To Critical Race Theory, or not to Critical Race Theory?

Like the uncollapsed quantum state holding Schrodinger’s cat in a state of simultaneous life and death, whether a school is “teaching critical race theory” or not seems to depend entirely on whether the inquiring person wants them to. Are you anti-CRT? Then, you may rest assured, American schools most certainly aren’t teaching CRT. (If you press a bit and ask why the district has cancelled all of the advanced math classes in the name of “equity,” you’ll be politely informed that this, “Isn’t CRT,” and, further, that you are, “Full of hate. So, so full of hate.”) On the other hand, if you are in favor of CRT, then you will be heartened to know that the schools definitely are teaching CRT.

The National Education Association (NEA) is, according to Wikipedia,

“the largest labor union and the largest white-collar representative in the United States.[2] It represents public school teachers and other support personnel, faculty and staffers at colleges and universities, retired educators, and college students preparing to become teachers. The NEA has just under 2.3 million members and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.[3] The NEA had a budget of more than $341 million for the 2012–2013 fiscal year.[4]

The NEA has been hard at work at their annual meeting this summer, passing (among doubtless many other important union matters), the alluringly-named New Business Item 39:

The NEA will, with guidance on implementation from the NEA president and chairs of the Ethnic Minority Affairs Caucuses:

A. Share and publicize, through existing channels, information already available on critical race theory (CRT) — what it is and what it is not; have a team of staffers for members who want to learn more and fight back against anti-CRT rhetoric; and share information with other NEA members as well as their community members.

B. Provide an already-created, in-depth, study that critiques empire, white supremacy, anti-Blackness, anti-Indigeneity, racism, patriarchy, cisheteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism, anthropocentrism, and other forms of power and oppression at the intersections of our society, and that we oppose attempts to ban critical race theory and/or The 1619 Project.

It goes on, but the grammar here is so atrocious that I had to pause to double-check what, exactly, the nation’s largest union of educators had written. This is a complicated sentence, given the nested nature of the resolution’s clauses, but we can simplify it by only looking at subjects, verbs, and parts that make no sense at all:

“The NEA will… share and publicize… Have a team… and share information… Provide (a study)… and that we oppose attempts to ban critical race theory and/or The 1619 Project.”

Absolutely pathetic. I might just be a mom, but at least I have a grasp of basic grammar. These people are teachers.

I like the inclusion of anthropocentrism here. It’s good to remind children that when dogs are allowed to pee on random trees, but they aren’t, this is speciesism, and speciesism is evil. True equality will not have been achieved until children and dogs are treated equally.

But let’s go on:

C. Publicly (through existing media) convey its support for the accurate and honest teaching of social studies topics, including truthful and age-appropriate accountings of unpleasant aspects of American history, such as slavery, and the oppression and discrimination of Indigenous, Black, Brown, and other peoples of color, as well as the continued impact this history has on our current society.

You might have thought that the purpose of school was to equip children with the skills they’ll need in adulthood, but it’s actually to make children sad.

The Association will further convey that in teaching these topics, it is reasonable and appropriate for curriculum to be informed by academic frameworks for understanding and interpreting the impact of the past on current society, including critical race theory.

Ah, yes, academic frameworks. You see, whether you’re busy teaching kindergarteners their ABCs or trying to help the whopping 28% of 12th graders who still can’t even read at a basic level, it’s important to make sure you’re using college-level academic frameworks for the concepts you introduce to your students. Supposedly the people who wrote this, or at least who voted on it, are “real teachers” who have totally interacted with “real children” and understand the meaning of the phrase “age appropriate instruction,” and aren’t just trying to shoehorn their political beliefs into an utterly inappropriate context.

D. Join with Black Lives Matter at School and the Zinn Education Project to call for a rally this year on October 14—George Floyd’s birthday—as a national day of action to teach lessons about structural racism and oppression. Followed by one day of action that recognize and honor lives taken such as Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, and others. [Sic]

Aside from being entirely inappropriate, this is grammatically pathetic.

USA’s economy/social order is built on interactions between different cultures/races.

“Don’t worry, Evie,” they said, “Cultural Marxism isn’t hiding under the bed, waiting to eat your fingers, because Cultural Marxism isn’t real.”

Oh, my sweet readers, Cultural Marxism is real, very real, and the only reason it isn’t hiding under your bed is because it’s busy reshaping Marxist arguments about the structure of society and the economy being determined by a nation’s economic system into an argument that they’re determined by the nation’s racial system.

To deny opportunities to teach truth about Black, Brown, and other marginalized races minimalizes the necessity for students to build efficacy.

I think this sentence is grammatical, it just sounds like schizophrenic word salad and actually says the opposite of what it is supposed to. To simplify/make it more understandable, “Denying opportunities… minimizes the need for students to become more effective.” Not needing to be more effective is a good thing: it means that students are already just as effective as they need to be.

I think they wanted to say, “Denying opportunities… minimizes the opportunities for students to become more effective.” Look over your work before you send it out, people. If necessary, get a friend to edit your work for you; they’ll probably catch mistakes you overlooked.

The ancient African proverb says, “Know Thyself.”

This is just thrown in randomly, at the end of the paragraph, with no context. A Turkish proverb says, “Those who want yogurt in winter must carry a cow in their pocket,” and an Arabic proverb says, “Someone who can’t dance says the ground is sloping.”

