Why are people afraid of critical race theory? – The Columbus Dispatch

David R. Hoffman

David R. Hoffman is a retired civil rights and constitutional law attorney in the South Bend, Ind. area.

One of the most prominent bogeymen in the right-wing political war against education is critical race theory.

It was no surprise when one of the first acts of Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders was to ban it in grades K-12, when the Florida Department of Education declared that AP African American studies “lacks educational value,” or when the reading of Dr. Suess’ “The Sneetches” was halted by an official at Olentangy Local School District’s Shale Meadows Elementary School.

David R. Hoffman, Retired Civil Rights and Constitutional Law Attorney

One of the biggest hoaxes in the right-wing political war against education is also critical race theory, because, in truth, many of those rallying against it have little or no interest in protecting children from “discomfort.”

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It is time (indeed past time) for people to realize that the artificially manufactured anti-critical race theory hysteria is more than just a grift by right-wing politicians, pundits, and organizations soliciting votes, ratings, and funding by appeals to white supremacy. 

There are actually two main motivations behind it.

  • The first is to define critical race theory so nebulously that any classroom discussions about race, no matter how educational or innocuous, can readily be silenced by labeling them critical race theory.
  • The second is to use critical race theory to sow distrust, and decrease enrollment, in public education, because many of the individuals and organizations currently campaigning against critical race theory hope to financially profit from the private “charter” schools they plan to open and operate.

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The other bogeyman

Naturally, the powers behind the anti-critical race theory movement are not going to advertise their true motivations, and instead are relying on another bogeyman, Marxism, to stigmatize critical race theory.

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks after taking the oath of the office on the steps of the Arkansas Capitol on Jan. 10.

But it should be remembered that it wasn’t Marxists who instituted slavery in America; it wasn’t Marxists who authored the infamous Dred Scott decision that would have allowed slavery to proliferate in every state; it wasn’t Marxists who passed the “Jim Crow” segregation laws; and it wasn’t Marxists who, in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, proclaimed that the doctrine of “separate but equal” did not violate the United States Constitution.

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Did Marxists attempt to exploit the outrage created by the lingering impact of these actions? 


  But is there any political movement, extremist or mainstream, that does not exploit situations and events to suit their purposes?  In fact, aren’t many politicians today, like Huckabee Sanders, DeSantis, and others of their ilk exploiting the anti-critical race theory hysteria to help catapult themselves into public office?

In this May 4, 2017, photo, a mural that features Theodor Seuss Geisel, left, also known by his pen name Dr. Seuss, covers part of a wall near an entrance at The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, Massachusetts.

During the Jim Crow era, American Marxists often advocated for racial integration; thus, one might think they were overjoyed when the U.S. Supreme Court finally struck down the doctrine of “separate but equal” in the 1954 case of Brown v. Topeka.

But the reverse was actually true.

  Marxist support of racial integration was primarily built on the belief that it would never be achieved within the framework of America’s government, thus leaving revolution as the only option for change.  The Brown decision, however, showed that if a system is capable of change, then there is no need to change the system.

It’s important to remember these lessons of history. 

Marxism, like other extremist ideologies on both the left and the right, thrives on outrage and this outrage is habitually found in people whose histories, cultures, voices, social contributions, and indeed their very lives are ignored, devalued, and neglected by those in power.

David R. Hoffman is a retired civil rights and constitutional law attorney in the South Bend, Ind. area.

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