CRT: Critical Race Theory as Bogeyman

No, I don't think you should be telling me what I can and can't comment on. It is perfectly permissible for me to comment on something that is unimportant, if I wish to do so, even if you would prefer that I did not.

But let's keep in mind what you're complaining about here, lest one of us blows this out of proportion. I wrote:

I assume that Tiassa did not mean to imply that slavery is always racist. Certainly the American experience of slavery was racist, but historically there are plenty of examples of slavery in which race was neither a motivator nor was it advanced as a justification.
I noticed that it was possible to interpret Tiassa's words as trying to imply that slavery is always racist, so I commented. Note that I explicitly said that I assumed this was not what Tiassa meant to imply.

You jumped on me because you made a whole bunch of incorrect assumptions about this. When you asked me whether I wanted to "die on the hill" of assuming something about Tiassa, I said it wasn't very important. I was trying to imply that there was no need for you to make a big issue out of it. But you weren't willing to let it go. And now you're suggesting I shouldn't comment on certain topics. You haven't even said why you'd prefer if I didn't comment. That's bad form, Bells.
No one would have read that and thought that is what he meant.

But you did for reasons I really don't wish to dwell on, because that is your circus with him.

I "jumped" on that statement because it was a troll post and you know it. My point was fairly clear, and there for all to see. In other words, perhaps you should refrain from making comments such as this:

"I assume that Tiassa did not mean to imply that slavery is always racist. Certainly the American experience of slavery was racist, but historically there are plenty of examples of slavery in which race was neither a motivator nor was it advanced as a justification."

When this thread is about CRT and the American perspective and what is currently happening in the US and elsewhere I might add, and then feign ignorance.

At no time did I "feign ignorance". Nor did you ask the question. You just assumed.

Again, let's look at what I actually asked. I had two questions (post #97). I wrote:

I would be interested to see some details about this. Are there certain prescribed texts or curricula that will mandate this teaching?
None of these ["wannabe inbetweeners" or "sniveling notas"] are named in Tiassa's post, although they "stand out" somehow. Who are they?
I expressed ignorance about two things: (1) the details of the Florida middle-school curriculum, and (2) who, exactly, Tiassa might be name-calling and making insinuations about in his post?

These matters of ignorance were not feigned. This is how asking questions works, Bells. The person asking the question desires information that he or she does not currently possess (he or she is "ignorant" about the particular answers, if you insist). Then, the way a polite conversation goes is that somebody responds and says something like "Thanks for your question. Here's some information about the Florida curriculum...." or "Thanks for asking. The sniveling notas I was attempting to insult in my post are X, Y and Z."

What usually doesn't happen is for an explosive response along the lines of "how dare you post that! You should stay away from this topic and never post about it again!"
Oh? You didn't feign ignorance? Is this you?
I would be interested to see some details about this. Are there certain prescribed texts or curricula that will mandate this teaching?
This has been in the news everywhere. You'd basically be living with your head in the sand if you weren't aware of what was happening in Florida.

Proof was provided and it wasn't enough.

People get defensive when you attack them, Bells. It's not that mysterious.

It's particularly baffling when you are attacked by somebody who you would assume would be willing to take your good faith as a given in a discussion.
I am not attacking you James. I am questioning why you chose to post what you posted.

Which comments did I make that were "overly spurious"? What raised your eyebrows? My observation that Tiassa's words could possibly be read in two ways seems to bother you immensely. Why?
Because no one with functioning brain cells would have read his comment and made that comment. Absolutely no one, given the context and subject matter of this thread. So we are left with you either did not know or understand what was being discussed or you decided to die on that hill because you thought you were scoring a point and then decided to back pedal. Either way, was pretty poor form.

I'm not convinced the laws are well reported on, in general. There are a lot of people with various political agendas loudly clamoring for media attention who seem to be selectively talking about the laws. There is a lot of meta-commentary on the laws. But very few, if any, deep-dives into what the laws actually say, what they would prohibit or mandate in practice etc.

