What Conservatives Tell Themselves About “Critical Race Theory”

https://www.usatoday.com/picture-gallery/opinion/cartoons/2020/06/21/race-america-cblm-black-lives-matter/3232878001/

The research I do for this blog occasionally garners me some unexpected spam email. Last week, the Heritage Foundation decided I might be the target audience for its free e-pamphlet (they call it an e-book, but at 20 pages, that’s an exaggeration) “Critical Race Theory: Knowing it when you see it and fighting it when you can”. (You can request your own free copy here.)

In some sense, they weren’t wrong: I did request the pamphlet and read it, heedless of whatever future spam that might lead to. I was curious, not because I’m afraid of CRT corrupting children at my local schools, but because I have been totally puzzled by the conservative usage of the term. Whenever I hear that somebody is supposedly “teaching CRT in the public schools”, those words turn out not to mean what they would ordinarily mean.

For example, if I told you someone is teaching the Pythagorean Theorem in public schools, I would mean that there is a class (Geometry) whose textbook has a “Pythagorean Theorem” chapter, which the teacher will at some point cover. But nobody’s high school textbook has a “Critical Race Theory” chapter. If you have attended a class that was accused of teaching critical race theory, almost certainly you did not hear the phrase “critical race theory”.

Ditto for teacher training classes. Teachers might be trained on managing racial diversity in their classrooms, or creating an environment more conducive to the success of students of color. But at no point would the instructor say, “Now we’re going to learn critical race theory.” You might hear the phrase “critical race theory” if you study law, because it was coined in the 1970s to describe the idea that “formally colorblind laws can still have racially discriminatory outcomes.” But that’s not going to happen in anything related to K-12 teaching.

In short, CRT in the public schools (or the workplace or the military) is almost invariably a label that some disapproving person applies from the outside. A teacher or teacher-trainer says something, and then somebody else says “That’s critical race theory.”

Labels. So let’s talk about applying negative labels from the outside, which people of all political persuasions do, and which isn’t necessarily bad. For example, if someone is calling for a dictatorship of the proletariat to seize the means of production, I might be doing a public service if I correctly identify that person as a “communist”, whether he uses that word himself or not.

Similarly, John Gruden doesn’t call himself a “racist”, and in fact denies that he is one. But when it came out that he had written in an email that a black representative of the NFL players had “lips the size of Michelin tires”, other people characterized his statement as racist.

I don’t see anything wrong with outside-labeling in general, because people can’t be trusted choose their own labels without external criticism. If I call myself “pro-choice” and somebody else calls himself “pro-life”, it’s just part of normal political debate if we label each other “pro-abortion” and “anti-women’s-rights”.

That said, there are responsible and irresponsible ways to negatively label someone from the outside. The responsible way has several features:

  • The label is defined rather than hurled like an insult. So Michael Flynn is called a “confessed felon” because he pleaded guilty to a felony. But AOC is called a “bitch” because … well, just because.
  • The definition actually fits the labeled person. Too often, a negative label gets attached to somebody based on what other people say about them rather than anything they’ve said or done themselves. Sometimes an authentic quote that was harmless in its original context gets run through a game of telephone until it’s unrecognizably outrageous.
  • The definition also applies to the people typically associated with the label, and captures the essence of what is blameworthy about such people. That was the problem with Jonah Goldberg’s book Liberal Fascism: To the extent Goldberg defined “fascist” at all, it was a synonym for a particular sense of “totalitarian” that he confessed could also be described as “holistic”: Liberals are “fascist” because they “see no realm of human life that is beyond political significance, from what you eat to what you smoke to what you say”. So if you want to ban sugary sodas, regulate vaping, and boycott speakers who traffic in racial slurs, Goldberg lumps you in with other “holistic” figures like Hitler and Mussolini.
  • The definition justifies the emotional baggage the label is being used to carry. In some conversations, it might be reasonable to use “communist” to mean nothing more than someone who wants to redistribute wealth. But if that’s the definition you verify, you’re not entitled to also invoke the emotional resonance of being America’s enemy in the Cold War.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether a label is being applied responsibly or irresponsibly. For example, if someone calls Donald Trump a “fascist”, they could be hurling an insult at him the way they might hurl eggs at a detested speaker. Or they could have a reasonable definition of fascism that fits Trump like a glove, as well as capturing key traits that made Hitler and Mussolini what they were.

