Here are 10 questions on Critical Race Theory for AFT President Randi Weingarten that were not addressed in her recent Fox News interview with Martha MacCallum.
Long-time radio host Dom Giordano, an educator in a past life, returns with his fourteenth installment of his podcast centered on the ever-changing landscape of education. This week, Giordano is joined by Christopher Paslay, Philadelphia teacher and author of Exploring White Fragility: Debating the Effects of Whiteness Studies on America’s Schools. In Exploring White Fragility, Paslay takes an in-depth look into the concept of ‘white fragility’ and ‘white guilt’ as the two phrases have become regular topics in discussions of race. In the book, and on his new YouTube channel, Paslay examines the effects that whiteness studies have on America’s schools, and investigates how the antiracist movement to dismantle “white supremacy culture” is impacting student and teacher morale and expectations, school discipline, and overall academic achievement. For more from Paslay, check out his YouTube channel HERE.
This afternoon, Dr. Karlyn Borysenko and I spoke about the effects of white fragility and critical race theory on American classrooms. Above is the video of our livestream on her popular YouTube channel. Thanks for watching!
by Christopher Paslay
There’s nothing unifying about Critical Race Theory, Mr. President.
“I’m rescinding the previous administration’s harmful ban on diversity and sensitivity training and abolishing the offensive, counterfactual 1776 commission,” President Biden stated at a recent press conference. “Unity and healing must begin with understanding and truth, not ignorance and lies.”
It’s painful to watch Joe Biden squint at the teleprompter and stumble though a bunch of lines he seems to know nothing about. It’s unclear whether Joe has been duped by his handlers and staffers — those who tell him what to say and what sign — or whether Joe actually believes what he’s saying. The fact is, President Biden’s words to the American people about lifting a supposed ban on “diversity and sensitivity training” are so off-base it almost seems as though he comes from another planet. Either that, or he’s simply gaslighting the country with flat out propaganda.
Those familiar with Critical Race Theory — and its offshoot, anti-racism — know that it has little to do with “diversity and sensitivity,” and even less to do with unity. In fact, Critical Race Theory and anti-racism emerged because things like diversity and sensitivity training — and Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights Movement based in classic liberalism — were moving too slowly for militant activists who wanted a more aggressive and provocative approach to so-called racial equality.
Believers in Critical Race Theory and anti-racism don’t want unity, and freely admit as much. The notion of unity, along with trying to identify universal qualities that bring us together, is a big no-no for anti-racist educators pushing Critical Race Theory. People like Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility, and Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Anti-Racist, insist universal human values don’t exist, literally. Whites are so privileged and steeped in systemic racism, and people of color are so oppressed and victimized, that these two groups can only experience the world relative to their own cultures, and a universal or unifying system of values and communication is impossible; to anti-racists, everything is relative to culture, and processed through the lens of race.
Which is why anti-racists preach that whites could never understand the oppressive lives of people of color, and any attempts to do so are met with accusations of racism or claims of white acculturalization — which is a fancy way of saying that whites who believe traditional values transcend race are pushing white supremacy culture on people of color.
Robin DiAngelo flat out states, “Niceness is not anti-racist.” In fact, suggesting people should be nice to each other is a form of violence, she believes, because being nice isn’t going to stop systemic racism or oppression; being nice simply perpetuates white supremacy. This is why KIPP charter school founder Richard Barth recently announced KIPP was retiring its national slogan, ‘Work hard. Be nice.’ According to Barth, the slogan “ignores the significant effort required to dismantle systemic racism, places value on being compliant and submissive, supports the illusion of meritocracy, and does not align with our vision of students being free to create the future they want.”
So much for the phony notion of unity, at least where Critical Race Theory and anti-racism are concerned. Anti-racism, stated another way, could be called “anti-unity.” Again, the unity model, based in “niceness” and understanding, does not attack so-called systemic racism and white supremacy culture head on, but serves to perpetuate it. What anti-racists who espouse Critical Race Theory want is agitation, provocation, and confrontation — and advocate for the kind of racial unrest we witnessed over the summer. In short, they want to shock white society out of its inherently racist, privileged bubble.
Critical Race Theory aims to target, disrupt, and dismantle “whiteness.” It stereotypes entire groups of people into polarizing identity groups — oppressive whites on one side, oppressed people of color on the other. Trainings based in Critical Race Theory, in public schools and government agencies, require participants to segregate themselves into affinity groups by race, deconstruct their racial identity, and admit their privilege and participation in a racist system.
