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The Republicans’ Critical Race War

If GOP politicians hated critical race theory as much as they claim they do, they would be trying to refute it with reasoned arguments and credible evidence. Instead, today’s Republicans are enacting the theory as an electoral strategy.

CHICAGO – For the past few years, Republicans in the United States have been waging an escalating battle against an academic approach to studying race in America known as critical race theory (CRT). They are fighting not because they are right, or even because they believe they are right, but because they have found that when it comes to winning US elections, culture warfare pays off. Racial animosity, sad to say, remains a key weapon in the arsenal of culture warriors.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, indeed, based much of his 2021 election campaign on fomenting an anti-CRT panic and rode it to victory. Similarly, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a likely presidential candidate, recently picked a fight with the College Board over the alleged inclusion of CRT in its new Advanced Placement (college-level) curriculum in African American studies. Over the past two years, 18 GOP-controlled states have passed laws that prohibit or restrict its teaching.

But the leaders of the largely manufactured campaign against CRT have a strange way of showing their disapproval. At every turn, they have faithfully played out the scenario that CRT scholars have found repeatedly in American history, providing further evidence supporting the very theory that they insist must be rejected.