Five tips for debating Critical Race Theory
The latest battlefront in the culture wars is over Critical Race Theory (CRT), a dangerous concept that makes race the prism through which all aspects of American life should be analyzed. Recently, stories about corporation inculcation of CRT among employees, and the embrace of CRT in core curricula of grade schools starting as early as kindergarten, have caused a severe backlash and clash of ideologies that have initiated a national debate and fight over this dangerous and controversial policy.
Advocates for CRT (CRATs) specialize in sweeping generalities and vague assertions to sneak in a dangerous racist concept in order to advance their cause. Here are a few tips on how to engage CRT zealots in debate about this regressive and racist theory:
TIP 1 — Win the Crowd, Not the CRT Advocate
Forget trying to prove to the CRT advocate that CRT is a bad idea. It's a waste of time. Those people are hopeless and will never give up. Instead, talk away from the advocate and toward the other people in the discussion (e.g., the parents at a PTA meeting, the corporate management and colleagues at work, the readers of social media, not the poster). They are the people who need to understand why CRT is a dangerous idea that must be dumped in the trash bin of history.
TIP 2 — CRT Is the Crude Bigotry of Simpletons
Say it once, say it again: Critical Race Theory Is the Crude Bigotry of Simpletons. When "white people are bad" is asserted, just cut them off at the pass and establish ground rules by saying these exact words: "I won't engage in the crude bigotry of simpletons, but I will..." And remember Tip 1: speak to the crowd. The more they harp on about how white people, white society, and white law are designed to hold down the black man — the more they embrace being a crude, bigoted simpleton. They dig their own graves. Let them.
Recently, you may have seen the video of liberal commentator Mark Lamont Hill engaging in a semantic trap with Christopher F. Rufo, a critic of CRT, by asking him, "What do you like about being white?" Imagine if Rufo had started his response with "Let's not engage in the crude bigotry of simpletons, okay?" Surely, you're not a crude, simple bigot, are you, Mr. Hill?
TIP 3 — Take Race Out of Every Consideration
Always drive the conversation away from race and toward the root issues of poverty, family structure, crime, and education. You will get baited again and again to make the discussion about race. Don't fall for it; take the race out of the issue every time. For example, if the CRAT cites minority poverty, make it a conversation about poverty in general. Poor schools for Blacks and Hispanics? Let's see what can be done about poor schools for all kids.
TIP 4 — Keep It Current
Don't let CRATs get away with references to the past to prove racial inequalities of the present. Slavery was 160 years ago! Jim Crow laws were ended 50 years ago! Antique historical references have no value in discussing modern policies. Instead, ask for a specific current example — just one — where systemic racism has caused injustice to minorities. You will get a lot of dancing around with this request but resist attempts to deflect and obfuscate and show the crowd there are simply no referable examples of system racism.
TIP 5 — Sidestep Personal Attacks
If you follow Tips 1 through 4, expect the CRAT to try to undermine you with personal attacks or gotcha questions. For example, that old chestnut "How many black friends do you have?" comes to mind. Remember Tips 1 and 2. Don't respond to the CRAT; instead, remind the crowd that this is another example of simplistic and crude bigotry. Apply Tip 3 (take the race out of everything). For example, respond with "I don't tally my friends based on race, height, or any other identity grouping. Do you?"
If you start getting personally attacked, congratulations! You've won the debate, and the discussion is at an end.
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