“Know thyself” is, incidentally, also a Greek aphorism; it was inscribed in the Temple of Apollo at the Oracle of Delphi:

“But I have no leisure for them at all; and the reason, my friend, is this: I am not yet able, as the Delphic inscription has it, to know myself; so it seems to me ridiculous, when I do not yet know that, to investigate irrelevant things.”–Socrates, Phaedrus.

Of course, “know thyself” is short and straightforward enough that it is probably a bit of wisdom given in many cultures.

And finally, the money:

This item cannot be accomplished with current staff and resources under the proposed Modified 2021-2022 Strategic Plan and Budget. It would cost an additional $127,600.

Someone will be well-paid for this grift.

At least you may take some comfort, my reader, that the quantum state of CRT in the schools has collapsed: the teachers’ union has voted unambiguously in its favor.

Cultural Marxists are the Real Capitalists: A Critical Critique of Critical Criminology

Critical Criminology claims that:

  1. The legal system was created by and for the ruling class (cishetero white males) in order to keep the rich rich and the poor and oppressed poor and oppressed.
  2. To this end, crimes the poor commit (such as burglary) are heavily penalized, while crimes the rich commit (such as racism or insider trading) are not.
  3. Many of the “crimes” of the oppressed (like rape, assault, mugging, and mass rioting) shouldn’t be considered crimes at all, but are just desperate attempts at survival
  4. The “real crimes” are things like racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., which create the oppressive capitalist society that creates common street crime
  5. When racism sexism, homophobia, etc. are outlawed, then we can create the perfect socialist state which will have no crime.

Creationism is more factually solid than Critical Criminology, but Critical Criminology is taught in real universities alongside real theories about how the world works.

But let’s step back a moment. #1 is at least partially true–the rich do have a disproportionate influence on the legal system and the poor are often at its mercy. Corporations and wealthy individuals do use their money and influence to get legislation written and enforced in ways that benefit themselves.

But which crimes, exactly, are the rich interested in prosecuting? Do they care if a drug addict steals wallets down in the ghetto? They don’t live in the ghetto. They use their money to insulate themselves from violent crime by buying houses in nice, gated neighborhoods with private security forces.

It’s the poor who are the primary victims of crime, and it’s the poor who’d like murderers to be arrested. Only someone who is rich enough not to live with the threat of violent crime could possibly say something as stupendously idiotic and  insensitive as “rape and assault aren’t real crimes.”

If critical criminologists are the wealthy, then wouldn’t they, logically, be trying to reshape the legal system to benefit themselves?

Meanwhile, they accuse the wealthy of  racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., but these attitudes are actually associated with the poor. Rich whites absolutely pride themselves on being open-minded, tolerant, anti-racist, feminist, etc, and are horrified at all of the racist, sexist, Islamophobic bigotry embodied in low-class Trump voters.

So the crimes these wealthy critical theorists are trying to get outlawed are not things that the rich are doing, but things the rich want the poor to stop doing.

Here I could cite a dozen examples, from Hate Speech laws in Britain being more strongly enforced than rape laws to Hillary Clinton’s “Would bringing down the banks end racism?” speech to Piers Morgan complaining about Islamophobia.

Why are the capitalists so intent on smashing bigotry in all its forms?

Simple: Capitalism wants to make money. Capitalism doesn’t care about oppressing brown people, or women, or gays, or Muslims, or foreigners, or anyone. Capitalism just wants the best possible ratio of worker quality : worker cost. If Mexicans can do the same job as Americans for half the cost, then capitalists want to hire Mexicans and they want Americans to stop trying to pass laws limiting the number of Mexican immigrants who can come work for the capitalists. If Europe is facing a labor crisis because Europeans haven’t made enough new workers to fill the factories and finance the welfare state, then European capitalists must import new workers and they want European workers to stop complaining about the terrorist attacks. Capitalism just wants to hire “the best person for the job” or at least the cheapest person who’ll do an adequate job.

The only odd part is that capitalists are wrapping themselves in the Communist flag while imprisoning people for objecting to the importation of cheap, union-breaking labor. We could accuse them of lying–or gaslighting–except many of them seem to really believe it. Perhaps socialism provides the necessary tool for lying to themselves. “Oh, I am not actually screwing over the poor by advocating on behalf of my own profits.” Most people don’t like to think of themselves as nasty, evil, and self-serving, but they will often project those qualities onto others. (“I’m a nice person, it’s everyone else who’s backstabbing cheaters!”) By casting their enemies (middle and working class white males who don’t want to lose economic security)’s concerns onto the cartoonish figure of the evil capitalist, they simultaneously dismiss those concerns and recast themselves as heroic defenders of the “oppressed.”

Wikipedia has an interesting theory on self-deception:

Some evolutionary biologists, such as Robert Trivers, have suggested[6][page needed] that deception plays a significant part in human behavior, and in animal behavior, more generally speaking. One deceives oneself to trust something that is not true as to better convince others of that truth. When a person convinces himself of this untrue thing, they better mask the signs of deception.[7]

This notion is based on the following logic: deception is a fundamental aspect of communication in nature, both between and within species. It has evolved so that one can have an advantage over another. From alarm calls to mimicry, animals use deception to further their survival. Those who are better able to perceive deception are more likely to survive. As a result, self-deception evolved to better mask deception from those who perceive it well, as Trivers puts it: “Hiding the truth from yourself to hide it more deeply from others.” In humans, awareness of the fact that one is acting deceptively often leads to tell-tale signs of deception, such as nostrils flaring, clammy skin, quality and tone of voice, eye movement, or excessive blinking. Therefore, if self-deception enables someone to believe her or his own distortions, they will not present such signs of deception and will therefore appear to be telling the truth.