• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    darthvelma on The Roads Not Taken
    darthvelma on The Roads Not Taken
    jmac on The Roads Not Taken
    Propertius on The Roads Not Taken
    Propertius on The Roads Not Taken
    Propertius on The Roads Not Taken
    Propertius on The Roads Not Taken
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on The Roads Not Taken
    HerStoryRepeating on The best way to understand the…
    darthvelma on The best way to understand the…
    riverdaughter on The best way to understand the…
    Propertius on The Perversion of the Supreme…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on The best way to understand the…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on The best way to understand the…
    Alessandro Machi on The best way to understand the…
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    October 2021
    S M T W T F S
     12
    3456789
    10111213141516
    17181920212223
    24252627282930
    31  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Fundraising Update: Slow But Hit A Tier
      DONATE OR SUBSCRIBE We’ve raised $5,820. I am grateful to everyone who has given. The fundraiser is, however, going the slowest of any I’ve ever done, which I expect is because of Covid. We’ve reached the first tier: A longer article on the collapse of the USSR, putting everything I’m aware of together. In particular I want to discuss the steps Gorbachev too […]
  • Top Posts

“Critical Race Theory”–The New Election Killer?

Some people may not agree with everything I say here, which is fine. It is still very important to discuss.

We are now hearing about “Critical Race Theory,” every day. It is the new bete noire and election theme of Republicans, very much like “Defund the Police,” or “The Caravan of Immigrants Traveling Up From Central America” were in recent elections. President Biden, commenting on the surprising loss of House seats in 2020, said something to the effect that “we were hammered by ‘Defund the Police,'” meaning that in various districts, Republicans were able to tie the Democratic candidate and the party to this slogan or supposed policy position.

Very few people want to defund the police. Certainly BIden doesn’t, nor do about 98% of the Democrats who hold office. But in the anger of the previous summer, which led to various demonstrations. and occasionally burning and looting, there were various signs reading “Defund the Police!” Who made up these signs–people on the Left who believe in it, or instigators on the Right who jump at the chance to fuel anger among their base–is never easy to determine. I do know that there were various Black people who were commentators on TV cable shows, who expressed some openness to reducing funds or support for police departments. They were “speaking their own truth,” as the current saying goes, but they certainly did not help Democratic candidates.

It is very difficult for Biden or any Democrat in high office to keep trying to explain that the policies of the party in no way encompass such radical notions. One of the Republicans’ most effective techniques is to try to find something which scares the average White citizen, and convinces them that if you elect Democrats, this is what you are going to see happen.

So now it is Critical Race Theory, which Republicans contend is going to be taught in schools to brainwash and indoctrinate students. Glenn Youngkin, a Trump loyalist who pretends not to be, and has been desperately trying to gain traction in the Governor’s race in Virginia, got his largest applause at a recent speech where he said that he would ban Critical Race Theory from being taught. That race is now very close by polling, and it is an important one. Once again, Republicans look for a way to deflect the voters’ attention from truly important issues, on to something which they think will evoke an emotional response, enough for them to sneak into power. It works far too often, and some of it is our doing, at least from some of the people who profess to support the Democratic Party

I looked up the term “Critical Race Theory,” and it is not all that clear what it means, though one can read about the first time that it was generally used in published articles, which was in the 1980’s. Maybe some of you have a more precise idea than I do; to me it is a general and somewhat diffuse theory which focuses on the ways that racism insinuates itself into the structures: political, economic, linguistic, to create inequalities and prejudices. If Marxism was originally a theory of economic determinism (economic power and inequalities determine everything), Critical Race Theory seems to propose that race, and general racism, determine everything in our society.

Some proponents of teaching CRT in schools would say that it does not go that far, that it simply presents interesting information, and a way of looking at things, which should be included in the curriculum. It certainly is not something whose curriculum is well established, such as a particular class in English literature, or the History of Western Civilization, might be. So different schools and different teachers might teach it in different ways, and that is part of the problem.

