My Keynote Speech to parents and education activists at a recent Education Symposium: The racialization of education seeks “to tear down society. It’s not about justice, it’s about power.”
On October 15, 2022, I was the Keynote Speaker at an Educational Symposium in Mount Kisco, NY – When Worlds Collide – K-12 Education and Politics.
You can read the speaker and panelist listing here. The event was organized by the Putnam County Republican Women‘s Club and the Republican Women of Westchester, which are not affiliated with the GOP. The attendees were people involved in fighting for parents and children against the indoctrination that has become all too common.
My presentation was titled “No turning back – rescuing education is too important.”
I spoke, as I have before, about how Critical Race Theory in various forms has permeated and captured not only higher education, but increasingly K-12. An article in City Journal analyzing survey evidence that came out after my speech confirmed my observations, Yes, Critical Race Theory Is Being Taught in Schools.
You can see the video and transcript below.
Auto-Transcript – May Contain Transcription Errors
Thank you, Linda, and thanks to the others who’ve put this event together. I have a speech prepared, but I made the mistake of having a three hour drive here, so I got to do a lot of thinking. So I’ve reworked it a little, so I’m going to do this a little on the fly.
And what Linda said is exactly what I was thinking about on the way here, that this is not a fight over curriculum. Yes, curriculum’s part of the fight. This is not a fight over who’s going to be on a school board, although part of the fight is who’s going to be on a school board.
It really is a fight for two things. One, it’s a fight for parents, the right of parents to act as parents for their children. And what you’re seeing go on, whether it’s critical race theory or it’s the new radical gender theory, undoubtedly is trying to separate parents from their children, trying to replace the parent with the state. And we’ve seen this before. We’ve seen this movie before.
Now, if you know my background at all, and you probably don’t, I was a Russian studies major in college. I studied in Moscow. At the time, please don’t anybody speak Russian to me, at the time I was fluent in Russian. So I was there during the Cold War, and that’s exactly what the state does. The state becomes the parent.
The state becomes the parent, and that’s a lot of what we see going on here now, probably more so with the gender stuff than with the critical race stuff. But you see schools implementing policies that will not tell parents about the medical care and psychiatric care given to their children, and things like that.
But it’s also not just a fight for parents’ rights. It’s a fight, to me, for national survival. And that’s particularly with regard to the critical race stuff. I have followed in one form or another critical race theory since before anybody called it critical race theory. Critical race theory started in the late 80s, early 90s. But before critical race theory, there was critical legal theory. And critical legal theory started and developed, for the most part, at Harvard Law School in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I graduated in 1984, so I saw this development.
And all of the racialization of the law and the racialization of these concepts was very obvious to me back then. One thing that I noticed is the career paths that my colleagues, my fellow students took. The students who were not radicalized, went into law, went into business, went into, to some extent, government. So, I’m just watching the news, and I see my classmates all the time.
But the most radical students went into academia. In fact, one of those students, my classmate, was the woman who developed the concept of intersectionality and coined the phrase “critical race theory.” And all of the things that I saw going on back there, turning everything into a racial issue, trying to play people off against each other using race as the tool, was evident before anybody even coined the phrase “critical race theory.”
And that’s what you see going on now with critical race theory in schools. Most of what we focus on at Legal Insurrection and CriticalRace.org is higher education. But we also focus, to some extent, on K-12. And we’ve seen this migration of these concepts, these race-focused concepts, from higher-ed to high school, to elementary school, to kindergarten and preschool now. I’ve seen this develop over the years.
The reason it’s important for you to understand is this was not a problem that started four years ago. This was not a problem that started after George Floyd was killed. This has been going on for at least an entire generation, maybe more. It’s just that the springboard was provided to push this all out [after Floyd’s death]. And the reason I say that it’s a fight for our national survival is that if you look at how these issues are presented in schools, with regard to critical race theory, and they’ll argue with you, “Oh, that’s not really critical race theory. That’s a legal concept taught only in law schools.”
I’m sorry, if they are teaching children that your destiny in this country is dependent on the color of your skin. If they are teaching students to view themselves as having a skin color rather than being a full citizen. If they are putting “privilege wheels.” If they are doing those things, they’re teaching the concepts of critical race theory.
You will never see a third or fourth or fifth grade book called “Introduction to Critical Race Theory.” That’s not how it works.
And the reason it is so important, and the reason it’s a matter of national survival, is that these tools are used to turn students against each other, to turn students against their society, to turn students against their country, and to turn students, and this is particularly true with the radical gender theory, against their parents. So this is really a matter of survival.
