The "Critical Race Theory Ban" Deception

It's not really about banning "Critical Race Theory." The real goal is to formulate policy that ends White Culpability system-wide.

Dr. G.S. Potter | Senior Editor

It’s important for you to know that “Critical Race Theory” isn’t being banned. But, here is an outline of real things that are being banned

  • That one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex. (… talking about white supremacy

  • That the United States of America and [any] state are fundamentally or systemically racist or sexist. 

  • That an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously. (… goodbye implicit bias training

  • That members of one race or sex cannot and should not 1 attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex. (… so, put those colorblind glasses back on)  

  • That an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex. (… that takes care of reparations!

  • That any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of that individual’s race or sex. (goodbye race and gender based trauma treatments

  • That meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race. (Bootstraps for all!

  • Any other form of race or sex scapegoating or any other form of race or sex stereotyping (It’s personal responsibility, not systemic racism

b. “Race or sex scapegoating” means assigning fault, blame, or bias to a race or sex, or to members of a race or sex because of their race or sex, or claiming that, consciously or unconsciously, and by virtue of persons’ race or sex, members of any race are inherently racist or are inherently inclined to oppress others, or that members of a sex are inherently sexist or inclined to oppress others (white supremacy is all in your head). 

Aside from my parenthetical clarifications, these words were taken all but verbatim from the Critical Theory Ban that was recently passed in Iowa. These bans aren’t designed to remove actual Critical Race Theory from history classes in our schools.  They are designed to remove anything and everything related to white culpability from the political and social landscapes. 

Critical race theory” has been a decoy the entire time. The true target is truth and our ability to respond to attacks on it. Before we dive into the potential impacts of these bans, a brief refresher in strategic deception is in order.  

Strategic Deception

For most people, the bravery of the troops who stormed the beaches of Normandy, France comes to mind when they hear the term D-Day. As it should. But D-Day also marks the culmination of one of the greatest deception strategies ever deployed.   

It took over a year for Allies to plan the successful execution of D-Day. And the strategists involved knew that if Hitler gained even a couple of days of advanced notice, it might end their chances of success.  As such, Operation Bodyguard was set in motion. 

The goal was simple: make Hitler think that the allies were going to attack anywhere but Normandy.   

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In efforts to accomplish this goal the Allies flooded information channels with false information. They placed false stories in newspapers and over the airwaves. Over the radio, they faked communications about cold weather and snow-related engine damage, leading Hitler to think an attack would take place in Norway or “Fortitude North.”  They planted false stories in newspapers about soldiers getting married to move the Nazis’ eyes away from their true locations. They even used inflatable tanks to cover their changes in positions and make the Nazis believe that the sizes of Allied units were larger than they were. 

And it worked.   

Hitler was so misled he even sent troops to Scandinavia in the weeks leading up to D-Day.  The Allies were able to successfully cross the English Channel, storm the beaches of Norway, establish a new western front, and turn the tides of World War II to defeat the Nazis.   

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None of that would have been possible without an intricately designed deception campaign that turned the opponent away from the true target until it was too late to counter. The attack on critical race theory, while on a vastly different political theatee, serves a similar purpose.   

Critical race theory is an inflatable tank.  It’s a false radio transmission.  It’s a fake wedding announcement.   

The debate surrounding critical race theory has been designed to draw your attention away from the real attack.  The lawyers and legislators behind the critical race theory bans being introduced and implemented through state legislatures across the country want people to battle it out in the wrong arenas while their efforts advance.  They don’t want us to figure out what they are actually doing until it’s too late.   

The Truth Behind Definitions

In previous work, I have described the See-Think-Do model of military deception.  In the most condensed description, this model describes how deception tactics can mislead an opponent into translating (think) their perceptions (see) into actions that benefit the home team (do).   

In the case of critical theory, deceptions tactics have been applied to ensure that Democrats and Republicans take two very different courses of action.  The path for Republicans is to see the term “critical race theory,” conflate it with Black Lives Matter specifically and “wokeness” in general (think), and support the attack against it like the white supremacists they are (do).  For the Democrats, the strategy is designed to ensure that when they see the term critical race theory, conflate it with teaching about history (think), and start engaging in a rhetorical battle on media and social media platforms over the value of critical race theory and why it should be protected (do).  

It works because neither side really knows what critical race theory means, which is the point.  You can see this in the most recent polling out of YouGov, for example - most of the American public just doesn’t known what it means …

The right has been trained to associate it with Black Lives Matter. (There have been extensive efforts to frame the founders of Black Lives Matter as Marxists because they are trained in Critical Race Theory.  These efforts pre-date the current campaign to ban CRT in education).  The left has been trained to associate it with attacks on the New York Times’ 1619 Project or learning about historic racism in general.  

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 Neither definition is correct. But it’s perception, not definition, that matters.  In fact, it is the lack of a clear public understanding of Critical Race Theory that makes it such a perfect decoy.   

