Opinion

Conservative Success on CRT Shows How We Can Win

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Posted: May 14, 2021 12:01 AM
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Conservative Success on CRT Shows How We Can Win

Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Editor's Note: This piece was authored by Sarah Weaver. 

Conservatives are going on the offensive. And for the first time in a long time, we are making encouraging progress. 

For years, the right has accepted the role of professional damage controllers. With endless talk of “holding the line,” conservatives made due with the occasional executive order while the Left took over every institution in America for their own ever-progressing social crusades. 

But the fight against critical race theory appears to be telling a different story, and it’s refreshing to see. 

A wave of legislation that targets the teaching of critical race theory in public schools has been introduced and passed in state after state across the country. The bills ban public school curriculum that promotes “race essentialism, collective guilt, and racial superiority theory.” 

Corporations are backing down too. Walt Disney’s “anti-racism training” recently surfaced, which encouraged white employees to, “challenge colorblind ideologies and rhetoric such as all lives matter.” It took 24 hours of pressure from activists and reporters who oppose the concept of race-based guilt for the massive corporation to shut down their critical race theory program. 

Thankfully, American culture is steadily opposed to the concept of defining someone as the color of their skin. Critical race theory views every individual, institution, and policy through the lense of race, categorizing each person as “oppressed” or “oppressors” based solely on their race. If critical race theory is presented as the ideology it is, its tenets will be swiftly rejected by the general public. In fact, a recent poll found that Americans are opposed to critical race theory indoctrination, with almost 3 in 4 respondents saying schools shouldn’t teach that, “White people are inherently privileged, while Black, and other people of color are inherently oppressed and victimized.”

In a rare show of unity, a band of classical liberals, traditional conservatives, and libertarians have all steadily rejected the redefinition of terms, and the strong-arming of the woke Left. As a consequence, the Right has been making significant headway against critical race theory indoctrination not only in schools, but in corporations as well.

We should remember how we did it.

First of all, in the fight against critical race theory, conservatives have fought their battles where it matters. While ceremonial wins such as executive orders are encouraging indicators for success, they fall short of affecting real change. For instance, when Donald Trump issued an executive order banning critical race theory training for federal employees Joe Biden, unsurprisingly, rescinded the ban shortly after taking office in January.

Instead, conservatives have focused on creating change through legislation at the state and local levels, a less glamorous but far more effective strategy. In late April, the Oklahoma State Legislature passed a bill banning training in public school which propagated, among other things, the notion that, “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.” Oklahoma Governor Stitt signed the bill into law on May 8. And in Tennessee, the state house passed a similar bill, banning critical race theory indoctrination in public schools, which included training that taught that, “An individual’s moral character is determined by the individual’s race or sex.” The Arizona State House also passed similar legislation. So did Iowa. And Texas. And North Carolina. The list, happily, goes on. 

While the fight against the tenets of critical race theory is far from over, the changes enacted by these bills, when and if passed, will last for generations. Legislation may not last forever, but it is more durable than an executive order that can be overturned with the stroke of a pen.

What’s more, our fight has garnered support from a wide array of folks from varying political stances. The group that has assembled to combat critical race theory is as intellectually diverse as it is united. While standing firm in one’s beliefs is certainly a virtue when those beliefs are warranted, the importance of working with ideological “enemies” cannot be overlooked. Conservatives have most often been spearheading the fight against CRT, but they could not do so as effectively if it were not for their allies across the political Right, center, and even Left. 

Go into any bookstore, or scroll through any mainstream news site, and you’ll observe endless advice on “how to talk about race.” Race is a touchy subject, and as such, many have decided to leave it alone. But it’s good to know that many have refused to take that route when it comes to combating critical race theory. Indeed, conservatives are proving that with the right messaging, a steady refusal to back down on the important issues, and effective coalition building, we can make significant ground in the most unlikely of battles. 

Sarah H. Weaver is a graduate student studying Political Philosophy and American Government at Hillsdale College and a Young Voices Contributor. Follow her on Twitter @SarahHopeWeaver.