Categorizing the oppressed
Published 6:01 pm Friday, November 26, 2021
By Jennifer Rawls
The community members who chastise parents against Critical Race Theory do so based on false assumptions instilled by propaganda from the national media and think tanks who stand to profit from the proliferation of the theory’s institutionalization. They do not want to believe it is implemented via critical pedagogy and praxis and they do not want to believe it is Marxist. They are blinded by their own prejudices and prefer to think that parents against Critical Race Theory want their children taught white-washed history.
Instead, parents are repulsed by critical pedagogy’s rejection of liberal education and critical thinking in favor of illiberal postmodern education based on intersectionality and critical theory. A couple of Google searches and perusing the Va EdEquity website might correct these assumptions. But, I will help explain part of it here.
In 1969, neo-Marxists were at a crossroads. They realized that the traditional class struggle of Soviet-style Communism had failed. Capitalism was stabilizing and made people content. Importantly, the American civil rights movement and its resulting laws made discrimination based on membership in a protected class illegal. Yet, they still believed Marxism would lead to a more idealized way of society. Neo-Marxists just needed to figure out who remained oppressed enough to rise up. Feminist Critical Race theorist, Kimberle Crenshaw, provided that dynamic with her theory of “Intersectionality.”
In 1989, Crenshaw first introduced a traffic intersection analogy to explain discrimination of Black women. Their combined experiences of both racism and sexism can be more complex than the experience of either sexism or racism alone, but courts had rejected the idea of combination discrimination under the Civil Rights Act. Unfortunately, like other aspects of critical theory, Intersectionality has bled out of mere legal theories and into an analysis of systemic power dynamics as conceived by post-modernism to be used as a method of advancing Identity Marxism.
According to the theory, to understand people and social inequality, you must understand that they are shaped by multiple axes that work together and influence each other, rather than a single axis of social division (like race, gender or class). To a certain extent, that makes sense — humans are complex. Unfortunately, Identity Marxists focus entirely on identity factors like ethnicity, race, gender identity, and numerous facets of social stratification that explain a human’s social experience.
When viewed through an intersectional lens, all forms of oppression by all identities are linked into a broad and pervasive Matrix of Domination. Thus, providing the foundation to arrange society into those whose positions on matrix afford privilege (e.g. being White) and others whose positions are oppressive (e.g. being Black). Identity Marxists believe that through solidarity, “oppressed” groups — and their “allies” — will rise up against the “privileged” who have long had their thumbs on the oppressed. Once they rise up and are able to displace the privileged, the world will become more tolerant and social justice may be achieved.
Before attacking others based on what they hear in the media, I encourage community members to do their own research and exercise critical thinking skills. Review the resources suggested by Virginia on its EdEquity website and read them. Have conversations with people you disagree with. They know more about their own beliefs than pundits in national media. Look at the website for Crenshaw’s think tank and see if you find her toolkit for teachers to use to teach CRT. She couches her goal as teaching real history, but she knows she is not being honest. You may even find her “battle map” where she declares “middle class White parents” as enemies. Crenshaw knows that she (and the rest of the DEI industry) stand to lose a lot of money and political power if parents win the “War on CRT.” If you do use critical thinking skills, you might “follow the money and see where it goes.”
Jennifer Rawls is a lifelong resident of Windsor and graduate of Windsor High School. She studied business and history at the College of William & Mary and graduated from law school at Washington & Lee University. She is a full-time attorney and mother to one son.