Despite what President Biden says, none of this has anything to do with sensitivity training or unity. The ban on Critical Race Theory was an attempt to stop the polarization of people by race, the racialization of government agencies and schools, and from using skin color to judge entire groups of people. It was an attempt at universal communication and values, an attempt at unity.
In essence, President Biden is calling for unity by rescinding a ban aimed at bringing unity. He’s rescinding a ban on judging people by the color of their skin, and not the content of their character. He’s rescinding a ban that aimed to forward the Civil Rights legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His out-of-touch Executive Orders are what’s counterfactual, as is his bizarre notion of “sensitivity training.”
Ironically, it was the 1776 Commission that aimed to counter the misinformation being purported in the New York Times “1619 Project,” misinformation called out by Princeton historian Sean Wilentz, who in November of 2019, began circulating a letter objecting to the project, and of author Nikole Hannah-Jones’s work in particular.
Soon James McPherson, Gordon Wood, Victoria Bynum, and James Oakes — all leading scholars in their field, signed the letter which stated the 1619 Project fabricated facts and that the project reflected “a displacement of historical understanding by ideology.”
The New York Times refused to correct the misinformation about Americas’ founding, and author Hannah-Jones won a Pulitzer Prize. But even Hannah-Jones admitted that the 1619 Project wasn’t necessarily about history, but about journalism. Loose translation: it was first a piece of social justice propaganda, which put activism over history, and politics over facts.
And yet President Biden inverts reality and flips facts on their head. The 1776 Commission was created to correcthistory, not distort it. The ban on Critical Race Theory was made to bring America together, not drive it part.
Unity and healing, Mr. President, indeed start with understanding and truth, not ignorance and lies. Perhaps, as the new leader of the free world, you’d like to get some perspective on both.
by Christopher Paslay
A breakdown of major terms, and red flags for concerned parents.
After the racial unrest over the death of George Floyd last summer, chances are your child’s school has adopted some form of “anti-racist” curriculum, aimed at ending racism and racial injustice. Also called “diversity,” “equity,” or “inclusion,” these programs sound reasonable and well-meaning, and some of them are. However, there is a sliding scale between reasonable and radical, and every school district approaches things differently.
Anti-racism is not a one-size fits all movement. The devil is in the details, and how one school implements such a program may differ greatly from district to district, and county to county.
This article (and the video above) provides practical suggestions for keeping an eye on your school district’s “anti-racism” curriculum, and provides laymen’s definitions of terms, along with red flags to look for within the curriculum itself. As a rule, parents should keep an eye on their child’s curriculum at two levels: the district level, which includes official school board resolutions and school district approved material; and the classroom level: the actual lessons and activities that your child is doing with his or her teachers and classmates.
In A Nutshell: The Terms of Anti-Racism
(Note: These definitions are not sponsored by any one school or district.)
Anti-Racism: Anti-racism is concerned with systems over individuals. Anti-racist educators, such as Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi, believe all racial disparities in the United States are the sole result of one thing: racism. Racist systems and policies, both conscious and unconscious, are perpetuated by privileged whites, who benefit from this knowingly and unknowingly. Anti-racists attempt to end such systems by calling out, confronting, and disrupting white privilege and so-called “white supremacy culture.”
White Supremacy: White supremacy does not refer to individual white people per se and their individual intentions, but to a political-economic social system of domination. This system is based on the historical and current accumulation of structural power that privileges, centralizes, and elevates white people as a group. The anti-racist definition of white supremacy is not hatred or white nationalism, but simply the fact that whites in America are the dominant culture.
White Privilege: The collective power, both conscious and unconscious, that whites have in society which makes things easier for them, and more difficult for people of color.
Racism: Racism is more than race prejudice. Anyone across any race can have race prejudice. But racism is a macro-level social system that whites control and use to the advantage of whites as a group. Thus all whites are collectively racist.
Equity: Equity is not about equal opportunity — but about equal outcome. It’s not concerned with a level playing field, but with level scores and level results. Under an anti-racist framework, equity is zero-sum: one group must be disrupted or dismantled for another group to make gains.
Anti-Blackness: This is a white person’s inherent hatred or marginalization of people of color. Anti-racist educators teach that all whites have inherent anti-blackness, whether conscious or unconscious.
Critical Race Theory: Critical Race Theory, in a nutshell, encompasses all of the above ideas: that systems must change for racial progress to be made; that white supremacy, white privilege, and anti-blackness must be disrupted; and that those who do not get on board are perpetuating racism and inequity by default.
