critical race theory lying liars racism

The Federalist says it’s the left, not the right, that’s obsessed with Critical Race Theory. One quick search proves them wrong.

If you lived on an exclusive diet of right-wing media, you might be forgiven for thinking that the critical issue facing our troubled republic today was, not COVID, not the Republican war on democracy, not even the fact that J Lo and Ben Affleck have gotten back together after a 17-year break, but a formerly obscure academic doctrine called “Critical Race Theory.”

In a piece published last week, Adam Harris of The Atlantic, traced the transformation of “Critical Race Theory” from something only spoken about in academic quarters to an easy way to rile up an audience on Fox News, where a “cartoonish” version of the theory has become something of a bugaboo.

Harris quotes the conservative researcher who’s done the most to “warn” conservatives of the alleged danger of the doctrine boasting that “[w]e have turned critical race theory into a national issue and conservative political leaders are starting to fight.”

In the Federalist, John Daniel Davidson responds with an adult version of an old childhood chant “I’m rubber, you’re glue, Critical Race Theory bounces off of me and sticks to you.” According to Davidson, right-wingers aren’t really obsessed with the topic; they’re merely reacting to left-wing provocations:

Republicans aren’t the ones who initiated this battle. They’re responding — rather mildly, given the stakes — to an aggressive, long-term campaign on the left to ratchet up racial tension, divide Americans by race, and insert frankly racist ideas into every facet of public life as part of a larger strategy to gain and wield political power.

He claims that

Corporate America, Big Tech, and Hollywood are all explicitly pushing critical race theory, sometimes in rather ham-fisted and offensive ways. 

His proof of this nefarious plot?

  • The U.S. Navy has put a book by a critical race theorist on a reading list.
  • The Disney corporation has launched a “diversity and inclusion” program” for its employees that includes elements of critical race theory, suggesting, for example, that when we talk about racial inequality we should focus less on equality of opportunity and more on equality of outcome. Disney also set up “affinity groups” for people of color, though they’re not actually exclusive by race.

That’s it. That’s his proof that “elite” whites are imposing the allegedly “racist” doctrine of critical race theory on our fractured country.

If there is some sort of plot, it would have to follow a variation on Fight Club’s first rule: not to talk about itself. Because if you look at the media, virtually every reference to critical race theory appears on conservative publications.

To get a sense of who’s talking about it in the media, I looked to my own collection of RSS feeds from dozens of publications across the political spectrum, from the New York TImes to the Gateway Pundit.

Here are the results for articles with “critical race theory” in their titles; for better resolution, go directly to the IMGUR image by clicking here. You may notice it’s a long list, perhaps because putting “critical race theory” in the title is crack-like clickbait for conservative readers.

See how many liberal or left wing sources are on the list. (Hint: There’s only one.)

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Crip Dyke
1 month ago

As one of the few people who has actually studied CRT as it was conceived (it was created by law students and legal academics for law students and legal academics) I know that I’m ignorant of the vast amount written on the topic. To think that these right wing punks have any idea what they might be talking about is giving them far more credit than they deserve.

Alan Robertshaw
1 month ago

@ crip dyke

There’s probably an irony in that, in the old days before anyone but jurisprudence students had even heard of CRT, the main criticism came from Marxists and the critical legal studies movement.

(I remember around the time of the OJ trial the CLS lot were all “See, it’s money that counts!”)

Big Titty Demon
Big Titty Demon
1 month ago

@Alan Robertshaw

(I remember around the time of the OJ trial the CLS lot were all “See, it’s money that counts!”

As a person with zero technical knowledge of either school of thought, I would have to say it is money that counts. Just white money counts more. These things are very obvious and I don’t know where they fit into either theory.

Last edited 1 month ago by Big Titty Demon
1 month ago

I actually though “critical race theory” was a right wing theory which is critical of the place of racism in the way the society work. I guess it’s something else if they are mad against it.

Note that using a lone theory to explain too many thing in sociology is a problem. It’s not a field as mature as physics, and even physics use several different and non-compatible theories to model physical reality. So it make sense if there exist several theory explaining how society work, and if they contradict each other it’s not that one of them is unilaterally wrong, but more that we don’t have a unified theory to piece the whole puzzle together.

Alan Robertshaw
1 month ago

@ big titty demon

Just white money counts more

Indeed. And that’s a conclusion that would be very much in line with CRT. The original proponents were very big on what we’d now call intersectionality.

To give an overview, and I must stress, my limited knowledge comes from what I was taught at an English law school; by a very nice Argentine lady. A black professor at a US university might have a different take. That is actually one of the things CRT would ask us to bear in mind.

But basically, (and apologies if I’m teaching anyone how to suck eggs here) there’s a thing called jurisprudence. That’s like the philosophy of law.

One school of thought in jurisprudence is “American realism”. That essentially states that the law isn’t about ‘black letter’ i.e. what’s written in statues and cases. The law is what actually happens in practice.

(I found American realism just made sense to me intuitively; and that’s been confirmed even moreso now I’m actually in practice*).

But anyway, Critical Legal Theory was an offshoot of American Realism. It acknowledged the basic proposition; and then set out to examine what factors (besides the strict letter of the law) were actually relevant and determinative to legal outcomes.

The key (and pretty much only) book on that here was The Politics of the Judiciary by JAG Griffiths.

Because CLT came from a sort of leftish base; they tended to ascribe everything to class.

Critical Race Theory however said, well yes class is a factor, but race plays a much bigger part. As mentioned though, CRT recognises that there’s all sorts of other factors that intersect.

Personally I just see CRT as a species of CLT. Others though see them as separate and to an extent competing theories. It reminds me a bit of that Bernie Bro vs BLM thing. Where you have some people saying racism is just a consequence of class divisions and under socialism it would go away; as opposed to recognising that socialism might not be a cure all and you still need anti racism and that is itself a priority.

Any of that makes sense? I’m trying to remember stuff from 1994! And our law school had a cheap bar in the basement.

(* I do remember the opening of my coursework on this “When Judge Dredd exclaims “I am the law!” he is of course expounding the fundamental principle of American Realism…”)

Alan Robertshaw
1 month ago

For a pretty good overview of CRT, at least as applied in legal circles, this Onion clip is pretty spot on.

1 month ago

@Alan : my engineering school also had a cheap bar in the basement. Student-run, which is a rarity because to serve alcohol in France you need a special licence who are in limited number and come with all kind of string attached.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
1 month ago

I read “bugaboo” as “boogaloo”. Not much of a stretch here, right?

I am a college-educated * woman who officially joined my local Democratic party this year so I could vote (in the virtual state convention) for the county delegates I wanted. Yes, I am now a tiny cog in the literal machine.

And I don’t know WTF critical race theory is. Other than it probably realizes that racism is an endemic problem affecting people’s lives?

*We had a cheap bar in the basement too!

Xennial Dot Warner
Xennial Dot Warner
1 month ago

What amazes me the most is how many of them were from the Daily Liar…ahem, Wire. But, then again: what else does one expect of an outlet which claims that a man was “jailed” for misgendering his son despite that being a gross misrepresentation of events (and making a deliberate point of itself misgendering the poor boy, in the bargain)?

1 month ago

If a “conservative” says something – anything – it’s simply a racist and fascist lie where they are claiming to be the victim.

Every single one is s shit and an enemy without any content whatsoever. I don’t want to harm them or even bother to change their… whatever imitates a “mind” inside the hollow that is their chintzy imitation of living.
Every single Republican voter can fuck off.