Shut up and Listen to What We’re Not Even Teaching

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The odd thing about Critical Race Theory, these days, is that it is allegedly both very necessary and, at the same time, nowhere to be found in your child’s school.  It’s a bit like being told, in the very same breath..

  • “You need to study the trail of tears, Mr. Privilege.  That’s the beauty of Critical Race Theory!”
  • “CRT isn’t even taught in your kid’s school.  It’s only taught in college, and maybe only in law school.  So stop complaining.”

Never has a course of instruction so dear to the hearts of the professional grievance class also been so thoroughly denied.  Haven’t you heard? CRT has absolutely no place in your child’s academic framework.  It’s just not there, folks!  All of these parents crowding board rooms have nothing but imaginary complaints. It’s a bit like 1950s Americans of Bolshevik sympathy: “we really should study the triumphs of the Soviet Union, but stop accusing any of us communism!  Got it?  Stop red-baiting all of us commie lovers!”

It can be a little disorienting, but it’s also understandable.  Raw CRT is difficult to defend, with its intersectional blaming of innocents and its insistence that children of color must surely face systemic racism.  Apparently, when a white, Christian, heterosexual teenager comes home, a little depressed to have been told he is a member of multiple “oppressor” classes, it’s easier for his cultural Marxist instructor to simply lie through her teeth: “that just is NOT happening.”  When a black father doesn’t want his son told to expect discrimination from whites and Asians, the administrators cluck, “oh, but that’s not being taught here.”

But of course it is, and not just in one course of instruction, but across the whole academic spectrum — from anti-racist mathematics to woke history to interpretive jazz dance free of toxic masculinity.  CRT isn’t so much a class you take after 4th period.  It’s a way of life.  It’s the hemoglobin in the cultural Marxist bloodstream.

In October of last year, 2022, City Journal did an excellent job of measuring how thoroughly CRT had penetrated the consciousness of American high school students.  Quoting from their article: “..62 percent reported either being taught in class or hearing from an adult in school that “America is a systemically racist country.”  Yes, the average high school student has been taught America was built on stolen land, that white people have profound white privilege, and that gender is merely a social construct.

When Temecula Valley Unified School District in Southern California elected an anti-CRT majority I was overjoyed, as were the majority of our guests.  Here at Riley’s Farm, we “live history” for a living — staging Civil War and American Revolution field trips for children.  There was a time, as recently as the 1990s, when Americans had an appreciation for the republic’s moral victories, and her failures, and that balance was struck without losing affection for the icons of our past.  George Washington could be both a wealthy tidewater planter who risked his fortune fighting for his country, and a man of his time, a slave-owner, subject to the conventions of his era.  Twentieth century Americans saw George Washington in the way that the abolitionist Frederick Douglas saw him, heroic even as he bore the blemishes of his time.

Douglas, speaking about the founding era, declared..

Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men too—great enough to give fame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men.

Douglas went on to affirm that free Americans have a right to celebrate a great victory on July 4th, even as he warned Americans that Independence Day couldn’t mean much to those who had not yet won their independence.  How could a slave feel much victory in the 4th of July?

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham..

When telling this story, a lot of woke media sites–swallowing Howard Zinn half-truths–fail to link the entire text. They fail to register both the compassion and the patriotism of Douglas. They fail to see, along with his powerful call to repentance, his deep love for his country.  They certainly can’t acknowledge the red hot furnace of Biblical truth that powered Douglas’ rhetoric.  Social justice warriors are okay with being indignant, but the broader spiritual terrain of sin, repentance, courage, faith, and devotion to God are foreign territories.  They want guys like me to tell the ugly side of history, but they shriek like demons if you ever mention redemption.  Howard Zinn is their perfect patron saint — a soul dead cynic, beyond tears and dance and laughter — the little frowning Pharisee in the corner of the room making fun of the feast.

Studying history in all its depth is one thing.  We can, and we must, celebrate our victories and lament our failures.

