When a Rhode Island local school district allegedly considered suing one woman for the high crime of asking for information about school curricula, many were shocked, and rightfully so. To be sued for making a request for school records, in accordance with records laws, would have been a violation of her basic First Amendment rights. Skepticism and dissent are bedrock American values. But shocking as it may be, I wasn't surprised this happened. See, the woman wanted to know about critical race theory being taught in American schools.
In fact, critical race theory isn't a theory at all. Nor is it a "perspective" of teaching history. It is racism and bigotry, and not only that—it's an attempt to revive a failed Marxist agenda.
Critical race theory is an offshoot of critical theory, the brainchild of the Frankfurt School, a group of 20th-century Marxists associated with the Institute for Social Research. (Fun fact: the founder of the Institute for Social Research wanted it to be named the Institut fur Marxismus, which translates to the "Institute for Marxism." That name was scrapped for fear it would alienate the public.)
In 1937, Max Horkheimer of the Frankfurt School wrote a manifesto about "critical theory," in which he claimed that when examining society, people cannot reason objectively. In classic Marxist fashion, critical theory divides everyone in society into classes of oppressed and oppressors, but posits that the so-called oppressed stand in the way of revolution when they adhere to the societal belief systems and cultural norms of their so-called oppressors. Therefore, the cultural institutions that stand in the way of the Marxist revolution must be destroyed through relentless criticism (hence the name: critical theory).
This is crucial because by the 1930s, Marxists were realizing that Karl Marx's vision of a worker-led revolution wasn't going to sweep the West.
Of course the Marxists blamed workers. Antonio Gramsci, the founder of the Italian Communist Party, claimed the workers had not successfully revolted because they still relied on institutions of the ruling class like the family, religion and country. Gramsci's observation took critical theory one step further. Gramsci posited that workers needed to be "re-educated" in order to overthrow the capitalist systems that were allegedly stymying the worker-led Marxist revolution.
How did this Marxist ideology infiltrate American society?
When Horkheimer and his fellow Marxists fled Germany to escape the Nazis, they found refuge at Columbia University. Horkheimer returned to Germany after the world defeated the Nazis, but left behind his associate, Herbert Marcuse. It was Marcuse who helped morph critical theory into critical race theory in the United States, by identifying a new "worker" for the revolution who could be re-educated to overthrow societal norms: racial minorities.
In the words of Marcuse, "Underneath the conservative popular base is the substratum of the outcasts and outsiders, the exploited and persecuted of other races and other colors." According to Marcuse, "their opposition is revolutionary even if their consciousness is not."
Since a worker-led revolution wasn't happening, they needed another "oppressed" class to serve their purpose. That purpose was to tear down Western institutions that stood in the way of revolt and stage a Marxist revolution. Using racial minorities as their new vanguard would be brilliant. Who better to re-educate than a demographic of people whose ancestors had suffered oppression in America based on their skin color? Who better to paint as victims of a belief system of the "oppressors" and to claim the only way to liberation was to demolish the institutions of the oppressors?
In other words, the designers and adherents of critical theory admitted their true intent. Not equality under the law. Not civil rights. Not freedom, liberty and justice for all. Not a better life for racial minorities. Critical theorists admit their intent is to use racial minorities as the vanguard for a Marxist revolution.
Thus, critical race theory was born.
We now see this slimy ideology creeping into every aspect of American life, from corporations staging "white privilege" trainings to school curricula that teach students to view everything and everybody through the prism of race.
Why does critical race theory peddle bigoted and obviously false assumptions about individuals based on their skin color? Not pure racial hatred. Racialism is a tactic, a tool used by critical race theorists to tear down American institutions. Their aims: abolish the nuclear family, abolish gender, defund the police, abolish the border, abolish prisons, abolish the Senate, abolish the Electoral College, abolish ICE, abolish voter ID, abolish capitalism, abolish private/charter schools, abolish religious freedom, abolish free speech, abolish rights, abolish objective truth, abolish reality.
Sound familiar? Democratic political agenda items are textbook critical race theory. We should reject its reduction of people to the color of their skin. It's a tool with a dangerously clear purpose: to impose simple, unadulterated Marxism in the United States of America. We must overwhelmingly reject it in its entirety on the basis of what it really is.
Liz Wheeler is host of The Liz Wheeler Show.
The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.