The CRT label. OK, now let’s talk specifically about critical race theory. Until recently, I’ve been assuming the CRT label was being applied irresponsibly for the first reason: The people throwing the term around were sure it was bad, but hardly any of them could say what it meant or why it was bad. Now though, at long last, the Heritage Foundation, a think tank full of the highest-level conservative intellectuals, was going to fix all that by spelling out how to recognize CRT.

Sadly, the pamphlet does not actually define CRT, but I give it credit for providing the next best thing: a list of characteristics. And here they are:

  • Systemic racism. “Critical race theory’s key assertion is that racism is not the result of individual, conscious racist actions or thoughts. Racism is ‘systemic’ and ‘structural.’ It is embedded in America’s legal system, institutions, and free-enterprise system, and imposes ‘whiteness’ as the societal norm.”
  • Race drives beliefs and behaviors. I didn’t make much sense out of that phrase until I read the longer explanation: “American culture is a conspiracy to perpetuate white supremacy by imposing white concepts on people of other races.”
  • White privilege. Critical race theorists “say that white people are born with unearned privilege that other Americans are denied. … Any curricula or diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) program that compels students or employees to accept their white privilege and/or work to abandon it are part of CRT.”
  • Meritocracy is a myth, because the system won’t let non-whites succeed. “Any curriculum or training program that says color blindness is a myth and advocates for eliminating standard measurements of success, including standardized testing for university admissions for reasons of racial equity, are part of CRT.”
  • Equity replaces equality. “‘Equality’ means equal treatment of all Americans under the law. CRT’s ‘equity’ demands race-based discrimination. Because systemic racism has produced disparities between the races and because the system will only deepen these disparities by rewarding the ‘wrong’ criteria, government must treat individual Americans unequally according to skin color to forcibly produce equal outcomes.”

That’s it — the whole list. Notice what’s missing: the long litany of teachings that are banned in the numerous anti-CRT state laws that have passed red-state legislatures in the last few months. Here’s Tennessee’s:

a. One (1) race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex;
b. An individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently privileged, racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously;
c. An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of the individual’s race or sex;
d. An individual’s moral character is determined by the individual’s race or sex;
e. An individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex;
f. An individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or another form of psychological distress solely because of the individual’s race or sex;
g. A meritocracy is inherently racist or sexist, or designed by a particular race or sex to oppress members of another race or sex;
h. This state or the United States is fundamentally or irredeemably racist or sexist;
i. Promoting or advocating the violent overthrow of the United States government;
j. Promoting division between, or resentment of, a race, sex, religion, creed, nonviolent political affiliation, social class, or class of people;
k. Ascribing character traits, values, moral or ethical codes, privileges, or beliefs to a race or sex, or to an individual because of the individual’s race or sex;
l. The rule of law does not exist, but instead is series of power relationships and struggles among racial or other groups;
m. All Americans are not created equal and are not endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, including, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; or
n. Governments should deny to any person within the government’s jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

You can find exaggerated versions of Heritage’s characteristics in this list (b, for example, resembles Heritage’s “white privilege”) but the really outrageous parts don’t show up in Heritage’s pamphlet. Heritage doesn’t claim CRT teaches “One race is inherently superior to another race” or “An individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or another form of psychological distress solely because of the individual’s race or sex” or “All Americans are not created equal and are not endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, including, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, much less that it promotes “violent overthrow of the United States government”.

By limiting its list of characteristics, Heritage is all but admitting that if you look for CRT in your community, you’re not going to find the teachings listed in anti-CRT laws (which mainly exist for propaganda purposes). You’re not even going to find people claiming that the “the United States is irredeemably racist”, because promoting anti-racism would be pointless if that were true.

What you might find, though, are people teaching about systemic racism, cultural imperialism, white privilege, and racially biased measures of merit, while calling for an America where the gaps between races go away in reality rather than just on paper.

Is there something wrong with that?

Before reading the Heritage pamphlet, I thought anti-CRT rhetoric failed my first test (no definition). Now that I’ve read it, I think it fails my last test (a definition that won’t carry the label’s emotional baggage).

Let’s take a look at the ideas that Heritage says CRT is really about.

