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Critical Race Theory Is Not the Problem

While we whine about public school curricula, history and politics are going on without us.

In the course of the last year and a half, over half a million Americans who may otherwise have lived died after contracting a virus that (we can now admit) was likely leaked from a U.S.-funded Chinese research lab. In that same period of time, Chinese capital has been engaged in a concerted effort to buy up American real estate, and has been joined in this endeavor by only marginally less repugnant U.S.-based global firms like BlackRock. Small to midsize businesses have shuttered by the thousands—and even those that have managed to reopen suffered devastating revenue losses—while multinational megacorporations like Amazon have seen profits skyrocket, all thanks to the dubious and draconian actions undertaken by state and federal governments (allegedly) in response to the aforementioned Chinese virus. Already-plummeting fertility rates have been further ravaged by the pandemic baby bust, leaving the long-term health—even survival—of American civilization very much an open question, biopolitically speaking. And speaking of health, well, we don’t have much of it; even a lab-optimized virus would not have run so easily through a population that was not endemically obese and riddled with a million other avoidable comorbidities. Of course, much of the ill health and impressive girth of the American citizenry can be attributed to environmental as much as behavioral factors—to the inhumanity of the ecosystem they inhabit, to the nutritional denaturation of the only food supply readily available to them, to the wholesale pillage of the natural environment by the same global elite who now seek sole possession of the lands they have systematically raped.

Forget all that. What really matters is that the overpaid, probably hungover, definitely depressed former B-student and ongoing mediocrity to whom you have entrusted the raising of your children not be allowed to impart to them just one particular opinion from her idiotic and invariably left-wing stable of certified bad takes: the terrible, post-modernist, un-American specter of critical race theory, or anti-racism, or wokeness, or whatever decidedly not scary and not catchy label we’ve landed on today for the most boring bogeyman in the history of political propaganda.

Now, don’t get me wrong, CRT is bad—stupid and malicious and, wherever it takes hold, corrosive both to right thinking and to proper social order. But so is, well, just about everything you ought to expect from a school run by the government. The difference between a public school where wokeness is official policy and a public school where wokeness has been banned de jure is pretty much negligible. Discontented thirty-something liberal white women, much like the poor, will be with us always; as long as they have a tried-and-true way to collect a tax-backed paycheck while handing down some share of their neuroses to the next generation, you can be sure they’re going to take it, whether or not laws are on the books restricting the transmission of one neurosis or another.

If you want to actually escape the problem, you’ll have to homeschool your kids, or put them in a solid private school (the costs of which are not so prohibitive as certain stakeholders in the reigning order would like you to think). If you want to actually solve the problem, you’ll have to abolish the Department of Education. Or you can just be comforted by the fact that your kids—if they are normal, healthy human beings—aren’t actually listening to their teachers anyway.

Why, then, has a univocal chorus of right-wing thought-leaders, pundits, and politicians announced ten times a day for the last six months that CRT is the dragon to be vanquished by people of goodwill in the American public square? The probable answer is market research: Some well-compensated pollster is certain to have told some well-positioned politico somewhere along the way that this is a winning issue.

He may have been right. As many observers have noticed, a number of suburban parents are sufficiently outraged to take a stand against their local school boards. That outrage may translate to votes in the midterms, and even in 2024—especially in suburbs where the squabble is most heated and where (coincidentally) Democrats gained big last time around. The number of Republicans in the U.S. Senate may squeak up from 50 to 51; in the House from 211 to 218; some state legislatures and governors’ mansions may even make the flip from blue to red.

Then what? Others have noted that the left’s racial monomania has conveniently redirected internal populist energies that seemed, even within the last decade, poised to make real change. But it has gone virtually unremarked upon that the right’s subsequent fixation on race radicalism likewise drains resources and attention away from other urgent causes. The unspoken message of our enemies in 2021—call them the left, the globalists, the elite, whatever—is, as many have noted, something like, “You’ll own nothing and like it.” If the best the right can muster in response is, “You’ll own nothing, but at least you’ll be distracted,” then we can win every election in every suburb from here to California and it won’t make a modicum of a difference.

In an America led by the CRT-obsessed GOP, your pansexual, gender-fluid kids will live alone in studio apartments; eat something made to look like food with just enough nutrition to keep them alive, complacent, and hormonally imbalanced; work endless weeks in pointless jobs that all take place on screens; find pleasure, or something like it, primarily on the screen as well; and get just enough material goods delivered by drone to make it all feel fine, all while watching their overlords shoot themselves to space for fun. But at least they won’t be saddled with white guilt.

about the author

Declan Leary is associate editor of The American Conservative. He was previously an editorial intern at National Review and a frequent contributor to such publications as National Review Online and Crisis Magazine.

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