“This is the Tea Party in the 10th Estate,” said Steve Bannon, the former Trump adviser who focused on local school board battles over critical race theory, in an interview. “It’s not Q, they’re traditional suburban moms – and a lot of those people aren’t Trump voters. ”
Concerns about critical race theory, which examines how race and racism permeates society, have crept into what activists describe as a sincere, parent-driven grassroots phenomenon for months. Critical race theory dates back to the 1970s, but as the country remains in an extended conversation about race after the death of George Floyd, a new political battle over how to teach American history has emerged.
It has increasingly become a major focus of the Republican establishment, which has sought to capitalize on angst even though some officials have failed to define what critical race theory is and the threat it poses. ‘it represents. (Critical race theory, for example, does not imply that white college students should feel guilty about past civil rights issues and is not taught in many schools where lawmakers seek to ban it.)
Their efforts to raise the issue have worked.
Google searches for “critical race theory” exploded on March 18, for example, the same day Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed to ban it from the Florida school curriculum. Fox News has mentioned critical breed theory nearly 1,300 times over a three-and-a-half-month period, according to an analysis by liberal watchdog Media Matters for America. Last week, Texas became the fifth state to pass legislation targeting critical theory of race or similar subjects, and legislation has been proposed in more than a dozen other states.
Democrats, liberal political analysts and even celebrities have used the power of the black press and disseminated information to push back.
Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association and friend of Biden’s White House, supported in-depth teaching of American history – including the most painful parts – in an interview with NBC last week. “We have made a lot of mistakes in this country, but our children, our children deserve to learn all this truth,” she said.
Journalist and author Ta-Nehisi Coates and Hollywood actress and LGBTQ activist Lena Waithe, along with dozens of academics and writers, are also supporting efforts to support education about systemic racism to students. They wrote an open letter in The Root to support Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of The New York Times Magazine’s Project 1619, which many Republicans see as a key tool in advancing critical race theory.
They are fighting the decision of the big Trump Worlds and other national Republican figures who are increasingly entering the fray. Earlier this month, Republicans at the North Carolina GOP annual convention rose to enthusiastic applause when Trump called for a ban on critical race theory from the local school level to government federal. Some senior Republicans aren’t shy when they talk about the electoral benefits such a cultural war issue could bring.
“I look at that and I say, ‘Hey, this is how we’re going to win.’ i see 50 [House Republican] seats in 2022. Keep it up, ”Bannon said. “I think you’re going to see a lot more emphasis from Trump and DeSantis and others. People who are serious in 2024 and beyond are going to focus on this. “
Jessica Anderson, executive director of the advocacy arm of the Heritage Foundation, said critical race theory is one of the two main issues her group is working on alongside efforts to tighten election laws. A former head of the Trump administration’s Office of Management and Budget, Anderson’s Heritage Action for America on Monday released a pamphlet calling critical race theory a “destructive” ideology and urging voters to call on their lawmakers to support them. anti-critical racial theory bills presented. by Representatives Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Dan Bishop (RN.C.). He also urges voters to use Freedom of Information Act demands as a tactic to identify critical elements related to racial theory in school curricula.
“This could turn out to be one of the most important conservative popular fights since the Tea Party movement,” she said.
In addition to Heritage Action, a new group called Citizens for Renewing America, a group started by Russ Vought, the former director of Trump’s Office of Management and Budget, has rushed to bolster anti-racial theory efforts. -critical.
As director of the OMB, Vought wrote a memo in September warning federal agencies that Trump wanted them to “stop and refrain from using taxpayer dollars to fund these training sessions on anti-American propaganda that divides ”. page paper titled “An A-to-Z Guide to How to Stop Critical Race Theory and Get Your Local School Board Back.”
In Washington, Heritage Action is pursuing a long-drawn-out strategy of trying to incorporate the language of anti-critical racial theory into must-have legislation such as the annual defense spending bill. The Vought group, meanwhile, is pushing for Republicans to force the provisions of the Bishop’s Bill to be included in legislation to raise the debt limit this fall.
“We think it’s necessary for us to find leverage points to get that out of the bills that have to go through,” Vought said in an interview.