by Diane Rufino, May 10, 2021
I propose, and have written, the following DECLARATION – “A DECLARATION Opposing the Teaching of Critical Race Theory in North Carolina Public Schools.” It is based on my article “CRITICAL RACE THEORY: What It Is, Where It Came From, and Where It’s Going,” (April 29, 2021), based on additional reading and research I’ve done, and based on articles and interviews by expert Christopher Rufo. I, along with some trusted colleagues, thought the views held in my article would have greater force if they were framed in terms of a “declaration” rather than as a resolution. The DECLARATION, just like the Resolution, is written in terms of “Concerned Parents and Concerned Citizens,” but it can easily be modified for the North Carolina state General Assembly, for local governments, for boards of education, or even for use in other states.
DECLARATION TO OPPOSE THE TEACHING OF CRITICAL RACE THEORY IN NORTH CAROLINA PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Critical race theory supports the logic that all whites are born racists and oppressors by nature. They are to be viewed as a collective threat to non-white people and beyond redemption. This sentiment is already infecting US government institutions and the American workplace via racial sensitivity and diversity trainings, and now being adopted and implemented in public school systems all across the country.
It is important to have a foundational view of what Critical Race Theory is and why, in my view, it is so pernicious. Critical race theory (CRT) uses racism to combat largely imaginary racism. Its doctrine promotes systematic racism, white privilege and white fragility. These Marxist-inspired ideologies are designed to create hate and division.
Invented by Derrick Bell and other attorneys as a spin-off of Critical Legal Theory in American law schools in the 1980s, these theorists were disenchanted with the results of the Civil Rights Movement. Bell, Richard Delgado, and other CRT thinkers viewed classical liberal ideas such as meritocracy (people being rewarded based on their individual merits), equal opportunity, and colorblind justice (like that promoted by Dr. King) to all be factors that cause systemic, invisible, intangible racism.
What many people don’t understand is that CRT rejects most of the things that the 1960s Civil Rights Movement fought for, like treating people equally in institutions and under the law. Instead, CRT teaches that if power is to be properly redistributed from the “haves” to “have-nots” (which in their eyes include minority identity groups), the law may actually need to biased in favor of minority identity groups.
It is likely that the 1960s Civil Rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, Hosea Williams, and Gloria Richardson all would have opposed CRT vehemently, as it denies that people should be judged “by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.” CRT, conversely, teaches that skin color (or identity group) is the lens through which all things – especially justice – should be viewed.
WHEREAS, Critical Race Theory is the idea that the United States is a fundamentally racist country and that all of our institutions including the law, culture, business, the economy are all designed to maintain white supremacy. In order to maintain a culture and system of white supremacy, other races, particularly the African-American race, must be discriminated against and suppressed. Critical Race Theory essentially characterizes our system as one of “oppressors” and the “oppressed.” (Race Theorists and Critical Race theorists argue that as a result, all of these institutions mentioned are beyond reforming and they would need to be completely dismantled in order to liberate the oppressed people).
WHEREAS, as Christopher Rufo, a visiting fellow for Heritage’s domestic policy studies who has particular expertise on Critical Race Theory, puts it: “It sounds extreme and I think the best way to think about it is you take the old Marxist concept of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie or the oppressed and the oppressor. But instead of looking at it in economic terms as Marx did you change it and you graft the new identity politics and you think of it in racial terms. So, instead of the poor and the rich, it’s essentially the white and the people of color are the two dynamics. And this is the new oppressor and oppressed and all of the old Marxist, dialectic is really just reinterpreted through the lens of race. That’s really at the heart of critical race theory.”
WHEREAS, Critical Race Theory is a policy or plan to have educators and administrators in our North Carolina public school system emphasize RACE and how racism is inherent and prevalent in our society and in our country as a whole – whether intentional, unintentional, direct, subtle, incidental, or systemic. And by emphasizing it and teaching it to our children, they are INDOCTRINATING them also to focus on race and to see things in terms of race. Why is such a policy being implemented in our school systems, including to children younger than high school age? It’s because children have brains that are not yet fully developed and who are especially vulnerable and susceptible to what is taught to them.
WHEREAS, some people – liberals, progressives, Marxists, leftists, etc – see racism everywhere. The idea that America is fundamentally flawed because some people harbor racism in their hearts and minds and that this equates to systemic racism is ridiculous. Yet it is a vision of America that such people wish to perpetrate.
