A Response to CRT Apologists

By MatTehCat | MatTehCat's Blogs | 5 Jul 2021


 

 

Abstract: This blog entry is a response to an article in the Washington Post by Valerie Strauss and Uma Menon. More importantly, it identifies what Critical Race Theory is, explores how it is used as an antiracist framework or lens, the effects of CRT on students and the larger society, and why conservatives and other Americans have and want to ban it. This paper also highlights why states have the right to restrict what's taught to their children, how it's taught, and why it's taught. This paper also identifies the reasoning for a structured and sound education rather than an unstructured education or education based on insufficient or faulty information (e.g., The 1619 Project). Lastly, this paper addresses the NEA's response to the anti-CRT movement by challenging the NEA to release its paper affirming that America is systemically racist. However, this paper also implores the NEA to subject its paper to criticism and analysis, the likes of which, I hypothesize, will be met with denial. This denial will likely occur as the antiracist, CRT framework cannot permit any inquiry that undermines its base assumption that America is racist without relying on the assumption that America is racist.

 

In a recent perspective post written in the Washington Post [1.], Valerie Strauss and Uma Menon, try to undermine the core issues of Critical Race Theory, why it shouldn't be taught in schools as a framework, and suggests that Ron DeSantis and other republicans wish to ban teaching Critical Race Theory, or lessons based in Antiracism, to curtail First Amendment rights and to harm, or tacitly harm, students of color. Why might these two authors wish to do this? 

 

According to Kendi and DiAngelo, Antiracism is an ideology that asserts that the unequal differences between certain groups of people in the United States are rooted in systems of racism and can only be alleviated through the identification of those racist systems, by dismantling those systems and structures, and by righting past wrongs by favoring certain groups, or group identities over others through equity programs.

 

In a previous blog post, I identified why this ideology is religious, why it cannot be invalidated, and how its aim focuses on power differentials between certain racial groups. According to Antiracism, these differences are corrected through equity initiatives that necessitate discriminatory behavior, mainly based on race, and the dismantling of racist institutions [2.].  

 

Then what is Critical Race Theory?

  

The critical race theory (CRT) movement is a collection of activists and scholars engaged in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power. The movement considers many of the same issues that conventional civil rights and ethnic studies discourses take up but places them in a broader perspective that includes economics, History, setting, group and self-interest, and emotions and the unconscious. Unlike traditional civil rights discourse, which stresses incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law. [3.]

 

In essence, critical race theory is a framework for antiracists that enables them to criticize structures, laws, and values that serve as the bedrock of a society, under the assumption that those structures, laws, or values are rooted in racism. Racism is best defined as, according to the antiracist, unequal distributions of power between people of color and Whites, which is rooted in the systems Whites created to favor themselves. According to the antiracist and critical theorists, because these structures, laws, values, and their associated systems are rooted in racism, and thus enable discrimination, power only pools in the hands of those who built the systems, making those people (White people) racist. This idea leads to the notion that individuals may not be guilty of their actions, choices, and the consequences of those actions and choices. Instead, those consequences, choices, and actions are merely the result of structural inequities built into the systems that everyone uses; you may only succeed because of your race, and vice versa, you may only fail because of your race. Of course, this leads to absurdities, such as the idea of Whiteness, but that is why the belief system is anti-scientific; it cannot be invalidated. 

 

Given that Antiracism is not a scientific theory [2.], and CRT is a framework antiracists use to assert their unscientific claims, though the framework's findings may be based on kernels of truth, its conclusions will always favor the critical antiracist. This bias will always exist. If you question racism as the ultimate cause of inequality in the United States, you are racist [4.1]. This absurdity is merely a Kafka Trap affirming its consequent (America is racist) by establishing it upon a definitional antecedent that cannot be questioned (Racists deny their hand in racism), circularly affirming the consequent; the argument is tautological and unverifiable; you cannot question if racism is the causal factor without outing yourself as a racist. I.e., CRT is not an appropriate historical or scientific tool for examining why there are inequalities between certain groups in the United States.

