Parents have tried many ways of telling school administrators and policymakers that they don’t want Critical Race Theory taught in schools.
Unfortunately, they’ve been dismissed, ignored, mocked by the media, and even threatened with government action for disrupting school board meetings. So, they’ve turned to a way of communicating that cannot be ignored. They are speaking at the ballot box.
A bit of background: Critical Race Theory (CRT) exploded on the scene in the last several years, getting even more traction with the rise of identity politics and the “Black Lives Matter” movement. However, it’s important to note that CRT has actually been around for decades as a niche area of academia.
At its core, Critical Race Theory is an outgrowth of critical theory, which is rooted in Marxism. Substitute “race” for “class,” and you have the gist of CRT. It posits that America is a fundamentally racist country, built on – and upheld by – racist institutions. According to this line of thought, the only possible solution is to tear down those institutions and remake them, ideally with an element of racially based redistribution of wealth and power.
Even if you’re not familiar with the roots of Critical Race Theory, you’ve seen its effects in the culture at large. Accusations of “privilege,” tearing down statues, describing the justice system, the flag, or the government as intrinsically racist – these all spring from the influence of critical race theory.
When CRT makes its way into schools, it transforms into a very simplistic narrative, capable of being understood by a second grader: “America is racist and this is largely the fault of white people, who are privileged and use the institutions of government and society to keep minorities down.” In a notorious pamphlet on race produced for children by the Smithsonian Institution, things like “punctuality,” “the nuclear family,” “the scientific method,” “hard work as a key to success,” “Christianity,” and “majority rules,” were listed as aspects of white culture.
If this strikes you as racist, that’s because it is. We grew up in a world that had embraced Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a society where people would not be, “judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Critical Race Theory is the opposite of Dr. King’s dream. It’s only interest – and only way to judge anything – is by the color of someone’s skin.
When the divisive nature of Critical Race Theory made its way into the classrooms, parents of all races united in opposition. As a Black mother, I do not want my children taught that they are eternal victims, with no hope of achieving success in a world that is stacked against them by nebulous, racist forces. I don’t want them taught to resent white people. I want them to learn that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, and that race does not define anyone.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been easy to get CRT our of our schools. Left-leaning politicians and school boards have bought into the trend. Administrators claim that they aren’t teaching CRT, even when the lessons being brought home have clearly been influenced by it. Teachers resist any attempt to restrict what they can say in the classroom.
The only thing parents can do is become activists – speak at school boards, demand transparency in the curriculum, and elect officials who promise to oppose the implementation of CRT in schools.
That last strategy is proving to be the most effective of all. Across the country, anti-CRT candidates are winning elections, even in places previously dominated by the left. In some states, legislators have even been able to pass laws that curb the use of CRT materials in schools.
But one of the most impressive recent victories was here in Texas, when parents resoundingly rejected Critical Race Theory in a series of school board elections. Just a few weeks ago, anti-CRT candidates chalked up big wins over their leftist opponents, demonstrating that opposition to Critical Race Theory crosses racial, ethnic, and political lines. In one town, conservatives flipped control of the school board. Anti-CRT candidates even won in areas that voted for Biden or have significant minority populations.
If we’ve learned anything from the Texas school board victories, it’s that every election counts. We tend to think of attacks on our values coming from Washington, DC via Congress, the White House, or the Supreme Court. But the truth is that we need to watch our own backyard just as carefully. Critical Race Theory was able to make inroads in our schools due to the actions of local school boards and politicians. It took local activism and advocacy to stop it.
The Texas election was a great victory, but the battle isn’t over yet. If parents stop paying attention, Critical Race Theory and other leftist teaching will creep back into our schools. Stopping the indoctrination of our children requires vigilance. So, stay informed, stay active, and don’t forget to vote your values in every election, no matter how small.