Here’s The POS Who Scared Your Conservative Relatives With Lies About Critical Race Theory
Republicans are frequently unable to correctly define critical race theory when asked. Most don't even bother. It's just easier to lie about it. They claim critical race theory "teaches kids to hate America" and that all white people are as racist as the Fox News primetime lineup. They've also linked it to Marxism, another concept they don't understand, but which scares the hell out of white people.
A new “Satanic panic" is brewing over critical race theory, and Republicans hope to ride it to electoral success. It's like when they lied about “death panels" prior to winning back control of the House in the 2010 midterms.
Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist from Seattle, is the creator of critical race theory — not the actual legal framework of critical race theory, but the imaginary, spooky-sounding bullshit conservatives are peddling. During a Fox News appearance last summer, Rufo declared, without any basis in fact, that “critical race theory has become, in essence, the default ideology of the federal bureaucracy and is now being weaponized against the American people."
This greatly concerned Donald Trump, a regular Fox News viewer and putative head of the federal government. Trump, like most Republicans, doesn't believe systemic racism exists, except when white people are the victims of a racist conspiracy to make minorities hate them. According to Tucker Carlson, Ted Cruz, and poor, confused Candace Owens, systemic racism isn't why George Floyd was murdered. It's why his killer, Derek Chauvin, was convicted.
President Klan Robe demanded swift action immediately after seeing Rufo rail against critical race theory. A few days later, he issued an executive order banning federal diversity training, which is different from critical race theory, not that Trump or conservatives care. This all earned Rufo a golden ticket to Trump's racist candy factory.
The Washington Post describes the critical race theory debate with this impressive bit of "both sides" double speak.
It's the latest cultural wedge issue, playing out largely but not exclusively in debate over schools. At its core, it pits progressives who believe white people should be pushed to confront systemic racism and white privilege in America against conservatives who see these initiatives as painting all white people as racist. Progressives see racial disparities in education, policing and economics as a result of racism. Conservatives say analyzing these issues through a racial lens is, in and of itself, racist. Where one side sees a reckoning with America's past and present sins, another sees a misguided effort to teach children to hate America.
How can you discuss an overtly racial issue without noting the obvious racial differences between American conservatives and progressives? The media could use some critical race theory. Just seven percent of Black voters identify as Republican, and they aren't all Tim Scott. Former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele, who's Black, tweeted that acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf was “high" when he claimed last year there was no systemic racism in American policing.
1. He’s “Acting” 2. He’s high https://t.co/yowyjARF1i— Michael Steele (@Michael Steele)1597776633.0
And while not all Black voters are progressives, the overwhelming majority identify as Democrats, arguably because the Republican Party includes the likes of Jeff Sessions, Stephen Miller, and Donald Trump. White supremacists carrying Confederate flags stormed the Capitol on January 6. That's not the “party of Lincoln," no matter what the GOP letterhead might claim.
It's silly to write about the manufactured critical race theory debate without conceding the obvious point: Most Black people believe America should confront its history of systemic racism, and most white people find that uncomfortable. That's not a racist statement. That's critical math theory.
Rufo is full of crap anyway. He's admitted on Twitter that his goal is to make gullible racists (the bulk of the Fox News viewing audience) associate critical race theory with everything they fear and distrust, like unattended Black children.
We have successfully frozen their brand—"critical race theory"—into the public conversation and are steadily driving up negative perceptions. We will eventually turn it toxic, as we put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category. The goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think "critical race theory." We have decodified the term and will recodify it to annex the entire range of cultural constructions that are unpopular with Americans.
He's since defended his cynical propaganda tactics: "If you want to see public policy outcomes, you have to run a public persuasion campaign."
The GOP has embraced Rufo, who now advises "hundred of lawmakers" on how to win the "language war" by using made-up nonsense terms such as "race-based Marxism."
"Once you actually lay down the specifics, say, 'Hey, I support diversity, I support inclusion, I support equality, but this is what they're doing in practice,' and then make your opponents defend those specific incidents," he said. "I can provide a range of reporting."
The Post details how “the range of reporting" Rufo provides isn't supported by actual evidence. It all comes from the Tucker Carlson School of Total Bullshit. Regardless, we can expect to see Rufo's handiwork behind the GOP's critical race theory rhetoric during the 2022 midterms, and while I've long argued that Democrats could do a better job at messaging, I don't think they should abandon the truth. That would make them Republicans.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."