Critical Race Theory as a Tool for Social Reconstruction: Why Consistently Omit Its Stated Purpose?

Welcome to 2022. This post starts a series that once again gets to the essence of what educational practices and standards are intended to act as a handmaiden for–the transformation of individual consciousness. That amalgamation of values, attitudes, beliefs, and emotions that motivate behavior, often at a subliminal level. It’s no accident that the civil rights slogan for schools all over the US and frequently elsewhere calls for Equity and Excellence. It sounds fair and few places other than here at ISC have laid out that the meaning of Excellence is getting at students at the level of what they think, want, and feel as psychologist and cultural evolutionist Mihaly Csikzsentmihalyi (Csik) laid out decades ago. Now he pushes much the same globally as Part of the Positive Psychology orientation of the schools which is why he has a tag here at ISC.

The point is that if education practices and standards, especially when coordinating with the media and think tanks around the same messaging and conceptual framing of real events, can change enough individual mindsets and worldviews, we get a deliberately changed culture. Julian Huxley, the founder of UNESCO, knew that and hoped for it as I covered in my book Credentialed to Destroy. I just didn’t fully appreciate how widely spread and coordinated that common aim to force cultural evolution was when I wrote CtD. That’s what we are talking about here and in companion posts. It’s how this relates to my discussion of the Chinese concept of Tianxia, which has a common purpose and function. It also seeks to use the student and adult’s mind, heart, and soul as instruments to be manipulated by the state for political ends.

I have covered Uncle Karl’s Human Development Society, its ties to Humanist Marxism and need for a Moral Revolution at a psychological level numerous times here at ISC as it just keep coming up. It seeks to use education to target a person’s internalized reflexivity–the internalized process whereby perception affects actions because it is the social world and its institutions that need to be transformed. That is the repeated stated purpose of CRT and its new moniker–Anti-Racist Education– as I will show today. If someone writes or states that Marx was a historical materialist and did not write about psychological aims, they do not know his work, no matter how lofty their title, how famous the publication they are writing for, or how deep the pockets are of their funding source. If someone writes an article that CRT has no place in K-12 education because it is a ‘legal theory’ and should be confined to law schools, they are not familiar with the Bibliographies in relevant sites like this one and what the cited sources say must be changed in K-12.

CRT is a tool to get at individual consciousness. It is NOT a body of knowledge or part of a set of information students are to learn. As that link above from the Center for Anti-Racist Education lays out in “Our Vision for an Antiracist Future”, CRT is about transitioning to a more just future where governments and laws will restructure economies and social institutions like workplaces so that “we look to a future where the promise of equality is upheld for everyone”. Democracy is not about elections so much in this vision, but about a purpose that almost sounds like a Portrait of a Graduate from local schools. As a new book coming out called For the Common Good put it recently, the shift to “a more just social order…is not a morally optional undertaking. The claim that community members have to a social order that protects and advances their ability to pursue a reasonable life plan” is to now be implemented and enforced.

That Vision quotes Nelson Mandela “that education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” and the last Principle calls for an aim to Create Just Systems. That’s Social Reconstruction, even if the author of the recent Conflict Campaign brief on the horrors of state-anti-CRT legislation only briefly alludes to the transition to a more just order as the CRT purpose in her paper being hyped here to inflame partisan discourse around what can, cannot, or must be allowed in K-12 schools. The actual report basically accuses the writers of the legislation of wanting to go back to the Jim Crow era, which ought to be a clue as to how useful this tool of Critical Consciousness can be. Since everyone can read those graphic Principles themselves, let’s jump to the explicit intentions laid out in the References, including the book from the main author of the above paper–Mica Pollock–from 2008 called Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real about Race in School .

Here’s a sampling from that book she edited that fits with the Social Reconstruction purpose mentioned above:

My greatest challenge as a teacher educator has been to help white students and students of color understand that racism is not simply a personal attitude or individual disposition and that feeling guilty or ‘being nice’ are not enough to combat racism. Racism involves the systemic failure of people and institutions to care for students of color on an ongoing basis…[Or] What is often missing in classroom discussions of racial issues is a critical examination of how the concept of ‘race’ has been linked to the distribution of resources…[Using] curriculum aimed at developing young people’s abilities to evaluate, understand, and confront oppressive structures of racial inequality…contributing to the development of a just nation.

