By: Tyler Rafael Marable
Recently a culture war over Critical Race Theory was launched at the command of Christopher Rufo.
I first heard about Critical Race Theory when searching the term “literary theory.” This was years ago, probably 2017. I searched this term because I am myself an aspiring writer. I have a few short stories published, unfortunately, none in professional markets. I decided to look into the different aspects of literary theory and one of those theories was Critical Race Theory. I found a video on Youtube about it made by Black Lives Matter (Oh, Lord). In 2017, it was on the front page of a Youtube search, now it’s buried due to the current cultural war staged by Christopher Rufo. The video took me five minutes to find (an eternity the Information Age). It’s simply titled “Critical Race Theory;”
When first viewing it in 2017, I thought the video was eye-opening—I do note the Marxist overtones at the 3:06 mark. But from my understanding the guiding principle of Critical Race Theory is that race is not real; it is a social construct in the United States.
What, race is not real? Do you not see the difference between Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Asians, etc”
“In the biological and social sciences, the consensus is clear: race is a social construct, not a biological attribute. Today, scientists prefer to use the term “ancestry” to describe human diversity. (How Science and Genetics are Reshaping the Race Debate in the 21st Century)
Race is real to us when viewing the phenotype, but human beings share 99.9 percent of our DNA with each other. Black people’s skins are darker because we have more melanin than white people. Why? Because our skin color evolved to protect us from the sun’s radiation due to the environment our ancestors were living in. So what we call the Black race does exist when observing the phenotype but the amount of melanin in your skin does not define you as a person.
It did during the slave days of America.
Race in America is a social construct instead of simply being a biological condition passed on through the TYR gene from ancestors. In ancient Europe, you had social classes such as peasants, serfs, indentured servants, and then the Lords, and Royalty. You had the bourgeoisie and the proletariats. In the United States, you had Whiteness and Blackness.
This is the core concept of Critical Race Theory. The United States had a caste system just as ancient Europe did. You had land-owning White people, slave masters, and the Black slaves themselves. You had Lords and peasants …
Critical Race Theory asserts this caste system was maintained by Whites through the utilization of institutions. That is to say, Whites used institutionalized racism to keep the peasants (Blacks) in their place (social class).
After Blacks were freed, today celebrated as Juneteenth, a holiday that Donald Trump supposedly made famous in his own mentally ill delusional mind, Southerners enacted laws known as the Black Codes. I googled the phrase “license laws after slavery” because I read a book called The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander while hospitalized for a fit of schizophrenia. The google search turned up articles on the “Black Codes.” In her book, Michelle Alexander stated after the Civil War and the freeing of Blacks, laws were passed in the South to perpetuate the caste system. For example, a Black man could be arrested for not having a license on him and imprisoned for ten years and made to … you guessed it … pick cotton.
Fast forward and Whites engaged in “redlining,” a systematic effort to segregate Blacks from Whites by using banking institutions and the Federal Housing Administration. The FHA subsidized the building of subdivisions with the requirement that none of the homes be sold to Blacks. Bank loans had clauses that prohibited the resale of these homes to Blacks. Richard Rothstein laid this out in his book The Color of Law and with his interview with NPR’s Ari Shapiro (Rothstein NPR). I highly recommend listening to this interview because it goes in much more depth than I can. You can also search the book on Youtube and find lectures from the author himself.
So here we get the Federal Government oppressing Blacks to keep them in a specific position on the class totem pole, at the bottom in fact. According to Rothstein, these policies of redlining were put into place by the New Deal, Roosevelt’s landmark program. To this day, American neighborhoods are still segregated; one could argue this causes inequality in public school funding since the funding mainly comes from property tax which is tied to the value of homes (a top comment on one of the Youtube videos in which Rothstein speaks).
Then of course we had Jim Crow, a systematic effort to keep Blacks as second-class citizens. After the Civil Rights movement, just as the Black Codes and redlining, Whites responded with the Southern Strategy, a cynical republican political strategy, which apparently didn’t exist according to Candice Owens, although there is a video on Youtube titled: “Exclusive: Lee Atwater’s Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy,” in which Lee Atwater describes the strategy himself.
