Source: Christopher Paslay

Chauncey Devega, a race essentialist and staff writer for Salon, insists that Critical Race Theory is a fairytale.  In his recent article, “‘Critical race theory’ is a fairytale — but America’s monsters are real,” Devega insists that CRT is a lie, a damn lie, and suggests everyday white folks are “doing the work of racism and white supremacy” by “[s]upporting Republican fascists who tell evil fairytales about ‘Critical Race Theory.'”

Devega makes his case by bloviating for ten full paragraphs about an old Southern boogieman called the “Goat Man,” a legendary monster that terrorized black communities in North Carolina by gobbling up black American men and boys.  He’d heard this tale as a child from his grandmother, which turned out to be a metaphor for Jim Crow and white supremacy.

Devega wants the reader to know that the Goat Man is not real, but that “real evil takes the form of flesh-and-blood human beings, not ghosts or demons or spectral fiends.”  Trump and his supporters are the real monsters, Devega insists, along with “Republican fascists who tell evil fairytales about ‘critical race theory.'”

He writes: 

Their goal is to reclaim uncontested white power and white privilege over every significant aspect of American society. Their evil fairytales about “critical race theory” or “parental control” are but a means to that end. 

At no point does Devega dare to take a real look at the issues at the heart of the pushback against CRT — at what is happening in school board meetings across the United States.  He couldn’t care less about the growing concerns of parents, teachers, and administrators in K–12 schools, or the rest of American society at large.  CRT is a “fairytale” because arrogant race essentialists like Devega say it is.  (For the record, Vox is parroting this same nonsense, as are NBCABCCBSCNNMSNBC, and NPR.)

Although this summary denial of CRT by people like Devega is frustrating, the reality is that Critical Race Theory is being effectively smoked out.  There was a time not so long ago when people actually tried to defend the use of CRT, like Marc Lamont Hill during his interview with Christopher Rufo.

But now the playbook has changed.  CRT is simply too toxic even to try to defend.  This is why the National Education Association scrubbed Business Item #39 — which supported the use of CRT in K–12 school across America — from its website in July.  This is why the Biden administration removed the link to University of Georgia professor Bettina Love’s Abolitionist Teaching Network from the Department of Education’s website, claiming that the connection to the radical group (which aims to “disrupt Whiteness” in schools) was a mistake.

Defending CRT would be to defend the use of Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility in teacher trainings from coast to coast, a book that teaches that all whites are inherently racist and privileged and perpetuate white supremacy by default.  It would be to defend the use of Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist, a book that polarizes Americans into tribal camps based on skin color, deeming one group “oppressors” and the other group “oppressed.”

It would be to defend the use of Montclair State University professor Bree Picower’s bookReading, Writing, and Racism: Disrupting Whiteness in Teacher Education and the Classroom or the use of ultra-woke artist Anastasia Higginbotham’s Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness, which teaches elementary school children that “whiteness is a bad deal” and stereotypes police as racist killers.

It would be to defend the “Color Line” exercise, a teacher training activity developed by Glenn Singleton’s Pacific Educational Group, which aims to help white educators identify their so-called “white privilege” so they can understand how this privilege is perpetuating white supremacy culture in K–12 schools as well as the rest of America.  According to University of Alabama history professor David Beito, this exercise is a Maoist-style scheme that “publicly humiliate[s] dissenters by having them wear signs around their necks expressing shame for their ‘incorrect thoughts.'”

It would be to support forcing third-graders to deconstruct their racial identities, and rank themselves according to their power and privilege.  It would be to teach educators that babies show the first signs of racism at three months old and that White children “remain strongly biased in favor of Whiteness” by age five.  It would be to argue that the United States was founded on a Eurocentric, White supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal, homophobic, and anthropocentric paradigm brought from Europe.  It would require teachers to locate themselves on an “oppression matrix” and accept that White heterosexual Protestant males are inherently oppressive and therefore must atone for their “covert White supremacy.”

It would be to defend turning MLK’s “Dream” on its head, replacing judging a person by the “content of character” with judging a person by the color of his skin.  It would be to defend replacing individualism with identity-based tribalism, with teaching children that race is the most important determinant of success, that meritocracy and American exceptionalism are evil, and that systemic racism is so deeply ingrained in our institutions that you are no longer the captain of your own ship.

In other words, it would be to defend the indefensible.

CRT is no fairytale.  It negatively impacts teacher morale, school discipline, and instruction.  You can squabble over semantics — call it “critical pedagogy,” or “critical whiteness studies,” or “intersectionality” — but this is simply a distraction.  As Kentucky State University assistant professor Wilfred Reilly writes for City Journal:

This debate over semantics might provide an interesting basis for a panel at a scholarly conference, but it’s of little use or interest for parents concerned that their children are being taught partisan nonsense. While technical differences exist between the various critical paradigms, virtually all of them share three baseline assumptions: that racism is “everywhere,” and supposedly neutral systems, such as policing or standardized tests, are set up to oppress minorities; that to prove the existence of this oppression one need only note that large groups perform at different levels; and that the solution to this problem is equity — or proportional representation of all groups across all endeavors.

So people like Salon’s Chauncey Devega pretend CRT and its insidious offshoots don’t exist.  It’s easier to deny reality than to defend political and cultural kryptonite.  Better to tell a long-winded, hokey story about the “Goat Man” and finish by calling everybody a racist and white supremacist.

CRT is very real.  To quote Anthony Kinnett, a curriculum developer in Indiana, “When we tell you Critical Race Theory isn’t being taught in our schools, we’re lying. Keep looking.”

Christopher Paslay is a longtime Philadelphia public schoolteacher.  His book, A Parent’s Guide to Critical Race Theory, is available on Amazon.