It’s easy enough to rebut Ruben Navarrette—a columnist for the Washington Post and other outlets, perhaps the most widely read Hispanic commentator—but he and his readers deserve more. What Navarrette gets wrong about critical race theory is brushed away like the straw man it is; what he gets wrong about race is far, far more important.
First things first. On Facebook recently, Navarrette sought to expose the “lies” about critical race theory: “Teaches that everything in America is about race? LIE.” “Teaches Black and Brown kids to think like victims? LIE.” “Teaches that all White people are racist? LIE.” And other such oversimplifications.
Let’s deal with them here, with actual quotes from critical race theorists themselves.
Is everything in America about race? Theorist Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw says so explicitly: “We are a society that has been structured from top to bottom by race. You don’t get beyond that by deciding not to talk about it anymore. It will always come back; it will always reassert itself over and over again.”
Or Richard Delgado in his book, Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, “our system of race is like a two-headed hydra. One head consists of outright racism—the oppression of some people on grounds of who they are. The other head consists of white privilege—a system by which whites help and buoy each other up. If one lops off a single head, say, outright racism, but leaves the other intact, our system of white over black/brown will remain virtually unchanged. The predicament of social reform, as one writer pointed out, is that ‘everything must change at once.’ Otherwise, change is swallowed up by the remaining elements, so that we remain roughly as we were before.”
Does CRT teach minority children to think of themselves as victims? Here are the words of CRT originator Derrick Bell: “Success for the Black person requires effective functioning achieved with the knowledge that his or her work will not be recognized or rewarded to the same degree as a white person doing the same thing.”
Are all Whites racists? Let’s ask Robin DiAngelo: “Yes, all white people are complicit with racism. There will be umbrage and upset. People will insist that they are not racist. That I don’t know them … ‘I’ve traveled a lot. I speak lots of languages … I had a Black roommate in college. I’m a minority myself.’ This is the kind of evidence that many white people used to exempt themselves from that system. It’s not possible to be exempt from it.”
Navarrette’s unserious post on Facebook says that “If Democrats are too scared to talk honestly about race, they shouldn’t be surprised when Republicans talk about race—dishonestly.”
So, let’s have an honest discussion about race. Where the left loses many Americans is in its insistence that America is irredeemably flawed, a systemically racist nation of deplorables, a nation from which to flee—not to flock.
Tell that to the millions of immigrants that have come to America—and continue to come. Families from across the world risk everything just for a chance of entering the U.S. and partaking of its promise. Yes, our broken immigration system needs fundamental reform, of course, but the fact that so many seek refuge here says something profound—it says that America remains that shining city on a hill.
The fact is the left has overplayed its hand—on this and a host of other issues. But most importantly, it has used race to divide our nation.
Ibram X. Kendi, in his book “How to Be an Antiracist” states, “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”
There’s a better way. For all its faults, Americans love America. We can listen to the words of Winsome Sears, the Black immigrant woman who was just voted in as Virginia’s lieutenant governor—as a Republican.
“In case you haven’t noticed, I am Black. And I have been Black all my life, but that’s not what this is about,” she said following her victory. “What we are going to do now is be about the business of the Commonwealth. We have things to tend to. We are going to fully fund our historically Black colleges and universities. We’re going to have safer neighborhoods, safer communities, and our children are going to get a good education.”
These are goals we all share regardless of race or ethnicity. There’s no racial divide on wanting our children to succeed. It’s the critical race theorists—and their defenders in the media—who wish to create one.