In the Washington Post’s ongoing attempts to destroy popular Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, their 25 September editorial attacked the Republican for his statements on the influence of critical race theory in the commonwealth’s public schools. Repeating a tired leftist talking point, the WaPo asserted: “critical race theory is not part of local school systems’ K-12 curriculum, nor mentioned in the state’s Standards of Learning … There’s scant evidence it’s taught anywhere — let alone everywhere.”
It ends by accusing Youngkin of employing the CRT “dog-whistle” to “get out the GOP vote.” But who is really whistling to the dogs here?
Of course there’s a fairly flagrant inconsistency in how the left talks about critical race theory, as earlier Federalist articles have noted. Leftist journalists and pundits will first declare that CRT is definitely not being taught in America’s public schools. According to them, it’s actually a fairly arcane, esoteric, and collegiate concept reserved for graduate school seminars and nice academic journals. The WaPo editorial board refers to CRT as “until recently an obscure term.”
Yet, they’ll add in the same editorial, CRT is actually a very good thing, because it further exposes and undermines racism in America. This is exactly what the WaPo says: “Its [CRT’s] core focus on enduring remnants of racism in American law, institutions and systems is anathema to many Republicans for whom any such discussion is received as a moral rebuke to the country writ large, or racist itself.”
In other words, that many conservatives are skeptical or critical of CRT exposes the fact that such persons are closet racists. CRT, we are told, enables a “sober discussion of race or racism.” Who wouldn’t want that?
It’s a marginally clever tactic (although not really, given how ineptly they conceal their motives and message). CRT isn’t actually being taught in American public education, but if it were, it wouldn’t be a bad thing, because CRT is a great tool to expose and stop racism! Right. And I suppose only conservatives are ever guilty of gaslighting?
Opposing CRT Is ‘Racist’
But beyond that incoherent narrative, the CRT denialist propaganda seems to operate as its own type of dog-whistle signal to the leftist political base. It accomplishes this by effectively labeling as racist anyone who criticizes CRT.
For if CRT is the very means by which America addresses and overcomes its systemic, institutional racism, then those opposed to it must be — you guessed it, racists! Thus all those voters who subscribe to the tenets of identity politics are reminded that a vote against CRT skeptics (or opponents) is a vote against bigotry.
Each and every article, op-ed, and cable talk-show segment on CRT becomes an opportunity to remind the leftist base that the only thing that stands between America and neo-Confederate white nationalism is conscientious leftist voters who recognize the importance of anti-racist curricula. “A vote for Glenn Youngkin and other Republicans like him is a vote for white supremacy, can’t you see,” they not so implicitly argue. Critics of CRT like Chris Rufo are wrong about CRT’s influence, but even if they weren’t, they’d still be racist, they contend.
The Left Tries to Deceive with Semantics
Conservatives need to respond to this disingenuous claptrap with facts and rhetorical (though charitable) mockery. The facts are quite straightforward: public school pedagogy need not use the phrase “critical race theory” to teach its tenets, just as our schools swim in seas of materialism, utilitarianism, and deconstructionism, without explicitly referring to those arcane philosophical concepts.
Teachers simply tell their students that there is no real truth in the transcendent, people should do what they feel, and oppressive power structures should be questioned and demolished. Whether or not particular terminology is used is simply semantics.
So sure, grade-schoolers may not learn the actual phrase “critical race theory.” But if they are taught America is an intrinsically racist nation, and its political, social, economic, and religious institutions are tools to perpetuate institutional racism, then they are learning the premises of critical race theory.
As I noted in an op-ed for The Roanoke Times, Virginia educators are adopting a curriculum project of the Southern Poverty Law Center that explicitly teaches: “Slavery shaped the fundamental beliefs of Americans about race and whiteness, and white supremacy was both a product and legacy of slavery.”
Nor is the WaPo even hiding this. A July 2020 article in the WaPo about Virginia’s revamping of its social studies curriculum was entitled: “New history curriculum created to aid anti-racist teaching.” It cited one Charlottesville-based educator who explains: “We’re just choosing at this time to foreground other perspectives, marginalized perspectives…. [History has] always been on the backs of oppressed people.” That certainly sounds like CRT.
This gets to the mockery part. For anyone trying to so blatantly deceive the American people is worthy of our derision. Really? There’s no CRT in our public schools? And yet you willingly (and approvingly) acknowledge our school systems are embracing curricula catechizing the next generation of American citizens to believe that our nation’s institutions are fundamentally racist? Do you also have some beachfront real estate in Afghanistan you’d like to sell me?
CRT denialism is not only its own form of political messaging to the base, it’s patently absurd. Who, besides the most devoted party devotees, should be deceived by this nonsense? Of course CRT is being disseminated into our nation’s grade-school curricula.
The Youngkin campaign need only cite articles the Washington Post has itself published in the last couple of years to prove the point. That corporate media are so insistent to disprove this fact indicates how confident they are in their own brainwashing methodologies. Virginians (and Americans) have opportunities aplenty to prove that confidence to be misplaced.