Directly downstream

About that Andrew Sullivan piece on what he calls “Critical Race Theory” –

How on earth could merely teaching students about the history of racism and its pervasiveness in the United States provoke such a fuss? No wonder Charles Blow is mystified. But don’t worry. The MSM have a ready explanation: the GOP needs an inflammatory issue to rile their racist base, and so this entire foofaraw is really just an astro-turfed, ginned-up partisan gambit about nothing. The MSM get particular pleasure in ridiculing parents who use the term “critical race theory” as shorthand for things that just, well, make them uncomfortable — when the parents obviously have no idea what CRT really is.

Isn’t that silly of the mainstream media, says Andrew Mainstream Sullivan. But here’s a fun fact: it actually does matter what we call things. It really is worth getting the labels right. Critical Race Theory is not synonymous with every stupid fad idea people come up with.

I’m sure the MSM will continue to push this narrative indefinitely…And you can see why: this dismissive take is extremely helpful in avoiding what is actually happening. It diverts attention from the stories and leaks and documents that keep popping up all over the place about extraordinary indoctrination sessions that have become mandatory for children as early as kindergarten.

But that’s not a reason to call that kind of indoctrination Critical Race Theory when that’s not what it is. It’s not a reason to get the labels wrong.

And no, 6-year-olds are not being taught Derrick Bell — or forced to read Judith Butler, or God help them, Kimberlé Crenshaw. Of course they aren’t — and I don’t know anyone who says they are. 

Exactly, and that’s why inept school programs should not be labeled incorrectly.

But they are being taught popularized terms, new words, and a whole new epistemology that is directly downstream of academic critical theory.

Ahhhh “downstream” is it. Well that excuses everything then. Except it doesn’t.

Let me draw an analogy to another kind of education. In Catholic kindergarten, kids are not taught Aquinas, the debates about the Trinity in the early church, or the intricacies of transubstantiation. But they are taught that they were created by God, in his image, and that they should love one another. All of this is part of Catholicism. But the former is abstract and esoteric; the latter is the practical, downstream application of these truths — accessible to children, to direct their morality. As they grow up, they will learn more. But it is all part of the same system of faith and thought. Its words and values resonate throughout it all: love, compassion, sin, forgiveness, dignity, God, heaven. 

Love? Compassion? That’s what the Inquisition was? That’s what the Crusades were? That’s what the Irish industrial schools and Magdalen laundries were? That’s what the cesspit full of skeletons at Tuam was? That’s what the residential schools in Canada were?


Similarly with CRT, impenetrable academic discourse at the elite level is translated to child-friendly truisms, with the same aim — to change behavior. And so the notion that the most important thing about a child is that she is white, and this makes her part of an oppressive system purposely designed to hurt her new friend, who is black, is how this comes out in an actual real-life scenario. And she has to account for her indelible “whiteness”, just as Catholic kids have to account for their sins. CRT has its own words and values, and they are instilled from the beginning: racism, systems, intersectionality, hegemony, oppression, whiteness, privilege, cisgender, and “doing the work,” as CRT convert Dr. Jill Biden would say.

He’s talking about whiteness studies. Sir, sir, the target is over there.

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