The intense political backlash over the academic approach of examining U.S. institutions through the lens of race is shaping up to be a major cultural battle ahead of next year’s midterm elections.
Last month, Republican lawmakers decried critical race theory, an academic approach that examines how race and racism function in American institutions.
“Folks, we’re in a cultural warfare today,” Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., said at a news conference alongside six other members of the all-Republican House Freedom Caucus. “Critical race theory asserts that people with white skin are inherently racist, not because of their actions, words or what they actually believe in their heart — but by virtue of the color of their skin.”
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., added: “Democrats want to teach our children to hate each other.”
Republicans, who are fighting the teaching of critical race theory in schools, contend it divides Americans. Democrats and their allies maintain that progress is unlikely without examining the root causes of disparity in the country. The issue is shaping up to be a major cultural battle ahead of next year’s midterm elections.
Academics, particularly legal scholars, have studied critical race theory for decades. But its main entry into the partisan fray came in 2020, when former President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning federal contractors from conducting certain racial sensitivity trainings. It was challenged in court, and President Biden rescinded the order the day he took office.