But embracing Critical Race Theory is something else entirely.  It grants victim status to people who were never victims and it makes villains of people, even children, who were never oppressors.  It is so obviously evil, so obviously full of itself, so cruel, that I marvel I have to point out that painful cruelty.  Do I really have to ask?  Why are you pitting this black child against this white child?   Why are you asking this Muslim to consider this Protestant an enemy?   Why are you asking this employee to discount the lifetime work of the business owner who employs him?  Why are you merely assuming that little boys and little girls have the same fascination with gender confusion you have?  Can you see why we find your interest in children’s sexuality a tad creepy?

With respect to history, why are we making war when we could be uncorking champagne?  Why are we reigniting battles when the peace treaty was signed decades ago?  Should I scold a little Japanese American girl for the rape of Nanking?  Should I scowl at a Norwegian for the rape of Irish villages, or sneer at a Mexican for Aztec human sacrifice?   Should I tyrannize a little Georgia boy for the slave-holding ways of his third great grandfather?  Do I pretend a black friend, who runs a prosperous business, is really just back from a whipping in the fields?  This is all so completely bizarre, I just have to ask the question:  is there something about peace, and progress, and victory you find abhorrent?  Are you so miserable, so upset with your own failures, and maybe even your own sloth, you just need to blame it on someone else?

But then I conclude what is apparently obvious to millions of Americans who reject CRT.  Critical Race Theory is the work of the devil, and when you look into the cold, dead eyes of someone who wants you to apologize for your skin color, or your faith, you are looking at one of his children.

Christians forgive, and they forget.  The children of the snake have long memories — and a lot of misery in front of them.


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This post was written by Jim Riley


  • You either are misrepresenting or misunderstanding CRT. CRT helps identify the laws and policies that uphold and reproduce racial inequalities. These laws are everywhere to be found. You are right, we do have an opportunity for redemption but first we must repent.

    • Jim Riley says:

      Sorry, but you don’t know what you’re talking about. Children all over the country are being asked to repent for..

      ..being “white”
      ..being Christian
      ..being heterosexual

      There is a REASON parents are protesting, and you are part of the problem.

      • Citizen says:

        Nobody is being asked to repent for being white, being Christian or being heterosexual. Don’t hyperbolize.

        Have you ever in your life had to wonder if you missed out on an opportunity to rent an apartment or get a job, solely because of the color of your skin? Have you ever had to wonder or worry about the police were pulling you over solely because of the color of your skin? Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if your family wasn’t able to be landowners or if white settlers hadn’t driven out and killed the native tribes who once owned your land? What if they had the generational opportunity to own that farmland instead of you?

        It’s recognizing that there are undeniable societal historical precedents and laws that set generations of people of color back. Like someone fired the starter pistol and white people were allowed to run and develop and grow in society while others were left in chains (at some points literally) playing catch-up decades and generations later.

        As a historian, you’d cannot truly believe that all races started in even footing in establishing generational opportunities, can you? Black WW2 veterans came back to a country where they were excluded from the GI Bill. Even though they served their country. Do you think that put them on even footing as the white veterans who were given the opportunity to utilize the GI Bill and lift themselves out of the Middle Class?

        That is institutional racism. That is understanding history and recognizing that there are people alive today who’s entire lives were impacted by racism in this country and there’s an entire new generation who still get followed around a gift shop with a dirty look because of the color of their skin.

        If you’re a historian, be a historian and recognize history.

        • Jim Riley says:

          Having a conversation with someone dedicated to CRT is like listening to a misfit cousin who is still angry with great grandpa, even though he died twenty years ago.

          You simply cannot hand a chart to a child, labeled “matrix of oppression” where all of his identities are labeled “privileged” and others are labeled “targeted” without telling him he’s responsible for it all. It is cruel, and racist, and moronic.

          If you teach about Manifest Destiny, you need to teach about the savagery of human sacrifice, head hunting, ritual torture that it replaced.

          But, whatever you conclude, you do not hold a CHILD responsible for the actions of people who lived more than a century ago.

        • Jim Riley says:

          P.S. As a courtesy, I’ve allowed you to comment here without a valid email, but your trial period is over. If you want to have an exchange, you need to identify yourself.

        • Jim Riley says:

          P.S.S. I looked forward to responding to your reasonably well-articulated, but wrong-headed response. Unfortunately, you insist on using a bogus email address and remaining anonymous. If your ideas are so important, why won’t you publicly own them?

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