Thursday, October 14, 2021
Appearing this weekend on CNN’s State of the Union, Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe charged that Republicans have “made up” K-12 disputes over Critical Race Theory (CRT) in order to “divide” voters. McAuliffe said, “This is a made-up — this is a Trump, Betsy DeVos, Glenn Youngkin plan to divide people, and really bothers me.”
In a television interview last week, McAuliffe had previously said of Critical Race Theory, “It’s not taught in Virginia, it’s never been taught in Virginia. And as I’ve said this a lot: It’s a dogwhistle. It’s racial. It’s division.” But the controversy over Critical Race Theory is hardly “made up,” as McAuliffe alleges. Take developments in Virginia’s Loudoun County, an affluent Washington suburb that’s made plenty of national headlines with its CRT disputes.
In July, a freedom of information request revealed that Loudoun County Public Schools paid consultants at "The Equity Collaborative" for a raft of anti-racist trainings. Teachers were taught, in lessons that incorporated the Dismantling Racism Workbook, that good teachers don’t “profess color blindness," "accept responsibility for their own racism," and believe that "addressing one’s Whiteness (e.g., white privilege) is crucial for effective teaching."
Rather remarkably, school teachers were taught that "fostering independence and individual achievement" is a racist hallmark of "white individualism,” as is the promotion of “self-expression, individual thinking, personal choice." The school system’s "Action Plans to Combat Systemic Racism" recommends the book How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi, which teaches that "there is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy" and that "only racists say they’re not racist."
Now, McAuliffe would presumably claim that such teachings have nothing to do with CRT. But this is where he’s being dishonest and disingenuous. After all, while it’s true that CRT is technically just a school of legal analysis, its own adherents would argue that it’s much more — and that the toxic dogmas on display in Loudoun are precisely what they have in mind.