The Miseducation Of Chuck Todd
Most of the Sunday shows took a holiday break. But "Meet The Press" had a special on "Schools, America & Race," and much of it ended up being a "both sides" look at ... Critical Race Theory! (Cue very scary thunderstorm sounds.)
There were answers for all of Chuck Todd's questions, but as is often the case, he wasn't able to put it all together.
Todd interviewed journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who led the New York Times's "1619 Project."
Hannah-Jones, like a true journalist and scholar, explained the facts while debunking idiocy and badly premised questions from Todd. Like this exchange when Todd blamed CRT for Republican Glenn Youngkin winning the Virginia governorship.
HANNAH-JONES: Well, I would say the governor's race in Virginia was decided based on the success of a right-wing propaganda campaign that told white parents that they needed to fight against their children being indoctrinated as race – as being called racists. But that was a propaganda campaign. And there are a lot of Black parents in Virginia. There are a lot of Latino parents in Virginia. And they were not being featured in that coverage. And what they wanted for their kids' education, which is more teaching about race, more teaching about the history of racism, seemed to have fallen on deaf ears. So, I think we should frame that question properly.
Hannah-Jones then added:
HANNAH-JONES: I don't really understand this idea that parents should decide what's being taught. [...] We send our children to school because we want them to be taught by people who have an expertise in the subject area. [...] This is why we send our children to school and don't homeschool, because these are the professional educators who have the expertise to teach social studies, to teach history, to teach science, to teach literature. And I think we should leave that to the educators.
Todd asked a few questions that exposed his privilege and the bias real education about race illuminates:
TODD: Is there an age restriction in your mind?
HANNAH-JONES: About teaching what?
TODD: Teaching sort of -- when it comes to teaching our past, you know there’s this, and I think this is coming basically through a racial lens, but there’s this, you know, -- parents are saying, "Hey, don't, don’t make my kid feel guilty." And, you know, and I know a parent of color is going, "What are you talking about? You know, I've got to teach reality." When do you do it, and how do you do it?
HANNAH-JONES: Well, I think you should just think a little bit about your framing. You said "parents," and then you said "parents of color." So the white --
TODD: Right, it's white parents --
HANNAH-JONES: – is silent –
TODD: – and parents of color. You’re – no. Fair point. Yeah.
HANNAH-JONES: Right. White parents are not representing -- as a matter of fact, white parents are representing fewer than half of all public school parents. And yet, they have an outsized voice in this debate.
It's the same bias shown as when the media talks about the "working class" or "average Americans," but what they really mean is rural white people. The default is white while everyone else gets race added as a descriptor. The question about at what age "children" should be taught about race is really about white children. Hannah-Jones explained that kids of color don't get the luxury of being shielded from racism until they're older.
The true conservative freakout about Critical Race Theory is about preserving their ability to whitewash racism and erase history as they please. It's their attempt to control free speech while pretending they're supporting "equality." This is evident when looking at a list of words Wisconsin Republicans proposed banning earlier this fall:
Surprised they didn't list 'white fragility.'
Then there was the story featured earlier in the special about James Whitfield, the first Black principal of Colleyville, Texas’s majority-white Colleyville Heritage High School, who has been suspended since August because of "accusations that he was pushing critical race theory or CRT on students." But as NBC reporter Antonia Hilton pointed out, evidence of his wrongdoing was flimsy and revealing of what really made white people mad:
There is no evidence that Colleyville Heritage High or Dr. Whitfield taught critical race theory. When Whitfield became principal, parents claimed anniversary photos of him and his white wife, found in an old album on his Facebook page, were inappropriate. Others grew outraged after he took part in a district-approved presentation on diverse differences. Later, anger after he wrote an email about George Floyd’s murder, stating systemic racism was alive and well. They flooded school board meetings.
The racism is so thinly veiled, it's practically unmasked. In these conservatives' perfect world, abolishing anything that makes white people uncomfortable is fine, while "true intolerance" would be to object to a "man" telling President Joe Biden to fuck himself to his face on Christmas Eve while he was being decent and kind to your family.
Have a week/year!
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