Red Flags For Concerned Parents
Parents should approach with caution curriculum that includes one or more of the following:
Any material related to Ibram X. Kendi (How to Be an Anti-Racist) or Robin DiAngelo (White Fragility). These books are extremely polarizing, agenda-driven, and divide people into identity groups — judging them by the color of their skin, and not the content of their character, and have no place in K-12 schools. These books violate federal anti-discrimination laws, and should be met with extreme caution.
Any activity, lesson, or material that uses the phrase “white privilege,” “white fragility,” or “white supremacy.” These materials polarize and judge students by race, and may violate federal anti-discrimination laws.
Any activity, lesson, or material that uses the phrase “anti-blackness,” or encourages a student to admit to or acknowledge their anti-blackness.
Any curriculum that focuses too heavily on identity, or has children dissect or analyze their identity, or complete an identity map or identity wheel.
Any curriculum that targets “whiteness,” or asks students to disrupt or deconstruct “whiteness,” “white privilege,” or “white supremacy.” Such material is in violation of federal anti-discrimination laws.
Any lesson or activity that is too heavily focused on race or identity, or that divides or polarizes students by race — splitting students into so-called “affinity groups.”
Finally, any use, mention, or inclusion of Black Lives Matter curriculum, which is extremely agenda-driven, polarizing, and based in politics. A good way to object to this is by exposing it as political indoctrination — the kind of political indoctrination parents oppose and most school boards deny exists. BLM is a political organization with a PAC, and their agenda (defunding police, disrupting the nuclear family structure, etc.) has no place in any school that claims to teach students how to think, and not what to think. The National Education Association recently adopted BLM curriculum, a decision that must be rectified and reversed; most school districts prohibit any form of politicking or political campaigning in the classroom, and BLM is indeed a political organization with a PAC.
The first step for concerned parents is getting educated about what is going on in your child’s school. If you have a concern, make your voice heard.
In an article on Patheos.com, Baylor University sociology professor George Yancey wrote a very powerful critique of white fragility and anti-racism titled, “Not White Fragility, Mutual Responsibility,” where he proposed having a true dialogue on race relations, not merely a monologue disguised as a conversation. Named the Mutual Accountability Approach, Yancey suggested using sociological research (Intergroup Contact Theory based in active listening) to unify rather than divide, making solutions win-win rather than win-lose.
Please watch the above video for a discussion and analysis of Yancey’s Mutual Accountability Approach. Also, please consider purchasing my new book, Exploring White Fragility: Debating the Effects of Whiteness Studies on America’s Schools, due out in April. The book uses existing research, as well as anecdotal observations from my own teaching, to analyze white fragility theory and anti-racism, and offers recommendations and alternative solutions for improving skill building and communication. Thanks for watching.
by Christopher Paslay
Tragically, today’s leading anti-racist educators are anti-science, and forward theories filled with logical fallacies that don’t stand up to rigorous inquiry.
Modern anti-racism, which is based in Critical Race Theory and focusses on systems instead of people, has become the new way to think about race in America. Although the term “anti-racism” sounds admirable and courageous — and brings to mind equality and justice — its core tenets are far from productive, healing, or unifying. Anti-racism actually turns Martin Luther King Jr.’s “dream” on its head, because it uses race and skin color to stereotype and judge entire groups of people, and operates under the premise that in order for one race or culture to succeed, we must disrupt or dismantle another.
Unlike classic multiculturalism — or Baylor University sociology professor George Yancey’s “Mutual Accountability Approach,” which uses Intergroup Contact Theory based in active listening to unify rather than divide — anti-racism is zero-sum and teaches that all whites are inherently racist and privileged and suffer from internalized superiority; that all people of color are victims who suffer from internalized oppression; and that failure to support anti-racism is to support and perpetuate racism and white supremacy.
The most concerning thing about anti-racism is that it is anti-science. Not only do the leading scholars promoting anti-racism fail to adequately test their theories using measurable, quantitative analysis, but today’s leading anti-racist educators have outright rejected the scientific method as biased, because they argue objective science is the product of Western, white European culture.
A pamphlet called “Aspects and Assumptions of Whiteness and White Culture in the United States,” published by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, shows this to be true.
Robin DiAngelo, whose book White Fragility has sold over two million copies, has minimalized the use of quantitative analysis. In an article by writer and economist Jonathan Church, titled “The Orwellian Dystopia of Robin DiAngelo’s PhD Dissertation,” Church exposes DiAngelo’s lack of scientific rigor:
For her dissertation, DiAngelo conducted four two-hour sessions on inter-racial dialogue with only thirteen participants—a very small sample from which to derive wide-ranging interpretations about things like whiteness and racism. But that is par for the course in fields like Whiteness Studies and Critical Race Theory. As one paper argues, “many critical race scholars are fundamentally skeptical of (if not simply opposed to) quantitative data and techniques to begin with.”