I have read that some parents of White children are concerned that such teachings will make their kids feel guilty or unhappy, as if they, or their race, are the cause of the problems in America, or that their ancestors, or even parents, were bad people. I can actually empathize with this, even if it is overwrought. My ancestors came to America from Russia and Austria in the early 1900’s. They were working people. They had nothing whatsoever to do with slavery in their countries. Nor did they have anything to do with slavery in this country.

My parents were liberal Democrats, and certainly supported the integration of schools in the South, enforced by the National Guard, in the 1950’s and 1960’s. They voted for Kennedy and Johnson and Humphrey and Clinton and all of the other Democratic candidates for president who were champions of civil rights. Should they, or I, have to sit in class and listen to a litany of how racism is everywhere, and if a minority person does not get a job or a promotion, it is likely the cause of it? I would not want to, and I can understand how parents now would not wan to.

I think that CRT and related concepts should be taught in university, as an elective course. Not in secondary or elementary schools. It is too fraught with ideology. I know that many on the Right are convinced that professors in college try to indoctrinate students into “Leftist” philosophies, but I and anyone else who has gone to college, knows that to be ridiculous. College students are too aware to be indoctrinated into anything, nor do the professors seek to do it. Of course there is a general liberal-humanist aspect, which I think relates to the nature of history and the arts, which provide a deeper understanding of human nature, our commonality, and a window into other lives and choices. So most professors, particularly in the humanities, are ‘liberal,” but they would no necessarily see it as in political terms, though they usually vote Democratic.

Some like to speak of slavery as “America’s Original Sin.” I do not believe in the Protestant concept of “original sin,” so I do not like the term. Slavery was an inhuman thing. It did exist in ancient times: in Egypt, in Babylon, in Greece and Rome. It continued in later eras, in Europe, and Asia, and Africa. It came to America. It was permitted by political agreement, to be legal south of the so-called Mason-Dixon line. Eventually a Civil War was fought, for various reasons, but principally because of slavery. Many young men in the North were killed or badly injured, fighting for the end of slavery, though obviously some of them fought for other reasons or necessities. Finally, slavery was outlawed in this country.

But of course that did not mean the end of racism, or efforts by various states to keep Black people from voting, or gaining jobs. We see this today, every day that one of the Republican-controlled states like Texas or Georgia tries to create districts where Black people cannot be elected, or even vote. It is not something that we can ignore, or look to courts to fix, as the Supreme Court has been stacked with judges who will not step in to fix districts which states draw for the purpose of minimizing minorities.

On the other hand, should it be requisite for schools to teach a curriculum which might generally say that White people are oppressing Black people? Again, it depends on how CRT is taught. I do not agree with some of the things which apparently are part of the CRT curricula. And just in general, not to say that this is a part of it, I do not believe that every White American is guilty of having done or thought something condemnable regarding race. And do not believe that immigrants here all took on the sin of slavery when they set foot on the shore.

If someone in America moves to France, does he or she now bear guilt for the cruelties of the Ancien Regime, or the Reign of Terror? Germany is one of my least favorite countries, but I do not think that an American who moves there becomes guilty of Nazi horrors . So speaking only for myself, if I were a teenager, I would not want to have to take a course in Critical Race Theory. But if a curriculum included a class on the history of slavery here, and the Civil Rights movement, I would think that it was appropriate. What the difference is, is not that easy to pinpoint, but I think it has to do with learning history and social studies, rather than dogma which has an agenda behind it.

Our problem is that Critical Race Theory controversy can do the same thing that the “defund the police” red herring did, which is to help fascists and racists get elected. People who vote Republican have this belief that liberals are trying to force ideologies and policies down their throats. This is mostly ridiculous, but not completely. A course which would focus on “White racism” and how it is the reason for Blacks not attaining this level, or that success, would be an example of what they are complaining about. And the CRT proponents seem determined to keep emphasizing these things, even as Republicans try to take their right to vote away, and make an abortion for any woman who was not wealthy enough to travel to another state essentially impossible. And to destroy the environment of America and the planet.

