by Hans Bader
On July 15, a Reuters fact-check claimed that “many Americans embrace falsehoods about Critical Race Theory.” But it is Reuters that embraced a falsehood, not the American people.
Reuters denied that Critical Race Theory teaches that “discriminating against white people is the only way to achieve equality,” saying that was a “misconception” promoted by “conservative media outlets.”
It’s not a misconception. It’s the explicit position of the most famous exponent of critical race theory, Boston University’s Ibram X. Kendi. The “key concept” in Kendi’s book How to Be an Antiracist is that discrimination against whites is the only way to achieve equality: “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination,” writes Kendi in that book, a New York Times bestseller touted by many progressive journalists.
Ibram Kendi’s book How to Be an Antiracist is a “comprehensive introduction to critical race theory,” notes the leading progressive media organ Slate. Kendi says he was “inspired by critical race theory,” and he has been described as a leading “critical race theorist.” Kendi said that he cannot “imagine a pathway to” his teachings “that does not engage CRT.”
Reuters says it is a fallacy to believe that critical race theory teaches “that white people are inherently bad or evil.” But it is hard to justify widespread discrimination against white people, as Kendi does, unless you believe they are bad. Kendi once wrote an op-ed suggesting that white people are aliens from outer space. The systemic racial discrimination against whites that Kendi advocates would violate Supreme Court decisions such as Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co. (1989).
Reuters called critical race theory a “a once-obscure academic concept” that is not “taught in most public high schools.” This might literally be the case, but Reuters was wrong to imply that Critical Race Theory is rarely taught in high schools. While critical race theory may not be taught in “most” public high schools, it is taught in many of them, according to teacher surveys.
“Many high schools and middle schools are assigning” Ibram Kendi’s book Stamped to students, notes George Mason University law professor David Bernstein, even though this “book associated with Critical Race Theory” is filled with factual errors, and contains “bad history.” For example, the Washington Free Beacon reports that “Amazon spent $5,000 to distribute hundreds of copies” of “Ibram X. Kendi’s book” “Stamped” “to Virginia public school students” in Arlington, Va.
Twenty percent of urban school teachers have taught or discussed Critical Race Theory with their K-12 students, along with 8% of teachers nationally, according to a survey by Education Week, the largest media organ aimed at the K-12 education sector. These percentages are even higher in high schools, where books by critical race theorists are much more likely to be assigned to students than in elementary schools.
The Loudoun County, Virginia, schools paid a contractor $3,125 for “Critical Race Theory Development” in May 2020. The Fairfax County, Virginia schools paid critical race theorist Ibram Kendi $20,000 for an hour-long speech and question-and-answer session in August 2020.
Some critical race theorists idolize totalitarian communists while disparaging freedom-fighters like Dr. Martin Luther King. As Professor Bernstein notes, critical race theorist Kendi’s ideology is pernicious. He divides the world into segregationists, assimilationists, and antiracists. The assimilationists, like the segregationists, are in Kendi’s telling all racists…This includes almost everyone prominent who has ever worked for civil rights, including Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois (at least until he became a Communist), Martin Luther King, Jr., and more. Any book that depicts these individuals as racists should raise more than a few eyebrows before getting assigned to middle-schoolers.
The hero of the last third of the book is Angela Davis… even though she was Communist who devoted most of her life to advancing Communism…. and was an over-the-top apologist for every brutal action ever taken by the USSR…
After a dubious acquittal from a charge of conspiracy to murder she spent the most productive years of her career as an activist for the American Communist Party.
The antisemitic Davis condemned jailed Jewish dissidents in the Soviet Union as “‘Zionist fascists and opponents of socialism’” who should “be kept in prison.” Yet she is Kendi’s heroine.
Kendi’s book misrepresents what the Nation of Islam believes — omitting its racism. Kendi falsely claims that a Republican candidate’s “opposition to federal spending was because it was going to black people for the first time,” even though that Republican candidate opposed racism, as demonstrated by the fact that he desegregated his state’s national guard before the U.S. military was desegregated; desegregated the U.S. Senate cafeteria in 1953 after being elected to the Senate; and served as a leading member of his state’s NAACP chapter.
Kendi’s book Stamped peddles the baseless conspiracy theory that “the Bush administration directed FEMA to delay its response” to a devastating hurricane “in order to amplify the destructive reward for those who would benefit.” Such conspiracy theories have been debunked even by liberals like former Democratic National chairwoman Donna Brazile.
Kendi falsely claims the No Child Left Behind Law backed by Democratic leaders and President Bush put the blame on black teachers and parents for bad school performance by black students, when the opposite was true: it sought to hold schools, not black people, accountable for black students passing standardized tests at lower rates than whites. In fact, the No Child Left Behind Law “was grounded” on the premise that “the achievement gap between children of color and white children … is not acceptable” and that “the educational system must be held accountable for closing this gap,” says the Applied Research Center.