The cultural battle over critical race theory (CRT) and “antiracist” curricula rages on as state legislatures around the country ban its teaching in public schools and parents lead a rebellion against “woke” school boards and educators. Complicated accounts of CRT have emerged in the process, but its real intention is simple.
Attention to this once-unknown issue is largely the work of journalist Christopher Rufo. His research has exposed how CRT is promoted in schools, corporations and government agencies. The subtle racial indoctrination of practices such as diversity training even caught the eye of former President Donald Trump, who banned the practice for federal employees last year.
CRT holds that America is fundamentally racist, yet it teaches people to view every social interaction and person in terms of race. Its adherents pursue “antiracism” through the end of merit, objective truth and the adoption of race-based policies.
But Rufo’s description of CRT is that it’s a racial ideology rooted in Marxism. In an April 22 article published in City Journal, he argued that critical race theorists substituted Marx’s economic dialectic of capitalists and workers with a “coalition of the dispossessed based on racial and ethnic categories.”
Critical race theory is racialized Marxism. It’s that simple.
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) May 17, 2021
It’s true that critical studies has its origins in the Frankfurt School, a school of thought developed by Marxist intellectuals, and that some of CRT’s founding scholars have associated themselves with Marxism. But the obfuscation of CRT with concepts like Marxism or “postmodernism” ignores its real intention: CRT is the politics of racial grievance directed against white people.
Robin DiAngelo, who coined the term “white fragility” and makes thousands of dollars lecturing white liberals about their “privilege,” might be the best example of how CRT is primarily intended to promote anti-white racial grievance. DiAngelo has had her work cited in numerous universities, school districts and workplaces as part of “antiracism” and diversity training.
In leaked documents of a “white privilege” training for teachers and students at San Diego Unified School Districts that featured DiAngelo’s work, the majority-white attendees and were shown a presentation that proclaimed “You are Racist” and prompted teachers to consider how they “are upholding racist ideas, structures and policies.”
The teachers are told that they are part of an oppressive white power structure. The trainers claim that “white people in America hold most of the [power]” and that white teachers have an “ability to thrive” that is “being preserved at every level of power.” pic.twitter.com/NMTpiyb6Ws
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) December 3, 2020
DiAngelo’s work was also featured in a course titled “Confronting Racism” that whistleblowers said was required for Coca-Cola employees. The course was scrubbed from LinkedIn but included material instructing participants to “be less white.”
Ibram X. Kendi, a so-called “antiracism” scholar, is another figure who appears prominently in CRT instruction. Kendi once said on CBS This Morning in June 2020 that it’s “critical for white people … to stop denying their racist ideas, to stop denying the ways in which policies have benefitted them, to stop denying their racism.”
The explicit anti-white character of CRT has become more prevalent in a number of other institutions. The Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, for example, published a paper earlier in June that described “whiteness” as a mental condition and likened it to a “malignant, parasitic-like” condition that does not have a permanent cure.
Anti-white practices may also be taking place under the Biden administration. The Small Business Administration announced in May that restaurants, bars and other venues can apply for federal relief under the American Rescue Plan that President Joe Biden signed into law in March. (RELATED: The Response From Liberals On Resistance To Critical Race Theory Is To Pretend It Doesn’t Exist. The Strategy Will Backfire)
But the program is providing priority status to venues owned by women, veterans and members of a “socially or economically disadvantaged” class. The administration’s definition for that class of people specifically excludes white people.
Rufo himself said CRT “is explicitly anti-white” in a tweet responding to Revolver News’ Darren Beattie on the subject. But he qualified his criticism by arguing that “anti-whiteness is merely one element” and that CRT is “also anti-Asian, anti-rational and anti-democratic.”
Sure, critical race theory is explicitly anti-white (in the clip, I reference Ignatiev’s campaign to “abolish the white race”), but it is also anti-Asian, anti-rational, and anti-democratic. I think it is much deeper problem—”anti-whiteness” is merely one element.
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) May 26, 2021
Other critics of CRT such as Karlyn Borysenko have claimed the ideology is “racist against everyone” or that it’s even anti-black, as one black mother told the Florida Board of Education in a now-viral exchange.
It’s true that Asian Americans have been subject to criticism by “antiracism” advocates for being “white-adjacent” or for assimilating into “whiteness.” Asian Americans have also alleged that race-based policies like affirmative action place an unfair burden on them compared to other minorities.
But Rufo’s own research shows almost all the concepts associated with CRT are specifically, even explicitly, directed toward white people. It is “whiteness” rather than “Asianness” or “blackness” which is condemned, and proponents of CRT do not necessarily rely on philosophical arguments against rationalism or liberal democracy. (RELATED: The War Against Critical Race Theory Seems To Be Working, According To The Polls)
In a report on schools in Portland published in the spring 2021 edition of City Journal, Rufo noted that “antiracist resources” given to teachers by the city’s equity and inclusion office were intended to “facilitate growth for white folks to become allies, and eventually accomplices, for anti-racist work.”
The resources given to teachers assume that all white people are born “racist” and they must be confronted with “experiences that highlight their whiteness,” Rufo wrote. He concluded the goal of these government-sponsored “antiracism” efforts was for white people to feel intense “white guilt” and “white shame,” and to ultimately admit: “I feel bad for being white.”