By Micah Morrison
Not long ago, Critical Race Theory was the territory of far-left academics pushing the boundaries of Marxism and nihilistic counterparts such as radical feminism and post-structuralism. All the philosophies to one degree or another advanced the notion that objective truth and standards—in society, in institutions, in law—do not exist. All reality is contingent, all is in flux, all is a construct of language and illusion. One person’s truth is another person’s lies.
Critical Race Theory emerged from this philosophical train wreck in the 1980s to say that Western civilization—and the American experiment in particular—is suffused to its core by white supremacy, white privilege, and institutionalized racism, and must be dismantled. For a long time, CRT was dismissed as an esoteric academic fad. But ideas have consequences and today, in the mysterious alchemy of social upheaval, Critical Race Theory suddenly is everywhere, its poisonous agenda swiftly moving through universities and public schools, government, law, science, business, and the media.
Rooted in the Left doctrine of class struggle, CRT teaches that U.S. society—our culture, laws, beliefs, and modes of governance—are a racist system devoted to upholding the power of white people. CRT is closely linked the new cancel culture. Dissenters from this new orthodoxy are punished. Freedom of speech is dismissed, and open debate is canceled, as we’ll see below in the case of high school coach David Flynn.
The rhetoric of this radicalism is cloaked in the language of social justice, but if you “peel back the layers of ideology and you get to the core of this belief system,” notes writer Christopher Rufo, “they’re advocating for a kind of cultural revolution, steeped in Marxism, adjusted to identity politics, and now activated through Black Lives Matter, through Critical Race Theory, and absurdly through even corporate HR departments.” For more on CRT, see this Heritage Foundation special report.
Judicial Watch is fighting back. Three cases, in particular, illustrate the scope of the Critical Race problem. Tellingly, they all involve schools—a key battleground in this war of ideas.
In suburban Massachusetts, popular football coach David Flynn was abruptly fired from his job at Dedham High School after protesting unannounced changes to his daughter’s middle school curriculum.
Coach Flynn noticed that his seventh-grade daughter’s “World Geography and Ancient History” class was being taught things that had nothing to do with geography or history. The course description described the class as a review of the civilizations of Rome, Europe, Africa, North America, and South America.
Instead, as we note in our lawsuit defending Coach Flynn, the instruction focused on “issues of race, gender, stereotypes, prejudices, discrimination, and politics.” In other words, the Critical Race Theory agenda.
Coach Flynn sent a polite email to school authorities noting that parents had not been informed of the curriculum changes; that some of the issues were not suitable for seventh graders; that the teacher did not seem to be objective and was stating particular political points of view; and that the teacher was using class materials that labeled all police officers as risks to all black people, and all black males as risks to white people.
Coach Flynn asked school authorities for compromises and modest changes to the new curriculum. Their response? You’re fired.
Judicial Watch is suing school authorities in federal court for retaliating against the coach for exercising his First Amendment rights. We’ll be in court Monday, April 26, for a hearing on the case. The public is invited to attend. You can watch a JW video presentation on the case here.
One hour and a world away from Dedham, Harvard College faces a racial reckoning of its own. Bastions of higher education are the incubators of Critical Race Theory, but while accusing Americans of broad racist crimes, they’re often themselves promoting discriminatory policies. It’s no secret, for instance, that many universities have long been discriminating against Asians in admissions practices.
With our colleagues at the Allied Educational Foundation, we filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Students for Fair Admission’s petition for a Supreme Court hearing challenging the decision by a federal appeals court upholding Harvard’s racial preferences admissions program.
Students for Fair Admission argue that Harvard’s admissions program intentionally discriminates against Asian Americans on the basis of race and violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which bans unconstitutional race-based admissions by public universities, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.
Our brief rejects the notion that discriminating by race in admissions can be justified by “diversity” goals. “College and university administrators might promote greater cross-racial understanding and tolerance in their students, not by racially discriminating against applicants for admission to their schools, but by working to make their schools more tolerant of the expression of different points of view,” we note. “Admissions programs that intentionally discriminate on the basis of race may themselves be negatively affecting the level of racial understanding and tolerance on today’s college campuses.”
In New York City, we are tracking a major lawsuit filed by race-theory radicals seeking “an anti-racist education.” The suit is straight from the Critical Race Theory playbook. It seeks major changes to the New York City public school system, which it claims is “suffused with and perpetuates…various forms of racism in ways blatant and subtle, intended or willfully ignored and tolerated.” Racism in the lawsuit is defined to include “internalized racism,” “interpersonal racism,” “institutional racism,” and “structural racism.” Read the lawsuit here.
A successful lawsuit , the New York Times notes, could compel New York City “to restructure or even eliminate current admissions policies for hundreds of selective schools, including gifted and talented programs and academically selective middle and high schools,” and accelerate pressure for shifting student populations city wide in the name of “diversity” and “integration.”
Parents are fighting back. A new national grassroots organization, Parents Defending Education, has filed a motion to intervene in the New York City case. “PDE’s members, who are parents of children in the system, believe that their children should be judged based on their individual merit, not defined as members of a racial group or blamed for the collective sins of others,” PDE President Nicole Neily told Judicial Watch. “That’s why PDE opposes the call to inject more race-based decision-making into the City’s schools. The best way to achieve equality is to treat children equally, regardless of skin color, and to fix the parts of the City’s schools that are broken.” Read the PDE brief here.
Judicial Watch will be following these cases and other developments in the Critical Race Theory jihad in the months ahead. We’ll keep you posted.
Micah Morrison is chief investigative reporter for Judicial Watch. Follow him on Twitter @micah_morrison. Tips: [email protected]