Reporter asks Republican lawmaker to define critical race theory. The result is what you’d expect

Reporter asks Republican lawmaker to define critical race theory. The result is what you’d expect

One of the new heroes of the critical race theory battles of 2021 is political columnist Kyle Whitmer, who followed in Marc Lamont Hill’s footsteps by asking a simple question of the right person. Whitmer asked Alabama state Rep. Chris Pringle, the author of a bill banning critical race theory from being taught in the state’s schools, how he defines critical race theory. It was spectacular.

Critical race theory “basically teaches that certain children are inherently bad people because of the color of their skin, period,” Pringle said. Asked if he could identify who was teaching that lesson, Pringle replied, “Yeah, uh, well—I can assure you—I’ll have to read a lot more.”

But the threat was very real, he insisted. “These people, when they were doing the training programs—and the government—if you didn’t buy into what they taught you a hundred percent, they sent you away to a reeducation camp.” Specifically, “The white male executives are sent to a three-day re-education camp, where they were told that their white male culture wasn’t their—“

Pringle declined to provide a link to the article he said he was drawing on for this information, but he had already said enough.

I have a follow-up question: Sir … have you been accidentally reading The Onion? Is this another abortionplex incident?

Actually, though, Pringle might do better to read The Onion, which recently did better in defining critical race theory (“An academic concept that racism is a social construct embedded into legal systems, government policies, and in-laws”) and identifying the motivation behind Republican attacks on it (“They have come to view Joe Biden as too nonthreatening of a target”) than whatever sources this lawmaker and author of an anti-critical race theory bill were offering. About those sources:

Fox News mentions of “critical race theory” 2018: 0 2019: 4 2020: 77 2021: 626 Next biggest users are RT, Fox Business, & C-Span

— Matt Grossmann (@MattGrossmann) June 15, 2021

Yeah, it’s the big new Republican campaign, because they think there’s short-term partisan advantage to be gained. As ridiculous as it is on substance, this campaign is serious and frightening as it’s playing out on the ground, as an NBC News investigation into the targeting of local school boards shows.

One supposedly grassroots parents group after another has popped up and been propelled into public notice by Fox News—especially Tucker Carlson, of whom the founder of one such group says “He launched our movements.” Put a big asterisk on the grassroots part, of course, because more than one of these groups turns out to have ties to conservative institutions and money. In addition to the group with ties to right-wing corporate lobbyist Rick Berman, another two anti-anti-racism-in-schools groups are run by someone who has worked at the Cato Institute and FreedomWorks. That grass has roots in Republican money. And they’re all following the program to make critical race theory “toxic” laid out by the Manhattan Institute’s Christopher Rufo, who tweeted, “The goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘critical race theory.’”

In the 39 states that allow school board recalls, there are 50 recall efforts targeting 126 officials—in many cases over COVID-19 restrictions, but increasingly over teaching about race and racism. Another 50 school districts have had conflict over the idea that critical race theory is being taught in their schools, which is unlikely since, remember, it’s an academic theory being taught at the graduate level, not to children.

In one such district, in Maine, a father became convinced that his children’s school district was teaching critical race theory (it was and is not) and filed dozens of public records requests trying to find the details of this Fox News-fueled figment of his imagination, appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show, threatened the schools superintendent that “This is just the tip of the iceberg on media coming your way and national support aligned with our cause to fight CRT,” put a billboard in his yard with a picture of a school board member he’s targeting, bragged that the billboard was surrounded by rat traps, and threatened to release a recording of himself in conversation with the deceased father of another school board member.

The school board member on the billboard recently won reelection. The irate father faces criminal charges over the threats involving the recording. But, Jeff Porter, the schools superintendent says, “I didn’t understand this until recently, but these were tactics from national organizations to discredit the entire district.” And the tactics have had an effect in the community; Porter is “surprised by how much hate can be generated by a small group of people in the community.”

Take that generation of hate national, focused on any effort to teach that racism exists and is bad, and aimed at scaring people into voting for Republicans, and you’ve got the war on critical race theory.

From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.

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