Believe It Or Not, Critical Race Theory Is Uniting Us | Opinion

Some say today's America is more politically divided than ever. Between liberals and conservatives, between Democrats and Republicans, there is so little agreement that family members and friends stop talking to one another over political differences. Yet in this seemingly divided country, one thing is uniting Americans across the political spectrum: critical race theory (CRT).

CRT is a divisive ideology inspired by Marxism that promotes race essentialism. It alleges that the United States was founded on racism and remains systemically racist today. CRT paints all whites as oppressors, and all people of color (POC) as oppressed—with the exception of Asians, whom CRT designates as white-adjacent due to Asian Americans' economic success and educational attainment.

CRT sees all disparities in group outcomes as the result of systemic racism. It rejects merit, equal opportunity and color-blind policies because it believes they reenforce white privilege and erect barriers that prevent POCs from advancing in our society. CRT supporters claim race-based redistribution is the only way to achieve equal outcomes. According to CRT guru Ibram X. Kendi, "the only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination."

CRT activists have little tolerance for dissent. They silence anyone who disagrees, labeling them "racist" or "white supremacist."

Once an obscure legal theory, CRT has penetrated our society from government policies to corporations, from employee trainings to "preferential health care" programs based on race. It has faced opposition in all these arenas. Activists' push for CRT in education, in particular, has backfired the most. Ordinary Americans from all racial and ideological backgrounds have gotten a chance to see how it has affected their children's education. They did not like what they saw.

California's Board of Education outlined a new K-12 mathematics curriculum that cancels gifted programs, eliminates advanced math classes like calculus and keeps every student's learning at the same level for as long as possible, all in the name of equity. While cutting math programs, it introduced a new ethnic studies curriculum to teach white privilege, systemic racism and social justice in K-12 classrooms across the state. Public outcry caused the board to postpone its vote to adopt the new framework.

Parents at Wisconsin's School District of Waukesha discovered a rubric used to evaluate "staff beliefs" that asks teachers to examine their "cultural lens" and "implicit bias." Students are required to complete "perception surveys." In Minnesota, fourth-grade students were instructed not to tell their parents about a mandatory "equity survey" which included questions about their gender identity. In Pennsylvania, a private primary school asked parents to "decenter whiteness at home and in [their] family."

Critical race theory protest Virginia
A participant holds up a sign during a rally against "critical race theory" (CRT) being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Virginia on June 12, 2021. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP/Getty Images

Parents from all racial backgrounds and political affiliations have begun to push back on what they see as a deliberate effort to dumb down their children's education through harmful political indoctrination. In Michigan, a Black father who has a biracial daughter blasted CRT at a school board meeting. "Critical race theory is teaching that white people are bad. That's not true. That would teach my daughter that her mother is evil," he said. "Your job is to teach them math and science. Our job is to teach them about life."

At a school board meeting in Orange County, California, one mother called critical race theory an "evil ideology" that would only wither kids' confidence and motivation to succeed in school. "But maybe that's the objective," she concluded. "You don't want our Black, brown and biracial students to succeed, and you want to kick the white students in the teeth for something they have no control over."

A Black mother in Las Vegas filed a lawsuit, accusing a local charter school of creating a "hostile learning environment." She claimed that the school violated her white-passing son's First Amendment rights by "repeatedly compelling his speech involving intimate matters of race, gender, sexuality and religion" during a required civics class.

In Virginia, a coalition of parents, students, alumni and community members filed a lawsuit alleging that changes to the admissions process would reduce the number of qualified Asian students admitted to the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ). The Fairfax County Public School Board canceled the entrance exam for TJ last year, claiming its student body wasn't diverse enough. Seventy-three percent of the students admitted to TJ last year were Asian Americans; this year, only 54 percent were. Similarly, in New York City, Asian American families and other allies fiercely protested mayor Bill de Blasio's proposal to eliminate the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test for the city's top high schools.

CRT supporters portray their opposition as a right-wing conspiracy. But according to Politico, objections to CRT "are not the sole province of conservatives but extend to many moderate and independent voters." A recent Economist/YouGov poll found that 58 percent of Americans who knew about CRT, including conservatives, moderates and liberals, have an "unfavorable" view of it. Believe it or not, Americans of every political viewpoint and racial background are united in opposing CRT.

To see how widespread the opposition to CRT is, listen to Bari Weiss' interview with Maud Maron. Maron is a liberal who supported Bernie Sanders and all kinds of liberal causes. She has dedicated her entire career to the Legal Aid Society, defending the most vulnerable people in New York City. A mother of four children, she also served on the local community education council (similar to a school board) and witnessed the harm of CRT-driven policies on schools and minority students. After she penned an op-ed in the New York Post titled "Racial obsessions make it impossible for NYC schools to treat parents, kids as people," her colleagues forced her out of her job. She filed a lawsuit, claiming the Legal Aid Society and her union, the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, had discriminated against her based on her race and political views.

If a liberal like Maron is willing to oppose CRT publicly, its supporters should be concerned about how unpopular the ideology is with the American public.

The majority of Americans know that the U.S. is an imperfect country. We have no objections to teaching our children the full picture of American history, including its historical injustices, but we should not ignore the significant progress America has made toward racial equality. Today's America is not a racist nation. We reject CRT because it seeks to overthrow what has made America great—the nation's founding principles, the idea of meritocracy and equality of opportunity. CRT is bent on dividing us according to external factors over which we have no control, while ignoring individual agency. In its quest for equal outcomes, CRT harms the very communities it claims to support. The more its supporters continue to push their destructive ideology onto Americans and intimidate and silence those who disagree with them, the more Americans will unite to oppose them. Eventually, CRT supporters will discover that they have been on the wrong side of history all along.

Helen Raleigh, CFA, is an American entrepreneur, writer and speaker. Helen is the author of Backlash: How China's Aggression Has Backfired and Confucius Never Said. Follow her on Twitter: @HRaleighspeaks and visit her website: www.helenraleighspeaks.com.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.