories in 2020).

Stephens asks, “Why does the embrace of social justice pedagogies seem to have gone hand in hand with deteriorating race relations on campus?”

Indeed.

Stephens rightly discerns that the Smith College affair is further evidence, not merely of a racial struggle in the West, but a brewing cultural revolution. “Liberal ideals themselves are up for renegotiation,” he warns.

That much is clear to anyone who has examined Critical Race Theory in some depth, the ideology shaping this revolution. Despite assertions to the contrary, Critical Race Theory is not simply about racial sensitivity. As I have documented elsewhere,

The West has long prized evidence, logic and reason as the way to discern truth from falsehood. Critical Race Theory rejects this, claiming that every part of the Western liberal order—including ideas like merit, rational inquiry, the rule of law, and individual liberty—are the very tools being used to perpetuate white supremacy and oppress people of colour.

When Stephens writes that “liberal ideals themselves are up for renegotiation,” he really means it. And he has the receipts. As Stephens points out, this is not mainly a “left versus right” battle: it’s an all-out war between the liberal left and the Woke left. “Well-meaning liberals,” he writes, “don’t seem to understand the illiberal nature of what they are facing.”

By every measure, Critical Race Theory is racism by another name. Writes Stephens,

In place of former notions of fairness toward individuals regardless of race, the Woke left has new ideas of “restorative justice” for racial groups. In place of traditional commitments to free speech, it has new proscriptions on hate speech. In place of the liberal left’s past devotion to facts, it demands new respect for feelings.

What we are witnessing is postmodernism in full flower. And given its penchant for raw power, it won’t go away until the morally courageous stand up and name it for what it is.

This content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license.

COLUMN BY

Kurt Mahlburg is a writer and author, and an emerging Australian voice on culture and the Christian faith. He has a passion for both the philosophical and the personal, drawing on his background as a graduate… More by Kurt Mahlburg.

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

 

Action Civics Is Teaching Our Kids to Protest

Many young Americans seem to have a growing disdain for our country. According to a Gallup poll, pride in our nation has declined, especially among young adults.

Young adults are taking to the streets and not merely protesting but wreaking havoc, rioting and looting, tearing down statues, and shutting down anyone who doesn’t share their perspective.

One reason this is happening is what our children are being taught in school. And that doesn’t mean only in college. We all know college campuses have become centers of radical indoctrination, but now it is happening in K-12 as well, through something called action civics, a new movement in civic education.

As educator Thomas Lindsay explains, action civics was born in 2010 when six organizations set out to redefine civic education. Dissatisfied with traditional civics, which depended on book learning, they wanted to create a new civics that was more experiential. They wanted kids to engage, get involved, get active.


When the elections end, the work begins. Learn what the election results mean for the future of America now >>


The problem is that without a solid understanding of why the Founders were so deliberate in designing our self-governing republic, with its separation of powers to prevent any one branch from becoming tyrannical, or establishing the rule of law so that we would not be subject to the whims of any one person, we risk falling into the same traps of other, less just regimes.

Indeed it is no accident that today’s protests are looking more like the French Revolution, with its guillotines and beheadings, than the American Revolution, with its debates and deliberations.


>>> To learn more about action civics, watch “How Action Civics Teaches Our Kids to Protest,” the Oct. 28 webinar featuring educator Thomas Lindsay held by The Heritage Foundation. To read his study, published in September by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, go here.


Robert Pondiscio, himself once a proponent and teacher of action civics, wrote that it has grown into “a manipulative and cynical use of children as political props in the service of causes they understand superficially, if at all.”

Indeed a study published by the National Association of Scholars found that action civics projects essentially teach students to protest for progressive political causes.

As Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, pointed out, the “new civics” is in fact a form of anti-civics. It does not teach students how our government works or, even more importantly, their critical role as citizens in a self-governing republic. Rather, it simply teaches them how to be activists.

For many today, it feels as if our country never has been more divided and the ideals of our Founders never more at risk. That is due in no small part to what is being taught in our schools.

Parents must step up and take a more active role in their children’s education, carefully watching what their children are being taught. The good news is that with the COVID-19 crisis and the prevalence of online learning, it is easier than ever before for parents to keep an eye on what is being taught to their children.