After this, comes Regan’s War on Drugs, which led to the mass incarceration of Blacks for the nonviolent crime of drug use. Blacks were labeled felons; their right to vote was taken from them, employers could legally discriminate against them, and the federal government would not give them grants and student loans to go to university … the new Jim Crow … the new Black Codes. The legal system as an institution was used to oppress Blacks with mandatory minimum sentencing for crack users. Now that the White community is experiencing its own drug epidemic with opioids, the narrative has changed from “lock the scumbags up” to, “these people are sick and need help.”
An article posted by The Crime Report States:
An examination of hundreds of thousands of arrest records and federal drug convictions over 30 years found that most crack users were and still are white, but blacks were sent to federal prison nearly seven times more often for crack offenses from 1991 to 2016. Nineteen of the 94 federal court districts didn’t send a white defendant to prison on crack charges from 1991 through 1995. From 1980 to 2014, the rate of drug arrests for accused black drug offenders was at least twice the rate of whites. Hispanics have been prosecuted on federal crack charges at a higher rate than whites. The racial disparity in drug arrests continues. Even though heroin and prescription opioids are more deadly, there were nearly four times more arrests for cocaine than opioid drugs in 2016. Far more blacks (85,640) were arrested for cocaine than whites were arrested for heroin and other opioids (66,120) that year. Blacks in 21 states were arrested at a rate at least three times higher than whites for drug offenses in 2016. (Data Show ‘Racial Double Standard’ in Drug Prosecutions)
The US government has been utilized for decades upon decades to keep Blacks in their social caste (Critical Race Theory).
Continue to contemporary times; a substantial effort to harass and suppress Black voters has been launched by republicans. Multiple states have enacted laws with the goal of making it harder to vote for Blacks. In Alabama, back in 2015, after voter ID laws were enacted, Alabama shut down several DMVs in predominantly Black counties, the very place where they needed to get an ID to vote. (DMV shut down).
The Guardian reported several states are changing their voting process by giving their legislatures control over vote auditing, making a fundamental aspect of democracy, vote processing, into a partisan issue. Nonpartisan election officials are being replaced with hardcore Trump supporters. (Guardian voting laws). To top it off, after much whining from Trump, republicans are trying to restrict mail in and absentee ballots.
The republicans are using government institutions to try and suppress Black voters. THIS IS CRITICAL RACE THEORY. Scientific theories are used to predict certain outcomes. Critical Race Theory is a social scientific theory that predicted the republicans’ actions in their attempt to overthrow fair elections by disenfranchising Black voters.
The republican strategy for the upcoming midterm elections and possibly the general election in 2024 seems to be clear at this point.
First: Suppress voter turnout.
Second: Rile up the angry white vote with the CRT boogieman.
Lindsey Graham famously quipped the republican party is running out of angry white men to vote for it. Sadly, I don’t think this is the case…Trump’s election proved that. As Christopher Rufo said, “CRT is the perfect villain.”
Some woman wrote a book called “Not My Idea.” Don’t call it woke or political correctness, or even white guilt, that won’t be taken seriously; slap a fancy label on it to galvanize the gullible, those who say it is not racist to enact the voter ID laws then shut down the places where Black people can get one. Books like “The Antiracist Baby” are the single most important matter pertaining to race issues in 2022 … not the utterly biased judicial system, sentencing drug offenders based on the color of their skin.
The republican party has succeeded in manufacturing a racial wedge issue, almost out of thin air. I wonder what would happen if Jane Elliot performed her “Blue eye Brown Eye Experiment” with elementary students today. Some would say she’s dividing children into oppressors and the oppressed.
Christopher Rufo explained himself the end goal of the current culture war that is CRT:
We will eventually turn it toxic, as we put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category.” In a subsequent tweet, he added, “The goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘critical race theory.’ We have decodified the term and will recodify it to annex the entire range of cultural constructions that are unpopular with Americans.
What’s critical race theory? A fabricated racial wedge designed to gain votes through fear and division by completely rebranding the terms “woke” and “political correctness” into the boogie monster coming for your children. Oh yeah, and socialism and all that. Don’t forget we’re coming for your guns and bibles, too.
Categories: Essay, Literary criticism
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