I do watch certain sports, not others, and it is rather remarkable how there are now so many commercials featuring Black actors. I certainly do not count them, but I am sure it is a reaction to George Floyd, and the events of the last year. That is good, at least for the actors trying to make a living. I do not think it solves the problems that the proponents of CRT want to be addressed. I don’t know specifically what, or how they want them to be addressed. I do not generally like classroom teaching which starts from a particular position. I do think that such courses should be available as electives, not as requirements.

I think that “we” keep getting defeated in many electoral respects, at least partly because we have these political wings which are determined to have their way, to be able to “teach” people what they want them to “know.” And the Right Wing simply presents that as, “Look what Democrats want to force you to hear and be told.” And people, not all of them bad or prejudiced people, do not like that, and so they get misdirected, and vote for very bad people. If this continues, the people who push for CRT to be part of school curricula, may win such battles in some places, but lose the war in total. The very example of a Pyrrhic victory. But they do not seem to care to see it, so caught up are they in their own anger, and demand that everybody be required to hear what they have to say.

26 Responses

  1. William, just some thoughts. No disagreements (I generally agree with most things you say), just my way of looking at these issue, i.e. all just my opinion.

    Firstly, I don’t think anyone who is a serious thinker wants to ‘defund the police’, but I think they would all agree that there is NO need to have every police department coming storming in with military style equipment that they have obtained. I wouldn’t go so far as to say we should have a police force like the Brits do, where they have many (maybe most) officers unarmed, and some armed police, but having swat teams on every police force in the US who ride around in armored vehicles is a bit much, and unnecessary in my opinion.

    One of the Republicans’ most effective techniques is to try to find something which scares the average White citizen, and convinces them that if you elect Democrats, this is what you are going to see happen.

    I cannot disagree with what you are saying, BUT, to me the issue is that many of today’s “average White citizens” have been created during the last 40+ years where the GOP has been actively dumbing-down America (my opinion), and thus it is easier to find that one thing like ‘defund’ the police instead of ‘demilitarize’, which, possibly was used, because if fit on the poster better.

    I know that many on the Right are convinced that professors in college try to indoctrinate students into “Leftist” philosophies, but I and anyone else who has gone to college, knows that to be ridiculous.

    This is a direct result of the Republican/Conservative doctrine that states if you repeat something often enough and say it loud enough over time it becomes taken as fact. I am not certain exactly when I first heard this, because I thought it to be such bullshit I didn’t lend it any credence. This one meme plus both-siderism may be the two most successful examples of this particular technique, which IMO, I should have never ignored because it has us where we are today.

    College students are too aware to be indoctrinated into anything, nor do the professors seek to do it.

    Sadly, here I think you are falling into the same trap that many of our ‘older’ democratic politicians fall into, where you are remembering how things were, not necessarily how they are. I most certainly hope you are correct, but I fear you are not. It’s not the liberal professors doing the indoctrination now, it’s the conservative.

    People who vote Republican have this belief that liberals are trying to force ideologies and policies down their throats.

    Exactly. They have believed ‘whole hog’ the nonsense that Republicans have been pushing. Again, an example of Republicans doing (and probabaly doing it much better) something they accuse the Democrats of doing.

    Take this for example (note that I am not trying to imbed the image, click the link).
    Does this woman truly believe that she looks like an educated parent here? I know that if I were on that school board I might be afraid of her and her ilk, but certainly not because she is educated.

    So speaking only for myself, if I were a teenager, I would not want to have to take a course in Critical Race Theory. But if a curriculum included a class on the history of slavery here, and the Civil Rights movement, I would think that it was appropriate.