WHEREAS, Teaching Critical Race Theory in the North Carolina public schools is not a product of any bill or policy adopted by the NC General Assembly or by an executive order issued by any state Governor. It is a policy that was initiated, embraced, and adopted by teachers themselves. It was adopted by teachers in the Wake County School system last year (2020) and named “Equity in Action Plan.” For an expose on how it was able to make its way into our state’s public school system, refer to the very informative article, titled “Subversive Education,” written by Christopher Rufo on March 17 of this year (2021) for City Journal.
WHEREAS, Teaching discrimination, as Critical Race Theory clearly encourages, is clearly forbidden by our Declaration of Independence, which states plainly “We hold these TRUTHS to be self-evident, that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness……”
WHEREAS, as one parent put it: “My parents always told me that it doesn’t matter whether people like you; it matters whether or not the law protects you, and it does in this country.”
WHEREAS, as the acclaimed economist, professor, and columnist Thomas Sowell explained: “Racism is not dead, but it is on life support — kept alive by politicians, race hustlers and people who get a sense of superiority by denouncing others as “racists.”
WHEREAS, Brit Hume, an American journalist and political commentator, commented: “No country on earth has done more to overcome racial prejudice both in law and practice. Indeed, racism today is nearly universally rejected in America, which is why the left tries so hard to pin the label on its political opponents.”
WHEREAS, as Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) articulated (in his remarks following President Biden’s address to Congress, April 2021): “America is not a racist country. It’s backwards to fight discrimination with different types of discrimination, and it’s wrong to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present…. We love the content of one’s character, not the color of one’s skin. Our nation stands in greatness because we fought back against the darker angels and we believed in the better angels.”
WHEREAS, as NC Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson sees it: “I am very proud of the history in this nation of my people. My people were put in the belly of ships, and bound in chains during the middle passage. My people were whipped, beaten, and sold as property into slavery. During Reconstruction and during Jim Crow, my people were in intimidated, harassed, and even killed to keep them from having a voice in government. Symbols like chains, nooses, and burning crosses were not just symbols of death but symbols of forced, coerced silence. The sacrifices of our ancestors so I can have the opportunity to become the first black lieutenant governor of my state, to see a black man sit in the White House for two terms, and for millions of us to become leaders in business, athletics, government, and culture add up to an incredible story of victory.”
WHEREAS, there are at least twenty-one “critical” reasons that Critical Race Theory is pointing the United States and our public schools in the wrong direction and they include:
(i) It is demeaning to modern-day white people and insulting to our system of laws and our history of judicial rulings. We, as Americans, have abolished slavery, abolished segregation, and have gone as far as to institute affirmative action policies in almost all areas of education and business. Back in the 1860’s, we adopted the Reconstruction era constitutional amendments (13th, 14th, and 15th), in 1953, the Supreme Court handed down the Brown v. Board of Education ruling ending school segregation, and in the 1960’s, Congress passed civil rights legislation – the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. That’s a history of a country recognizing its past sins and wanting to do the right thing. This is what should be taught and emphasized in our schools.
(ii) It advocates that racism is present in every aspect of life, every relationship, and every interaction and therefore is indoctrinating children and employees to look for it everywhere. It encourages students to look at everything through the lens of race.
(iii) It substitutes one form of racism with another. In fact, it is Critical Race Theory and Race Theory in general that is the new racist element in society and not the actions of the white members of society.
(iv) It teaches in contradiction to the Golden Rule, which states that “People should aim to treat each other as they would like to be treated themselves – with tolerance, consideration, love, and compassion.” The Golden Rule, and NOT Critical Race Theory, should be the policy on which we anchor and base our society. It is the Golden Rule, and NOT Critical Race Theory, that should be taught in our schools… that is, if we want to hope for a better, more tolerant, tomorrow.
(v) It shames white students for their “obvious” white privilege and their inherent racism. They “obviously got the upper hand because of how our society and system favor after them while disfavoring African-Americans and other minority races. (Note that the Chinese and the Indian cultures, for example, excel at a rate even greater than whites). Equally, it re-enforces the notion in the minds of African-Americans and other minority races that they are “victims” in this country, discriminated against (“systemic racism”) so that whites can continue to benefit predominantly.
(vi) The ideas embedded in Critical Race Theory, instead of moving America towards racial equality and a color-blind society, actually will achieve the opposite. They teach white children that they are inherently racist no matter what they do and no matter what they think. Black children are taught that their inability to achieve is not due to lack of effort, lack of self-discipline, or the product of a culture that they alone are responsible for, but rather the inherent racism of America.
(vii) It is a policy that amounts to INDOCTRINATION in the public school system. The school system was never meant to be a place that indoctrinates our children; it was never meant to supplant the role of the parents or the family in the upbringing of their children or the impressions of their minds. The role – the ONLY role – of the school system is to provide children an honest and accurate education.