But what parents do with that information is what really matters. They must engage with schools, school boards, teachers, and principals to ensure that students are taught more than simply how to protest.

COMMENTARY BY

Katharine Gorka is director of the Center for Civil Society and the American Dialogue at The Heritage Foundation’s Feulner Institute.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Trump’s ban on Critical Race Theory, explained

Does Critical Race Theory promote racial harmony or does it “sow division” as the Trump administration claims? And what is its relation, if any, to Marxism?


With the November election just around the corner, it’s only to be expected that President Trump would seek to rally conservative voters and drive his supporters to the polls. So, when his administration, on September 4, instructed the federal government to eliminate all training in “Critical Race Theory,” some thought it was just a red-meat stunt to excite the Republican base. Others saw it as an act of right-wing censorship and an obstruction of racial progress.

In truth, there’s much more to this development than mere politicization and censorship.

Here’s a breakdown of what the administration is doing and why it’s a welcome move.

The executive memo

“It has come to the President’s attention that Executive Branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date ‘training’ government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda,” Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought wrote in the executive memorandum.

“Employees across the Executive Branch have been required to attend trainings where they are told that ‘virtually all White people contribute to racism’ or where they are required to say that they ‘benefit from racism,’” Vought explained. “According to press reports, in some cases these training [sic] have further claimed that there is racism embedded in the belief that America is the land of opportunity or the belief that the most qualified person should receive a job.”

The order instructed federal agencies to identify and eliminate any contracts or spending that train employees in “critical race theory,” “white privilege,” “or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil.”

The exposé

How did it “come to the President’s attention,” and what press reports is Vought referring to?

Well, President Trump is known to watch Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News. And days before the memo was issued, Carlson had on journalist Christopher Rufo to discuss his multiple reports uncovering the extent to which Critical Race Theory (CRT) was being used in federal training programs.

“For example, Rufo claimed, the Treasury Department recently hired a diversity trainer who said the U.S. was a fundamentally White supremacist country,” wrote Sam Dorman for the Fox News web site, “and that White people upheld the system of racism in the nation. In another case, which Rufo discussed with Carlson last month, Sandia National Laboratories, which designs nuclear weapons, sent its white male executives to a mandatory training in which they, according to Rufo, wrote letters apologizing to women and people of color.”

Rufo challenged President Trump to use his executive authority to extirpate CRT from the federal government.

The debate

CNN’s Brian Stelter (as well as Rufo himself) traced Trump’s decision directly to the independent investigative journalist’s self-proclaimed “one-man war” on CRT, of which the recent Carlson appearance was only the latest salvo.

Selter characterized Trump’s move as a reactionary attack on the current national “reckoning” on race. He cited the Washington Post’s claim that, “racial and diversity awareness trainings are essential steps in helping rectify the pervasive racial inequities in American society, including those perpetuated by the federal government.”

So which is it? Is CRT “divisive” and “toxic” or is it “rectifying” and “anti-racist”?

Intellectual ancestry

To answer that, it would help to trace CRT to its roots. Critical Race Theory is a branch of Critical Theory, which began as an academic movement in the 1930s. Critical Theory emphasizes the “critique of society and culture in order to reveal and challenge power structures,” as Wikipedia states. Critical Race Theory does the same, with a focus on racial power structures, especially white supremacy and the oppression of people of color.

The “power structure” prism stems largely from Critical Theory’s own roots in Marxism—Critical Theory was developed by members of the Marxist “Frankfurt School.” Traditional Marxism emphasized economic power structures, especially the supremacy of capital over labor under capitalism. Marxism interpreted most of human history as a zero-sum class war for economic power.

“According to the Marxian view,” wrote the economist Ludwig von Mises, “human society is organized into classes whose interests stand in irreconcilable opposition.”

Mises called this view a “conflict doctrine,” which opposed the “harmony doctrine” of classical liberalism. According to the classical liberals, in a free market economy, capitalists and workers were natural allies, not enemies. Indeed, in a free society all rights-respecting individuals were natural allies.

A bitter inheritance

Critical Race Theory arose as a distinct movement in law schools in the late 1980s. CRT inherited many of its premises and perspectives from its Marxist ancestry.