Photography as paradigm. I grew up using beige-pink crayons that were labeled “Flesh”, which is pretty much the definition of “imposing whiteness as the societal norm”. My skin wasn’t exactly that color, but it was close enough to mark me as “normal” — unlike people of other races, whose flesh had some color totally different from “Flesh”.

Later I found out that my crayon was just the tip of an iceberg: Kodak’s color film (the industry standard) had been engineered to reproduce “flesh tones”, i.e. Caucasian flesh tones, with particular accuracy. Black people, on the other hand, often showed up on a color photo as white eyes and teeth in the middle of a dark blob. Black parents saw the problem immediately, but it wasn’t fixed until decades later, when furniture and chocolate makers complained that they couldn’t accurately represent their brown products in advertisements.

Aside from the dispiriting effect that dark-blob class photos must have had on black children, racially biased photography necessarily had a negative impact on entire generations of black professionals: models, photographers, TV journalists, athletes hoping to endorse products, and any other dark-skinned people who needed their images to reproduce in an attractive way. Even a movie director completely without racial bias might be reluctant to work with black actors, simply because of the technical problems involved. If you wanted a face whose subtle emotions would show up on the big screen, a white face was the better choice.

So even if bias wasn’t in individuals, it was in the system.

BTW, this is not ancient history: Facial recognition software still works better for light-skinned people than dark-skinned people.

The team that [MIT researcher Joy] Buolamwini assembled to work on the project was ethnically diverse, but the researchers found that, when it came time to present the [facial analysis] device in public, they had to rely on one of the lighter-skinned team members to demonstrate it. The system just didn’t seem to work reliably with darker-skinned users.

Curious, Buolamwini, who is black, began submitting photos of herself to commercial facial-recognition programs. In several cases, the programs failed to recognize the photos as featuring a human face at all. When they did, they consistently misclassified Buolamwini’s gender.

To me, this is the paradigm of systemic racism. Nobody at Kodak or Google was out to get black people; they just had other priorities. If photographic systems didn’t work well for dark skin, that was a shame. But, well, so what?

Now multiply that through the whole of society. System after system was designed for (and usually tested by) white people (and men and English speakers and cisgender people and neurotypical people and … and … and …). If it also happened to work for non-whites, great. But if not, who really cared?

So, in spite of the Heritage pamphlet’s claim that CRT is “a philosophy founded by law professors who used Marxist analysis”, systemic racism isn’t some invention of a Marxist propagandist; it’s a simple reality. The Heritage Foundation wants us to hide that reality from school children.

Privilege. If you’re white, like I am, it’s easy to overlook examples of your own privilege, because privilege is most obviously present when something doesn’t happen: I drive somewhere, and cops don’t pull me over for no reason. (Republican Senator Tim Scott, by comparison, says he has been pulled over 18 times for “driving while black”. I have to wonder how many of the encounters that result in police killing black men or women would not occur at all but for race.) I walk down a city street, and nobody stops and frisks me, or asks for my ID. Security people don’t shadow me in department stores. In one situation after another, I just go about my business undisturbed, never noticing that I’m enjoying a racial privilege.

Similarly, if I apply for a job, I don’t have to notice that I’m more likely to get an interview because I’m white. Or if I seek a mortgage, I just see the interest rate I’m offered, not the higher one a comparable black borrower might be asked to pay.

Some longer-term aspects of privilege are related to systemic racism: My parents were part of the expansion of the middle class that happened during the GI generation, largely because of government action. My grandfather’s farm was saved by a New Deal farm loan program (and multiplied in value many times before I sold it). After World War II, the government subsidized home ownership and higher education. It smoothed the path of unionization, which raised the wages of factory jobs like my father’s.

Some of those wealth-creating New Deal and post-war programs also worked for non-white families, but many did not. As a result, our whiteness was a factor in creating the family prosperity that allowed me to get an advanced degree without running up student debt.

In short, white privilege isn’t some sinister notion promoted to increase white guilt. (And I actually don’t feel personal guilt about this, but instead recognize a responsibility to seek a more just system.) It’s a description of how life works in America.

This aspect of American life is also something Heritage wants us to hide from children.