    I do not think there should be any school board in existence where they are seriously considering adding a course in CRT. In my opinion, the key word is Critical as in Critical Thinking. I believe that in high school I was given the seeds of learning how to think critically but did not fully grasp them until years later. Full disclosure: I went to a Catholic high school (graduated in 69) and was taught by brothers, so my experience my be different from others.

    I think that “we” keep getting defeated in many electoral respects, at least partly because we have these political wings which are determined to have their way, to be able to “teach” people what they want them to “know.” And the Right Wing simply presents that as, “Look what Democrats want to force you to hear and be told.”

    I cannot argue with your last quoted statement, because it is yet another example of the Republicans/conservatives repeating and saying loudly what they want their rubes to believe. Sadly, many will believe it (for example the woman in the link above). I do not know how we can combat this quickly. The Republicans have spent 40+ years working on this, and I don’t think we can simply rip the band-aid off now.

    • Yes, Republicans have made a living on scaring people as to what the Democrats will do to them. “Communism! Atheism! Mas rebellion! “The Catcher in the Rye!!”Unwashed hippies! Burning flags! Not supporting our wars! Indoctrinating children! Abortion as birth control! Socialism! Cuba! NIcaragua! Venezuala! Immigrant Caravans!! Taking away your holidays! You cannot say “Merry Christmas any more!” It goes on and on, but it must work to some extent, because the Republicans have no actual policies designed to help the average American. Their program is only to give more money to the rich, and hide it by deflecting onto their invented cultural issues.

      My thought was that we might do better not giving them ammunition such as CRT, But of course the “We” is not unified, it is different groups which have their own views, and demand that they be put front and center. Youngkin will remove mask mandates, and that should be a lot more frightening to voters than CRT. Of course, we all remember 1988, and how the three issues most covered by the media were “Willie Horton,” “Boston Harbor,” and “flag burning.”

      • My thought was that we might do better not giving them ammunition such as CRT

        I just don’t know how you do that, sort of forcing every Democrat not to say anything, because the right wing noise machine will search every video clip until the find the one they can twist.

        • Well, yes, there’s that. The Far Right will seize on anything. Of course we should not be intimidated into not speaking our minds. But I do think that CRT is not something that we want to keep debating about, because most people would not want it taught in schools, as if it were accepted historical or social analysis. It is polemical, in my view. If they want to teach it along with a bunch of other conflicting theories, that is one thing;, but I don’t think that is the goal, they see it as dogma.

  2. CRT is not taught at primary or secondary levels now. This is just more reactionary panic-mongering, aimed at unenlightened white folks (reminder; I’m white).

    • That is important to note. I had thought that the push by the proponents was to make CRT requisite. Some may want to. However, CRT is not a course of study, it is a way of looking at things that some people have. I could see it brought up in a Sociology or maybe a Political Science class, but certainly not as a course in itself. And “teaching CRT” sounds inapt, because at least to me, it is not really a theory, it is an interpretation.

      I think we agree that the most important aspect is the way that CRT has been propagandized by the Right, which always wants to find some target to focus their voters against. And it is always in the manner of, “The liberals are going to force you to hear this,,” or, “They are going to take this away from you.” Liberals do not do this, they do not say, “Republicans are going to throw you in prison if you criticize a Republican official.” They are going to censor the press” “They are going to force every student to take religious-themed courses, and institute prayers in schools.” This is probably all true, but Democrats don’t say it, they almost always just focus on policy. So the incendiary issues of campaigns are always the fears and anger stoked by Republicans. And very unfortunately these tend to work to at least some extent. So maybe we need to change our approach in that regard? Otherwise we present an undefended target.

    • As for CRT, frankly I see it most commonly mentioned on right-wing sites who seem to be using it as some sort of general purpose racialist bogeyman: basically as a variation on the whole “14 words”/”You will not replace us” racial panic theme. Yeah, looking at a few journal articles there do seem to be some CRT theorists who have some pretty odd proposals, but I don’t know of these actually being implemented anywhere. I do see a lot of people on the right citing CRT as a justification for glossing over the role of slavery in US history and all the attendant social evils that have followed from it.