The pre-CRT Civil Rights Movement had emphasized equal rights and treating people as individuals, as opposed to as members of a racial collective. “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” Martin Luther King famously said.

In contrast, CRT dwells on inequalities of outcome, which it generally attributes to racial power structures. And, as we’ve seen from the government training curricula, modern CRT forthrightly judges white people by the color of their skin, prejudging them as racist by virtue of their race. This race-based “pre-trial guilty verdict” of racism is itself, by definition, racist.

The classical liberal “harmony doctrine” was deeply influential in the movements to abolish all forms of inequality under the law: from feudal serfdom, to race-based slavery, to Jim Crow.

But, with the rise of Critical Race Theory, the cause of racial justice became more influenced by the fixations on conflict, discord, and domination that CRT inherited from Marxism.

Social life was predominantly cast as a zero-sum struggle between collectives: capital vs. labor for Marxism, whites vs. people of color for CRT.

A huge portion of society’s ills were attributed to one particular collective’s diabolical domination: capitalist hegemony for Marxism, white supremacy for CRT.

Just as Marxism demonized capitalists, CRT vilifies white people. Both try to foment resentment, envy, and a victimhood complex among the oppressed class it claims to champion.

Traditional Marxists claimed that all capitalists benefit from the zero-sum exploitation of workers. Similarly, CRT “diversity trainers” require white trainees to admit that they “benefit from racism.”

Traditional Marxists insisted that bourgeois thoughts were inescapably conditioned by “class interest.” In the same way, CRT trainers push the notion that “virtually all White people contribute to racism” as a result of their whiteness.

Given the above, it should be no wonder that CRT has been criticized as “racist” and “divisive.”

Reckoning or retrogression?

Supporters of CRT cast it as a force for good in today’s “rectifying reckoning” over race.

But CRT’s neo-Marxist orientation only damages race relations and harms the interests of those it claims to serve.

In practice, the class war rhetoric of Marxism was divisive and toxic for economic relations. And, far from advancing the interests of the working classes, it led to mass poverty and devastating famines, not to mention staggering inequality between the elites and the masses.

Today, the CRT-informed philosophy, rhetoric, and strategy of the Black Lives Matter organization (whose leadership professed to be “trained Marxists”) is leading to mass riots, looting, vandalism, and assault. The divisive violence has arrested progress for the cause of police reform, destroyed countless black-owned small businesses, and economically devastated many black communities.

Those who truly wish to see racial harmony should dump the neo-Marxists and learn more about classical liberalism. (FEE.org is the perfect place to start.)

So much for CRT being a force for good. Of course, even horrible ideas are protected by the First Amendment. The government should never use force to suppress people from expressing ideas, speech, or theories it dislikes.

Critics insist that President Trump is engaged in this kind of censorship by targeting CRT.

Not so.

No one is banning White Fragility, the blockbuster CRT manifesto. No one is locking up those who preach CRT or ordering mentions of it stripped from the internet.

The memo simply says that taxpayer dollars will no longer be spent promulgating this theory to federal government employees. As heads of the executive branch, presidents have wide latitude to make the rules for federal agencies under their control. Deciding how money is spent certainly falls under their proper discretion—and it is always done with political preferences in mind, one way or the other.

It is not censorship for Trump to eliminate funding for CRT, anymore than it was “censorship” for the Obama administration to choose to tie federal contracts to a business’s embrace of LGBT rights.

Elections have consequences, one of the most obvious being that the president gets to run the executive branch. If we don’t want the president’s political preferences to be so significant in training programs, then we should simply reduce the size of government and the number of bureaucrats.

In the meantime, stripping the federal government of the divisive, toxic, and neo-Marxist ideology of Critical Race Theory is a positive development for the sake of racial justice and harmony.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

COLUMN BY

Dan Sanchez

Dan Sanchez is the Director of Content at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) and the editor-in-chief of FEE.org. He co-hosts the weekly web show FEEcast, serving as the resident “explainer.” … 

Tyler Brandt

Tyler Brandt is a Senior Associate Editor at FEE. He is a graduate of UW-Madison with a B.A. in Political Science. In college, Tyler was a FEE Campus Ambassador, President of his campus YAL chapter, and… 

Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and the Eugene S. Thorpe Writing Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education. He was previously a Media and Journalism Fellow at… 

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EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.