The populist parent uprising against critical race theory

The populist parent uprising against critical race theory. By Peter Wood.

The burghers in places as far-flung as Loudoun County, Virginia, Fort Worth, Texas and Langley, Washington have turned out in recent days at local school board meetings to protest the CRT-inflected curricula that their districts have been inflicting on students. The protesters — mostly parents of enrolled students — regard the emphasis on critical race theory as state-sponsored propaganda aimed at indoctrinating children in racial grievance, allegiance to authoritarian leaders and hatred of their own country….

Among the more widely watched videos is one of a citizen opposing his school board’s pro-CRT stance: the T-shirted, tattooed British expat Simon Campbell sticks it to the Pennsbury, Pennsylvania school board. The audience cheers as Mr Campbell charges the school board, ‘It seems to me that you think you can supersede the United States Constitution.’ As the cheers die down, he continues, ‘I’ve got news for you school board president Benito Mussolini, your power does not exceed that of the US Constitution and the First Amendment Rights of the citizens of this great nation.’ His five minute bravura performance needs to be savored in the original. …



The defenders of critical race theory frequently create a maze of distinctions. If you challenge the 1619 Project as an instance of CRT, they loftily inform you that you don’t know what you are talking about. CRT is an exquisitely refined doctrine that has been crafted by law professors over the years — and has nothing to do with Nikole Hannah-Jones and the New York Times’s confected fantasy about the slave origins of American society. Or if you challenge the Ibram X. Kendi’s virulently anti-white ‘anti-racism’ agenda, the proponents of CRT sneer that Kendi’s approach differs entirely. In schools, the rubric under which CRT is most commonly deployed is ‘DEI — Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’. And once again, school officials intone from Olympian heights that DEI and CRT are as different as apple pie and applejack.

Marc Lamont Hill, host of UpFront on Al Jazeera English, and Joy Reid, MSNBC national correspondent, have been the most conspicuous figures in the left’s effort to diffuse public ire against CRT by drawing opportunistic distinctions among the various embodiments of the basic creed. Both have had CRT’s most celebrated critic Christopher Rufo on their shows in efforts to cut him down to size. The don’t-let-him-get-a word-in-edgeways style of interview has pleased CRT partisans but only further infuriated the general public.

That public fully understands that the basic message of CRT is that America is ‘systemically racist’, that white people hoarding their privileges is the engine of systemic racism and that nothing short of a total transformation of American society can bring about ‘racial justice’. The 1619 Project, anti-racism and DEI are just euphemistic variations on this theme.

When someone like Simon Campbell summons the US Constitution and the First Amendment to his side of the table, he has a point. CRT and its progeny are a doctrine aimed at delegitimizing America. These doctrines aim to unseat the US Constitution as a racist document. They see the First Amendment as protecting white supremacy by giving white people exclusive control over public speech. And they treat the whole dynamic of the county as a contest over ‘power’. In that contest, censorship by the proponents of CRT is fully warranted, since they are battling the unfair advantages of the white racist regime.

Woke is yet another movement of not-so-bright people using their greater numbers to get more goodies, regardless of the harm it does to society. Of course, society will turn to muck as they grab control, as it always does.

It is an open question how deeply members of the K-12 educational establishment understand this nonsense. America’s school teachers and school administrators are not exactly the cream of the intellectual crop. Most of them have been through those indoctrination mills called schools of education where John Dewey mingles with Paulo Freire and retired terrorist (‘guilty as hell, free as a bird’) Bill Ayers. All they know about education is that it is supposed to be ‘transformational’. …

With legions of teachers and school administrators imbued with this outlook, it is little surprise that CRT looks like a fine new pedagogical instrument. It is yet another hammer for battering the pillars that uphold the ideal of America as a society committed to those unevenly yoked goals of liberty and equality. Why not just replace them with ‘diversity’ and ‘equity’? The reasons why not may be invisible to today’s educators, but fortunately not to the parents who show up at the school board meetings.

‘They caught you red-handed with an enemies list to punish opponents of critical race theory. You’re teaching children to hate others because of their skin color,’ declared Dick Black of Ashburn, Virginia, addressing the school board in Loudoun County, Virginia before the board abruptly adjourned the meeting and called the police to arrest the protesters for trespassing. …

Look wherever you might across the United States, populist uprisings against public schools for embracing CRT are underway. CRT proponents are fighting back, not just via figures such as Marc Lamont Hill and Joy Reid, but also by organizing their counter-protests. But for once the numbers and the energy are on the side of those who seek to uphold traditional values and accurate history. This is a grassroots movement which has substantial political implications for the 2022 midterm elections. The Biden administration beginning on inauguration day has gone all-in in its support for CRT, the 1619 Project and related endeavors. The Anti-CRT Burghers have a lot to chew on.