A teacher that we’ve highlighted on the website, really for almost a year and a half now, is a middle-school teacher in Providence who came forward on our website to tell her story about the new curriculum that was put into middle school in Providence. She is a white teacher, blonde hair, blue-eyed, Germanic background. The student population is almost 100% non-white. But she, for 20 years, had a great relationship with them, never a problem, until about two years ago. They brought in an entirely new curriculum, entirely new books. Books even by great African American authors like Maya Angelou were pulled, literally pulled, off the shelves and thrown into dumpsters.
Instead, they brought in this curriculum of pamphlets for the students to read. And every pamphlet had an “oppressor versus oppressed” narrative and always in racial terms. And she witnessed how this turned the students around, because this is what they were reading, and how it created student hostility towards her, to the extent that they started to call her “America.” “You’re America because you’re white. We are not America.”
Because for a year, all they had been reading, the entirety of the history of the United States, was oppression. Nothing good ever happened in this country except there was oppression. So, she went public with that. And that is a good example of how it’s a fight for national survival, because it’s taking the most sensitive and troubling issue in the history of the country, one that for half a century, people have worked really hard to improve. And it is like ripping open the wound and not for any good purpose, but to tear down society. It’s not about justice, it’s about power. And that’s what’s happening.
This was my history watching this. So, one of the messages I want to tell you is that you have to be in this for the long term. There are battles that need to be fought this election cycle and the next election cycle and everything in-between. But this is not a two-year-old problem. It is not going to go away in two years. You need to be committed.
And I love the fact that people have shown up, and that you’ve shown an interest in your children’s education in the community, the health of the community, because schools are part of the community. You have every right to do that. So, what I like to do is to view myself as sounding the siren, sounding the warning alarm. And that’s where we are now.
There are a lot of things that you can do. One of them is to do the sort of organizing you’re doing, to fight the public relations battle, to fight for school board seats. Because if you do not replace the people who are in those positions of power, nothing is going to change.
CriticalRace.org is essentially a database. It’s the most comprehensive database of critical race theory in all its variations. In higher education, we’ve documented over 500 schools. We’ve documented elite K-12, the expensive private schools that the future leaders of the country go to, and it’s worse there in private school than it is actually in public school.
We’ve also documented medical schools, and the most shocking thing is, as bad as it is in higher ed and as bad as it is in K-12, it’s worse in medical schools. If you do any reading, National Association of Scholars has done great work documenting that, medical schools are going down the tube because of the CRT ideology. Everything is about diversity, equity, and inclusion, which is just a code word for “critical race theory.”
And we’ve also done the military academies. The good news is the military academies are not as bad as the rest of higher-ed. The bad news is that CRT does have a foothold there.
So, we have looked at this, and one thing that is absolutely astounding to us is how far it has spread, how deep it has spread, and how much money is behind it. You all see this in your daily activism. If you just read the New York Times, you’d think all the money, all this “dark money,” is flowing to right-wing groups. Not true! It’s in the billions and billions a year that are flowing to the consultants who do the CRT stuff, the universities for their programs, the DEI departments. You add it up it is probably at least in the multi-billions a year, maybe in the tens of billions a year.
A perfect example is, so we have our map, our CRT website is a database, but it’s also an interactive map. You can hover over it. You can click on your state. And you can click on the schools in your state. UCLA law school created their own map to map anti-CRT activities. They have all the money in the world. They have the entire UCLA system behind them. They’re able to use UCLA staff. They got a $400,000 grant from something called the “Lumina Foundation.” They have more resources and money than they know what to do with, as opposed to us.
That’s just a good example of how all the money is on that side. I saw a figure in various “legitimate publications,” mainstream media publications, which that after George Floyd’s death, $50 billion, with a “B” not with an “M” were pledged by corporations and foundations to various, what they would call, “racial justice” activities. Some of them are very worthy, but a lot of them are the CRT sort of things that are taking place. So that’s where all the money is.
You have to do what you can do. You know your neighbors. You know people in the school. The consultant doesn’t. What you’re doing is extremely, extremely important. And there has been a lot of progress made in the last two years.
CRT is now a toxic term. They run from that term like it’s the plague. We have accomplished that. We have, in many ways, won the public relations battle. But you need to keep it up. You need to keep focusing on that.
You also need to try to replace the systems. They like to say systemic racism. Well, there’s systemic CRT through everywhere. And you need to replace those systems and those personnel. You need to keep pushing and not give up.
Don’t let them bully you by calling you names. Don’t let them try to intimidate you. Keep doing what you’re doing because it really is, what you are doing, a fight for our national survival. We’re at a point where, I like to call it an “inflection point,” where we’ve, in many ways, won the public relations battle. But now we have to move towards winning the battle on the ground, winning the battle for school boards, winning the battles for curriculum. And you can’t give up.
You applauded me when I walked up here, but I applaud you because you’re really doing the hard work. You’re fighting the battles on the ground, and I just encourage you to keep it up. Thank you.
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.