Letter: critical race theory is Republicans’ new Sharia law ‘bogeyman’

Muslim Students Lead NZ Protest
Aminata Gadji (left), Muslim Student Association president, and her fellow members denounce the anti-Muslim mass shootings in New Zealand.
Photo Aracelis Batista

To the Editor,

A decade ago Republican state legislators were up in arms, so terrified about the “threat” posed by Sharia law (Islamic religious law), that they felt compelled to pass laws that specifically banned the implementation of this foreign law system in their states.  Of course, Sharia law could never have been imposed on any jurisdiction in the country, including those ruby red states. The legislators’ faux alarm was a cynical maneuver to play to the anti-Muslim hostility common among their constituents. Red meat to the base.

The current Republican bogeyman is critical race theory or CRT. These lawmakers are all atwitter; they don’t want public school students exposed to this theory, claiming that it might make young learners “uncomfortable.” Since CRT is only discussed at the college level as an elective course, there is zero chance that students enrolled in middle or high school would be exposed to CRT. Yet, this fact does not deter the Republican lawmakers who believe that tilting at the CRT windmill will pay dividends come election time. Red meat to the base.

The conservative operative who initiated the CRT imbroglio, Christopher Rufo, “takes critical race theory as a concept and strips it of all meaning, and repurposes it as a catchall for white grievance, reports Sarah Jones in the July 11, 2021 edition of New York magazine. Rufo’s self admitted goal “is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think “critical race theory.” Rufo’s efforts have borne much fruit as Republican-controlled legislatures have passed laws severely restricting what can be taught, stifling debate and suppressing discussion of many consequential events in American history, thereby ensuring that students receive a subpar education. Ignorance of history is dangerous, since this lack of knowledge can lead to a repetition of previous dreadful errors. There is much to be proud about in our history, but there are also shameful chapters that should not be overlooked, and instead learned from.

Pasqual Pelosi

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