(viii) The ideas embraced by Critical Race Theory, if allowed to be taught in our public schools, will fan racial animosity and undo the progress that has been made since the desegregation era of the 1950’s and then the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. America will become divided just as it was in the past. (This is precisely what liberals, progressives, Marxists, and socialists want).
(ix) It sends the message to students that a color-blind society is a legal and moral fiction, that it can never be achieved. (And it’s the fault, of course, of white people).
(x) Progressive teachers have taken it upon themselves to use public resources teach policies not grounded in science or rationality or actual data. They are using public resources to push extremist views on our kids.
(xi) Critical Race Theory (or whatever the name they choose to give it – such as the “Equity in Action” policy, “Race Theory”) transforms the primary goal of a teacher from basic education to social engineering mind control and political advocate. It gives teachers and administrators too much opportunity to shape a student’s views or an employee’s views on social and political issues rather than being one who strictly instructs in the core subjects or being an institution that provides employment. How does it become the school’s job to teach children to “view problems and issues through the lens of race?” And how does it become the government’s job to “view problems and issues through the lens of race?”
(xii) It has no place in our taxpayer-funded schools. All white people are not racists, and how dare our public schools teach that to our impressionable children as if it were the reality in America. The truth is that success in life is based on a lot of things, such as a stable home life, having two committed parents, study habits, ambition, support from parents, who the child associates with, morals and values, peer pressure, drug usage, access to technology, and yes, even religion…. but the color of one’s skin isn’t really one of them. How can we ever hope to teach true equality to our children and take pride in the fact that we have been able to overcome discrimination and segregation over the many years by all legal and constitutional means possible when we plan to teach that it will never be possible because of structural racism. We can’t have it both ways.
(xiii) Here’s the kicker…. Good-intentioned parents and other concerned citizens aren’t willing to talk to media outlets or post on social media because their perspective will surely be depicted as racist, even though their true goals are combating racism and ensuring equal treatment and continued academic excellence for ALL students, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, etc, and for all persons in general, again regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, etc.
(xiv) Critical Race Theory absolves the African-American race from looking within themselves for reasons why they have very low graduation rates, low performance rates in schools, have a poor record of having intact families, etc for reasons for claiming ‘discrimination’ and ‘oppression’ and instead, sends the message that others are responsible and that the system is intentionally rigged against them. The fact is that no race has a copyright on discrimination and oppression. Not all “whites” are from the same lot. The Irish were discriminated against, the Italians were discriminated against, the Jews were discriminated against and even prevented from coming to this country when they were being exterminated in Europe, the Chinese were horribly discriminated against, etc etc. “Irish need not apply.” “Italians need not apply.” Signs like these were hung from business doors all over the country.
(xv) It dishonors our nation’s history. The individual colonies were founded by freedom-seeking individuals, white individuals, predominantly from Great Britain and Europe, who embraced the values, the achievements, the history, and the writings and documents of the empire of Great Britain and also the Enlightenment Era philosophers. Our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the state constitutions – the ones that liberals, progressives, Critical Race Theorists, progressive teachers, progressive government, and progressive business owners conveniently rely on for their freedom to implement such Race Theory programs and to indoctrinate our students on modern-day, systemic racism – were conceptualized and written by members of the white race. White culture has provided a great benefit to ALL persons in this country, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, etc.
(xvi) It is an insidious policy that has the government, or a particular political group or group of liberals and progressives, picking winners and losers and indoctrinating students as to the same. Education should be a “bottom-up” or more organic institution where parents, and NOT the teachers, dictate and provide boundaries and feedback on the curriculum.
(xvii) It perpetuates ‘stereotypes,’ and specifically, it perpetuates the most insulting and egregious of stereotypes.
(xviii) It relies upon “interest convergence” (white people only give black people opportunities and freedoms when it is also in their own interests) and therefore there is no incentive for whites to root out racism and “make the necessary changes” necessary for a true color-blind society.
(xix) It is profoundly unfair to the white population. While the majority of taxpayers (supporting the public school systems) are white, they have the indignation of overwhelmingly supporting the public school system while at the same time being belittled and insulted (“accused of inherent racism”) by teachers and administrators who are trained to implement the Critical Race Theory policy.
(xx) It is an affront to a FREE society that values the unencumbered and uncoerced conscience of every individual. Freedom of conscience is the one freedom that Thomas Jefferson valued most of all; he believed it to be the cornerstone of all other freedoms. He wrote: “It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others: or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own.” Jose Marti said: “The first duty of a man is to think for himself.”