Now I could be wrong about this. Maybe there are some highly articulate and well-informed analyses, of which I am currently ignorant. (This would not be "feigned ignorance", note.) Hence, I had the temerity to ask the question and to suggest that, you know, maybe it would be nice to delve into some actual details a bit. But apparently, I'm not supposed to ask those sorts of questions, or I'll be acccused of feigning ignorance or of wanting to die on a hill for my supposed radical opinions (which are, in fact, nowhere in evidence).
The reports are factual and there have been numerous interviews of DeSantis where he was loudly defending the laws themselves. I linked you the guidelines for educators and schools for how Sociology would be taught in schools - and it does not even cover racism anywhere. Given US history, doesn't this strike you as strange? These guidelines exist because they have to abide by the law that has literally banned CRT in classrooms.

Use your own critical thinking skills here, James. Why do you think schools and teachers are barred from discussing racism or teaching racism or having students consider how some laws, regulations and policies may have historically and currently impacted minorities negatively? Let's consider that "race" is a social construct. How does that affect your critical lens? Consider what teachers are saying about the laws in Florida and what they are directly experiencing?
Taking your points in order:
  • At no time did I "complain" about somebody describing slavery in the US as being racist. On the contrary, I described it that way myself, explicitly.
  • I have no idea what that "what-about-ism" might be, or why it's a problem for you.
  • I have nowhere feigned ignorance.
  • There is nothing wrong with my asking Tiassa a question as to relevance. You may, from time to time, have noticed that his posts tend to be discursive, to say the least.
If only you had actually asked a question "as to relevance". We would not be having this conversation. Your question was not even related to this thread's topic and it was, by any definition either a troll post or one based on absolute ignorance. But you weren't feigning ignorance. Sooo.. Where does that leave us?

I ask, because who in their right mind, in a discussion about CRT and in particular, how Florida has enacted laws that directly impact education and particularly, is trying to paint positives of slavery, would enter that discussion and have a bit of a wobbly that someone was painting slavery as always being racist...? Make this make sense for me James.

"Anti-woke" is a buzzword, as is the "Stop Woke Act". A lot of people speak as if this Act has banned the teaching and discussion of racism, gender and more in schools. You speak of it that way. However, so far I'm not convinced that's what it does. I would like to know more about what the law actually says, like I said.

I very much doubt that the term "woke" appears anywhere in the legislation. It seems like it is a sort of banner for a certain political position to rally behind. (Actually, I think that, these days, the original meaning of the term itself has been largely subverted by the hard Right.)

Also, I would be interested to know what motivated this particular Act. What perceived harms are the Florida legislature trying to address with this law? What are the advertised benefits of the Act?
I don't know James. Have a think about why a Governor who had imposed laws to prevent black people from voting, has banned healthcare when it pertains to Trans kids in particular, has banned teachers from discussing racism or the impact of racism on society... What do you think motivated "this particular Act"?

You might want to let DeSantis know this then...

The law is also known as the Individual Freedom Act and Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act (ie Stop WOKE Act)...

Why are you asking what are the advertised benefits of the Act? I thought you already know this stuff? What do you think the benefits of this Act would be? Who would benefit? What groups in society would benefit if American history, LGBTQIA+ rights, African American history and rights are barred? Have a think about it.

The curriculum includes a lot of teaching about slavery, as far as I can see. It seems to cover the history of slavery, the experiences of slaves, particulars about how the "system" of slavery was administered, how and why slavery was abolished in the United States, etc.

Is there nothing in the Florida curriculum about the social impacts of slavery, or the long-term disadvantages to African Americans that sprang out of it? Is the teaching of these things actually banned explicitly?
How can they teach about slavery in the US without addressing racism? How can they teach about the Jim Crow Laws without addressing racism?

Because I don't know if you're aware, but when it comes to these subjects, "racism" is a pretty giant pink elephant in the room. I'll put it to you this way, in a manner that might make it make sense for you. Can you teach physics without mathematics?

