Critical Race Theory continues to come under attack, just as some Washington state lawmakers seek to impose it in schools, colleges and medical schools

By LIV FINNE  | 
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Mar 25, 2021

The controversial and divisive concept of Critical Race Theory continues to come under attack as Washington state lawmakers consider bills to require the racially-based program to be taught in K-12 public schools, in public colleges and universities, and at state-supported medical schools. The three bills are SB 5044, SB 5227 and SB 5228.

The latest negative analysis comes from independent writer and entrepreneur Helen Raleigh writing in Newsweek magazine, noting that Critical Race Theory is being used in particularly to target Asian Americans.  She writes in part:

“Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a divisive, discriminatory ideology that judges people on the basis of their skin color.  It has penetrated our society—it’s in federal agencies’ and federal contractors’ ‘bias training,’ in school curricula and many corporations’ ‘diversity training.’  Few are willing to speak out against it for fear of being labeled racists or white supremacists.  Asian Americans, however, have emerged as a powerful voice against this pernicious ideology.”

A prominent Chinese American group in New York says Critical Race Theory is “today’s Chinese Exclusion Act” and supporting it represents a “hate crime against Asians.”

Ms. Raleigh reports that efforts by public officials to push race-based policies Washington state have gained national attention.  She notes that officials at North Thurston public schools were caught arbitrarily labeling Asian American and white students in one group, while placing everyone else in a “students of color” category.

Washington state civil rights law forbids discrimination against students on the basis of race, ethnicity or national origin.  When the race-categories program went public North Thurston school officials hastily withdrew it and apologized to parents and students.

Government efforts to label people by race are highly unpopular.  In 2019 the legislature attempted to re-introduce race-based affirmative action in public hiring, contracting and education.  A few months later the measure was repealed at the ballot box, much to the embarrassment of the state lawmakers who had voted for it.

Ms. Raleigh sums up the ways in which Critical Race Theory is problematic:

In an increasingly intolerant environment, calling out CRT [Critical Race Theory] takes tremendous courage.  Those willing to speak up may face economic and reputational consequences.  Asian Americans have spoken fearlessly and taken the lead to expose CRT's divisive and destructive nature.  The rest of us should follow their example and join their effort to stop this harmful ideology from tearing apart our society.

A harmful ideology that is tearing us apart exactly describes SB 5044, SB 5227 and SB 5228, something state lawmakers should think carefully about before they again try to impose hateful government policies that judge people based on their appearance instead of treating everyone with equal worth and dignity.