“Equality” without equity implies inferiority. The Heritage pamphlet makes superficial equality under the law the be-all-and-end-all of racial justice. In its response to CRT’s claim of systemic racism, the pamphlet says:

Racial discrimination is illegal in America. In the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the government rejected racial discrimination and made it illegal in all public aspects of our lives. Likewise, the civil rights movement affirmed that prejudice has no place in American life. There are racists in America, as in all other countries, but the vast majority of Americans we work and worship with, live and learn alongside, embrace the equal rights and dignity of all.

So that settles that, I guess. The laws on paper say we don’t discriminate, so never mind that we continue to see large racial gaps in income, wealth, incarceration, infant mortality, life expectancy, and just about every other aspect of life. Asking for these gaps to close is demanding “equity” — equal outcomes — which (in Heritage’s world) marks you as a critical race theorist.

https://medium.com/@CRA1G/the-evolution-of-an-accidental-meme-ddc4e139e0e4#.tm1cbg2vn

But think about what the persistence of these gaps implies, if (as Heritage claims) no widespread discrimination or systemic racism actually exists. If black people can’t keep up in America, and yet there is nothing wrong with America, then there must be something wrong with black people.

There’s no getting around that logic. The Heritage Foundation may not want to put it in print or say it in polite company, but I see no way to embrace their pamphlet as truth without also believing that black people are inherently inferior to white people.

What’s more, I think school children (of all races) are smart enough to draw that conclusion for themselves: If the game is fair, and yet the same people always win, then the winners must just be better than the losers.

In short, if we label all alternative explanations of racial gaps as “critical race theory” and ban schools from teaching them, then by process of elimination we’re really teaching the only remaining explanation: white superiority. The Heritage pamphlet may claim it wants to “ensure school curriculums uphold the intrinsic equality of all humans”. But in fact they’re guaranteeing that children will learn the exact opposite.

Heritage’s white-comforting fantasy world. If I restate the Heritage pamphlet’s underlying message in my own words, it amounts to this: “We had a nice fantasy going until these damned teachers started telling kids how the world really works.”

In the Heritage fantasy world, America outlawed racism back in the 1960s, so any advantages or disadvantages people have accumulated since then are purely due to their individual talent and hard work, or lack of talent and laziness.

If two people are given the same opportunity, but only one takes advantage of it, they will naturally have different outcomes. The only way government can try to produce equal outcomes for them is by taking away the result from the first person, or unfairly giving the unearned benefit to the second. Attempts by government officials to take the fruits of your achievements and give them to those who did not earn it will hurt those whose rewards are diminished as well the intended beneficiaries. This betrays the idea that the American dream belongs to all of us, and everyone should have the same opportunity to pursue success.

And let’s not talk at all about inherited wealth that originated in the Jim Crow era, which Heritage wants to safeguard against “death taxes”.

America isn’t dominated by “white culture”, but by “universal values” (which white people happened to discover first because of their innate superiority, but don’t say that part out loud).

American culture is based on a timeless understanding of rights rooted in the inherent value and nature of the human race. People of all colors and national backgrounds come here and flourish because our culture embraces common humanity and dignity.

And while it may be true that white people are doing better in America (in just about every measurable way) than black people, that can only mean that white people are enjoying “the fruits of your achievement”, which should not be taken away and given to “those who did not earn it”.

The real way to deal with racial disparities is just not to measure them, because that’s (as the Tennessee law puts it) “promoting division between, or resentment of, a race”. The ideal society is a colorblind society, where nobody notices that the people on top are mostly white and the people on the bottom are mostly black. As soon as you start noticing stuff like that, you’re “dividing America“, which was perfectly united in its color blindness until social justice warriors started quoting statistics.

Or at least it would be nice to think so, if you’re white.

2022. Republican candidates are hoping to use their anti-CRT campaign to regain ground that Trump lost in the white suburbs by being too explicitly racist. (The test case is next month’s Virginia governor’s race.) CRT is supposed to threaten precisely those white parents who were disturbed by Charlottesville. It’s supposed to remind them that Democrats are too pro-black, without pushing an explicitly anti-black message that might ring alarm bells.

That tactic might work, because critical race theory really does constitute a threat to prosperous white people. It threatens to torpedo the very comfortable fantasy that the game they’re winning is perfectly fair.

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Comments

  • NANCY BROWNING  On October 25, 2021 at 11:22 am

    I may have commented about this book before, but I will do so again as it does a great job of showing how racism is baked into the system: The Color of Law
    A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, by Richard Rothstein.

