Framing Critical Race Theory

I have a cousin who argues with me on facebook now and then. We agree to not let it get out of hand. It helps me see the convoluted arguments from his side. here’s how he got from “teaching propaganda in high school is wrong” to “CRT is communism”.

The first step was most shocking. My meme compared Russian teachers being told to teach they were on “a special peacekeeping mission” in Ukraine to how parents want to ban curricula here. He said both of those were “interpreting” based on “Historical Materialism”. I googled that later, I’ll get back to it.

Next, he claimed teachers here are “being ordered” to interpret and extrapolate, despite our agreement on the facts. It took a little bit to sort this out, he avoids words like “slavery”, so I had to get explicit. He claimed there was some sort of “framework” that exists throughout the educational system, and if I can’t see it, there’s nothing he can do about it.

He said the facts are being framed “as a commentary on historical exploitation of oppression”. And, the country’s existence and its history are being defined by “that shortcoming” (meaning our history of slavery). I tried to sort that out, then he said, all history is framed in some way, and he “choose to not use Marxism or one its products, critical theory methodology” when he does his framing.

So, Critical Race Theory is a methodology, that employs Historical Materialism, which posits that history is a struggle between classes, which was employed by Marx.

At no time did he acknowledge that proposals are in the works around the country to limit the teaching of the facts. He says the opposite. At no time does he acknowledge the economic effects of racism from less than one lifetime ago that are still affecting the landscape of our cities and the human demographics within our economy.

I think the bottom line is, you simply cannot engage in discussion with someone who sees the comet headed for earth but refuses to look up. (yes, Don’t Look Up movie reference) or worse yet, sees the comet and refuses to admit s/he sees the comet. It’s an odd mindset.

I wish it were that simple. We can’t ignore Putin. We can’t ignore oil companies. We ignored the takeover of school boards until creationism got into the classroom. They keep getting better at the tactics, even learning from Liberals, like boycotts, then calling their actions capitalism and Liberal actions “cancel culture”. Even just having your eyes open is called “woke”.

When I was in retail sales of computers, some customers would come in and try to test me by saying “RAM” or “CPU” or something. That’s the tactic here. He made up this “framing” of “Historical Materialism”, two things that exist but don’t actually go together and apply to public schools.

He alluded to a critique of the 1619 project, and I’d gladly critique it, but for him, any critique of that proves he’s right about everything he believes about racism. It’s only because I’ve known him all my life that I know he thinks the solution to racism is already here, and now we just need to stop talking about it. That kind of belief does not develop overnight. It’s not “odd”, it’s part of how our brains are wired. It’s totally human.

I agree you can’t ignore them, but we can’t “battle” them with ideas or discussion. In this day and age, and technology, it’s not enough. Honestly I think we have to best them at their own game - out Trump the trumpers. It’s trite but true - Dems/libs bring words and ideas to a knife fight. Just doesn’t work that way.

McConnell’s a perfect example. He doesn’t care one bit about all the arguments about rules, protocol, norms, etc. he just barges ahead and gets his judges in, and blocks Dems judges out. Of course, like I said, he knows his constituency is a bunch of easily led morons, so he uses that to his advantage. He’s leading a pack of rabid dogs that, like MTG and others, fall in line. The Dems OTOH have a loose affiliation of cats, practically un-leadable. For chrissake look at all the internal debate about stupid crap like cancel-culture issues. The Dems can’t go in the same direction no matter how hard they try.

And here’s the answer to “what should we do?” if you find yourself observing this, either on Fox News, or some living room somewhere, find its source. It’s usually not that hard.

Enter Christopher Rufo, a 36-year-old self-described “political brawler” from Gig Harbor Washington. He, like other political hustlers, had recognized the need to replace vacuous terms like “political correctness” and “cancel culture.” After reviewing a 2020 City of Seattle anti-bias training session, Rufo found the “perfect villain.” By cherry-picking a few Marxist academicians, he found a way to tie anti-racism to anti-capitalism. Ignoring far more relevant influences like Martin Luther King, he discovered a way to turn Critical Race Theory into a political cudgel. This insight brought him to Tucker Carlson and the Trump White House.

And so the campaign to vilify Critical Race Theory took shape, starting with a concerted effort to mischaracterize it. Blur the distinction between pedagogy and curriculum. Accentuate the most glaring examples of dubious anti-racism techniques (e.g., privilege ranking and bookshelf decolonization). Reframe it as an effort to indoctrinate young children. Avoid any constructive discussion of improving specific techniques. Conflate it with terms that poll poorly (e.g., Antifa and wokeness). Redefine it as an assault on American values.

The next phase of the anti- Critical Race Theory campaign? Create a story with vivid enemies and heroes. Attack progressives not as advocates of equal opportunity, but as arrogant academicians leading woke mobs against honest, hard-working (and non-racist) whites. Portray Critical Race Theory opponents as brave cultural heroes manning the ramparts against Marxists who would brainwash our children and destroy our nation. And cloak the campaign in disingenuous rhetoric, such as the trope that fighting racism is no longer necessary in a nation that elected a Black President.

What is the goal of the framing? If it’s to change the minds of parents challenging the school boards, forget it. They are overwhelmingly against CRT in schools – and rightly so.

No framing is even necessary.

According to my cousin, history is always framed, and I think he has a good point. As soon as anyone says something or does something, we do nothing but interpret it from then on.

Just saw some TV spot about Republicans wanting to remove from schools any books that mention Race.

Which explains why they are banning “The Tortoise and the Hare”

:rofl: :rofl:

Interesting topic and sounds like you had an interesting convo with your cousin.

I wasn’t taught CRT in school so I don’t know what or why they teach it now but if the definition of crt is “a struggle between classes” then I have no problem with it. I was taught struggles of classes in school but it wasn’t called crt.
But searching on the web about the definition of crt, gives different meanings and interpretations.
So I’m a bit unsure as to what it means.

That’s part of the problem. Not you, but those who debate it. When people want it not taught in public schools, they don’t mean the same thing as the law school version of it.

There are already laws to keep teachers from shaming children and curriculums to cover slavery as well as freedoms. I don’t think we need new laws about race

What are the reasons that some parents don’t want this in schools?
From what I’ve been reading and seeing on the news they say “it’s racist” but nobody has explained Why it’s racist.

You can find collections of teachers saying things about all whites contribute to white supremacy. These are rare and isolated. They can be dealt with using the current systems of review or the PTA.

You can also find teachers who say blacks are stupid, that’s why we have the laws we have

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Ok so basically it’s a sad situation of affairs in America where even things like a virus are politicized.
A sad situation which is amplified by the rise of the internet.