Is critical race theory good for the Jews?
I agree with Henry Abramson that legislation to “impose restrictions on the teaching of history” is misguided as much as it is effete and unenforceable (“Banning critical race theory will gut the teaching of Jewish history,” Opinion, July 15). In what is still democratic America, these legislators will find it impossible to regulate individual instruction within thousands of classrooms, and I doubt they will even try to do so.
But Abramson needs to consider what prompted these initiatives. They are symbolic salvos aimed at attempts to infiltrate Critical Race Theory (CRT) into our schools, which Abramson endorses. With its basis in historical distortion, rigid control of curriculum, ideological indoctrination and destructive “othering” of opponents, CRT creates fear and anger in many Americans leading to various responses including poorly conceived legislation.
Jewish Americans in particular should ask questions of CRT.
If at the heart of CRT lies the notion of “white privilege,” might it easily translate into “Jewish privilege,” placing the Jewish American experience in the dock for its hard-earned successes that have benefited all citizens? Might CRT morph easily into expressions of antisemitism tied to canards of financial exploitation?
Proponents of CRT shame those who disagree with charges of “racism.” Does such behavior create destructive vulnerability for young Jews, particularly in our universities? Are they well enough equipped to resist specious argumentation that veils antisemitism? Do they then too often embrace Stockholm Syndrome sympathy for their abusers?
CRT endorses a Marxist dialectic of differentiation between oppressors and oppressed, and Israel, tarred as a colonial oppressor of the innocent Palestinians, sits directly in its gun sights (see proposed state curricula proposals in California and Washington State). Does supporting CRT play into the hands of those who want to destroy Israel?
Ibrahim X. Kendi, CRT’s central spokesperson, insists “the only remedy for past discrimination is present discrimination.” How do Jews fit into this formulation? Are we to be the discriminators? The valid objects of discrimination? Jews discriminating against other Jews?
Critical race theory’s approach is divisive
Critical Race Theory (CRT) has nothing to do with the teaching of history, and banning it has nothing to do with gutting history. Teaching history, including the dark, shameful aspects such as slavery, segregation and Jim Crow is of vital importance to our country. We must never forget our past and should learn from it to strive to improve our country’s future.
CRT is not about history, but rather judging people based on their race — privileged or oppressed. CRT believes that America was founded on racism and remains systemically racist to this day. These ideas are not only absurd but dangerous for the unity and future of our country. America was not founded on racism, and in 2021 is not systemically racist. People of color from all over the world want to come here more than any place on earth. Why would they want to come to a systemically racist country?
Yes, teach our children all our history, even when it is painful. But teaching CRT will accomplish nothing but divide the country and fester hate for future generations.