    • Great point from Ivory Bill. We had a school board candidate running here in our Oregon suburb whose primary platform was scaremongering about CRT. The school district stated several times during her campaign that they were not teaching, nor were they planning to teach, CRT. This story has a happy ending–she lost, because the people who were opposed to her lies and nonsense did a good job spreading the word about what the truth of the matter was. I’ve heard from multiple educators and activists of color that CRT is only taught at law school level–it is not appropriate subject matter for children. Now, schools at the elementary or secondary levels may want to teach about diversity and anti-racism…that is different, and I think could be done in an appropriate way. But you are correct that the right is extremely good at fearmongering.

  3. I forget where I read it, but someone said only two groups of people really believed Communism could succeed: devoted Communists and devoted anti-Communists. The latter were fervent, even paranoid, because they really thought Communism could take over the world. I suspect that partially was due to the success of the Communists in suppressing just how badly their countries were doing.

    I see a similar mentality to that of the fear-ridden anti-Communists among some of our fellow liberals and leftists. They fear that the Elephascists (aka Grim Reaper Party, aka GRP, formerly GOP) will imminently recapture full control of the Federal Government and impose their Thousand Year White Trash Reich.

    If that were likely, how did the Elephascists ever lose the full control of the Fed. Govt. that they enjoyed in 2017 and 2018?

    Why isn’t the Orange Traitor still polluting the White House with his presence?

    I think many of our peers are suffering from a sort of PTSD, from seeing pigs sprouting wings and soaring over the frozen plains of Hell in November 2016.

    • it is a worthwhile and hopeful point! But some who have studied the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1930’a, see many parallels; such as the Beer Hall Putsch being a trial run. I do have some hope that there are enough good people in our country that they will simply not allow their rights to be taken away, but one has to admit that there are very concerning signs with regard to the vote suppression laws. I hope that someone in high places has a gameplan.

      • Vote suppression, feh.

        If the Malefactors of Great Wealth are stupid enough to push the masses into rebellion, by leaving them no peaceful route to reform, then who will defend the Malefactors, after Corona-chan has scythed the ranks of their White Trash Myrmidons, who disproportionately refuse the vaccines?

        *****************************

        Personal note:

        William, I don’t know if you’re familiar with a certain fellow I will not name, who was Riverdaughter’s right-hand man some years ago. He went over to the Dark Side, and many of RD’s regulars followed him. I almost followed them down the rabbit hole, and I am not sure what stopped me.

        You seem to have assumed that right-hand man role now. I don’t worry that you’ll go Saruman like he did, but I am concerned that you might go Denethor; that is, you won’t turn traitor, but you might succumb to despair, as Denethor did in The Lord of the Rings.

        Our enemies will seem mighty right up until their day of doom, just as the dinosaurs were Lords of the Earth until the asteroid hit.

        They’ve done an astonishing job of staving off their inevitable demographic collapse–the voting suppression is their latest, panicked attempt to do that–but their doom approaches, even if not as quickly as you and I might like.

        • He really slipped a cog, didn’t he?

        • IBW, I appreciate the encouraging words. No, I will not succumb to despair on this site. That would not help anyone. I do have hope, though I will say, that if one watches Maddow or Hayes or some other ones supposed to be on our side, even Nicollle Wallace, who tries hard to get the word out as to what is going on, one can be depressed.

          You have good insights in this regard, though I do not think that “the masses” will take up arms, so we are going to have to figure out how to fight the bad guys without violence, and none of us want violence; besides, they have all the guns. I try to discuss things in a way which I think reflects what is going on ,but never to say that we should all give up, or even be depressed. Let me know if I sink into that! I admit that if we lose the next elections, I might not be too optimistic that we can dig our way out, but I do have some hopes that we will do better than the regular pundits keep saying.

