Earlier this legislative session we had the most robust debate on the House Floor since I became a legislator. A couple of weeks ago, we spent several hours on a bill prohibiting the teaching of “divisive concepts.” Some of these “divisive concepts” include:
– That one race or sex is inherently superior to another
– That the United States of America and the state of Iowa are fundamentally or systemically racist of sexist
– That an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex
These “divisive concepts” are really born out of a radical academic movement called Critical Race Theory. I have received several questions, including from legislators of both parties, on what this is. This is a great question, and this newsletter will explore it a bit.
Critical Race Theory is a concept which attempts to explain how issues of race intersect with American laws and how this plays out with social and racial justice. In a nutshell, CRT is cultural Marxism. It paints white males as being inherently oppressors and non-white people as the oppressed. Why? Because instead of looking at the content of someone’s character, they look at the color of their skin. This is the opposite of what Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned.
CRT argues that the law protects “white supremacy’s” alleged power in America. Proponents say that just about every institution in America is somehow systemically, fundamentally, and/or institutionally racist. They usually use anecdotes and stories and sometimes outright lie while using little to no facts and data to argue their points.
CRT also attacks the very Founding of our country. Proponents argue America was founded on racism, bigotry, and slavery. Some, including the face of the historically and factually inaccurate 1619 Project, claim (without evidence) that America fought the Revolutionary War to preserve slavery. They argue that voter I.D. laws are racist, that raising the minimum wage is a racial justice issue, and that conservatives supported Ronald Reagan because they were worried about the “browning” (increased immigration from countries that are not predominantly white) of America.
Critical race theory isn’t curbing racism. It is increasing racism because CRT is racist. For example, Barea College just hosted an event titled “White Citizenship as Terrorism: Make America Great Again, Again.” The presentation “offers to resituate Trumpism and white citizenship as forms of white terrorism enacted against the majority of people living within the borders of the U.S. and beyond.” Harvard University held two segregated ceremonies in 2019. One for black students and another for Hispanic students. New York University recently approved a segregated resident floor. Campus Reform recently reported that Columbia University plans to hold at least six different graduation ceremonies based on race, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.
What good is any of this doing? Spoiler alert: none.
Critical race theory is setting us back as a country. Americans of all colors, continents and creeds have worked since even before our Founding to truly create a society that judges on character rather than skin color. Now, critical race theory is quite literally teaching people to look at each other’s skin color and no other factors. We are going backwards because of this. We must firmly reject this line of thinking.
Racism and sexism are both wrong. In my personal religious beliefs, they are called sin. We are all made in the image of God, of the same blood as the Bible teaches us, and we would be better off following this teaching.
These “diversity” trainings, as well as factually and historically inaccurate curriculum like the 1619 Project, are an all-out assault on our country, its history, and our collective efforts to create total equal protection under the law. They violate the civil rights code, they are racist, and they are highly divisive. For example, at the federal level, the Treasury Department had a guy named Howard Ross teach diversity training in which he heavily pushed CRT. This included stating that our country was “built on the backs of people who were enslaved” and that, due to their skin color, which can’t be changed or controlled, white people have inborn oppression and must “struggle to own their racism.” Federal disclosures show Ross and his firm have been paid $5 million over the last 15 years to push racism in the federal government.
What good does that do?
Critical Race Theory and its associated works come from several different angles.
In her lead essay of the factually and historically inaccurate 1619 project, Nikole Hannah-Jones, who Tucker Carlson labels as a “racial extremist,” delivered the following divisive quotes:
- “Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact that one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.”
- “Anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country, as does the belief, so well-articulated by (Abraham) Lincoln, that black people are the obstacle to national unity.”
- “It is a truly American irony that some Asian Americas, among the groups able to immigrate to the United States because of the black civil rights struggle, are now suing universities to end programs designed to help the descendants of the enslaved”
Next, in her book “White Fragility,” Robin DiAngelo stokes the flames of racism. It is a New York Times bestseller. Here is an egregious quote written in her book, “The romanticized “traditional” family values of the past are also racially problematic.”
DiAngelo has been paid high sums of money to lead “diversity training” for corporations and speak at universities worldwide. In her book, she states, “…the U.S. economy was based on the abduction and enslavement of African people, the displacement and genocide of Indigenous people, and the annexation of Mexican lands.” She states, “Being perceived as white carries more than a mere racial classification; it is a social and institutional status and identity imbued with legal, political, economic and social right and privileges that are denied by others.”
Christopher Rufo, the Director of Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth and Poverty and the leading talking head on these diversity trainings, states, “Critical race theory training sessions in public agencies have pushed a deeply ideological agenda that includes reducing people to racial essence, segregating them, and judging them by their group identity rather than their individual merit.”
He is entirely correct.
We must ask ourselves a very serious question. Should taxpayers be paying for “diversity” training and K-12 school curriculum that push these narratives?
America is not a perfect nation. We have some ugly things in our past. Americans should be knowledgeable on the good, the bad, and the in-between. However, the attacks that we have seen on our country from critical race theory are despicable. It is factually and historically inaccurate, divisive, and egregious. America has done better for the world than any other nation. We take in people of all colors, creeds, and continents. Over the last fifty years, we’ve had over 2 million immigrants come from Africa. We have folks from central and south America risking life and limb to get here. If America is systemically and fundamentally racist, this wouldn’t happen.
CRT aims to make the story of our country as being one of racism, bigotry, and slavery. Our story does not start with a founding based on slavery, but rather one based on freedom and liberty. The story of America is one of our continued efforts to make our Founding truths applicable universally. We should unite behind these efforts.
We should seek to build America up, not tear her down. We should strive to unite, not divide.
I’ll end with this quote by the very brilliant Ben Shapiro,
“If you cannot define a problem clearly, you cannot propose a solution. ‘Systemic racism’ or ‘institutional racism’ or ‘implicit racism’ is a miasmatic, deliberately vague charge. Name the racist policy. Name the racist person, so we can all fight the racism together.”
I completely concur.