Critical Race Theory: The GOP’s Crutch and Weapon

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This is an opinion cartoon.

Red state politicians like Kay Ivey and Ron DeSantis are hobbled, dangerous, and peddle ignorance and fear of the CRT.

Today I present two excellent reads on the CRT of my AL.com colleagues, Roy Johnson and Kyle Whitmire. Continue reading…

“Critical Race Theory is the crutch on which Republicans hobble in a maze of persistent racism.” — Roy S. Johnson: Alabama civil rights spokeswoman says she was snubbed by Florida school over CRT fears

“The CRT is the mechanism that Republican candidates can use to accuse black people of being the real racists. And it’s become an essential tool for Republicans heading into the 2022 primaries.” — Kyle Whitmire: Legislating Being Black in Alabama: CRT and the Struggle for Respect

RELATED: Alabama GOP’s ‘divisive concepts’ war on education driven by racism and fear – Reuters

RELATED: Dividing GOP lawmakers stab Alabama students and teachers in the back – Reuters

RELATED: ‘A political process’: How Alabama’s CRT debate sparks echoes of past textbook battles

To learn more about The Alabama Education Lab and receive notifications about stories and events, subscribe to his newsletter, Ed Chat.

Excerpts from Chronicle of Roy S. Johnson:

Lisa McNair, a younger sister of Denise McNair, one of four little Birmingham girls murdered by the Ku Klux Klan in the heinous bombing of the Baptist Church on 16th Street nearly six decades ago now, was in Pensacola, Florida, late last month to share her story.

Then, she says, she found out she wasn’t welcome in a Florida public school system.

“They were afraid that I might say something that had anything to do with quote-unquote critical race theory, which was ridiculous,” McNair said. Al.com. “I don’t even really know what critical race theory is, just to be perfectly honest. I’m telling my story about my sister, the true story of a tragic civil rights murder that took place for real in 1963. So that was disappointing.

She said she was warmly welcomed by civic leaders and young people at an organized CivicCon session and by a local church. However, when asked to speak in front of students at Escambia County Schools district (47 percent white, 35 percent black), school officials came by, McNair was told, “because they were afraid of the governor.”

That would be Ron DeSantis, Florida’s chief cultural fanatic whose hover over the signature more than a bill recently passed by the state’s dark red Republican legislature banning certain teaching based on race, gender, and diversity training in K-12 public schools. Critics call the bill unconstitutional, but DeSantis regularly demonstrates that he cares no less about the US Constitution while claiming he is the hero of the far right’s most unjust fears.

Another Florida neighborhood, Sainte-Rose (82% white, 4% black), hosted McNair but canceled the usual Q&A after the discussion. Because, says McNair, school officials were “afraid the kids would ask you something that would lead to a critical theory of race.”

“That’s not what I teach,” she told me. “All of these Southern states make the civil rights history and black history that fits the moniker critical race theory seem ridiculous, misguided, and disrespectful to our shared American history. The only way to do better is to know our whole story, the good and the bad.

Read the whole story here

Excerpts from Kyle Whitmire columnof his state of denial series:

This is the part in stories like this where I’m supposed to turn off the lights and turn on the overhead and explain what critical race theory is and isn’t.

Critical race theory is mostly confined to upper-level graduate courses and law schools. An esoteric framework, critical race theory examines how biases in law and social structures disadvantage minorities more than white people. Critical Race Theory is not taught, and never has been taught, in K-12 schools in Alabama…

Only, nobody cares about all that.

Because CRT has become something different now. To understand what this other CRT is, it helps to look at some campaign ads.

In her latest TV spot, Governor Kay Ivey stands in front of a classroom. She begins by briefly mentioning her time as a teacher decades ago.

“When I was teaching in school, we would say a prayer, pledge allegiance and teach the basics,” she says.

Then Ivey takes an aggressive turn.

“Today the left is teaching kids to hate America,” she grumbles like a substitute teacher who might hit a child with a ruler. “But not here! Biden’s critical race theory – racist, false and dead as a doornail.”

I should have mentioned in the classroom lecture, Joe Biden did not invent critical race theory, nor advocate its use in schools.

The announcement is the latest among Ivey’s claims that critical race theory has been “banned” from schools, which is curious since Ivey has done no such thing.

But something important shouldn’t be lost amid the misdirection: The Alabama school board’s ban on CRT doesn’t, in fact, ban CRT.

So what’s going on here?

Mostly, he seems to have been fodder for Ivey’s announcement.

The so-called CRT ban gives Ivey a hook — however small — on which to hang his claim.

And it allows Republicans, like her, to accuse Democrats of something they never did.

Democrats – which in Alabama politics means mostly black people.

CRT is the mechanism Republican candidates can use to accuse black people of being the real racists. And it’s become an essential tool for Republicans heading into the 2022 primaries.

Read the whole story here

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JD Crowe is the cartoonist for Alabama Media Group and AL.com. He won the RFK Human Rights Award for Editorial Cartoons in 2020. In 2018, he received the Rex Babin Memorial Award for local and state cartoons by the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. Follow JD on FacebookTwitter @Crowejam and Instagram @JDCrowepix.

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