I don’t get it. As a white man, I love critical race theory — it explains so much, helps me understand my failings, and yet also provides a framework for comprehending my role in American racism that doesn’t condemn me (I know, it’s a selfish way to think about it, but that’s what’s great — it should appeal to people who only think of themselves). Yet, somehow, it gives Republicans the heebie-jeebies.
Schools across the country are working to address systemic racism and inject an anti-racist mind-set into campus life. But where advocates see racial progress, opponents see an effort to shame White teachers and sometimes students for being part of an oppressive system.
In particular, conservatives have seized on the idea that schools are promoting critical race theory, a decades-old academic framework that examines how policies and the law perpetuate systemic racism. It holds in part that racism is woven into the fabric of the nation’s history and life — a product of the system and not just individual bad actors.
Critics say this approach injects race into what should be, in their view, a colorblind system. Proponents counter that U.S. schools have never been colorblind and insist they aren’t pushing critical race theory anyway. The equity work is critical, they say, to address systemic barriers holding back students of color and to create schools that are truly inclusive.
Look at the peculiar twist in there. Conservatives see it as a tool to “shame white teachers”, but CRT teaches that racism is “a product of the system and not just individual bad actors”. I have benefited from historical biases in education and employment, but that doesn’t mean I have to be ashamed of who I am — it means I have a responsibility to work to change the system, so that everyone has the same opportunities I did.
What’s so terrible about that? Other than the generations of people denied those opportunities, of course.
That conservatives oppose CRT tells me something: that they oppose any change to a pattern of systemic oppression, because they benefit from the system. Breaking that pattern might liberate millions of people, but it hurts the profits of an extraordinarily wealthy minority. So the rich are hurling money and propaganda at the idea because they don’t want you to know you are living under an oppressive system. It’s their system, you know.
And that’s why Tucker Carlson exists. He is an openly racist white supremacist who peddles flagrant misinformation, and he’s not going to be fired. He feeds fear to build a base, and has the money from rich media owners to thrive.
“He’s a good example of how much you can get away with at Fox if your ratings are high,” one current network staffer told The Daily Beast. “Aside from that, he just perpetuates the right’s catastrophe platform. They cannot win with their supposed limited government, fiscal conservatism, because not even they really believe in it. So all they do is fear monger.”
To this point, Carlson has seemingly delighted in his ability to see just how far he can push the envelope, bouncing from one controversy to the next only to see his status and influence grow at Fox News and among the right-wing mediaverse at large.
That’s systemic racism at work. You also won’t fix it by firing Carlson, because he’s a cheap, low-talent goon who would just be replaced by a different cheap, low-talent goon…Jesse Watters, for instance, or some Republican congress-slime, like Kelly Loeffler. They’re fungible. CRT is telling you to stop looking at the tips of the tentacles and instead target the whole dang supra-esophageal mass up there in the head, and that makes the perpetrators of the system afraid.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t call out the tentacles, though, especially when they’re so ripe for ridicule. Watch Joy Reid (you know, “the race lady” in Carlson’s parlance) tear into his schtick.
Next, though, we have to tear into Rupert Murdoch and the other wealthy assholes who continue to enable Carlson, no matter how stupid he is.