The widespread conservative attack on critical race theory is an attempt at multiple levels to cancel the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The right is involved in all-out assault on critical race theory, which in reality is the academic study of systemic racism in America. America was founded with millions of Black people enslaved in human bondage, and the effects of that widespread racist practice continues to affect the country to this day. In his years of activism before he was assassinated by a white supremacist, Dr. King worked to uproot this system. The attempt by the right to push back on critical race theory is nothing less than a full fledged assault on King.
Republicans are in a bad place. They are out of power in the White House, House and Senate. They are in this position because President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party have successfully recreated the multiethnic rainbow coalition that first elected President Barack Obama in 2008.
Not only did the coalition put Biden in the White House, but it also turned formerly Republican bastions into blue states, electing Sens. John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. Along with many of the women elected, like Vice President Kamala Harris, this coalition across races, faiths, and gender is anathema to the mostly white, mostly male heart of the conservative/Republican movement.
To rally their dying and dwindling base (Republicans have won one majority in a presidential election since 1988), the right has decided that they should distort what critical race theory is, and then claim that it is infiltrating America. When they lie and say critical race theory is about Black superiority, they point to the rise of the Biden-Obama coalition as evidence.
The logic is of course absurd on multiple fronts. Critical race theory is not about Black superiority, it isn’t being taught at the K-12 level even if it was, and white men remain firmly ensconced at the highest levels of power anyway. After all, the most powerful politician in America, as it has been for the entire existence of this country except one eight-year period, is still a white man.
But this is nonetheless an attempt to cancel King. To undo his fight, and the fight of the wider civil rights movement, to address the historic wrongs of America’s past and present. Every attack on critical race theory, from hundreds of hours on Fox News to legislation offered by Republicans in Congress, is anti-King. It goes against what he stood for, what he bled for, and what he died for.
If you’re against critical race theory and more Americans knowing about racism in order to counter it, you’re trying to cancel King.
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