AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Friday, Texas Senator Ted Cruz took aim at critical race theory — the much-derided school-age teaching about America’s history of racism — calling the set of teachings “every bit as racist as Klansmen in white sheets.”
In an appearance at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Road to Majority Conference in Duluth, Georgia, Republican Cruz condemned CRT, according to The Hill, telling attendees it teaches students that “all white people are racist.”
“Critical race theory says America is fundamentally racist and irredeemably racist,” Cruz said Friday. “Critical race theory seeks to turn us against each other.”
Proponents of CRT teaching say it merely aims to outline how the American legal system and society at-large have been marginalized by inherent white supremacy within. The authors in a Harvard analysis explain CRT identifies white privilege in an attempt to dismantle it. “Race,” they argue, doesn’t even exist, but is created by those at the top of the hierarchy to keep those deemed to be “lower” beneath them.
But Republicans in particular have condemned the intention of CRT: instead calling it racist in and of itself.
“Critical race theory is bigoted,” Cruz continued on Friday. “It is a lie and it is every bit as racist as the Klansmen in white sheets.”
In addition to Cruz, well-known North Carolina Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn also took stage to decry CRT as wrong because it “teaches people to be a victim and not a victor.”
Nationally and statewide, CRT is a hot target for GOP lawmakers. Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the abolishment of critical race theory will be on the state’s special agenda. This came just days after he signed House Bill 3979 — which dictates who lessons on race can be taught.
HB 3979 says teachers must present both sides of ideology when teaching about race-related current events. Additionally, mentions of The New York Times’ 1619 Project, a nationally lauded long-form journalism project, will be banned. The project, which began in 2019, explores the origins and timeline of Black slavery in America. HB 3979’s laws are set to begin Sept. 1.
Meanwhile, across the country, bills like HB 3979 are also making their way into law.
Earlier this month, Florida’s Board of Education banned CRT, saying the teachings “distort historical events.” In May, Montana Attorney General banned CRT and other antiracism programs after saying they “commit racial discrimination in the name of ending racial discrimination.”
Despite the fierce and ongoing debate over critical race theory, even some supporters of its teachings say Republicans’ disapproval is inaccurate, as “critical race theory” as a singular ideology isn’t currently officially administered in schools. What is seen as “CRT,” they argue, is merely teaching facts as facts and is “not a strict political doctrine.”
Earlier this week, NYT contributor and author Kurt Eichenwald slammed the Texas law, saying “Texas has banned “critical race theory” with a law that doesn’t define it — since it is not taught in any public school and no GQP [a reference to QAnon] politician could explain what it is.”