 

Then I will say this for my first critique of Uma Menon's response to Governor Ron DeSantis. CRT is a framework for an ideology, an ideological lens, that enables antiracist critical theorists to do what they call work. From a critical race theorist's lens, politics is rooted in racial injustice and must be corrected by racial justice; i.e., racial justice is already politicized. And, by the very nature of CRT, racial justice must be an issue for politics or political science, primarily if any group inequalities exist in politics, particularly between White people and Black people, which according to the antiracist could be, likely are, rooted in racism. 

 

Secondly, although I am not necessarily a historian, the 1619 Project has been critiqued by historians [5. & 6.], and its main author Nikole-Hannah Jones and the New York Times (who published the work), ignored relevant criticism during its publication process [7.]. In short, what I do feel confident saying is that the 1619 Project is a profoundly biased reframing of the genesis of America, asserting that its origin is rooted in racism and slavery. Because of its extremely biased perspective, the idea that the 1619 Project is a good tool to teach American History to students is deeply flawed. Though it may have bits of facts within it, it does not provide students a well-rounded understanding of American History, its founding, or what those should mean to Americans as a whole. Thus, any student who learns from the lens that the 1619 Project provides will have relevant facts about the United States' founding withheld from them — they will be poorly educated.

 

By banning materials like the 1619 Project and the teaching of CRT, governors and states ensure that their students accurately learn American History. Banning CRT and the 1619 Project from being taught in schools does not deny students the opportunity to educate themselves about their pasts as they see fit. It simply sets a standard for education that restricts frameworks and materials that are unfit for student consumption based on their historically inaccurate and unsound nature, thus preparing them to be educated citizens and participants in America's civic institutions. 

 

Banning such materials and frameworks also ensures that America does not become any more divided than it already is. The goal of Antiracism is not a way for children to love each other, despite what Uma Menon suggests. Instead, because CRT is a framework that blames power differentials between racial groups and individuals on systems created by White people, power differentials between students of particular races and ethnicities will be highlighted, creating animosity between students of different races and ethnicities, making them feel ashamed of what they do or do not have, promoting covetous behavior, and enabling teachers and other students to maliciously coerce White children into correcting a problem that they had no hand in nor have a hand in.

 

For example, to attend a scientific conference, White people were required to pay a reparations fee while people of color were not [8.]. Restaurants are also adding equity fees to their itemized bills, implying that the power differential between White Americans and Americans of Color be ameliorated through economic costs levied at White Americans or patrons that are White [9.], an inherently discriminatory act. And at events such as Seattle's Pride Event this last June, White attendees had to pay a reparations fee [10.]. All of these acts have been done under the guise of Equity. 

 

Nothing about this, about CRT, is indicative of Love as it is understood from a Christian perspective. Love cannot enable covetous sentiments — it's the behavior of a self-serving malefactor. Covetousness cannot be solved by indulgence, nor is encouraging such behavior a good act. No understanding of Love as Christ taught it would permit such behavior. Menon demonstrates that she lacks any philosophical or theological understanding of Love when she claims CRT promotes love between students.

 

Then why push something like the 1619 Project, or why would conservatives be so against it? Because it does not merely criticize the United States, which I doubt most Americans would call a problem, per se. Instead, the 1619 Project roots America's founding in racism and thus all its structures. Because racist structures, according to the critical race theorists and the antiracists, must be dismantled [4.2], and America, which was founded on racism according to the 1619 Project, is one big racist structure, it follows from an antiracist and CRT perspective that America must be dismantled. The 1619 Project and other a-historic materials of its like are the seed that's intended to create America's fall, which is why, whether they can communicate this fact or not, conservatives abhor the 1619 Project and CRT; they see it as the divisive and diabolical mechanism that it in fact is. 

 

But does the Governor and the State of Florida have the right to ban CRT and materials like the 1619 Project? Is it an assault on the First Amendment, as Menon suggests? Yes, they do, no it is not, and for a good reason, they can and should have [11., 12., & 13.]. 

