This republican administration has a new enemy: Diversity Training. It turns out that trump has directed the Office of Budget & Management to crack down on anti-racism trainings which take place within federal agencies. He called Diversity Trainings “divisive, anti-American propaganda,” and he called “Critical Race Theory” a “sickness that cannot be allowed to continue” and asked his followers to “report any sightings so we can quickly extinguish” while posting a Breitbart article (of course)…
A couple things about “Critical Race Theory”: First of all, I would bet everything of value I have in the world that donald j. trump couldn’t tell you what Critical Race Theory is… Even if you promised him that by doing it, he’d make Putin SUPER proud. This is one of those things that Stephen Miller ran across in a white supremacist chat room in some dark corner of the internet, he told donald that federal agencies were teaching employees that White Privilege is a real thing, and then, VOILÀ! You got yourself an executive order.
Critical Race Theory comes from a larger social philosophy called Critical Theory. In short, CT argues that the world’s social problems are more a result of societal structures than they are influenced by individual actions… And IDEOLOGY is the biggest barrier to human liberation. Critical Race Theory focuses on racial power structures, it values people’s stories & experiences, and it acknowledges the fact that white supremacy has been woven into the fabric of America since the very beginning. To many, this is understood to be self-evident. To some — particularly white people in positions of power — these ideas are seen as a threat.
They don’t want white people being taught that they benefit from racism, or that there are certain privileges that automatically come with being part of the dominant culture in a society. They want to FIGHT the idea that racism is systemic — that there don’t need to be individual racists for white supremacy to work its magic throughout the power structures of America. As Robin DiAngelo talks about in the video below, instead of racism being understood as systemic, white supremacy wants to reduce racism to 1) an INDIVIDUAL, 2) who CONSCIOUSLY does not like people based on race, and 3) who INTENTIONALLY seeks to be mean to them. Individual Conscious Intent. NEVER a system. Please watch this.
This same strategy is used when combatting criticism of the racism & brutality endemic to policing in the United States. If the problem is systemic, then the solution must one that addresses the SYSTEM. Systemic problems require systemic changes… And those sorts of changes are painful. But if you reduce the problem to “one bad apple,” THEN it’s easily handled. You just get rid of that “one bad apple” and your problem is solved. And when the same thing happens again, it’s just ANOTHER “bad apple.” But at some point, the appearance of “bad apples” becomes a pattern (not to mention that the rest of that “bad apple” idiom says “spoils the bunch”). And at that point, they have to start attacking the ones pointing out the patterns (journalism, science, academia, etc…). Which historically has led to the increased nationalism & growing fascism we have been witnessing in the United States.
Everything they don’t like becomes “anti-American.” The anti-racists are anti-American… The anti-fascists are anti-American… But what does that say about their idea of what “American” means when being anti-racist & anti-fascist is deemed “anti-American?” Please make no mistake: They attack Diversity Trainings because the foundation they are built on is that racism is both REAL and SYSTEMIC. They attack Critical Race Theory for the same reason they are pissed off about the 14th Amendment, the Voting Rights Act, and Brown vs. Board of Education. This republican administration (along with right wing media) would have you believe that any discussion of the realities of systemic oppression is “anti-American.” The GOP looks at CRT as a policy of grievance & envy & “victimhood.” Any pushback against the idea of American exceptionalism is “anti-American.” Any talk about how there are parts of the American system that need FIXING is “anti-American” (which, by the way, is hypocritical to the point of being hilarious… Seeings how they have now run TWO campaigns with the slogan “Make America Great Again,” which is based on the grievance that America ISN’T great, and needs to be made that way). Trump has cast himself as the “defender of white America.”
Republicans are so invested in attacking a social philosophy which acknowledges the reality of systemic and institutional racism, of white supremacy, of white privilege, of intersectionality, of microaggressions… Phrases which people on the right use as punch lines… But beyond that, please understand that these ideas are a THREAT. And they’re not just a threat to the pride that comes from the idea that white folks have “earned” everything they have (with hard work, respect, determination, and a good attitude). The REAL threat is to the foundational idea of their own SUPREMACY.
Follow me here: They
want need to believe that America is a FAIR place where the most qualified person gets the job… Where all you need is hard work to succeed… Where the police won’t mess with you if you simply follow the law. They want need America to be “post-racial,” so that their white kid isn’t “oppressed” when college admissions take things into account other than just test results (that are connected to a school with more resources, which is connected to a neighborhood with higher home prices and tax dollars that go to their school systems, which is connected to racist housing policies and redlining which prevented a black kid’s ancestors form building wealth, which is connected to Jim Crow, and slavery, and on and on). They want need an America where the playing field is level, because when the playing field is level, then they can attribute their own success to being BETTER. Also known and “supremacy.”
This is also why so many racist people are also misogynists — Because the idea of the imaginary level playing field nicely explains their position of privilege. They’re just better. If women with MBAs only make 74 cents for every dollar that their male counterparts make, it’s not because of any kind of oppression or anything “systemic.” It’s because men are just better at business. And if whites own 90% of the wealth and Blacks only own 2.6% of the wealth, it’s because whites “work harder.” If Blacks only make up 13% of the general population, but 40% of the prison population, it’s because they are more “prone to crime.” Maybe that’s also why even though Black children make up 18% of the preschool population, they account for 50% of the preschool suspensions.
The U.S. is so racist that when folks protest racism, people think they’re protesting America. We know systemic racism is real (HERE is some really good proof). Racial discrepancies exist… And in America, almost every social & economic difference between racial demographics favors white people. Either this is due to the existence of systems of oppression (Critical Race Theory), or this is due to one group just being “better” (White Supremacy). And THAT is why this racist administration is attacking Diversity Training. THAT is why republicans view Critical Race Theory as “anti-American propaganda.” They’re afraid if we acknowledge that systemic racism is real, it will take away the intellectual case for embracing white supremacy. That system has worked very well to benefit the people who have all the power & wealth… And they are not interested in changing it.
And this is not to say that a vote for Joe Bide will change this system. It won’t. But a vote for Joe Biden will move us CLOSER to that goal. The goal of Equality. And Justice. And a More Perfect Union. If trump’s supporters haven’t abandoned him by now, they never will. The way in not to try to change their minds… The only way is to out-vote them. We must ALL vote.
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Another great article! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
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