“I just I can’t imagine a pathway to being Antiracist that does not engage critical race theory.”
It has often been the claim of those who support anti-racism work that Critical Race Theory (CRT) and anti-racism are not the same thing. CRT, as the narrative goes, is a wholly separate endeavor from such popular concepts in K-12 curriculum and corporate board trainings as Social Emotional Learning (SEL), anti-racism, bias training, and intersectionality. This repeated narrative, of course, flies in the face of a common sense analysis of the concepts advanced by each discipline. It also flies in the face of those who actively champion Critical Race Theory and anti-racism.
The loudest proponents of anti-racism in the media make all sorts of claims about people who object to CRT in schools. “It’s not taught in elementary schools,” or, “The opponents of CRT don’t even know what it is!” One of these themes popped up on January 6, 2022, when Joy Reid made the claim on her MSNBC show that “Ibram Kendi has nothing to do with CRT!”
Ibram X. Kendi wrote the book, How To Be An Anti-Racist, that has become the blueprint for radical progressives to point out so-called systemic racism in every aspect of American life. As the narrative goes, white supremacy was at the heart of the formation of the United States Constitution, and America exists to protect white Americans from losing their power to people of color, women, LGBTQ, and other marginalized groups. One can’t trust the words of the Founders who said they wanted to create a more just society for all, because after all, they owned slaves.
For Joy Reid, none of that proves that Kendi embraces Critical Race Theory in his assertions as to how white people can be anti-racist and allies for marginalized people.
Which may come as a surprise to Kendi himself, who said CRT informs everything he does, and that it inspires him.
Joy Reid tonight: Ibram Kendi has nothing to do with critical race theory!
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) January 7, 2022
In the podcast, “A Word with Jason Johnson,” Kendi said CRT is “foundational” to his work:
S1: Would you consider yourself to be a critical race theorists who are critical race theories out there that people should be aware of? Because the way the right is trying to define it now, any person black, brown, white, queer, Asian, whatever, who says anything other than America is the greatest country on the face of the planet is apparently a critical race there.
S2: So I’ve certainly been inspired by my critical race theory and critical race theorists, the way in which I’ve formulated definitions of of racism and racist and anti-racism and Antiracist have not only been based on historical sort of evidence, but also Kimberle Crenshaw intersectional theory, which is she’s one of the founding and pioneering critical race theorists who who in the late 1980s and early 1990s said, you know what, black women aren’t just facing racism. They’re not just facing sexism. They’re facing the intersection of racism and sexism. And it’s important for us to understand that. And that’s foundational to to my work.
S1: Dr. Kendi, your area of expertise, the way that most of America in general has gotten to know you as the person who is teaching us how to be Antiracist, and you say that you’ve been inspired by a lot of critical race theory. Is it possible to be Antiracist without studying critical race theory? Like is there a shortcut? Can you be an Antiracist by just being a nice person or do you really need to steep yourself in some of these structural things in order to be Antiracist?
S2: I think it’s I mentioned, for instance, the way in which intersectional theory, which is one of the critical components of critical race theory, is foundational to to to being Antiracist. And and and so I just I can’t imagine a pathway to being Antiracist that does not engage critical race theory. I mean, critical race theorists specifically over the last 40 years have been so foundational to providing a structural analysis of race and racism, which is to be Antiracist is to have that structural analysis. [note: the transcript was computer generated.]
One could be forgiven for feeling a bit of confusion at this point, because Kendi has also attempted several times to claim that he is not a critical race theorist. He blithely parses his words when he said in 2021 (again, on Joy Reid’s show) that he does not identify as a critical race theorist because he never went to law school. The Federalist attempted to unravel Kendi’s words on the matter:
Ibram X. Kendi, an “anti-racist” grifter who profits off of teaching racism, falsely claimed that he is not a critical race theorist on Wednesday night despite his long track record of using the Marxist ideology in his work.
Aided by MSNBC’s Joy Reid during her debate with anti-critical race theory investigative journalist Christopher Rufo, Kendi denied his ties to critical race theory and tried to distance himself from the movement which has received a deluge of pushback from concerned parents, educators, and conservatives.
“I admire critical race theory but I don’t identify as a critical race theorist, I’m not a legal scholar, so I wasn’t trained on critical race theory. I’m a historian,” Kendi said in a statement to The ReidOut.
As with many things in progressive America these days, if one repeats a falsehood enough times, one can still gain admiration and status for stating their perception of the truth. Indeed, speaking your truth is all the rage these days. Facts don’t have to back up one’s individual truth for it to be true.
There’s just one problem with Kendi’s claims—he just so happens to claim the opposite truth depending on the circumstances. Back to his podcast interview, in which he says:
[I]ntersectional theory, which is one of the critical components of critical race theory, is foundational to to to being Antiracist. And and and so I just I can’t imagine a pathway to being Antiracist that does not engage critical race theory. I mean, critical race theorists specifically over the last 40 years have been so foundational to providing a structural analysis of race and racism, which is to be Antiracist is to have that structural analysis.
Sorry, Ibram X. Kendi, but you can’t credibly claim not to be a critical race theorist at this point.
Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available at www.WhoOwnsTheDems.com. Jeff hosts a podcast at anchor.fm/BehindTheCurtain. You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff, on Parler at @RealJeffReynolds, and on Gab at @RealJeffReynolds.DONATE
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