Take a recent Rasmussen poll (Republican-leaning, by the way), which shows

… 43 percent of likely U.S. voters believe teaching Critical Race Theory in public schools will make race relations worse in America.  Only 24 percent think teaching CRT will make race relations better.  Of these, I’m guessing the number of individuals that knows that Critical Theory is a component of formal academic research that is usually only taught in grad school is in the low single digits.   

But even the real definition of Critical Race Theory is irrelevant here.   

The real goal isn’t to end Critical Race Theory. The goal is to end white culpability.  In order to do that, the left must be too distracted by the rhetorical battle to see the legislative onslaught coming, let alone mobilized to stop it.  

No matter what the true definition is, the only definition that carries strategic weight is the definition that is being applied by Republicans in their bills and laws - and it has absolutely nothing to do with actual Critical Race Theory.  

What is Being Banned in the Name of Critical Race Theory?

To find what the white supremacists working through the Republican party are truly trying to legislatively eliminate, we have to look at the actual legislation that is being presented and passed.  These bills and laws are the real tanks.  There are twenty-two states that have proposed bans and six that have passed them into law.  These six that have passed bans are ….

  • Texas

  • Florida

  • Idaho

  • Iowa

  • Oklahoma

  • Tennessee 

So, let’s take a look at what they are banning. 

In Texas

No teacher, administrator, or other employee in any state agency, school district, campus, open-enrollment charter school, or school administration shall be required to engage in training, orientation, or therapy that presents any form of race or sex stereotyping or blame on the basis of race or sex (Translated: Racism happened, but white people had nothing to do with it). 

In Idaho, it can’t be taught …

That individuals, by virtue of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin, are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin (Translated: Reparations is an illegal thought). 

In Oklahoma, similar to Iowa, you can’t discuss the idea that … 

  • an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously (Translated: Police can’t be trained against implicit bias. It doesn’t exist!) 

  • an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex (Translated: no reparations. no race-based trauma treatment. No structural racism) 

  • meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist or were created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race (Translated: you *(@*#($ are just lazy).

Tennessee’s ban is similar but adds …

a ban on discussions that include discussions that include the idea that people are inherently privileged, racist, or oppressive “whether consciously or unconsciously.” (Translated: Can’t forget to end discussions about white privilege while we’re at it). 

As my parenthetical comments are starting to point to, the repercussions of these bills and laws extend far beyond the history classes of an elementary school student.  Anyway, Critical Race Theory is taught in graduate schools.  The narrative surrounding the CRT bans focuses on elementary schools.  The effects of the actual ban will run system-wide.  

Who is Impacted?

In Texas, CRT ban applies to the roles of …

[T]eacher, administrator, or other employee in any state agency, school district, campus, open-enrollment charter school, or school administration.

In Idaho …

[A]dministrators, faculty members, other employees, and students at public schools, including public charter schools and institutions of higher education are forbidden to discuss the items banned in their state in the name of Critical Race Theory. 

Idaho and Oklahoma target similar populations.   

For states modeling their bans after places like Idaho and Oklahoma, white culpability can’t be acknowledged discussed or taught in classrooms from pre-school to higher education. While the importance of the impact that will have on children’s education is important, we should consider the effects that the bans in higher education can potentially have on practitioners in fields such as medicine, psychology, criminal justice, and law.  

How can classes on the 14th Amendment be taught if there is no acknowledgement that discrimination exists?  How can race-related trauma be treated if it is illegal to acknowledge it? How can criminal justice be reformed if discussions on structural racism are criminal?   

For states that want to model themselves after Texas, you can forget about anti-bias training for police officers.  Race based and intergenerational trauma treatments will be eliminated.  Any kind of discussions surrounding diversity and bias will be eliminated from agencies statewide.  People of color will stand to lose their jobs en masse for failing to acquiesce to these gaslights.  The very foundations through which we understand discrimination and fight against it will be removed and replaced with an All Lives Matter flag.   

What Can Be Done?

These bans can and should be challenged in court.  There might need to be a multi-pronged approach, though. As described in the Washington Post,

Since the 1950s — when a Red Scare mentality led legislators to try to ban the teaching of communist or socialist theories in state educational institutions — the Supreme Court repeatedly has held that universities, as well as individual professors, enjoy a First Amendment right to academic freedom. A state government cannot force a university president, provost or professor to serve as a sock puppet for the legislators’ preferred viewpoint.

Elementary school restrictions may be more difficult to undo.   

We are going to need to come together, find and relentlessly apply strategies to counter these efforts inside the courts and legislatures. We can’t do that, though, if we as stuck in a decoy battle over the definition of critical race theory and whether or not it has merit.  We have to look at the problem at hand, identify where we can push back, and relentlessly counter this attack on our abilities to learn about, discuss, and counter racism and white supremacy in this country.  

 

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