Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
From the Biden administration to the teachers’ unions to the media, the talking points in support of critical race theory all come down to some defense of “teaching history”.
Or as Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki put it, “children should learn not just the good, but also the challenging in our history.”
Children, of course, learn little else except the “challenging” in our history.
Howard Zinn would find little to complain about in a modern history curriculum which begins with accusing Americans of committing genocide against Indian tribes and then shifts over to slavery, segregation, Japanese detention camps in California, the civil rights movement, and gay rights.
Liberals were already teaching American history as a series of inadequacies and oppressions.
Critical race theory is only concerned with history to the extent that it fits its attack on the present. It rejects the old liberal framework of America as a series of diminishing oppressions. Its revelatory “red pill” idea is that America is perpetually oppressive because segregation and slavery never ended. They just moved into the criminal justice system. The police are the new slave catchers. White privilege is the new plantation. Dating America back to 1619 isn’t just an attack on its founding, but on our present because they insist that we are in 1619 right now.
Liberals attacked America’s founding to defend a series of breaks with the past. Critical race theorists attack the past to attack the present because they believe there’s no difference.
Psaki briefly conceded that the purpose of critical race theory in education is an attack on the present. Or as the spokeswoman spun it, “the president believes that in our history, there are many dark moments. And there is not just slavery and racism in our history, there is systemic racism that is still impacting society today.” America wasn’t just racist: it is still racist now.
Critical race theory isn’t teaching history. What it’s teaching is that there is no history.
Liberals believed that progress could be made from the past, but the new wave of leftists argue that progress is impossible until everything about the past is destroyed. Year Zero.
America has not changed and cannot change until it is utterly and entirely destroyed.
Much like the “Roman Empire Never Fell” strain of history, critical race theory and its assorted black nationalist influenced constructs insist that “Slavery Never Ended”.
An ideology that denies the existence of historical change can’t teach any kind of history.
An obvious sign that you’re consuming junk ideological history is an insistence on seeing an endless series of exact parallels in every era that prove nothing really changes over time.
A revisionist history that denies the existence of historical change is just a conspiracy theory.
And critical race theory, like all Marxism, is a conspiracy theory which uses bad history to prove the even worse point that nothing will ever change until its acolytes are running everything.
Critical race theory is anti-American, but it’s also illiberal and illiterate. Not to mention racist.
The Democrat establishment is frantically trying to talk about critical race theory in terms of “teaching history”, but the most pernicious elements of critical race theory aren’t its revisionist history, but its insistence that the country and that white people are innately racist.
Few parents are coming to meetings to protest a distorted version of American history. While history influenced by critical race theory is even more hateful than the ordinary kind, most schools are already teaching our history as a series of negatives with few positives.
What they are protesting is the demonization of their children in the present.
The most explosive part of critical race theory’s influence on the curriculum is the obsessive hatred of ‘whiteness’ which leads to dividing up students by race and telling them that minorities are victims and white students are evil because systemic racism is embedded in our culture, our society, and our institutions, and resides intangibly in the deepest corners of our psyches.
Opposition to critical race theory has mobilized a new group of activists, many of them liberal and not particularly patriotic, who have little investment in American history, but who viscerally reject the racial demonization that critical race theory has brought into their school systems.
Democrats are panicking over the blowback because many of these parents are not conservative Christians or flag-wavers, some are suburban soccer moms who are mostly on board with leftist politics, but who draw the line at having their kids accused of racism.
There is a huge difference between teaching kids about racism and teaching them to be racist.
Activist education, as opposed to actual education, isn’t transmitting knowledge. History, like math and science, are purely transactional in activist education whose function is mobilization.
The transformation of educators into organizers turned public schools and colleges into hubs for manufacturing the leftist activists of tomorrow while destroying educational standards. It is no coincidence that test scores, especially in math and science, began their decline at the same time that schools became explicitly political institutions and teachers turned into organizers.
When teaching is just a means of turning out the kids for a political rally, it fails at the basic educational task of conveying knowledge and skills. Indoctrinating children under the guise of teaching critical thinking skills has led to students who leap to deconstruct everything along approved lines without understanding the nature of the things they’re deconstructing.
That’s how you end up with activists toppling statues of Lincoln and Grant, and vandalizing memorials to Civil War soldiers, to protest against racism.
Racism has come to mean the past. And the past, critical race theory, insists is also the present.
Teaching history is a poor way to describe a racist ideology which claims that history never changes and that the only way to escape it is to wage a forever war on the present.
The Biden administration isn’t endorsing critical race theory in schools because it believes in teaching history, but because it’s doubling down on using schools for political organizing. From the union dues that fund the Democrat political machine to the educational indoctrination meant to create new Democrat voters, public education is a Democrat funding and recruiting system.
The pandemic lockdowns, in which public school teachers could attend Black Lives Matter riots, but couldn’t risk their precious selves by teaching students, showed whom the system serves.
The public school system does not serve their country, it does not serve America, children or their parents. Instead it’s a machine for grinding up all three for the political benefit of one party.
That party, like its leftist ideology, doesn’t want to teach American history. It seeks to end it.