Assaults on vital racial principle try to include fascist politics into schooling

A man shows his US flag during the Kentucky Freedom Rally at the Capitol on August 28, 2021 in Frankfurt, Kentucky. Protesters gathered to speak out against a range of issues, including Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s management of the coronavirus pandemic, abortion laws and the teaching of critical racial theory.Jon Cherry / Getty Images

The right wing in the United States is waging a war on critical racial theory. Republican governors like Ron DeSantis in Florida, Brad Little in Idaho, and Greg Abbott in Texas, among others, claim that teaching the history of racism, mentioning race in the classroom, or addressing social justice issues is a form of propaganda, the bullied white students. From this perspective, teaching about racial justice is a form of racial injustice. After this reactionary ideology rose to power, a number of states controlled by Republican politicians passed laws prohibiting teachers from including a subject related to racism in their curriculum, such as the New York Times project by 1619.

This is a form of apartheid education, the aim of which is to prevent any form of critical thinking in schools and to create a formative educational culture that washes history white and makes racism in its institutional and historical forms disappear. It undermines the critical educational conditions that enable students and others to develop the habits of critical thinking, informed judgment, and power that enable them to be critical, informed, and engaged citizens. In this script, censorship is compounded by threats by right-wing lawmakers to cut millions of dollars in educational institutions that fund programs that address issues of social justice and diversity. The attack on critical racial theory is part of a broader attempt by the Republican Party, which has adopted the principles of white supremacy, white nationalism and racial purity and aims to reproduce fascist politics in public schools, colleges and cultural apparatuses, that make up social media. His attacks on racial critical theory and critical thinking itself are inseparable from his voter suppression laws, his attempts to eliminate Roe vs. Wade, and his lawless attempts to represent vigilante groups in Texas to harass and intimidate those who believe in civil rights and abortion rights and freedom of education. Its goal is a rule of tyranny reinforced by a cultural policy that ensures that democracy disappears when and where civic education and freedom are destroyed. The enemy of the Republican Party is not critical racial theory per se, but democracy itself.

This attack on critical racial theory is part of a broader attack on the broader issues of critical pedagogy, critical thinking, dissent and civic consciousness. It is a fascist policy aimed at destroying the public spheres and institutions that maintain informed citizenship and substantial democracy. The conservative anger unleashed against any form of critical thinking is an example of the fabricated ignorance displayed as “patriotic pedagogy”. In reality it is a cover for the concentration of economic and political power in the hands of a ruling elite. Furthermore, this apartheid pedagogy functions as a normalizing policy that goes hand in hand with defense policies such as voter suppression laws, the attack on reproductive rights, the undermining of historical memory and the attack on the welfare state. Apartheid educational practices allow crime to infiltrate politics by nurturing habits of powerlessness and undermining any practicable form of critical agency. Civic illiteracy is the Republican Party’s goal, reinforced by the conviction that an uninformed public, shaped by a pedagogy of artificial ignorance, will not hold power accountable.

The attack on critical racial theory is part of an amalgamation of political education and cultural policy to promote repressive education as an animating principle and practice of violence, racism, nativism, misogyny and bigotry.

In the conversation with Allen Ruff, which I share above, we both question this new reactionary and educational formation and emphasize how it can and can be combated through the development of mass movements dealing with direct action, political education and a visual cultural policy Popular culture as emancipatory educational instruments. This is not just about a struggle for critical agency, identity, civil rights, academic freedom, public education, civic imagination and democracy, but also the central role of education itself for politics.

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