On Friday, President Donald Trump’s administration announced its decision to immediately begin the defunding of training seminars within federal agencies that teach “critical race theory.”
Critical race theory is a theoretical and interpretive philosophy taught at various universities that teaches individuals to see racism as something that has infected every aspect of American culture.
Additionally, CRT assumes that the primary solution for those problems is through social activism and a reorganization of society.
In response to Trump’s announcement, a popular far-left activist account on Instagram released a series of informational graphics defining the academic philosophy.
Russell Vought, director of White House Office Management and Budget, explained the president’s decision in a memo released on Friday.
“It has come to the President’s attention that Executive Branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date ‘training’ government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda,” Vought said.
“For example, according to press reports, employees across the Executive Branch have been required to attend trainings where they are told that ‘virtually all White people contribute to racism’ or where they are required to say that they ‘benefit from racism.’”
On Sunday, the popular Instagram account “So You Want To Talk About,” which has 1.4 million followers and claims to dissect “progressive politics and social issues in graphic slideshow form,” released a response to the White House announcement.
— Stacy, Librarian-in-Residence (@DarkLiterata) September 7, 2020
“The Trump administration has instructed federal agencies to end racial sensitivity trainings that address topics like white privilege and critical race theory, calling them ‘divisive, anti-American propaganda,'” the first slide read.
The next slide went on to clarify that CRT scholars aim to combat “systemic racism,” which is a term that has been heavily criticized for it’s vague, ever-shifting definition.
“Critical Race Theory, or CRT, is a theoretical and interpretive mode that examines the appearance of race and racism across dominant cultural modes of expression. In adopting this approach, CRT scholars attempt to understand how victims of systemic racism are affected by cultural perceptions of race and how they are able to represent themselves to counter prejudice,” another slide read.
The scholars pushing CRT aim to use the theory to “transform” society “for the better” through very real social and political policy proposals, despite the fact that CRT is “theoretical and interpretive.”
“Unlike some academic disciplines, critical race theory contains an activist dimension. It not only tries to understand our social situation, but to change it; it sets out not only to ascertain how society organizes itself along racial lines and hierarchies, but to transform it for the better.”
The information included in the post, which now has over 61,000 likes, was aggregated from academic institutions such as Purdue University, the University of California Los Angeles School of Public Affairs and Stanford University, among others.
Helen Pluckrose, the co-author of “Cynical Theories” and editor-in-chief of Areo magazine, spoke with The Western Journal via email about the problematic nature of CRT.
Pluckrose’s Areo bio page describes her as “an exile from the humanities.” Her book examines the “evolution of postmodern thought in scholarship and activism.”
The goal of her “Cynical Theories,” Pluckrose told The Western Journal, is to help people “understand how this framework really works so they can critique it accurately.”
“I also want liberals (who can be left, right or centre) to feel confident to push back at it with a defence of consistent principles of non-discrimination and a focus on the individual and our shared humanity,” Pluckrose added.
She then went on to explain why the “theoretical and interpretive” nature of CRT is so problematic.
According to Pluckrose, while CRT scholars must remain “theoretically consistent,” it is considered “authoritative” when people interpret something as racist.
“I think this is a problem because it privileges one theoretical interpretation of society and power dynamics over all others and this method is neither rigorous nor ethically consistent.”
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