Critical race theory can't be allowed to open the classroom to discrimination
| August 3, 2021 7:00 AM
A recent thoughtful and well-reasoned attorney general’s opinion on critical race theory from Austin Knudsen has people on the left stamping their feet and pulling out their hair. The Montana Democrats’ spin machine is on full blast to justify racial discrimination in Montana schools, universities and workplaces. In defense of the controversial teachings, liberal lawyers, legislators and editorial boards are arguing that actively being racist is the only way to make sure people aren’t racist.
Knudsen’s legal analysis in the opinion was clear to anyone who reads it for themselves: Students should be taught American history in a truthful way, especially those times that our nation has failed to live up to its promise and founding principles. What’s illegal, Knudsen says, is teaching these lessons in a way that discriminates against students based on the color of their skin.
Racial discrimination is at the heart of many critical race theory lessons and activities that are used in universities and grade schools in other parts of the country. One prominent “antiracist” scholar who supports the critical race theory wrote, “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination… The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”
Racial discrimination is, of course, illegal as it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Montana Constitution and the Montana Human Rights Act. Montana Democrats are defending critical race theory and its discriminatory aspects anyway.
Many of the teachings in the name of “antiracism” are quite disturbing. For example, Yale University recently hosted a guest lecture from a psychiatrist in which she said, “I had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, burying their body and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step.”
The event took place in April but became public knowledge recently. Shockingly, it was Yale’s “Child Study Center” that played host to the hate-filled lecture. Montanans support the First Amendment, but do not want to see our tax dollars being used to host extremist speakers who create racially hostile environments at Montana State University or the University of Montana, especially to indoctrinate those who are supposed to helping kids.
There are many other real-world examples of critical race theory lessons and activities that also constitute illegal racial discrimination. These include “privilege walks” that separate students into different groups based on race and teaching children they are guilty of oppression because of the color of their skin.
Some schools and universities have also proposed separate housing, advisors, graduations, and even grading policies that treat racial groups differently.
These are not lessons and activities that we want taught to Montana children. Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen was right to request the attorney general’s opinion before these discriminatory lessons make their way into our schools and not wait until after racial discrimination occurred.
“Our schools should not be teaching debunked theories that twist and distort our history, and fringe philosophies that Americans have consistently rejected,” Arntzen said.
Of course, her statement does not mean Montana schools or universities shouldn’t teach any events or aspects of our nation’s history. Nor does the attorney general’s opinion prevent anything from being taught. It does make it clear that when schools, universities or employers treat individuals differently based on race, they are engaging in illegal discrimination.
It’s a commonsense proposition. Those who are attacking the recent opinion on critical race theory either have not read it, or they support bringing the disturbing practice of racial discrimination to Montana schools.
The author is the Republican state representative for House District 56 and serves as the house majority leader.