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Trump-Linked Group Behind Attacks On ‘Critical Race Theory’ In Virginia Election

November 5th, 2021 15:20

US media is report­ing that a group behind attacks on ‘crit­i­cal race the­o­ry’ dur­ing the recent Vir­ginia state gov­er­nor’s elec­tion has ties to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s allies and is fund­ed by so-called ‘dark mon­ey.’ Accord­ing to a CNBC report:

A group that fueled attacks on crit­i­cal race the­o­ry dur­ing Virginia’s hot­ly con­test­ed guber­na­to­r­i­al race has ties to sev­er­al of for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s allies, includ­ing Newt Gin­grich and for­mer Hous­ing and Urban Devel­op­ment Sec­re­tary Ben Car­son. The group, 1776 Action, is a 501(c)(4) non­prof­it “dark mon­ey” orga­ni­za­tion that isn’t required to pub­licly dis­close its donors. Gin­grich and Car­son them­selves aren’t list­ed among the group’s lead­ers, although peo­ple close to them — includ­ing fam­i­ly mem­bers and for­mer top aides — have lead­er­ship roles. Before this year, it was known as the Amer­i­can Lega­cy Cen­ter. It tar­get­ed Hillary Clin­ton dur­ing the 2016 elec­tion and con­gres­sion­al Democ­rats dur­ing the 2018 midterms. The orga­ni­za­tion raised over $2. 3 mil­lion from 2014 through 2019, accord­ing to their pub­lic 990 forms reviewed by CNBC. Records for 2020 and 2021 are not yet avail­able. 1776 Action did not respond to CNBC’s requests for com­ment before pub­li­ca­tion. The orga­ni­za­tion, which says it is com­mit­ted to stop­ping “anti-Amer­i­can indoc­tri­na­tion,” is posi­tioned to con­tin­ue push­ing its mes­sage dur­ing next year’s midterms and then per­haps the 2024 race as con­ser­v­a­tive forces increas­ing­ly take aim at crit­i­cal race the­o­ry. The group’s rebrand­ing came as new fronts in the con­ser­v­a­tive-lib­er­al cul­ture war erupt­ed over teach­ing about race and racism in schools. Crit­i­cal race the­o­ry is an aca­d­e­m­ic approach to study­ing the impact of racism. It is taught at the col­lege and grad­u­ate school lev­el. Con­ser­v­a­tives have recent­ly used the term to describe any anti-racism dis­cus­sion or even any men­tion of race in schools. Repub­li­cans have large­ly opposed the teach­ing of crit­i­cal race the­o­ry, and it was a piv­otal issue in the Vir­ginia election.

Read the rest here.

Crit­i­cal Race The­o­ry is defined by a US edu­ca­tion­al pub­li­ca­tions 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.

How­ev­er, as the Wash­ing­ton Post report­ed in March, Christo­pher Rufo, a well-known con­ser­v­a­tive activist in the US had tweet­ed that his goal was to use CRT as a catchall con­cept “to annex the entire range of cul­tur­al con­struc­tions that are unpop­u­lar with Amer­i­cans. The appar­ent dis­in­for­ma­tion effort appears to have wild­ly suc­ceed­ed. As NBC News has observed:

Con­flicts like this are play­ing out in cities and towns across the coun­try, amid the rise of at least 165 local and nation­al groups that aim to dis­rupt lessons on race and gen­der, accord­ing to an NBC News analy­sis of media reports and orga­ni­za­tions’ pro­mo­tion­al mate­ri­als. Rein­forced by con­ser­v­a­tive think tanks, law firms and activist par­ents, these groups have found allies in fam­i­lies frus­trat­ed over Covid-19 restric­tions in schools and have weaponized the right’s oppo­si­tion to crit­i­cal race the­o­ry, turn­ing it into a polit­i­cal ral­ly­ing point. While the efforts vary, they share strate­gies of dis­rup­tion, pub­lic­i­ty and mobi­liza­tion. The groups swarm school board meet­ings, inun­date dis­tricts with time-con­sum­ing pub­lic records requests and file law­suits and fed­er­al com­plaints alleg­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion against white stu­dents. They have become media dar­lings in con­ser­v­a­tive cir­cles and made the debate over crit­i­cal race the­o­ry a nation­al issue.

In June, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed on a like­ly Repub­li­can Par­ty dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign in the form of a new orga­ni­za­tion that announced that it had launched with an ini­tial “ini­tial sev­en-fig­ure nation­al ad cam­paign of well over $1 mil­lion” to com­bat what it describes as polit­i­cal influ­ence in US schools.

In August, we report­ed that an orga­ni­za­tion called “Unkoch My Cam­pus” said it had uncov­ered ties between the ultra-con­ser­v­a­tive bil­lion­aire Koch fam­i­ly and 28 con­ser­v­a­tive think tanks and polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions who pub­lished exten­sive mate­r­i­al on Crit­i­cal Race Theory.

The GIOR has also been report­ing on Russ­ian efforts to cap­i­tal­ize on the con­tro­ver­sy over CRT.