Jul 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Critical race theory founders respond to GOP attacks

Signs on a bench decrying the teaching of critical race theory in schools
A rally against critical race theory being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Va. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

In a recent interview with the Washington Post, some of the founders of critical race theory discussed GOP attacks on their discipline, characterizing them as part of a political charade.

State of play: Cracking down on the teaching of critical race theory—which holds that racism is baked into the formation of the nation and is ingrained in the legal, financial, and education systems—has become a popular talking point among some Republicans.

What they're saying: Kimberlé Crenshaw, a law professor at UCLA and Columbia Law School, said the Republican backlash is an "effort to create a boogeyman and pour everything into that category that they believe will prompt fear, discomfort and repudiation on the part of parents and voters who are primed to respond to this hysteria that they’re trying to create."

  • Ian Haney López, a critical race theory scholar and law professor at UC Berkeley, said the opposition to critical race theory is "a well-established theater that is well practiced, well-established, even to some extent demanded by the right wing base."
  • Republican efforts to frame CRT as a form of anti-white racism, López said, is part of a "central lie" which posits that "people of color threaten white people."
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