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Conservative Influence Networks Succeed in Promoting “Critical Race Theory” as Hot-Button Issue in the US

January 9th, 2022 14:42

US media report­ed last Novem­ber on the role of right-wing influ­ence net­works in the US in pro­mot­ing so-called “Crit­i­cal Race The­o­ry” as a hot-but­ton issue in US pol­i­tics. Accord­ing to a USA Today report:

Nov. 15, 2021 Two years ago, the term crit­i­cal race the­o­ry was large­ly unknown out­side acad­e­mia. This month, it helped deter­mine an elec­tion. In Glenn Youngk­in’s tri­umph in the Vir­ginia gov­er­nor race, the GOP beat Democ­rats at tak­ing a decades-old frame­work about sys­temic racism and defin­ing it for their base. Across the coun­try, dozens of con­ser­v­a­tive can­di­dates were elect­ed to school boards rid­ing a wave of sen­ti­ment against crit­i­cal race the­o­ry. Those vic­to­ries fol­lowed a surge of the term on cable news, stump speech­es and even leg­is­la­tion. Crit­i­cal race the­o­ry or “CRT” became a house­hold phrase, absorbed into the Amer­i­can polit­i­cal blood­stream. But it did­n’t start there. Crit­i­cal race the­o­ry as a con­ser­v­a­tive talk­ing point went through sev­er­al iter­a­tions before appear­ing in the con­text of chil­dren’s edu­ca­tion, part of a laser-focused, mul­ti­year effort by a con­stel­la­tion of con­ser­v­a­tive activists, media per­son­al­i­ties and strate­gists, a USA TODAY analy­sis shows. With each cycle, the phrase increas­ing­ly per­vad­ed main­stream media, first as a cri­tique of “woke” cul­ture, then regard­ing racial sen­si­tiv­i­ty train­ing and final­ly, most potent­ly, in the con­text of K‑12 school cur­ric­u­la. Though Fox News eclipsed oth­er net­works on vol­ume of crit­i­cal race the­o­ry cov­er­age, MSNBC and CNN con­sis­tent­ly fol­lowed Fox, bring­ing crit­i­cal race the­o­ry fur­ther into the main­stream and expos­ing it to vast audi­ences, accord­ing to a data­base of tran­scripts host­ed at Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty. The same pat­tern is vis­i­ble among con­ser­v­a­tive and main­stream news arti­cles accord­ing to Media Cloud, a project host­ed by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mass­a­chu­setts at Amherst, North­east­ern Uni­ver­si­ty and Har­vard University.

Read the rest here.

A US edu­ca­tion­al pub­li­ca­tion defines CRT as follows:

Crit­i­cal race the­o­ry is an aca­d­e­m­ic con­cept that is more than 40 years old. The core idea is that racism is a social con­struct, and that it is not mere­ly the prod­uct of indi­vid­ual bias or prej­u­dice, but also some­thing embed­ded in legal sys­tems and poli­cies. The basic tenets of crit­i­cal race the­o­ry, or CRT, emerged out of a frame­work for legal analy­sis in the late 1970s and ear­ly 1980s cre­at­ed by legal schol­ars Der­rick Bell, Kim­ber­lé Cren­shaw, and Richard Del­ga­do, among oth­ers. A good exam­ple is when, in the 1930s, gov­ern­ment offi­cials lit­er­al­ly drew lines around areas deemed poor finan­cial risks, often explic­it­ly due to the racial com­po­si­tion of inhab­i­tants. Banks sub­se­quent­ly refused to offer mort­gages to Black peo­ple in those areas.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) has report­ed exten­sive­ly on the con­tro­ver­sy over CRT in the US, includ­ing Russ­ian-backed attempts to use the issue to fos­ter divi­sive­ness in the US.