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Why Won’t The Left Admit Schools Teach Critical Theory And Defend It On The Merits?


By now, most Americans know that critical race theory is real and that it’s being taught widely in public schools.

This isn’t a semantics debate. Students are being taught racial hierarchies, along with the idea that the United States was founded on white supremacy, and that the U.S. Constitution, our legal system, and American ideals like freedom and equality all work to perpetuate and sustain systemic racism.

There are mountains of evidence of this. The work of Christopher Rufo and others has exposed critical race theory’s many manifestations, not just in public schools but inside major corporations and even the U.S. military.

Yet the left has refused to debate critical race theory on the merits. Instead, the corporate press, Hollywood, and woke Twitter bluechecks keep insisting that it doesn’t even exist, it’s just a fantasy conjured up by racist Trumpers trying to scare white voters into electing Republicans.

Just look at the left’s response to the historic Republican sweep of Virginia on Tuesday. Glenn Younkin’s campaign, their theory goes, falsely claimed that critical race theory was being taught in Virginia public schools. Racist white Virginians, terrified at the idea their kids would have to learn the truth about slavery and racism in America, elected Youngkin, who is also a racist.

(That these same voters also made history by electing Winsome Sears, a black woman, as lieutenant governor, and Jason Miyares, an Hispanic man, as attorney general, is conveniently ignored in this narrative.)

Their key talking point is that critical race theory isn’t even taught in Virginia schools. Cable news talking heads like MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace incessantly dropped it into her election-night commentary, saying critical race theory, “which isn’t real,” swung the suburbs 15 points to the “Trump insurrection-endorsed Republican.”

Julian Castro called it a “fantasy world.” Larry Sabato called it a “phony issue.” Joy Reid called it a “coded boogeyman.”

After the election, humorless comedians like Seth Meyers kept hammering away at it. “Republican and Fox News have successfully weaponized the panic over so-called critical race theory, but I’m sorry, it shouldn’t be radical to teach children about the history of racism in American society.”

Examples abound, both before and after the election, but you get the idea. For the left, critical race theory is nothing more than an obscure and harmless legal theory that’s been twisted into something sinister by racist MAGA Republicans. Months ago, legacy media outlets were insisting that critical race theory is a “moral panic” and an “obsession” of racist Republicans. It’s what white conservatives denounce whenever their kids have to study “real” American history in school.

The problem for the left is that no one outside their cloistered milieu believes this. There’s been too much original-source reporting about the prevalence of critical race theory in public institutions for any honest person to think otherwise.

So here’s my question: why doesn’t the left just debate critical race theory on the merits? People like Joy Reid and Wajahat Ali clearly agree with its central tenets. They obviously think America was founded on white supremacy, and that racism pervades our civic life and public institutions. Why not just come out and say, “You know what? Critical race theory should be taught in public schools, because it’s the best way to expose kids to the truth about America.”

Why pretend something that you fervently agree with doesn’t exist? Why play shell games about how to define critical race theory? Why not just take the broadest definition that all sides can agree to and go from there? Why not make the case for why we should base school curricula on it, why corporations should train their workforces in it, why it should be the legal basis for racial reparations and the mass redistribution of wealth?

If people are confused about what critical race theory is, why not explain what it really is? Why argue that its attendant ideas and policy prescriptions are correct and desirable, and make the case for why they will make America a better, more peaceful, and just society?

Leftists won’t do that because they know that most Americans find the ideas at the heart of critical race theory repulsive, and rightly so.

This is also why the left never openly debates the merits of, say, mass illegal immigration, which they obviously support. Instead, they pretend to oppose it, or argue that the border isn’t really in crisis. Same with the Black Lives Matter riots last summer, the effects of pandemic lockdowns, the dangers of transgender ideology and bathroom policies. Whatever the issue, they pretend the thing they support isn’t even real, then call their opponents racists and bigots for insisting that it is.

The bad news for the left is that this tactic obviously isn’t working. So I look forward to frank, open, and honest debates about teaching racial hierarchies in elementary school, the merits of totally open borders, and a rich discourse on why urban rioting for racial justice is a public good.

Just kidding. The media assures me none of that’s even real.