The latest claim proponents of Critical Race Theory (CRT) are making? That Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are not CRT and that CRT isn’t actually influencing the curriculum or the direction of Williamson County Schools.
It’s telling that the primary sources aiding and abetting these groups come from Williamson County Schools. How can one be a watchdog when one is merely echoing the entity whom they are purportedly supposed to be watching? This is an attempt to gaslight anti-CRT parents, rather than directly address the legitimate concerns they have raised.
Williamson County parents have attended CRT101 by Moms for Liberty and read CRT201 by Williamson Strong. The following is a true or false examination to help parents assess and navigate the information (and misinformation) being put forward.
Williamson County parents “throwing around the term CRT” don’t actually know what it is.
FALSE: This is the latest trick by CRT advocates. Part of how CRT works is through complexity of language and intentional ambiguity. That said, parents don’t need a master’s degree in CRT in order to see what its goal is: the problematizing and criticizing of American systems with the aim of dismantling them and imposing socialism/Marxism.
The advocates of CRT in Williamson County are simply caught now and want to change the subject. In short, CRT’s essential argument is that America is systemically racist. That is to say, every institution, law and policy in America is racist to its core, only invented to oppress people of color, especially Black people. CRT states that all white people today are complicit in America’s systemic racism, including white students, just by virtue of their skin color.
Parents opposed to CRT are against American history being taught impartially.
FALSE: First of all, teaching history accurately, not impartially, should be the goal. Students, of course, must learn the good and the bad of American history. But far from being impartial, CRT views America as a structurally evil nation. Worse, CRT is an inaccurate telling of history that embraces false narratives like the 1619 Project, which wrongly states that the American Revolution was only fought to preserve slavery. Curriculums, such as Great Minds’ Wit and Wisdom, are not impartial anyway. They intentionally offer a jaundiced view of American history, focusing on the negative, while minimizing the many positives of America.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are not related to CRT.
FALSE: DEI is the Trojan horse through which CRT enters institutions. This means DEI is actually more dangerous. Why? Because CRT alone is just Marxist-inspired academic theory and should only be discussed as one of many theoretical ways to view the world. But DEI insists CRT’s claims are fact, not theory, and then cloaks its poisonous ideology in innocuous, feel-good language.
DEI is designed to inject CRT into an institution, to indoctrinate individuals and ultimately impose a caste system. People with white skin will be labeled “privileged” and “oppressors.” Meanwhile, people of color, especially Black people, will be labeled “victims” and “oppressed.” In other words, DEI will introduce systemic racism into the school, rather than remove it. If individuals reject any of DEI’s CRT-based claims, they will be told it’s proof they have not done the work, they are exhibiting white fragility or, yes, they are a racist.
The parents of Moms for Liberty are against equity.
TRUE: There is an important distinction here: equity is not equality. Equity is the idea that all racial groups must achieve equal outcomes. That’s Marxism. Equity insists that disparate outcomes are automatic proof of America’s systemic racism. This assertion must be accepted by faith. Once equity is adopted as the goal, an institution will be required to boost certain “marginalized” groups while holding back so-called “privileged” groups. How? Through reparations and compelled redistribution of resources. In other words, institutional and government-sponsored discrimination will become the norm in order to achieve so-called equity.
On the other hand, equality before the law is the American idea. Equality demands that society strive to create equal opportunity for all but doesn’t insist on equal outcomes. Equality accepts that there will be disparate outcomes in America, as is true in all societies.
Diversity means encouraging different ideas and perspectives, right?
FALSE: Diversity, as defined by DEI programs, is solely identity-based. It means everyone identifies differently but must think exactly the same. Diversity, as defined by DEI, is merely a way to impose identity-based politics on students and faculty. If you don’t agree with the CRT/DEI definition of diversity, you will be ostracized, shamed and canceled. When CRT/DEI advocates preach diversity, they are not talking about diversity of thought. Quite the opposite, CRT/DEI demands conformity of thought and does not tolerate dissent.
Diversity simply means all races, ethnicities and backgrounds are welcome here.
FALSE: Diversity, as defined by DEI programs, will result in quotas. Williamson County is roughly 88% white, 5% Hispanic, 5% Asian and 4% Black*. Our schools are representative of the community in which they serve and will change as demographics continue to. There is no policy or law that excludes people of color from moving to Williamson County or attending its schools. People of all ethnicities are already welcome. To “increase diversity” means you want to artificially influence those numbers. That means quotas. That means discriminating by race. No parent wants their child to be a number on either side of a quota. That strips us of our individualism, basic humanity and instead reduces us to classification by our skin color.
Inclusion means all are welcomed (included).
FALSE: A rational, everyday parent is all for inclusion. They define it as “including or welcoming everyone, regardless of race, gender, religion, political party, etc.” Unfortunately, inclusion, as practiced by DEI firms, is an entirely different beast. Inclusion drives “inclusive language.” This is how you arrive at replacing Mother’s Day with Birthing People’s Day in the name of inclusivity. That’s why WCS is considering changing the names of mother-son and father-daughter events in the name of inclusion. Inclusion will demand that faculty and kids will be asked to announce their pronouns specifying their gender identity, as if it’s not perfectly obvious in 99% of cases.
The bottom line: inclusion, as implemented by DEI policies, results in forced speech codes. It results in a classroom where your child is afraid to raise his or her hand for fear of asking the wrong question or using a forbidden word. It stifles honest questions, debate, free speech and, perversely, will be used to exclude anyone who dissents.
CRT is just a distraction. Parents should be focused on other issues like fully funding our schools.
FALSE: CRT imposed through DEI and curriculums, like Wit and Wisdom, turns every subject matter, from math and science to English and music, into a discussion about oppression, social justice and politics. The last thing Williamson County should do is fully fund schools seeking to indoctrinate children with this radical leftist curriculum. CRT and DEI does not teach kids HOW to think, but WHAT to think. Instead of focusing on educational fundamentals, it focuses on racial grievances, skin color and sowing division. The goal? To turn students into leftist activists. Therefore, stopping this poisonous ideology from further entering WCS schools isn’t a distraction, it’s absolutely essential.
CRT began with a group of legal scholars focused on racial equality in the 1970s.
FALSE: Critical Race Theory is a subset of Critical Theory, born of neo-Marxists György Lukács and Antonio Gramsci, subsequently embraced by the Institute for Social Research at the Frankfurt School in Germany, in the 1920s and 30s. It was another avenue to institute Marxism when the original prescribed struggle between the working-class proletariat and the ruling class bourgeoisie did not have the desired effect.
Critical Theory has multiple subsets: Critical Race Theory, Critical Gender Theory, Feminist Theory and Cultural Theory, all of which we see at play in the present-day United States. The goal of CRT is the goal of Marxism: the division and then fundamental change of a society. Since class struggle has never been an effective avenue in the United States, where we have a thriving middle class and an abundance of opportunity to ascend or descend the ladder of success, the natural next choice would be race. CRT is not about educating us about our past or social justice, or healing, or unity, or any of the nice-sounding words it throws around. Examine the roots of it, and you’ll see that it is all about sowing permanent division, and, sadly, it has been accomplishing this goal very well so far.
Robin Steenman is the co-founder of the Williamson County chapter of Moms for Liberty, and Brett Craig works in public relations for the organization.
*U.S. Census Bureau Quick Facts: Williamson County, Tennessee. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/williamsoncountytennessee
*Crossman, Ashley. “Understanding Critical Theory.” ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, thoughtco.com/critical-theory-3026623.