How Scholars Are Countering Well-Funded Attacks on Critical Race Theory

Charles Keener

Living in Virginia, where the incoming Trumpist Governor issued an order banning "teaching Critical Race Theory" in our schools, this issue cuts painfully close to home. Of course, CRT has never been taught in Virginia's public schools. What the order actually seeks to do is to suppress the honest discussion of racism, white supremacy, slavery, Jim Crow etc. in a state that housed the Presidency of the Confederacy and engaged in Massive Resistance to integration of those very same public schools. We also banned marriage between persons of different races, having to be forced to end that ban by the landmark Loving vs.Virginia case. They want to stop Virginia's students from learning the truth about that ugly history. 


How Scholars Are Countering Well-Funded Attacks on Critical Race Theory - YES! Magazine (
There is a long history of right-wing forces fighting against progressive educational curricula. Now, scholars like Robin D. G. Kelley are working to level the playing field against the moneyed political interests behind the attacks.

Invoking Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in mid-December, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced new legislation that allows parents to sue schools for teaching critical race theory. “You think about what MLK stood for. He said he didn’t want people judged on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character,” said DeSantis, a political ringleader in the latest chapter of the United States’ culture war. In using a quote from Dr. King to justify an attack on curricula that uplifts racial justice, the Republican governor inadvertently created a strong case for why critical thinking on the history of race and racism in the U.S. is necessary.
History professor Robin D. G. Kelley is all too familiar with the sort of contradictory statements like those DeSantis spouted. Kelley, who is the Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in U.S. History at the University of California, Los Angeles, explains that he “came into the profession at the height of a battleground over history, in the 1980s, with the war on political correctness.” And although he’s lived through decades of conservative-led attacks, like those by DeSantis, he describes the 2020s as “dangerous times.”

Join to automatically receive all group messages.