No, It's Not 'Racist' to Oppose Critical Race Theory | Opinion

Before the results of the Virginia governor's race were in, many on the Left were scrambling to find an explanation for the surprising lead the Republican candidate, Glenn Youngkin, was enjoying. Of course, to the rest of us, this was no surprise; the myriad concerns Americans are facing provided adequate explanation for voters' impatience with the Democrats, from the COVID-19 pandemic to inflation to supply chain shortages to political polarization. And yet, rather than look to these explanations, the mainstream media, seemingly in unison, settled on a single culprit: white supremacy.

What is most troubling about this accusation of racism is the extreme lengths to which the Left, and many in the mainstream media, are willing to go to level it. Younkin, who had been trailing for much of the campaign, got a big bump when his challenger, former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, said during a debate, "I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach." And McAuliffe had receipts for how strongly he held this view: He proudly reminded voters that he vetoed a bill that would let parents pick books in schools.

The media is right that this single issue may have tanked McAuliffe's campaign, though not because his was the position fighting a losing war against racism, as they would have it. Indeed, it was the smugness of McAuliffe's delivery that shifted the race, a smugness mirrored by the liberal media's framing of the debate surrounding critical race theory (CRT).

While the Right has unified around the position that CRT is a toxic, racist ideology that is being forced on students amid concerns from parents, their detractors on the Left insist that CRT is not being taught in schools; they claim what is being pushed is simply a correction of "whitewashed" history and those who oppose it are racists trying to suppress black history and using CRT as a proxy.

While I believe the CRT debate has devolved into a debate about definitions and technicalities, what I know is that divisive, highly problematic topics and coursework are being presented to kids, and parents are rightly upset about it.

It's simply a fact that schools across the country are adding race-focused curricula to the classrooms. And it is a fact that this is not being done in a nuanced way to "start a conversation." It is leftist propaganda openly stating that races are different and "whiteness" is bad. New York City's teacher's union, the United Federation of Teachers, is openly promoting the 13 guiding principles of the Black Lives Matter Movement, which include social and restorative justice, reapportioning city and state funds to black communities, and being queer and trans affirming.

Many schools are teaching The 1619 Project, a racist work of fictionalized history which alleges that anti-black racism is in the DNA of America—and they are teaching this with no counter-narrative to point out its flaws or lies of omission.

The project further argues that every problem black Americans face today can be directly linked to slavery. This is patently false and irresponsible, and yet, the project was in 4,500 schools, including in cities such as Chicago, Washington D.C., and New York, within months of its release.

CRT Protestors
People hold up signs 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 via Getty Images

Schools are focusing on white privilege and asking white students to identify as oppressors. For minority students, they offer a focus on culturally relevant learning, arguing that in order for them to achieve academically, the materials must be taught with an emphasis on their culture. This implies, for instance, that in order for blacks to excel at math they must be taught in a way that blacks would understand it. This is just blatantly racist.

And beyond race, there is also an unhealthy focus on gender and sex. Children are being trained to accept gender fluidity and asked their sexual preferences. In California, teachers are being encouraged to talk to students about gender identity and masturbation. The details of these conversations are being hidden from parents.

Parents are right to be concerned about what is happening in their schools and it is beyond shameful to attack them and label them white supremacists or domestic terrorists for voicing their concerns. No one can look at what parents are being sent, what teachers are saying, and what the teacher's unions are bragging about and honestly make the argument that this is about black history.

And while the media is right that Youngkin used the education issue as a political tool, so did McAuliffe. He argued on teachers' behalf as hard as Youngkin did for parents. McAuliffe had United Federation of Teachers President, Randi Weingarten, on a campaign stop with him and talked constantly about critical race theory not being in schools and how parents were wrong. And if it's ok for McAuliffe, it should be ok for Youngkin.

The real takeaway from the Virginia election is that McAuliffe failed to understand the human condition: You cannot call people racist and tell them their concerns are not real and think that they will vote for you. Worse, if the Democrats continue to double down on the "white supremacist soccer moms," they will eventually help create one.

The Virginia election was less a win for Republicans than a rejection of Democrats and, if they're smart, a wakeup call. If they don't realize they have to listen to what voters are saying rather than telling them what is best for them—or calling them racist—they will continue to see results like this.

Charles Love is the executive director of Seeking Educational Excellence, host of The Charles Love Show, and the author of the book Race Crazy: BLM, 1619, and the Progressive Racism Movement, which will be published this week.

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