In Brief: Racist ‘Education’ Endangers the Republic
“They are sowing the seeds of misery for a whole generation of Americans.”
Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, has a vested interest in higher education. The NAS aims to “uphold the standards of a liberal arts education that fosters intellectual freedom, searches for the truth, and promotes virtuous citizenship.” It is the lack of intellectual freedom, not to mention hatred of America, that he finds so concerning in a new position paper. “There can be no political freedom without intellectual freedom,” he says. “And yet this is exactly what neo-racism demands — the end of intellectual freedom.”
The 1619 Project. Black Lives Matter. Antiracism. Critical Race Theory. America’s institutions of higher education gave birth to these critiques, all of which present America as a self-perpetuating system of racial oppression. Radical activists now confront America with this host of radical critiques of who we are as a nation, accompanied by equally radical proposals to remake our basic institutions.
These critiques are false. America is exceptional not least because of its long traditions of antislavery, abolition, and dedication to a civic equality that transcends race. It is one of the least racist countries in the world and its citizens of all races have achieved extraordinary prosperity and liberty. The peoples of the world seek to become American because our nation offers opportunity to all. Radical activists must engage in hallucinatory defamation to erase these facts.
The activists who lead these movements have targeted America’s schools as the means by which to impose a revolutionary transformation on our country. These activists believe not only that our schools are the linchpin of our apparatus of racial injustice and oppression but also the means by which to force their so-called “liberation” on America. They will seize our children’s minds to seize America’s future.
After generally rebuking the Left’s “intellectual totalitarianism,” Wood explains why several “varieties of neo-racism” are so intellectually dangerous.
The 1619 Project, Black Lives Matter, Antiracism, and Critical Race Theory (CRT) all earn deep criticism, he says, which he goes about doing in detail.
Many more forms of neo-racism afflict America. … All of them use “antiracism” to stymie genuine discussion of the issues. They imply that to oppose “antiracism” is to favor or to extenuate racism. … Those who favor integration, assimilation, equality of opportunity, and other such policy ideals are consigned to the category of “racist” as easily as hard-core segregationists — only worse … because their implicit racism is harder to spot. Framing our national discussion in terms like this is a recipe for national division. It undermines the very possibility of coherent and just government in the United States.
The bitter and hateful divisions caused by this sort of thinking will have long-lasting consequences. Indeed, Wood concludes, “Schools that welcome and endorse these neo-racisms may believe they are advancing a noble goal. They’re not. Instead, they are sowing the seeds of misery for a whole generation of Americans.”
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