          As to the person you refer to, I did not know exactly what happened to him. Those were the dark days of the summer of 2008, going into 2009. There is a site you may have mentioned visiting a bit, The Crawdad Hole, which I took a look at once, and was aghast at how Far Right it was. I sometimes look at the posts here from 2008 and 2009, and as is my nature, I wonder what happened to many of those people. I am afraid that some of them got so upset at what happened to Hillary in 2008 and 2016, that they lost heart, which is understandable but sad.

      • Oh, and Hitler only was able to take over because the German military of the period acquiesced, chiefly because the forces of the status quo feared the also-powerful Communist street movement–so they wanted the Nazis as allies.

        No such mighty force of left-wing militants exists in the USA, nor is such a force likely to emerge in the foreseeable future, so our status quo forces lack that incentive to throw in with our bargain-basement fascists.

        Remember–when the Orange Traitor demanded a military escort in order to waddle to a nearby church to hold a Bible upside-down, the brass refused him. That was why Bill Barr had to put together a pick-up team of assorted Federal Fuzz.

  4. A small nit: the doctrine of Original Sin isn’t “Protestant”. It is generally deemed to originate with Augustine (Book XIV of De civitate Dei contra paganos) – although Augustine cites several of Paul’s letters as authority. It’s a very important doctrine in Catholicism, since the whole sacrament of baptism kind of depends on it. If there’s no Original Sin, there’s really no theological need for baptism

    • I was going to look it up, but relied on what I knew already, so your precise discussion is valuable. I do know that the first letter of the alphabet book read by children in Puritan New England, started with “A” “With Adam’s Fall, we sinned all.”

      • Absolutely – it’s a fundamental tenet of Christianity in general.

        • Exactly. It’s Pauline Christianity, not specifically Catholic or Protestant.

          From Paul’s Letter to the Romans:

          Romans 5:12 (KJV) Wherefore, as by one man [Adam], sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned

      • William, I’m impressed that you are familiar with the rhyme “With Adam’s Fall, we sinned all.”

        It is from “The New-England Primer” which was first published in Boston during the 1680’s and became the principal reading primer in the Colonies. It is theologically Calvinist in its teachings.

        • As an English major, it is something I learned a little about, as I think that it was one of the earliest examples of American literature.

    • Agreed. Original sin is Catholic Doctrine. And though William did not fall into this trap, the Thesis: Dharma of the Fathers, I discussed in the prior post does, and it is an extremely common misconception: The Immaculate Conception has nothing to do with Jesus’ birth, it is the Catholic doctrine that states that Mary was conceived without original sin. This concept was so important that it is/was one of the Catholic Holy Days of obligation that was celebrated on December 8th, Mary’s birth being September 8th.

      • Good point.

        People often confuse the Immaculate Conception (the doctrine that the Virgin Mary was born without the “stain” of original sin) with the Virgin Birth (the doctrine that Jesus was conceived by the Virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit, not through sexual intercourse, and therefore she remained a virgin).

  5. “It [i.e. Slavery] came to America. It was permitted by political agreement, to be legal south of the so-called Mason-Dixon line. ”

    Why “so-called”? It’s just the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania, surveyed in colonial times by two guys named Mason and Dixon.

    I have general issues with this statement because it’s not strictly true, although the line did govern admission of new states after the Missouri Compromise (which is what I think you’re referring to). The ugly fact is that slavery was legal in every single one of the 13 original colonies (as well as Canada, where slaves mainly served as domestics in wealthy households). In colonial times, there was even a slave market in New York City. Massachusetts and Rhode Island maritime companies were heavily involved in the “Triangle Trade”: in fact, there were regular slave auctions in Boston in colonial times (right in front of Faneuil Hall, since Peter Faneuil owed much of his fortune to the slave trade). I’d include links, but those don’t seem to work real well with your posts.