(xxi) It is the start of a “slippery slope” for black activism and progressive activism. It threatens to infect every aspect of our society.
THEREFORE, We the Concerned Parents and Concerned Citizens of North Carolina:
DECLARE that the purpose of Critical Race Theory is to target our children and teens, those whose brains are not yet fully developed (and extremely susceptible to what is being taught to them), to separate them from their parents, and consequently, to have the authority to indoctrinate them in socially progressive views. The policy is being used to remake our society – from a society that was once based on race to a new society also based on race.
DECLARE that it is the Golden Rule, which stands for the notion that “People should aim to treat each other as they would like to be treated themselves – with tolerance, consideration, love, and compassion,” that should be taught and emphasized in our schools, and NOT Critical Race Theory (or Race Theory in general).
DECLARE that it is the Golden Rule that teaches tolerance, is the policy that on which we need to base our society, and is our greatest hope for a better, more tolerant, more united future.
DECLARE that Critical Race Theory, and Race Theory in general, promotes race stereotyping and racial scapegoating in contradiction to the words of the Declaration of Independence (that ALL men are created equal and endowed with unalienable rights…”), in contradiction to the Thirteenth Amendment (abolished slavery), in contradiction to judicial rulings that have ended segregation and mandated equal treatment, and in contradiction to the many acts of the federal government, state governments, and local governments to enact all recognizable and protectable civil rights to minority citizens.
DECLARE that Critical Race Theory, and Race Theory in general, be condemned in the strongest sense of the word for using the idea of ‘diversity’ to indoctrinate and propagate such stereotyping and scapegoating.
DECLARE that it is deplorable and unacceptable for teachers and school systems to indoctrinate children to look at everything through the lens of race.
DECLARE that the classroom, instructors, and the school building itself stands in the place of parental education and upbringing, and because they do so, they owe allegiance and deference to the local community of parents.
DECLARE that it is NOT the function of the school system to INDOCTRINATE our students as to social and political matters but rather only to EDUCATE them in the critical areas of math, science, reading, writing, history, English, grammar, and the like.
DECLARE that Critical Race Theory, and Race Theory in general, embraces a philosophy that fundamentally defines individuals using categories identified in invidious characterizations and should be completely repudiated.
DECLARE that racial, ethnic, cultural distinctions among one another are gifts from God and should be embraced and appreciated, and not used as a basis to divide our country or twisted into reasons for individuals to hate and mistrust one another.
DECLARE to reject Critical Race Theory in all that it stands for and all that it hopes to achieve.
DECLARE that Critical Race Theory is a policy that has no place whatsoever in our school system. Social and political views are areas that belong to the parents and to the family, should be reserved for family conversations and not classroom indoctrination (by teachers who think against the conservative grain and who have a social and political agenda). It is abhorrent to allow schools to circumvent the role of parents and the family, and yes, even the church in many cases.
DECLARE that our state General Assembly, our local governments, and our school boards take the necessary steps to immediately reject Critical Race Theory, or Race Theory in general, and refuse to implement it.
DECLARE that should Critical Race Theory, or Race Theory in general, continue to be advanced in our state’s public schools, every parent has the right to immediately take his or her child out of the school without any repercussion and instead, have home school materials be supplied at no cost (since their taxpayer funds already go towards education).
DECLARE that everyone who believes it’s time to stop the Indoctrination and focus on Education should get involved – go to Board of Education meetings, write the DPI, join activist groups, file lawsuits, become a blogger.
Diane Rufino, “CRITICAL RACE THEORY: What It Is, Where It Came From, and Where It’s Going,” Diane’s blog (www.forloveofgodandcountry.com), April 29, 2021. Referenced at: https://forloveofgodandcountry.com/2021/04/29/critical-race-theory-what-it-is-where-it-came-from-and-where-its-going/
Christopher F. Rufo, “Subversive Education,” City Journal, March 17, 2021. Referenced at: https://www.city-journal.org/critical-race-theory-in-wake-county-nc-schools [City Journal is a publication of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (MI), a leading free-market think tank.]
Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson Addresses House Committee on the Judiciary, BreitbartNews (YouTube) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTvKswJjves&ab_channel=BreitbartNews
Michelle Cordero, “How Critical Race Theory is Dividing America,” The Heritage Foundation, October 26th, 2020. Referenced at: https://www.heritage.org/progressivism/commentary/how-critical-race-theory-dividing-america [Includes a podcast interview and a full transcript of that interview}
Remarks by NC Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson to the NC House Committee of the Judiciary, April 2021. YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTvKswJjves&ab_channel=BreitbartNews