I'll address the rest later.
The One Thing You Shouldn't Be Is Surprised


There is no point in throwing our hands up and pretending shock. This is how it's gone for decades. Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent↱ explains:

Kim Reynolds, Iowa's Republican governor, signed a law in May that, among other provisions, requires schools to remove books that depict a "sex act." That statutory phrase has now helped unleash a frenzy of book-banning across the state, one that illustrates a core truth about these types of censorship directives.

Their vagueness is the point.

When GOP-controlled state legislatures escalated the passage of laws in 2022 and 2023 restricting school materials addressing sex, gender and race, critics warned that their hazy drafting would prod educators to err on the side of censorship. Uncertain whether books or classroom discussions might run afoul of their state's law, education officials might decide nixing them would be the "safer" option.

What's happening in Iowa right now thoroughly vindicates those fears.

In Iowa City, the district released a list of sixty-eight titles to be removed in order to comply with the law, including Joyce's Ulysses, Picoult's Nineteen Minutes, and Morrison's The Bluest Eye; perhaps most symbolically fitting, Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale, is on the list.

Other schools have banned Orwell's 1984, Huxley's Brave New World, Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, and even Groom's Forrest Gump.

The Iowa law requires K-12 schools to remove materials that depict any one of a series of sex acts that include intercourse and other types of genital contact. The law also bans instruction on gender identity or sexual orientation before seventh grade ....

.... To be clear, what's happening here is not necessarily the fault of the districts themselves. Their administrators have worked for months to determine which books must be removed to comply with the law. They've asked the state for guidance, but it has mostly not been forthcoming — leaving them in the tough position of navigating the law on their own.

That has led districts to flag books with depictions of "sex acts" that aren't lascivious or lewd and often aren't important parts of their content, said Margaret Buckton, a lobbyist for the Rural School Advocates of Iowa. As Buckton told me, "fear" is "motivating districts to interpret even vague descriptions of a 'sex act' that aren't pornographic as meeting this definition."

Nor is it just in Iowa; Morrison is banned in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, schools; Orwell and Atwood have been pulled from schools in Missouri. Children's publisher Scholastic is now creating lists for schools, in order to help school organizers comply with censorship laws in places like Iowa and Missouri. However, the list "also includes uncontroversial books that merely display tolerance for LGBTQ+ people or tell the life story of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson", Sargent notes, suggesting, "Putting such books in that cordoned-off category could risk making them more likely to be excluded from fairs." And, yes, that is what is happening.

Just as critics predicted, all this vagueness and uncertainty is actively encouraging local education officials to sweep ever more broadly, undertaking more and more book removals in a kind of ever-expanding vortex. In this, one might argue, those laws are functioning exactly as intended.

CRT, War On Woke, "Cancel Culture", the overlap is obvious. Insofar as "critics predicted", they had a pretty solid historical record to work with, and neither such predictions nor fulfillments are new. This is where they were going eight years ago, when backing Trump; it's where they were going fifteen years ago, when bawling about Obama; it's where they were going twenty years ago, when justifying Freedom Fries and the Iraqi Bush War; it's where they were going thirty years ago, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy years ago: homosexuals, women, black people, women, communists.

Even in the nigh on quarter-century of our own Sciforums community, there have been those we are expected to believe cannot discern the difference. More than simplistic suggestions of hypocrisy↗, the functional point is so clearly observable↗ that the question becomes unavoidable. Censorship as an assertion of free speech is a pretty straightforward contrast; perhaps the answer is that it's not so much a question of who can't see it, but, rather, who would prefer to pretend they don't. Because American conservatives have been telling us for years, generations, even↗. And, sure, for many of the inbetweeners, maybe it was some sort of accident, because life is a learning experience, and all, but what really would be helpful is if they could tell us what they thought the right-wingers were doing that whole time.

And who knows, maybe the excuses really are that much worse than just losing shit and complaining about the question.


Sargent, Greg. "How the 'sex act' has become a potent weapon for book banners in Iowa". The Washington Post. 19 October 2023. 19 October 2023.