In a “Heritage Explains ” podcast of 10/25/2020 , Christopher Rufo, a Heritage Foundation visiting fellow, explains what critical race theory is and how it’s dividing America . The “Heritage Explains” podcast also featured Michelle Cordero who oversees the day-to-day editorial operations of Heritage.org.
Christopher F. Rufo is founder and director of Battlefront, a public policy research center. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and a former Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy.
“Michelle Cordero: Chris, I want to just start out by asking if you could explain at a 101 level what critical race theory is because it sounds pretty academic.
Rufo: Yeah it is academic. The origins of it are in the academy. And critical race theory is the idea that the United States is a fundamentally racist country and that all of our institutions including the law, culture, business, the economy are all designed to maintain white supremacy. And the critical race theorists argue that all of these institutions are in a sense beyond reforming, they really need to be completely dismantled in order to liberate the oppressed people.
Rufo: And it sounds extreme and I think the best way to think about it is you take the old Marxist concept of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie or the oppressed and the oppressor. But instead of looking at it in economic terms as Marx did, you change it and you graft the new identity politics and you think of it in racial terms. So, instead of the poor and the rich, it’s essentially the white and the people of color are the two dynamics. And this is the new oppressor and oppressed and all of the old Marxist, dialectic is really just reinterpreted through the lens of race. And that’s really at the heart of critical race theory. And then what you see is that that basic academic concept is repackaged in diversity trainings, articles, academic literature, HR programs, but that’s really the key core philosophical concept at its heart.
Michelle Cordero: So that were all unconsciously racist or bias in some way.
Christopher Rufo: Yeah. Well, even worse than that. According to the critical race theorists these institutions were designed in many cases explicitly to uphold white supremacy and then over time they’ve shifted where we don’t have explicit racism, slavery, then segregation. And they basically say oppression hasn’t been abolished, oppression has simply become more sophisticated, become more subtle, become more insidious. So they make the argument that we have a system today that is akin to slavery but it’s more implicit, it’s more subconscious, it’s more hidden. And again, the constant they hold is that racism and white supremacy are constant, they’re ubiquitous, they’re everywhere at all times. It’s just up to the intelligentsia or the vanguard to understand it, uncover it and demolish it.”
Christopher Rufo’s Hilldale College lecture on Race Theory
In March of 2021, Christopher Rufo delivered a lecture on Race Theory at Hillsdale College: March 2021 • Volume 50, Number 3 – “Critical Race Theory: What It Is and How to Fight It.”
What follows is an edited version by Thorner of Rufo’s Hillsdale College lecture.
Rufo cites a series of euphemisms deployed by Critical Race supporters to describe critical race theory. They are “equity,” “social justice,” “diversity and inclusion,” and “culturally responsive teaching.”
Recognizing that “neo-Marxism” would be hard to sell, critical race theorists chose to use Equity, because it sounds non-threatening and is easily confused with the American principle of equality.
How Critical Race Theory Works
Rufo cited a Treasury Department training session held last year telling staff members that “virtually all white people contribute to racism” and that they must convert “everyone in the federal government” to the ideology of “antiracism.
Also noted was an elementary school in Cupertino, California, which forced first-graders to deconstruct their racial and sexual identities and rank themselves according to their “power and privilege.”
Why the resistance?
Rufo then questions why the futile resistance to critical race theory?
Four reasons were given:
- Many Americans have developed an acute fear of speaking up about social and political issues, especially those involving race. According to a recent Gallup poll, 77 percent of conservatives are afraid to share their political beliefs publicly.
- Second, critical race theorists have constructed their argument like a mousetrap. Disagreement with their program becomes irrefutable evidence of a dissenter’s “white fragility,” “unconscious bias,” or “internalized white supremacy.”
- Third, Americans across the political spectrum have failed to separate the premise of critical race theory from its conclusion. Its premise—that American history includes slavery and other injustices, and that we should examine and learn from that history—is undeniable.
- Fourth, writers and activists who have had the courage to speak out against critical race theory have tended to address it on the theoretical level, failing to force defenders of this revolutionary ideology to defend the practical consequences of their ideas in the realm of politics.
Three-part strategy to defeat critical race theory
Rufo’s lecture concludes with a three-part strategy to defeat the forces of critical race theory.
Governmental action : President Trump issued an executive order banning critical race theory-based training programs in the federal government. Even though President Biden rescinded this order on his first day in office, it provides a model for governors and municipal leaders to follow.
Trump’s order: In a Sept. 4, 2020 memo , “Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought, a Heritage alumnus , ordered “all agencies … to begin identify[ing] all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on ‘critical race theory,’ ‘white privilege,’ or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil,” and they “should begin to identify all available avenues within the law to cancel any such contracts and/or to divert Federal dollars away from these un-American propaganda training sessions.”
Grass roots level : “A multiracial and bipartisan coalition is emerging to do battle against critical race theory. Parents are mobilizing against racially divisive curricula in public schools and employees are increasingly speaking out against Orwellian reeducation in the workplace. When they see what is happening, Americans are naturally outraged that critical race theory promotes three ideas—race essentialism, collective guilt, and neo-segregation——which violate the basic principles of equality and justice.”
Courage: “Above all, we must have courage—the fundamental virtue required in our time. Courage to stand and speak the truth. Courage to withstand epithets. Courage to face the mob. Courage to shrug off the scorn of the elites. When enough of us overcome the fear that currently prevents so many from speaking out, the hold of critical race theory will begin to slip. And courage begets courage. It’s easy to stop a lone dissenter; it’s much harder to stop 10, 20, 100, 1,000, 1,000,000, or more who stand up together for the principles of America.”
Biden’s proposed new rule
As reported by Stanley Kurtz on April 19, 2021: “Biden’s Department of Education has just released the text of a proposed new rule establishing priorities for grants in American History and Civics Education programs. That rule gives priority to grant “projects that incorporate racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse perspectives.”
“The rule goes on to cite and praise the New York Times’ “landmark” 1619 Project, as well as the work of Critical Race Theorist Kendi, as leading examples of the sort of ideas the Biden administration wants to spread.”
Will parents have the courage to stand up and speak the truth about the destructive nature of the Critical Race theory or will they stand by and allow their children to be brain-washed by a racially-divisive-curricula?
[Originally posted on Illinois Review]