 

The State's role in the educational process is to prepare students to be citizens of the United States and to be equipped with, at least, a basic toolset for success in the United States. As a result, states and governors must structure, constrain and restrict what's taught, how students are to think about what's taught, and the purpose of their education. As can be observed in both evolutionary biology and the development of purposeful animatronics and self-animating artificial entities, the goal of a person's behavior must be to function efficiently and to replicate within their environment [14.]. Thus, the structure of their actions will, or should be formed with the aforementioned purpose in mind — this necessitates that they understand the world as clearly as possible for their needs, else they couldn't function properly. Given that CRT is not a sound framework for interpreting reality, specifically knowing whether something is or is not racist, and the 1619 Project does not provide students with an accurate and well-rounded understanding of the origins of the United States, states have the right to ban this framework and the 1619 Project, or like materials, to ensure that their students are not underprepared for dealing with life in the United States, and the world, on their own.

 

Students also cannot be taught all things equally; i.e., they can only be given so many materials to learn to be effective citizens who are prepared for the private or public sector. This necessity for efficiency from simplicity is born out by hierarchal approaches to multimodal classifications [15.] and the parable of Hora and Tempus. [16.]. If every aspect of a student's education is overly complex and non-hierarchically valued, they will become inefficient actors. As the duty of the state is to prepare the student to be effective citizens, if they provide an overly complex set of materials, too many views, or materials that are irrelevant to them being effective citizens and prepared for the public and private sector, and they do not create a structure that values certain materials and means over others, they will be in dereliction of their duty as teachers and guardians of America's youth. Therefore, teachers cannot teach students however they wish or whatever they wish — doing so would be harming the student and poorly preparing students for the real world. This point also wholly undermines Menon's suggestion that Ron DeSantis and republicans wish to ban CRT and materials like the 1619 Project to harm Americans of color. Florida's and other states' banning of CRT and the 1619 Project wasn't done with any intent to discriminate; it was done to ensure students are properly educated for their success. There is no evidence that banning CRT and the 1619 Project was done to discriminate against people of color, nor was it a motivating factor. In fact, with Equity in mind [8., 9., & 10.], and how equity programs discriminate against White students [2.], it could be argued that CRT and materials like the 1619 Project lead to the intentional discrimination of White students rather than students of color. 

 

Lastly, to address a common theme of the article, no restructuring of the education system will solve for inequality. When we perceive a medium, material, or object with our senses as a whole, empirically [17.], we perceive value in that thing we observe; we do not impose value on the thing we observe [18.]. Inherently seeing the world in a particular way gives rise to potentialities and affordances from the things we sense and interact with. By the very nature of how some people perceive the world over others (a professional baseball player, basketball player, hedge fund manager, nuclear physicist, evolutionary biologist and psychologist, cardiovascular surgeon, etc.), some people will perceive the world in a way that nets them possibilities. These possibilities enable them to interact with the world in ways others deem useful, entertaining, or healing for their own lives, and thus more valuable. 

 

To inhibit this behavior by trying to restructure outcomes so that they are equal by imposing a system on individuals that corrects for an unequal distribution of power, resources, etc., is unachievable and harmful. If you try to do this, you will be selecting against those who see the world in novel ways that net them value, which results, or did result, in a discrepancy of wealth and value, even power, in the first place — the rich do tend to get richer, and the poor do tend to get poorer, in more than merely material ways. However, by getting rid of this discrepancy in outcomes, you will also be limiting growth, advancement, and harming people who benefit from people who see the world in unique ways. Very little good will come from correcting inequality. 

 

But do the Washington Post's perspective article's authors wish to dismantle America by promoting ethnic and racial covetousness, poorly preparing America's youth for the real world, and inhibiting success to solve for inequality? Probably not. Instead, because they wish to redistribute power along racial lines, they merely do this to acquire power, authority, or resources for themselves. Valerie Strauss's inclusion of Uma Menon's words demonstrates this (she gets social validation and credit for platforming a young woman of color), as does Uma Menon's support of critical race theory and Antiracism (she benefits from CRT by acquiring more power and authority as a person of color). Of course, Menon doesn't mention the discriminatory nature of CRT or Antiracism, which is how she'd be acquiring that power and authority. 