In DiAngelo’s seminal paper, “White Fragility,” she states “Whiteness Studies begin with the premise that racism and white privilege exist in both traditional and modern forms, and rather than work to prove its existence, work to reveal it.”
DiAngelo starts her work with a conclusion (that racism and white privilege exist everywhere), not a hypothesis (do racism and white privilege exist everywhere?), and rather than running tests to prove this false, she only performs scant qualitative studies, based on anecdotal observations, to prove it true. In other words, she sets up her theories so that they can only be confirmed, not falsified — which is a major flaw and does not meet what is known as the principle of falsification.
DiAngelo turns the classic six-step scientific method on its head. She skips the “research question,” the “hypothesis,” and the “experiment,” and goes right to the so-called “results and conclusions.” And what are her conclusions? That racism and white privilege exist everywhere. Has she run tests or done any rigorous quantitative studies to prove this? Of course not. Why? Because she considers objective science biased, and the tools of a white supremacist culture.
Anti-racism is anti-science, and is filled with logical fallacies that don’t stand up to rigorous inquiry; one common fallacy of anti-racism is that correlation equals causation. Which is why DiAngelo refuses to engage in any kind of scholarly debate. She’s more of a political activist or cult leader than she is a serious social scientist. In July of 2020, when her book White Fragility blew up after the George Floyd protests, she was invited to debate John McWhorter on MSNBC’s Moring Joe. But of course, DiAngelo didn’t show. She stayed behind, sending Georgetown Professor Michael Eric Dyson to do her dirty work.
Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to be an Anti-Racist, is also anti-science, which forces him to play the same game as DiAngelo. Kendi refuses any kind of public debate — turning down invitations from Coleman Hughes and John McWhorter — instead preferring to play the role of activist minister, lecturing his faithful anti-racist congregation, shielding himself from any real academic debate over his ideas.
Why? Because as John McWhorter has pointed out, Kendi’s ideas are overly simplistic and lack the backing of scientific research and rigorous quantitative analysis.
Take his idea about the racial achievement gap in America, for example. The very idea itself is racist, he argues, insisting the supposed gap is simply the result of poorly designed, culturally biased standardized tests. As Jonathan Chait writes in The Intelligencer:
It does not matter to [Kendi] how many different kinds of measures of academic performance show [the achievement gap] to be true. Nor does he seem receptive to the possibility that the achievement gap reflects environmental factors (mainly worse schools, but also access to nutrition, health care, outside learning, and so on) rather than any innate differences.
To Kendi, all racial disparities are the result of only one thing: racism. Hence, the racial achievement gap in America isn’t really a gap at all, but merely the result of racist thinking.
But science shows this isn’t the case. The Princeton study, called “Parsing the Achievement Gap II,” by noted researchers Paul Barton and Richard Coley, use three decades of educational and social science research to show that the skills gap is indeed real, and that a multitude of factors — in addition to systemic racism — play a part in the gap. Things like rigor of curriculum, teacher preparation, teacher experience and turnover, class size, technology in the classroom, fear and safety at school, parent participation, frequent school changing, low birth weight, environmental damage, hunger and nutrition, talking and reading to children, and television watching, have an effect on academic achievement.
But to Kendi, who espouses the anti-science behind anti-racism, the skills gap is a myth, based in racism and white supremacy. Because to Kendi, any suggestion that any of these factors has an impact on success in school is a racist idea.
To Kendi, you are either racist or anti-racist, period. Like DiAngelo, Kendi starts with his conclusion — that every racial disparity is the evidence of racism — and instead of running tests to prove this false, he only performs research to prove it true. In other words, he sets up his theories so that they can only be confirmed, not falsified — which is a major flaw and does not meet what is known as the principle of falsification.
Kendi also turns the classic six-step scientific method on its head. He skips the “research question,” the “hypothesis,” and the “experiment,” and goes right to the so-called “results and conclusions.” And what are the conclusions? That racism and white privilege exist everywhere, and are the sole factor at the heart of the skills gap. Has he run tests or done any rigorous quantitative studies to prove this, as Barton and Coley did with their groundbreaking paper, “Parsing the Achievement Gap II? Of course not. Why? Because he considers objective science racist, and the tools of a white supremacist culture.
Anti-racism is anti-science, and is filled with logical fallacies that don’t stand up to rigorous inquiry. Until we admit as much, this trendy yet divisive movement will further polarize and divide, placing politics over science, and indoctrination over education.