    • weeklysift  On November 1, 2021 at 9:52 am

      I have read the first couple of chapters and agree with you.

  • lonemtn  On October 25, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    I read that book recently. I grew up in Richmond, California, and saw a lot of the outcomes close-up.

  • George Washington, Jr.  On October 25, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    Ultimately, the anti-CRT argument boils down to “if you dredge up all this ancient history and show how its effects persist to the present day, you’ll make white kids feel bad.” The problem is that we haven’t come up with a good response to “I’m white and grew up poor, and nobody ever handed me anything.” If the response to that is “your life would have been harder if you were Black,” that’s just not going to resonate. And if you point out specific examples, like how film was balanced to present white faces more clearly than Black ones, that is going to sound trivial.

    Conservatives are better at messaging. If a Republican politician says CRT is “saying America is racist,” there’s no way to respond to that without writing a dissertation. I’m not sure what the answer is.

    • weeklysift  On November 1, 2021 at 10:04 am

      I’m fascinated by how the fuck-your-feelings folks become bleeding hearts as soon as white people are unhappy.

      On messaging, I think it’s too much to hope for a message that will reach everyone. We have to hope to peel off the 10% or so of Republicans who are open to reason.

  • reverendsax  On October 25, 2021 at 12:58 pm

    I was thinking the other day how the word “critical” is as important as “race” in CRT. In the 19th century many modern problems came into being because of “criticism,” as in “higher criticism” of the Bible, in which the sources and forms of texts were studied to uncover layers of meaning present there. Criticism of criticism, whether in philosophy or science or anything emerging out of the Enlightenment is a reaction to the new and different. Darwinism was criticism of previous views of human origins and therefore suspect. Now that I think about it, “theory” also has its enemies, because it too is something new that challenges the old. So CRT is a triple threat. Each word is dangerous.

  • reverendsax  On October 25, 2021 at 5:31 pm

    Another thought about CRT, as I prepare to preach in a Presbyterian church on Reformation Sunday: The Christian doctrine of justification by grace through faith relies heavily on Paul’s letter to the Romans. Righteousness is not about obeying the commandments, the statutes, or any of the law. Those expressions of what we must do to be in right relation with God do not make the right relationship, which must have reality in our hearts and lives. So Paul is preaching CRT – “Critical Righteousness Theory!” Our modern CRT came out of reflection on how law did not end racism, any more than the Torah eliminated sin. [I should state that I do not accept a God of punishment or Paul’s ultimate concern for sin; rather I think God is whatever lies behind our highest values such as love and justice.]

    • weeklysift  On November 1, 2021 at 10:09 am

      Sorry I’m replying too late to give you encouragement on this sermon. If you aren’t familiar with it already, maybe someday you can use this Spinoza quote, which is one of my favorites: “To the universal religion, then, belong only such dogmas as are absolutely required in order to attain obedience to God, and without which such obedience would be impossible; as for the rest, each man – seeing that he is the best judge of his own character – should adopt whatever he thinks best adapted to strengthen his love of justice. If this were so, I think there would be no further occasion for controversies in the Church.”

  • Edward Deems  On October 25, 2021 at 7:51 pm

    I don’t know if any one has mentioned this but in an old Nat Geo I found an article on Early television and it seems that analogue color cameras had to be adjusted before each broadcast. Of course they used a White model to set flesh tones. Not that Black people appeared on prestige “color” programs! Also, Some color TV’s had a flesh tone adjust button. I can’t imagine what that produced!

  • Anonymous  On October 25, 2021 at 8:47 pm

    CRT is the new porn, they know it when the see it. Very convenient. Whack a mole. That’s why I ask for a definition, just as I do for MAGA. Can’t have a discussion without a starting point.

  • Richard Jacinto  On October 25, 2021 at 8:50 pm

    CRT is the new porn. They know it when they see it. That’s why I always ask for a definition, just like MAGA. Can’t have a discussion without a place to start.

  • Abby  On October 26, 2021 at 10:55 am

    There’s another aspect hidden in this. In the Heritage fantasy world, different outcomes for different races means that the different races have different abilities. But in addition, it means that if an individual from the race that usually loses winds up winning at something, *then that means that they must have cheated*. That lone winner must have gotten a scholarship reserved for people like them (which is seen as unfair.) That lone winner must have gotten jobs they didn’t deserve. They got “handouts” they didn’t deserve.

