New Rule Could Prioritize Grants for Critical Race Theory
Sixty-seven years after Brown v. Board of Education, Americans are forced to fight the battle against the racialization of education all over again.
Ever since the New York Times released their notorious “1619 Project,” which endeavored to reinterpret American history as endemically and irredeemably racist, those on both the Left and the Right who object to the re-racialization of American society have been fighting an uphill battle. Regrettably, the fight against the racist and divisive tenets of Critical Race Theory shows no signs of letting up. Because now, the wokesters have an ally in the Oval Office.
Last week, a new rule was proposed by President Joe Biden’s Department of Education which would give priority to grants that, “Incorporate Racially, Ethnically, Culturally, and Linguistically Diverse Perspectives into Teaching and Learning.” While on its surface such appropriation of funds seems unproblematic — who wouldn't want to consider a variety of perspectives in education? — the proposed rule is based on the racially divisive, not to mention untrue, thinking of figures such as Ibram K. Kendi, Nikole Hannah Jones of the 1619 Project and others.
The proposal praises “growing acknowledgement of the importance of including, in the teaching and learning of our country’s history, both the consequences of slavery, and the significant contributions of Black Americans to our society.” And the document makes quite clear what such an “acknowledgement” would mean, reading that it’s “reflected […] in the New York Times’ landmark ‘1619 Project’ and in the resources of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History.”
The Smithsonian resources to which the proposal refers have a history of promoting a hyper-racialized society, as well as racist ideas about potential for black achievement. Last July, the museum was a subject of criticism after creating a chart that categorized “rational thinking,” “objectivity,” and “hard work,” as “white traits.” Although the museum was forced to apologize for the chart, the other resources on their website espouse similarly divisive and racist ideas. For instance, the website’s resources on race for educators promote the toxic idea of “whiteness,” claiming it’s “at the core of understanding race in America.” The concept of “whiteness” implies that skin color is not merely the melanin level in your skin, but a wholly necessary part of understanding a person. In other words, an individual’s life story, family, individual likes and dislikes are all subordinate to the so-called identity they hold in the color of their skin. The site also defines “racism” as not simply individual prejudice, but any policy that results in an unequal outcome. In other words, disparity necessarily equals discrimination.
The 1619 Project, another initiative which Biden’s proposal praises, has a history of promoting lies about American history, only to quietly walk them back without reexamining the implicit assumptions they make about America’s history in the first place. For instance, the project’s leader, Nikole Hannah Jones, often made the claim that, the American War for Independence was fought to preserve slavery. After numerous scholars refuted the claim, the website tweaked their statement, saying that preserving slavery was only the reason “some of” the founders fought the war. As the New York Post editorial board wrote, “even its correction preserves the fundamental lie of its bid to rewrite American history.”
Later, Hannah-Jones lied once again, claiming the Right was wrong to intimate that the 1619 Project asserted the real year of America’s founding was 1619, not 1776. “The #1619Project does not argue that 1619 is our true founding. We know this nation marks its founding at 1776,” Hannah-Jones tweeted. But the project explicitly wrote on its website that, “It aims to reframe the country's history, understanding 1619 as our true founding.”
Ibram Kendi, another thinker whom the proposal quotes, has a history of spreading racially divisive theories. When Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump in 2020, Kendi intimated that her adoption of black children could be a sign that she was, “using them as props'' and that she was perpetuating racist colonialism by seeking to “‘civilize’ these ‘savage’ children.” Kendi attempted to explain his comments, saying that he was, “challenging the idea that White parents of kids of color are inherently 'not racist,'” but he did not walk back his original statement, accusing those who challenged him of, “propaganda.”
Kendi didn’t walk back these claims because he, along with his comrades in the fight for the re-racialization of American society, sees everything through the lens of race. As Kendi himself put it, “there are only racist ideas and antiracist ideas.” Translation: Anything my colleagues and I disagree with is racist.
Such thinking applied to education would be disastrous for the well-being of our children. It is disturbing that the Biden administration’s Department of Education is moving towards appropriating funds towards programs that value the dangerous ideology of Critical Race Theory. Not only are the tenets of the ideology factually incorrect, but their ideas are both divisive and racist. Children educated in such an environment would learn to distrust each other, seeing each of their fellow students as racialized beings rather than individuals.
Proponents of critical race theory and identity politics have redefined racism as any policy or institution that results in a disparate effect, for whatever reason, on one race over another. The old definition of racism is prejudice against a human on the basis of the color of their skin. By the latter definition, then to be an anti-racist, we must reject Biden’s proposed rule.
Sarah Weaver is a Young Voices Contributor and a graduate student studying Political Philosophy and American Government at Hillsdale College. Follow her on Twitter: @SarahHopeWeaver.