A few weeks ago (on 14th June) this column asked whether there was a “growing backlash against wokeism”. The answer seems to be yes, certainly in America, England, and South Africa, and perhaps further afield, judging by recent comments about “critical race theory” (CRT), one aspect of something known as wokeness.
According to Christopher Rufo, writing towards the end of last month in The Wall Street Journal, CRT is the “latest battleground in the culture war”, where this “ideology has sparked an immense backlash”.
Mr Rufo, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, says that the left-leaning media try to portray CRT merely as a “lens” for examining history. But, he argues, it is actually a radical ideology seeking to use race as a means of promoting moral, social, and political revolution. Some of its prominent exponents argue that the solution to racism is to abolish capitalism.
Now, however, says Mr Rufo, parent groups across the United States (US) have mobilised to oppose CRT, “arguing that it cultivates shame in white students and fatalism in minority students”. Legislators in 24 states have proposed or enacted legislation to stop public schools from promoting such things as collective guilt. The legislation provides that teachers may and should discuss the role of racism in US history. However, they may not shame or treat students differently according to race.
According to Mr Rufo, the backlash against CRT has caused left-leaning media outlets to launch a “furious counterattack,” casting detractors as “right-wing extremists”.
Writing on Daily Maverick, Brooks Spector, a former US diplomat who lives in South Africa, said that Mr Rufo was central to the revolt against CRT. Mr Spector cited The Washington Post as having stated that debates over CRT theory “are raging on school boards and in state legislatures”. Along with that newspaper and The Economist, a British newsmagazine, Mr Spector believes that CRT has become the Republican Party’s new “big, scary boogeyman”.