 

However, it's better to move away from Strauss and Menon and towards the NEA, who persist in pushing for CRT and the 1619 Project under the assumption that banning CRT and the 1619 Project denies opportunities to students of color [19.]. By doing this, the NEA is advocating for an unscientific approach to studying history and group differences; is pushing for equity programs that discriminate against White students (and people) inside and outside of institutions; wants to teach from an a-historical perspective, ensuring students are poorly educated; and at least, is disregarding the fact that states have to ensure their students are prepared to be citizens in the most pragmatic and effective way possible. To prove this point, if anyone looks at any of the claims the NEA suggests demonstrate systemic racism in the United States in the "in-depth" and "already-created" study they will publicize, they only need to ask them one question for their claims: Did racism occur here or did it not? If the response to this question is something like, "You're racist for asking that," "We already know racism occurred here because there are differences in power between Black and White Americans," or any other form of denial that does not reasonably and evidentially validate the claim, you know you're not dealing with a good-faith actor; they are only trying to push CRT down the throats of America's children.

 

The NEA's response to this questioning should demonstrate that the union is not in the business of educating children but rather seeks to ensure that America's children are ineffectively and poorly educated, and at least, wishes to redistribute power, wealth, and resources into their own hands.

 

 

Bibliography: 

 

 1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2021/06/21/critical-race-theory-ban-florida/

 

2. https://www.publish0x.com/mattehcats-blogs/the-religion-of-antiracism-xlykqgj

 

3. https://newdiscourses.com/2021/01/what-is-critical-race-theory/

 

4. https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/14161726.Ibram_X_Kendi

 

 4.1 "Denial is the heartbeat of racism, beating across ideologies, races, and nations. It is beating within us."

 

4.2 "Racist" is not—as Richard Spencer argues—a pejorative. It is not the worst word in the English language; it is not the equivalent of a slur. It is descriptive, and the only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it—and then dismantle it. The attempt to turn this usefully descriptive term into an almost unusable slur is, of course, designed to do the opposite: to freeze us into inaction."

 

5. https://www.aier.org/article/fact-checking-the-1619-project-and-its-critics/

 

6. https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/174140

 

7. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/03/06/1619-project-new-york-times-mistake-122248

 

8. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/science-conference-announces-entry-fee-for-white-scientists-none-for-bipoc-scientists/ar-AALGk0T

 

9. https://fee.org/articles/restaurants-are-now-adding-equity-charges-to-customers-checks-to-fight-oppression/

 

10. https://nypost.com/2021/06/22/white-people-to-be-charged-50-in-reparations-for-seattle-pride/

 

11. https://www.teach-nology.com/edleadership/school_goverance/

 

12. https://www.findlaw.com/education/curriculum-standards-school-funding/the-roles-of-federal-and-state-governments-in-education.html

 

13. https://www.edweek.org/policy-politics/does-academic-freedom-shield-teachers-as-states-take-aim-at-critical-race-theory/2021/06

  

14. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=yGDKvsTEBZUC&oi=fnd&pg=PR1&dq=modeling+perception+and+value+computer+science&ots=EIHcML6GWb&sig=U7YguCUPDhxpqHLQFSNFlab-zfc#v=onepage&q=modeling%20perception%20and%20value%20computer%20science&f=false

 

 2.3.2: Goals and Means

 

15. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/11548706_13

 

"A Hierarchical Approach to Multimodal Classification"

 

16.  https://www.noahbrier.com/archives/2018/09/framework-of-the-day-parable-of-two-watchmakers/

 

The Parable of Hora and Tempus 

 

17. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4684-1716-6_32

 

"The Survival Value of Sensory Perception"

 

18. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=kFKvU2hPhxEC&oi=fnd&pg=PP11&ots=F0uKIeUopX&sig=UJhXqrEoVrGUkli8NET7bdSoBOY#v=onepage&q=value&f=false 

 

 3.9 Gibson Affordances, and the Ambient Optic Array - p 103

 

19. https://nypost.com/2021/07/04/teachers-union-vows-to-fight-back-against-critical-race-theory-critics/

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MatTehCat
MatTehCat

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