Thursday, June 17, 2021


Kyle Whitmire, a columnist for the Alabama Media Group, impressed a lot of liberals this week with a column in which he described his efforts to determine what a state legislator who's a vocal opponent of critical race theory actually thinks critical race theory is. (Spoiler alert: The legislator, Chris Pringle, doesn't have a well-informed understanding of critical race theory and struggles to name specific authors or works that offend him.)

And then there's this, from Kevin Kruse, the historian:

I wrote a tweet in response to Kruse:

The tweet wasn't well received (see below), but I stand by it. While it's true that the right's politically successful attacks on critical race theory are based on ignorance, right-wing politicans often relish being called ignorant, especially when they have, or appear to have, a large portion of the public on their side -- Har har har you think we're so dumb but we're beating you, you four-eyed liberal elitist! This was the message from the camps of Donals Trump (until he lost) and George W. Bush (until Katrina). This was said about Reagan (and even, to some extent, about Eisenhower).

My tweet didn't go over well:

But Republican politicians love the lash of scorn. The scorn is a badge of honor. They use it to bond with their voters. (They say I'm ignorant, but they're really attacking you!)

Edroso has my argument all wrong. I'm no Joe Manchin -- I don't want to do outreach to these bastards. I just don't want to fuel their persecution complexes, which they routinely weaponize.

So, sure, tell the rest of the public what critical race theory really is. Tell them that it isn't actually taught in primary and secondary schools. Make the point that this appears to be an effort to prevent any teaching at all about the mistreatment of non-whites throughout our history.

But if you try to show Republicans up by asserting that you're better informed or more literate, they'll just say you have contempt for plain, commonsensical "real Americans" who didn't go to fancy-schmancy schools. Don't give them that opening.

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