A rebranded campaign for 'equity' is just as divisive
Does “critical race theory” (CRT) really exist? Not according to Ralph Northam, the Governor of Virginia. CRT, he recently told The New York Times, “is a dog whistle that the Republicans are using to frighten people. What I’m interested in is equity.”
But rather than convince anyone about the non-existence of CRT, his comments merely confirmed something else: namely, CRT’s remarkable ability to shape-shift into whatever form its advocates choose. For Northam, CRT might not exist — but that’s only because it has undergone a rebranding.
Indeed, while many on the Right have obsessed over the rise of CRT in the past year, a different abbreviation has quickly become entrenched in America’s schools and colleges: “diversity, equity and inclusion” (DEI).
Part of its purpose appears to be to sow confusion among opponents of CRT. It has certainly riled the conservative Heritage Foundation. In its recent guide on “How to identify Critical Race Theory”, it warns of a “new tactic” deployed by the movement’s defenders: they “now deny that the curricula and training programs in question form part of CRT, insisting that the ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)’ programs of trainers such as Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo are distinct from the academic work of professors such as Derrick Bell, Kimberle Crenshaw, and other CRT architects”.
Certainly, regardless of which trendy three-letter term you prefer to describe the latest iteration of America’s obsession with race, the goal in each case is the same: to shift away from meritocracy in favour of an equality of outcome system.