    A great deal of conservative ire is aimed at people who are perceived as having cut in line in front of more deserving conservative types, and gotten stuff *that they didn’t deserve, because they cheated to get it*. And this, of course, justifies hatred and violence.

    • nicknielsensc  On November 2, 2021 at 10:21 pm

      In the Heritage fantasy world, all systemic racism was eradicated when LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act of 1965, as if the Equality Fairy waved her wand and eradicated the effects of 350 years of legal and social oppression. As I see it, by adhering to that line, they’re implicitly stating their belief in the imaginary: fairies, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the free market.

      • George Washington, Jr.  On November 3, 2021 at 9:01 am

        Tim Wise has a great counter to that argument. Just as laws against murder didn’t immediately mean that murders stopped happening, so the laws against racial discrimination didn’t end that, either – they just made it illegal. If you want to confuse one of these people, ask them the year racism ended.

  • allen eugene booth  On October 27, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    Talking about the film portrayal of blacks in various film media: I grew up a Star Trek fan (both the original show, also known as TOS, and Star Trek: The Next Generation [also known as TNG]. I never saw anything wrong with Lieutenant Uhura [TOS], Lieutenant Geordie LaForge [TNG], or Lieutenant Worf]). Worf was portrayed by Michael Dorn, a well – known black actor.

    • Liberty  On November 1, 2021 at 5:02 am

      I see critical theory as the fifth grader’s insight that an outcome can have multiple contributing factors. And CRT has now become a quasi religious mania that sees everything through the lens of white on black oppression, a view which is just wrong, but unfortunately has become so popular to do real harm, like defund the police,

      Let me have a look at education:
      One structural problem is that many public services are funded extremely locally, which perpetuates wealth differences. When more than 40% of school funding comes from local property taxes, it is no wonder to have quality differences.

      Another structural problem is that affirmative action has led to race quotas in education, which gives perverse incentives, huge competition among Asian Americans, and lowered standards for the underrepresented.

      CRT actively denies the hereditary nature of intelligence. Current estimates are that around 60 to 80 percent can be explained by genes. That used to be self evident when everyone had siblings and could see with their own eyes how different they are, but with the rise of the single kid too many just refuse to believe it.

      “No Kid left behind” unfortunately has a hugely destructive influence on education, by denying that some kids are just born dumb, and then forcing schools to concentrate on the dumbest, denying 90% of pupils proper stimulation. We accept a sorting among sports, why do we have so much problem with giving kids an education that gets the best out of their talents, instead focusing on the lowest rug?

  • Dan Cusher  On October 28, 2021 at 10:25 pm

    “I see no way to embrace their pamphlet as truth without also believing that black people are inherently inferior to white people.”

    I think their response to that would build off this: “People of all colors and national backgrounds come here and flourish because our culture embraces common humanity and dignity.” I suspect they would say that many Black people participate in a toxic American subculture that is inferior to mainstream American culture (or what you and I and the other SJWs would call white culture). They would say there’s nothing wrong with Black people; there’s something wrong with Black culture.

    At least that’s what I used to believe, until people started recording the police murdering Black people, and I started questioning the assumptions I was raised to believe, started researching historical and statistical facts my teachers and textbooks never mentioned. That’s when the toxic subculture argument falls apart (at least for those of us who don’t have the first-hand lived experience of encountering systemic racism on a regular basis): when you can draw a straight, unbroken line of causation from slavery to mass incarceration.

    • weeklysift  On November 1, 2021 at 9:58 am

      I almost addressed this point in the article, but decided it would be too much of a detour. I wanted to point out that the same people who would use “black culture” this way object to anti-racism books criticizing “white culture”, because that’s reverse racism.

  • ccyager  On October 30, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    “If two people are given the same opportunity, but only one takes advantage of it, they will naturally have different outcomes.”

    The problem with this statement from Heritage is this: it’s ignoring the fact that Black people are not given the same opportunities that white people are. At my new job, at a community college, I’ve been learning about that reality every day. It really enrages me, even more so when I see how little can be done right now to change things because of Trumpists and other Conservatives who are especially intent on manipulating language, and who want to block anything that might actually help to dismantle systemic racism..

    Thank you for confronting this issue head on, Doug. It’s courageous and just another example of why I read your blog faithfully.

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