Classic multiculturalism — or Baylor University sociology professor George Yancey’s “Mutual Accountability Approach,” which uses Intergroup Contact Theory based in active listening to unify rather than divide — is a better option for bringing about positive, holistic change.
How to Be an Antiracist author Ibram X. Kendi gets called out by Black Ivy League professors Glenn Loury and John McWhorter for being overly simplistic and thin-skinned. Loury and McWhorter argue that Kendi’s work lacks academic rigor, and hasn’t faced any legitimate criticism because of political correctness. Loury insists Kendi is an academic “lightweight,” and McWhorter, whom Kendi called a “racist” on Twitter, feels Kendi uses the race card to deflect criticism and hide from any real scholarly debate.
The above video provides highlights from the 11/27/20 episode of the Glenn Show, where Loury and McWhorter call out Kendi. Thanks for watching.
by Christopher Paslay
Kendi’s attempts to label any inquiry into voter fraud as “racist” is just a tactic to silence advocates of voter integrity, and to marginalize those who disagree with him.
According to Ibram X. Kendi, who recently equated the interracial adoption of African children by white parents with colonialism, and in college, wrote an article suggesting whites have used the AIDS virus to control the black population, insists using the term “legal vote” is racist.
“The misinformation of widespread voter fraud — or ‘illegal voting’ — in Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Phoenix where Black and Brown voters predominate is baked into the term ‘legal vote.’ No matter what GOP propaganda says, there’s nothing wrong with those voters and votes,” Kendi wrote on twitter. “What makes a term racist is rarely the term’s literal meaning, and almost always the historical and political context in which the term is being used.”
In other words, Kendi wants to redefine the term according to his own personal politics.
The fact that a coalition of 39 House Republicans just sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr, asking the Department of Justice to investigate allegations of potential voter fraud, doesn’t seem to matter to him.
The letter read in part:
Dear Attorney General Barr,
While each state runs its own election process, the United States Department of Justice is ultimately responsible for the integrity of federal elections. The American people must have the utmost confidence that the outcome of the presidential election is legitimate.
With widespread reports of irregularities, particularly in the vote counting process, it is time for you to use the resources of the Department to ensure that the process is conducted in a manner that is fully consistent with state and federal law. And, it is also important that the process be completely transparent, so that the American people will have full confidence in the result.
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division Voting Section’s responsibility to ensure that the right to vote is sacred. This not only means access to the ballot box, but it also means ensuring that no one’s vote is devalued by any means of voter fraud.
This doesn’t seem to matter to Kendi. Neither does the fact in Nevada, there are over 3,600 possible cases of voter fraud— specifically, residents voting in Nevada who no longer live there.
To Kendi, calling for voter integrity and transparency is somehow racist, because Kendi’s race-obsessed worldview does not allow him to see past skin color to the actual substance of an issue.
Jonathan Church, a leading critic of white fragility theory, recently published an article criticizing Kendi’s scholarship in Merion West titled “Ibram Kendi’s Thesis Could Use a Lot More Rigor.”
In it, Church criticizes the flaws in Kendi’s reasoning, including his belief in Mono-Causality and the Origins of Racist Ideas:
Skeptics are racists, it would appear, because they disagree with Kendi—not because they have legitimate concerns about whether Kendi is correct that causality only goes one way, or that policies are not the sole cause of inequality, or that counterexamples may diminish the force of his claims,” Church writes. “Logic, facts, and scholarship have little to do with it.”
By the way, Jonathan Church’s new book, “Reinventing Racism: Why “White Fragility” Is the Wrong Way to Think About Racial Inequality,” is available for pre-order, and is due out on January 13. It provides a great toolkit for resisting Robin DiAngelo’s toxic white fragility theory, and offers well-thought out alternatives.
Still, from Ibram Kendi’s perspective, racial disparities are the sole result of racism. Period. Students of color are disproportionately suspended because of racist educational policies, not because their experiences or backgrounds differ in any way from those of their white counterparts. According to Kendi, all students arrive at school at the exact same place.
(I wonder what Kendi would say if we used the same logic for the 2020 election: the late breaking disparity of votes for Biden IS the evidence of the fraud itself. Period. No other scenario is needed.)
Kendi’s attempts to label any inquiry into voter fraud as “racist” is just a tactic to silence advocates of voter integrity, and to marginalize those who disagree with him. According to Kendi, you are either racist, or antiracist, there is no neutrality.
To this I say to Kendi: You are either for voter fraud, or against it. There is no in-between. And as evidenced by your attempt to racialize the term “legal vote,” it seems clear you fully embrace the latter.