Pollock’s Conflict Campaign paper is definitely angry about state legislation blocking the desired use of CRT and the wild accusations of the purposes of the legislation really did not seem to me to track with the language. The reason, I believe, is that the legislation affects the desire to use classroom activities and practices to affect each student’s internalized Identity and Purpose going forward. The section of the 2008 book called “Remember that People are Treated as Racial Group Members and Need to Examine that Experience” told us that:

a core principle of everyday antiracism: students (and teachers) need to process their experiences in the world as racial group members. How can educators assist students in this ‘processing’? Create cocoons for strengthening identities…so that students of color in particular can benefit from some time voluntarily ‘cocooned’ with students from the same racial group, in order to process their schooling and life experiences as group members and build healthy identities as such. Be aware that students of color may need to heal from internalized oppression…[where] racism can involve people hating themselves, not just ‘others,’ and that students need to be assisted to analyze how such self-hatred comes about. [Third] students need to see and treat one another as equally worthy. [They] need concrete opportunities  to learn to value each other equally across racial lines.

Again, that’s not CRT as a subject and it very much targets reflexivity as I quoted above.  It encourages students to change their Worldview, at both a conscious and subliminal level, so they will look for actions they can take “to achieve justice for themselves and their communities.” In this vision reading is not a tool to get information, but a means where students “learn to see the text as an extension of their lived experience and their lived experience as an extension of the text”. I read that and immediately recognized that the hated, but graded on, current high school practice of Annotation was straight out of Paulo Freire’s “reading the word and the world”. It also has a comparable, but unstated to parents, revolutionary aim because it trains students to critique their lived experiences and real world conditions so

educators can link discussions of texts about inequality to students’ experiences of inequality. This  move raises critical consciousness and can empower students to act collectively to transform these structures. Educators must also prompt discussion of how such inequalities can be collectively addressed. An emphasis on critical awareness and collective struggle against structures of inequality should replace the current overemphasis on individual striving as the sole way to transcend the conditions of poverty and racism.

We just need that fundamental transformation as a former US President put it in his plans for what to do to the US once in office. He ought to know since Chicago was Ground Zero for the use of learning standards as a ‘reform’ to push for Social reconstruction covertly, at the level of the mind, heart, and soul. We will cover other materials from the References in the next post. Before I get to one last quote affirming the purpose of CRT in education, the author Pollock has relocated from her perch at Harvard where she first came to my attention to UC-San Diego. Why does that matter? Maybe she just loves sea lions and wanted to be closer to the caves in La Jolla ? Given these stated aims and the histrionics of the accusations laid out in the report I think it is important to know that Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT with a tag) with its intentional plans to manipulate consciousness for revolutionary purposes grounded in Soviet psychologists translated work from Russian is also based there.

Totally coincidental I am sure, just like the major philanthropies involved with the import of CHAT to the West. I will close with a good explanation for why Positive School Climate is so important and manipulable that Obama made it the purpose of an Executive Order in summer 2012 that would make social and emotional learning front and center in every classroom in every school. It went well with his Common Core learning standards and fundamental transformation via education as this passage on Developing Antiracist School Policy laid out near the conclusion of Pollock’s book. The author

works from a perspective that understands racism to include a much broader set of actions and assumptions than racially biased hatred. Crude, obvious, and deliberate acts by individuals are only the tip of a much larger iceberg. While there are no biologically meaningful subdivisions to the human race, social beliefs and daily practices construct inequities around the notion of racial differences…Racism cannot be understood in isolation from wider economic, social, and political inequalities. At the same time, one of the central messages of this collection is that racism operates through countless ordinary assumptions made and actions taken by people in educational settings, as well as outside them.

As we will see as I continue this discussion, there is no ambiguity as to the purpose of CRT in education or its broader aims. It is stated repeatedly, graphically, and with detailed illustrations. Why make criticisms of it about anything but its stated purpose? Why treat it as a dispute as to what to teach in history and why or what literature to cover in Language Arts? Why ignore the revolutionary intentions when evolution is sought in culture?