To the Editor:
In the October 7 issue, David E. DeMatthews and Terri N. Watson claim that critical race theory “is not propaganda or anti-American” (“No, Critical Race Theory Isn’t ‘Anti-American’”). They are wrong on both counts.
In the very same sentence DeMatthews and Watson claim the theory is not propaganda, they explain that critical race theory “presupposes that racism is embedded within society and institutions.” If the existence of systemic racism is “presupposed” rather than argued for, that sounds more like propaganda than a conclusion reached after a careful examination of the evidence.
Two of the authors they cite, Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, state in Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, "[C]ritical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law.” Because these principles are bedrock to American democracy, a theory that undermines them has a fair claim to be considered “anti-American.”
While the authors claim that using critical race theory will help Black and Indigenous students and students of color, they provide no examples of it doing so. While I can find no examples, either, I do find arguments that appear to use critical race theory to criticize the few schools that are closing the gap in standardized testing scores between white and Black and Hispanic students.
By using disparities of outcome as an unquestionable signal of present racism, critical race theorists are pressuring educators across our country to lower behavioral and academic standards to achieve a shallow version of “equity” that covers up deeper problems.
EdWeek shouldn’t carry water for this nonsensical, destructive, and intellectually shabby ideology.
Salt Lake City, Utah
A version of this article appeared in the October 28, 2020 edition of Education Week as Critical Race Theory Doesn’t Help Kids