    In the first US Census, every single state except New Hampshire reported at least some enslaved people, by the second census there were, IIRC, a couple even there.

    It is true that the Constitutional Convention very nearly prohibited slavery (even members of the powerful Virginia delegation, including Madison himself, backed this to start). It’s tragic that the members of the Convention backed down on this. That’s the original sin, in my view. I think it’s inherently hypocritical to write a legal framework to guarantee the liberty of a country while permitting a substantial portion of the population to be reduced to property that can legally be kidnapped, bought, sold, raped, tortured, or killed at the whim of others. I think we’ve been paying the price for this ever since.

    The Mason-Dixon line was surveyed in the 1760s. At the time it was established, slavery was legal everywhere in the Colonies (and Canada). Even when it was later referenced in the Missouri Compromise in 1820 (which is what I think you’re talking about), slavery was still legal in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire, Ohio, Indiana, and several other states north of the line. It had been abolished in Massachusetts in 1780, because the courts found it violated the state constitution’s guarantees of liberty.

    So, at the time you’re thinking of, slavery was “allowed” pretty much everywhere in the country. This is why the Missouri Compromise was actually a great victory for the Abolitionists, although it doesn’t sound like one from our modern perspective.

    In fact, New Jersey *never* abolished slavery on its own. It took the 13th Amendment to do that. There were enslaved people in New Jersey all the way through the Civil War.

    There weren’t a lot of enslaved people in these States, because they lacked the plantation economy that made it so very profitable (although enslaved people worked as domestics, craftspeople, and factory workers in these states). Economic necessity isn’t a proxy for virtue. It’s easy to abolish an evil that isn’t a core component of your economy.

    Slavery even persisted in some of the new free states. Consider a case that’s kind of close to home for you, California. California entered the Union as a free state (after a very contentious legal battle). Even though this was true, there were a number of enslaved people in California because their masters had come from slave states, brought their slaves with them before statehood, and simply held onto them in defiance of the law after statehood. Even though California was legally free, the new state also enforced a number of restrictive racial measures.

    So yeah, the legacy of slavery is an American problem rather than one confined to a particular region of the country. I think that’s the crux of the CRT argument, and I don’t think there’s any question that it has some validity.

    • Propertius, I appreciate the illuminating scholarly discussion! I did write “so-called,” meaning, “that was what it was called” not “it was a made-up name for it.” It could have been called something else, of course. And my essay was about CRT, so I shorthanded the slavery history for convenience, though your valuable precision here certainly adds more depth to it. I read a book in college which had many essays by historians about the causes of the Civil War, and they were more varied than it being just about slavery. I t is a fascinating topic.

      As far as CRT having validity, it may have some, depending on how it is taught. But why is it being taught? Are there any other non-scientific theories which make up a major part of specific course in school? As we know, here are many social science theories, in economics, psychology, political science,;but no one pushes for them to be taught, in the way that some want CRT to be taught. Usually, many different theories in a subject are brought up, and debated, but I don’t think that this is what is going on here. I admit that I am not intimately familiar with the arguments the proponents make for teaching CRT, but it is my view that they want it taught because they believe in it, and they want to emphasize their argument that racism permeates every aspect of our culture, and that it would take a massive revision of all areas of government, education, hiring practices, literature, to weed it all out. I do not agree with that, and I think that it is a political and social argument attempting to pose as a theory.

    • Propertius, your range of knowledge is indeed impressive!

      Correct me if I am wrong but isn’t a key component of CRT the argument that White people in this country have continued to profit from an economic system that was originally built in considerable part by slave labor? This would include White people who came to the United States after slavery was abolished, as well as Whites who live in states where slavery was largely absent.

      I can see merit in this argument, although I am not one who believes in either original sin or collective guilt.

  6. Very interesting and informative discussions on this post. A rarity in today’s blog world!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: