Why the Right Attacks Critical Race Theory - Gerald Horne

The Right, and some of the Left, don’t want to acknowledge the critical role of white supremacy and settler colonialism in the founding of America and shaping sections of the working class. Gerald Horne joins Paul Jay on

Paul Jay

Hi, I’m Paul Jay. Welcome to Please don’t forget the donate button, the share button, subscribe button. And also particularly sign up for our email list which you can do on the website because that’s the only way you’re going to know when there’s a news story. I’ll be back in a few seconds with Gerald Horne and we’re going to talk about critical race theory and why the right-wing has their knickers in a knot over it.

So the right-wing legislators, media pundits are going on and on about critical race theory. In many states run by Republicans, school boards, and such, they would like critical race theory outlawed, not taught in the schools. I’m guessing most, if not all, of these right-wing legislators and media pundits actually have absolutely no idea what critical race theory is. But that being said, they’re going on and on about it.

So now joining me to talk about: Well what is critical race theory and why is the right so up in arms about it, is Gerald Horne. Gerald is a historian who holds the John Jay and Rebecca Morris Chair of History and African-American studies at the University of Houston, and many books, including The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, and Capitalism in 17th Century North America and the Caribbean, and most recently, The Bittersweet Science: Racism, Racketeering, and the Political Economy of Boxing. Thanks very much for joining me, Gerald.

Gerald Horne

Thank you for inviting me.

Paul Jay

So critical race theory. So, first of all, well, let’s as briefly as you can, what is your take on what critical race theory actually is? And then why is the right so up in arms about it?

Gerald Horne

Well, before I was a historian, I was a lawyer and I happened to be present at the creation of CRT some decades ago.

Paul Jay

So CRT, critical race theory.

Gerald Horne

Critical race, sorry, critical race theory.

Paul Jay

OK, from now on CRT is fine. Go ahead.

Gerald Horne

OK, and folks have to realize that law schools, or the legal profession generally, they’re basically fortresses and citadels of propaganda and falsification. So, therefore, if you have a decision as you had by the U.S. —

Gerald Horne

So law schools are fundamentally fortresses and citadels of propaganda and falsification. I mean, for example, if you look at the 1954 decision for the U.S. Supreme Court decided to move away from U.S. apartheid segregation by law, Jim Crow. In law school classes, you might be taught that these brilliant Supreme Court justices came up with a new interpretation of the law after they studied carefully, the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They will not necessarily talk about how there was a change in the global environment, a Cold War where Washington was in a battle of ideas with a socialist camp and competition for hearts and minds and resource-rich Africa, having difficulty competing as black Americans were treated so atrociously. And that creates a dynamic that leads to the retreat of Jim Crow, which even the Supreme Court itself acknowledged, albeit obliquely. And so critical race theory was an attempt to deal with this second variety of interpretation of the law as opposed to what law professors routinely and traditionally taught. Now, this is nothing new, those who follow the law might be familiar with schools of legal realism, which also tries to look beyond the four corners of legislation and statutes in order to figure out how the law evolves.

In the 1970s, as critical race theory was being launched, you got a companion movement, Critical Legal Studies, which too was embedded at Harvard Law School, supposedly the apex of the legal profession. And interestingly enough, one of the founders of critical race theory, the late law professor Derrick Bell, a mentor of Barack Obama, by the way, he was not necessarily a left-winger, to put it mildly. He worked for the Justice Department. And in fact, if you look at my book on southern Africa, you see the exchange that Derrick Bell and myself had about him critiquing this legal organization that I once led, the National Conference of Black Lawyers, for being too involved in international affairs, which he felt was distracting from the domestic agenda.

If you look at the writings of another founder of critical race theory, speaking of a man still in the land of the living, Kimball Thomas of Columbia Law School, he did a law review article on the Scottsboro case called The Scottsboro Case in the 1930s, where the Communist Party of the United States intervenes on behalf of these nine black youth in Alabama, on the fast track to being executed, generates a worldwide campaign that not only leads to ultimately the saving of their lives, but changes in criminal law and criminal procedure.

Professor Thomas’s article basically is a surrender to anti-communism, which makes it even more curious, to put it mildly, how and why critical race theory is now being accused of being a branch of Marxism because the founders consciously and intentionally set out to create a way of looking at the law that would shield them from pro-communist charges, which I think is quite revealing because it helps us to realize that these anti-communist charges are more an attack on any kind of challenge to the status quo, which leads to the moral panic that’s now unfolding about critical race theory, the fact that supposedly it can’t be taught in K-12 education when actually —

Paul Jay

Before you go there, just what’s the basic theory of critical race theory like in terms of what they say it is.

Gerald Horne

It’s a set of loose propositions that fundamentally come down to this. If you look at the overrepresentation of black Americans in prisons or the overrepresentation in terms of being suspended from schools K through 12, you can come to one or two conclusions. You can come to the conclusion that there is something wrong with black people, or you can come to the conclusion that there’s something wrong with society. And critical race theory leans towards the latter. The. U.S. Patriots and flag wavers feel that this is the greatest country on earth, this is the greatest country in the history of planet Earth, and so making that kind of indictment does not go down very well. And that leads to this attempt to suggest that critical race theory should not be invoked in the classroom. And of course, it’s not invoked in K-12 education. If anything is invoked in law schools, it’s hardly invoked in graduate schools, in history or sociology, and all the rest because it’s a particular theory. But now it’s been broadened to encompass any kind of critique of U.S. society. It’s been broadened to indite efforts by corporations on the plane of diversity, inclusion, and equity.

It’s been invoked to indite writers who write in that sphere, like Ibram X. Kendi of Boston University in his book How to Be an Antiracist, which has been a runaway bestseller. He’s not even a lawyer, yet he’s being, quote, tarred with the brush, unquote, of critical race theory. But it has more to do, once again, with national chauvinism. It has more to do, I would also say, with the changing role of the United States in the world with regard to the rise of China, which has led to these attacks on Asian Americans on the streets of the United States of America. And it’s also led to efforts in the state of Texas by certain think tanks to suggest that there are certain buzzwords that you should flag. And if these buzzwords are being used, that’s a hint that critical race theory is being invoked, which means that it should not happen.

What are those buzzwords you ask? Well, ally, believe it or not, colonialism, black lives matter, white supremacy, etc. It seems to me that it’s going to be difficult to talk about the history of U.S. apartheid, the Jim Crow, without talking about white supremacy. It’s going to be difficult to talk about a movement like Black Lives Matter, another buzzword that you’re supposed to avoid without talking about allies. And so obviously, they’re trying to narrow the range of issues that can be discussed in the classroom with the ultimate goal of propagandizing the youth so that they’ll grow up to be adults who then accept the latest harebrained scheme of the right-wing.

Paul Jay

All right. So let me make sure I’m getting this, because the way I understand it, what the right-wing is attacking, it’s not really about critical race theory. They don’t want any conversation, in schools, frankly, anywhere in the culture, that systemic racism is at the core, or founding, of the American state and continues to this day. And the enslavement of people of African descent and the genocide against indigenous people is at the very roots of the current day system. They don’t want that conversation, and critical race theory is a way for them to have a buzzword about that. Because I know you, you have your own critique of critical race theory, but that’s your critique has nothing to do with what the right-wing is talking about. So do I have it correctly so far?

Gerald Horne

Well, yes, you do. And I think that critical race theory or CRT becomes the boogeyman, because at the center of it is race, which automatically makes a good deal of the U.S. public nervous when that term is evoked, invoked. And then there’s theory which points to these pointy-headed intellectuals and these eggheads who you’re supposed to despise. And then there’s critical, and you’re not supposed to be critical of the greatest country on planet Earth, which has a flawless history. And then the founders of critical race theory happened to be of African descent, which then makes it even more suspect in the eyes of some. And so, therefore, you can take CRT and as a blanket, you can throw it over efforts, and the Pentagon, for example, to rout, as they say, they’re trying to do, of white extremists and white supremacy. You might have seen the congressional testimony of the head of the U.S. military, General Mark Milley, where he said he was not necessarily opposed to reading this sort of thing, you would think that he was saying that he endorsed the devil’s scrapbooks, for example. It was a volcanic reaction on the part of certain Republican members of Congress. And so once again, to drive the entire discourse to the right as an effort to drive the entire country to the right, and rather than talk about, for example, January 6 and the apparent complicity of Republicans and as opposed to talking about why they voted against the commission of inquiry into that very volatile episode, we’re bogged down in supposedly talking about critical race theory, but we’re not really talking about critical race theory. We’re actually talking about efforts to critique systemic racism. We need that to be part of the discussion.

Paul Jay

OK, well, we can dig into your critique of critical race theory maybe another time or later on, because I want to get to something else, which you’ve hinted at several times in our numerous interviews and we’ve never dug into, and I think we should. You have said several times that you don’t think the American white left gets the other side of this, the significance of white settler colonialism, of using that kind of language, the extent to which the white working class is imbued with racist ideology. So talk about your take on this, because I’ve always said we’re going to do it. So now we’re going to do it.

Gerald Horne

Well, it gets to some of the history that I’ve written. I wrote a book on the 16th century. I wrote a book on the 17th century. I wrote a book on 1776. And if you look at that trilogy, which you come away with, is that the United States is a kind of classic settler-colonial society, not unlike Canada, Australia, New Zealand. The U.S. left, oftentimes, use the settler colonialism with regard to Palestine, Israel. But that appropriate phrase is conspicuously and curiously missing from their ordinary vocabulary in talking about this particular nation. And if you look at settler colonialism, as I have, if you look at the first effort by London, in particular, to embark on that path in the 1580s and what is now North Carolina, it was from its inception a class collaborationists effort. That is to say, you had an investor class in London sponsoring those who were not part of the one percent to cross the Atlantic to confront the indigenous. And with a little bit of luck and a lot of pluck, they could line up with indigenous land and eventually wind up with enslaved Africans, at least in the United States, to work that land for free.

And so to me, that’s the embryo of the United States of America. And you cannot begin to understand how and why it was in November 2020, Donald J. Trump, after all of his misdeeds and blunders and lies and all the rest, that almost 75 million votes disproportionately and overwhelmingly from rural American working-class and middle-class folk, you can’t begin to understand unless you understand the concept of class collaboration. Likewise, you can’t begin to understand a city like New York, the premier city of the United States, and why and how it is that of the five boroughs in Staten Island, which has a significant number of Euro-American middle-class and working-class folk, particularly city workers, police officers, firefighters, etc. It’s the only boroughs of the five boroughs that gave Trump a majority and a significant majority at that. So at a certain point, we’re going to have to seek an explanation for this phenomenon as opposed to torturing the numbers until they cry out, oh, there’s no such thing as racism goes objectively, the U.S. working-class is confronting capital, etc.

It reminds me of the fictional French intellectual who says, I know what you’re saying is true, in fact, the question is, is it true in theory? In other words, their theory of the case does not necessarily correspond with the facts. So they torture the facts until somehow it can be shoehorned into their theory. And it’s that sort of magical thinking that if we’re not careful, it is going to leave many of us, including, I’m afraid to say, a person like myself in some sort of camp and Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, believe it or not.

Paul Jay

You’re referring to what happened in Chile after the overthrow of Allende. So, well, first of all, what doesn’t need too much historical examples to make your case. I mean, certainly a large number, I don’t know, I’m assuming a majority, at least by the late 1930s of the German working-class supported Hitler, even though in the late 20s and early 30s, a large section of the working-class was pro-socialist. So you know the phenomena of the fascisization of a people and which includes the working-class, or sections, thereof. Clearly, there’s lots of precedent for it and we’re seeing it before our eyes in the United States.

The other thing, just to add a little bit to what you’re saying, because I know in terms of my own memory, I, you know, I grew up more in the 1960s and then, but it’s only since about the 60s and, or even 70s, 80s, that absolute overt racism wasn’t the norm. In 1969 in Baltimore, in the Baltimore Sun newspaper and the classified ad section, there was a section of real estate ads for whites, a separate section for Jews, and no section for blacks. You know, you had signs in these suburban areas where white families weren’t supposed to sell to black families and that the signs were– and I’ll use the word N-word, even though I’ve never been a fan of this N-word thing, but I’ll do it just to not to have a secondary controversy. And no N-word, no Jews, no dogs. That’s 1969. So like, it’s really quite recent that overt racism was the norm. And then you go back into the periods you’re talking about the racism against native people. Oh, my God. I mean, you can’t get more barbaric than it’s OK to go out and scalp native people and get paid for it. And that’s where this culture has its roots.

Gerald Horne

Well, and also the question becomes, how do you explain this historically? And I think that that’s part of the controversy with regard to critical race theory, because it’s seeking a materialist explanation for these phenomena. I’m sure you and your audience are familiar with the 1619 project at the New York Times, which in August 2019, there was a special issue with the New York Times magazine that sought to connect the parlous conditions that black people face today with slavery and Jim Crow. And you had a number of objections by mainstream historians who, as part of their ordinary praxis, believe it or not, do not necessarily connect the past to the present. As I’ve explained before, they’re akin to visiting a doctor who takes your medical history and you tell the doctor about your mothers’ and fathers’ maladies and their mothers’ and fathers’ maladies and on back to their mothers’ and fathers’ maladies. And you wait for the diagnosis and the doctor says, well, I’m only interested in history for history sake. I’m not interested in history in terms of helping you to get better. And that’s believe it or not, it sounds ludicrous. But that’s the ordinary praxis of so many historians, which is why they objected so strenuously to the 1619 project, not to mention the fact that it had the audacity to suggest that a revolt against British rule in 1776 in North America might have had something to do with slavery, since there were slaveholders like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Patrick Henry leading the assault. And then if you fast forward to the 20th and 21st century —

Paul Jay

Can I just add quickly, you were part of that project. You were on the panels and —

Gerald Horne

Oh, yes.

Paul Jay

And, you know, you’ve written extensively on this whole question of one of the motivating factors of the American Revolution was the defense of the slave system. Sorry. Go ahead.

Gerald Horne

Well, of course, Canada comes into play because you have this control group, that is to say, Canada, there’s no revolt against British rule in 1776. And my understanding is, is that the monarch is still on the currency in Canada. And so yet the so-called revolutionary republic where I’m now sitting, it has a pay, or die system with regard to health care, for example, which is part of the basic obligation, you would think, for society and certainly a revolutionary republic so-called, you would think, would have a single-payer system that Canada, which it did not go for a revolution, does have. Even Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, a leading Native American scholar, in light of the uncovering of all these mass graves in Canada, Native Americans. That notwithstanding, she was suggesting that Native Americans in Canada have much more influence and power than Native Americans in the so-called Revolutionary Republic of the United States of America.

Paul Jay

For what it’s worth, as we speak today, the new governor-general, the queen’s representative, was announced, it’s an indigenous woman. I wouldn’t suggest that means indigenous people in Canada have any real power, but at any rate —

Gerald Horne

Well, it’s compared to the United States of America. That’s the relevant comparison. One nation undergoing the supposed grand revolution. The other nation does not. You would think that the latter would be lagging behind. But actually, it’s the so-called revolutionary Republicans is lagging behind, which then leads me to the other point, which is that there’s this idea that our liberal colleagues peddled, in particular, where they tend to think that the expansion of democratic rights in this country, that it’s an inevitable process and they tend to dismiss or downplay the fierce resistance to the expansion of democratic rights, which you saw throughout the South, starting with Little Rock in 1957, where President Eisenhower was forced to send federal troops armed into Central High School to keep nine black students from being mauled. Where you have to have federal troops that Ole Miss University of Mississippi in 1962 to keep one black student from being mauled, James Meredith, and to show you that it was not sexual. The Boston bussing controversy where black students were pelted and many of them coming within an inch of losing their lives. And so there was this fierce resistance which you now see being played out on January 6, 2021, being played out in terms of decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court circumscribing voting rights being played out in legislatures, where there are circumscribing the teaching of the true history in the classroom, being played out legislators and legislatures where, such as in Florida, where they’re immunizing drivers driving their cars into protesters, for example. And so the actual facts do not necessarily correspond with this theory that there is this kind of inevitability to progress. The sort of whiggish notion is that certain historians would call it. And the more that that whiggish notion is proven to be falsification, it seems the more that certain whiggish historians cling to this idea and then denounce and castigate those of us who are trying to introduce material factors in terms of explaining historical change.

Paul Jay

Yeah, I mean, I do believe that over the long term, what’s that thing about the arc of history bends towards progressive and all that. I do think there’s truth to it, but it only happens if there’s an honest facing up to the history. If the history is deluded, delusional, then I don’t know where that arc bends. It can easily bend to fascism. And maybe, you know, if you have hundreds of years, a thousand years, that will bend overall. Except, what do we got, nine years to deal with climate? I mean, I don’t know as again, I’ll get back to this. I don’t know exactly what world we’re headed into here, but I do know that the mentality that accepts the plundering of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, that the mentality rooted in colonialism, where it was not just accepted, it was applauded. If you were a general that wiped out South Africans in South Africa. Or, you know, in India, if you were a successful conqueror, you were a bloody hero for hundreds of years, whether you were British or Portuguese or Spanish. I mean, you were bringing plunder and riches back to the people. And, you know, and that mentality is the same mentality that, you know, both of us as kids watching Westerns were the aggressors, were indigenous people. I mean, the white settlers are waging genocide against native people and stealing their lands, of course, led by the government and the bankers in New York, really, and the railroad magnates. But still, TV show after TV show, we grow up that it’s native people who are killing children in wagon trains. And I’m not saying some of that might not have happened, but what do you expect people to do when they’re being wiped out?

So, this — like so I’m agreeing with you. Certainly, I’m not sure we actually have any disagreement, but the idealization of the white working-class is wrong. But also I’ve experienced the demonization of the white working-class when I was in Baltimore by black activists of sorts. Honestly, they wind up, they’re really black capitalists in the end. But they are so antagonistic to the white working-class that they see nothing should even be attempted to reach out to talk to and whether it’s seen as allies or not — and these are not people that work in factories because anyone that actually worked in a factory that was unionized and fighting in a struggle, and I have for years, the issue of race went away pretty quickly within that particular factory in that particular struggle. I’m not saying it does in terms of a more general culture, but the demonization of the white working-class is a big mistake. And you know, I said to these people I was talking to, I said, if nothing else, you’re going to lose if you’re right. I mean, if you’re right that the white working-class is a write-off, then you better come up with another plan because there’s a hell of a lot more of them, and you’re going to lose the struggle. And if for nothing else in terms of dividing your enemy, and I actually don’t think that’s the right way to look at it, because as much as a large section of the white working-class, it has been fascisized and has a lot of its thinking rooted in this culture we’ve been talking about right from the founding of the United States. There’s a lot of sections of the white working-class that are not like that. And in fact, some of these Trump voters even voted for Obama. So it’s complicated. I don’t know where this all heads up, I agree. At least in any historical horizon that’s meaningful, there’s nothing inevitable here.

Gerald Horne

Well, the late economist John Maynard Keynes used to say certain things will happen in the long run, but in the long run, we’re all dead. And I would like to see certain change take place before six feet under.

I think part of the problem, at least in the United States of America, is the ideological question. That is to say, over recent decades, in order to execute the Red Scare, the Cold War, you have to have a demonizing, a marginalizing of the most internationalist sector of the black community, starting with Paul Robeson, for example, and going down from there, the late, great activist socialists, etcetera. And that was part of the trade-off. That is to say, in return for anti-Jim Crows concessions, you had to throw the internationalists overboard, which then leads to ideological trends, a kind of liberalism, like liberalism which you see, embody the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], the Congressional Black Caucus, which is oftentimes, not only not internationalist, they oftentimes shun internationalism, as I was pointing out with regard to my exchanges with the late Derrick Bell during the foundations of critical race theory, which helps to explain why I’m afraid to say Mr. Biden has so much latitude in terms of getting U.S. imperialism in hot water abroad, because many constituencies, not least the black constituency, were not engaged globally. And then you have a certain kind of black nationalism, which also is not necessarily engaged globally either. And so what that means is that they’re ignoring the most powerful factor that helps to explain the final defeat of slavery, the erosion of Jim Crow, as I’ve explained and other historians have sought to explain in numerous books. And speaking of these historians, once again, I have to come back to them because I think that they bear a certain amount of culpability, because what happens with these historians is that oftentimes they become narrow specialists. They’ll look at 1861 to 1865 or they’ll look at 1750 to 1812, and it reminds me of a patron who comes to the theater, midway through the movie, and thinks they grab the essence of the plot, even though half the movie has already run. What I mean is that they don’t have a clear understanding of the actual history of the United States, particularly a grasp that allows them to make certain pronouncements which they make on a regular basis.

Another analogy that I’ve used is the case of the black motorist Rodney King recalled early 1990s. He was beaten to a pulp by officers of the law in Los Angeles County. It was captured on tape. The officers went to trial. The defense lawyers, rather than showing the tape in a continuous loop, which shows snippets, and then asked the credulous jury, do you see an offense there? And of course, the credulous jury would say no. Do you see an offensive there? They would say no. And then, of course, the officers are acquitted. L.A. [Los Angeles] goes up in flames and one of the most expensive bouts of civil unrest, to use the euphemism, in the history of the country. And so these historians are somewhat similar. They do not deal with a continuous loop of U.S. history. They’ll parachute into 1861 and think they understand everything that went before the onset of the civil war, which clearly they don’t, or they’ll parachute into 1960 and begin to describe the agonizing retreat of the more egregious aspects of Jim Crow without understanding how and why we got to that point and how global factors might have impelled us in that direction. So like an Agatha Christie mystery novel, there are many potential culprits when it comes to doing an autopsy of this experiment known as the United States of America.

Paul Jay

So just to bring this to where we are now. It seems to me that the practical problem in terms of progressive U.S. politics is how to develop a broad front against fascism, systemic racism, war, and particularly for actual really dealing with the climate crisis. And I would throw in also the threat of nuclear war, though it’s hard. You know, I’m working on this project with Dan Ellsberg now based on this book Doomsday Machine, and it needs to be part of the conversation, but it’s hard to get it to be part of the conversation because there’s so much else going on.

But that being said, one of the things that keeps, I think, holding back the development of this broad front is how siloed the American white left and black left are. There’s some points of exchange. Certainly, you know, the Bernie Sanders campaign, there are a lot of African-Americans working together with Tenex and young whites and others. I mean, it’s not like it never happens, but it doesn’t seem to happen in a way that becomes sustainable. I would add independent of the Democratic Party. To what extent does this issue of your critique that the white left doesn’t get the history or doesn’t talk about the history in a realistic way? Is that an impediment? One of the things that’s an impediment to the development that this kind of broad front politics?

Gerald Horne

Well, clearly it is. And now let me bring up some hopeful signs. For example, the recent elections in New York State where apparently a socialist will be elected as mayor of Buffalo in a few months. She won the Democratic primary, which is usually a guarantee to becoming the mayor of the second-largest city, Buffalo, in the United States of excuse me, in New York state.

Paul Jay

New York State. Yeah.

Gerald Horne

Exactly. Sorry. And she was backed by DSA, Democratic Socialists of America. She was backed by the Working Families Party, which is a left-leaning party, statewide. And in some ways, once again, New York in the United States, they’re trying to catch up with Canada, which it did not, as noted, have this so-called grand revolution, which has the NDP, the New Democratic Party —

Paul Jay

Oh, hang on here. Hang on here. As you know, I’m a dual citizen and right now I’m in Toronto. Honestly, most of these DSA candidates are significantly to the left of the NDP. With some exceptions. There’s individual NDP members maybe. But the leadership of the NDP in Ontario and nationally to a large extent are honestly they’re closer to some of the mainstream Democrats than to the DSA Socialists.

Gerald Horne

Well, I think it’s important to have an alternative to the Tories and the Liberals. And I think in the United States it’s important to have an alternative to the Republicans and the Democrats. And I think that it’s rather striking that you have that kind of parliamentary representation in Ottawa, which you hardly have in the United States of America, for example, the so-called Revolutionary Republic once again. And so I think that there are some hopeful signs. And I would also point out this fact to come back to my question, the question of internationalism, I would really like to throw down the gauntlet to our Canadian friends because it’s clear that we need help in the United States of America and that a brush fire in the United States could easily expand north, northward to Canada. And so it’s in the self-interest of the Canadian progressive movement to lend a hand across the border. And I see that as well with regard to the recent report by the United Nations Human Rights Council, led by the former president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, which just issued this report that suggested that buzzwords systemic racism was a continuing problem and helping to explain police killings, the plethora of police killings which are so prevalent in the United States of America. And she even raised the R-word, reparations. It’s that kind of international pressure, it seems to me, that has been so indispensable to progress here in the United States. And we need all the help we can get, even if it’s from an NDP that many in Toronto might see us not being up to snuff.

Paul Jay

Wow, that’s a whole another conversation, the NDP, because it goes beyond not up to snuff, but at any rate. All right. Well, listen, thanks very much, Gerald. We’ll pick this up again soon.

Gerald Horne

Thank you.

Paul Jay

And thank you for joining us on And again, donate and subscribe and share, particularly, go to the website and sign up on the email list. And thanks for joining us.


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  1. >> Professor Thomas’s article basically is a surrender to anti-communism,
    >> which makes it even more curious, to put it mildly, how and why critical
    >> race theory is now being accused of being a branch of Marxism because
    >> the founders consciously and intentionally set out to create a way of
    >> looking at the law that would shield them from pro-communist charges

    I really detest this use and defense and disruption that occurs every time
    someone accused the Left of being Marxist, or someone mentions Marx.

    Karl Marx was one of the most brilliant economists that ever lived, and
    he did all his work without any of the tools we have to today, and it still
    stand up, from my understanding most as a critique of capitalism and
    its ramifications and abuses.

    This is 2021, so why are we still behaving like it is the McCarthy era?

    Marxism in a framework to examine and discuss how capitalism is
    abused and creates inequality and class warfare … within a single
    country. It seems to me that the tool this framework supplies is a
    very valid way to interpret history and economics, and like Critical
    Race Theory it is vilified because it challenges the status quo, a
    status quo that even are more and more people are starting to understand
    is deeply toxic and flawed needs to be challenged and discussed in
    order for actual democracy to take place.

    We should just know and understand in our bones that when you have
    to be afraid of the truth – something is very, very wrong.

  2. Critical Race Theory … otherwise known as the objective true teaching of history.
    Tell Gerald Horne he nailed it … but he needs to give Clarence Paige his glasses back! 😉
    Good show!

  3. Paul,
    Are you aware that access to your sites are being throttled. I have dual citizenship, U.S. and Canadian. As soon as I come here, my wife’s computer access is dramatically reduced. No other site has this effect on her computer. I have not checked your YouTube.

    Suggest–team with Dore and Grey Zone occasionally. I really do not want to see your site lost.

  4. Without a doubt, racism is endemic to America. I do understand that racism pervades every dimension of American Society: economic, legal, political, historical…and certainly embedded within religion.

    I was an educator: Principal, Department Head in many departments, from English, to History to Computer Science. I am over 80 years ago. Critical race theory presupposes that discussion of everything…every discipline…must arrive at given conclusions. If a discussion does not arrive at very precise conclusions then the student is wrong. Studying Aristotle, Plato, Buddhism, Moby Dick…discussions of all of these…must yield foregone conclusions. Freedom of inquiry is not allowed.

    I am reminded of the role of the Catholic Church during the inquisition and as it is now being revealed in Canada. What does Horne have to say about the horrors of the Catholic Church throughout history? What about the horrors of the feudalism? Or horrors visited upon the Palestinians.

    Teaching students means teaching them how to think, not what to think.

    1. Racism is the foundation on which America was built. That said I think what reinforces it is to set worker against worker, and this stratifies through race. This is one reason the US was steered away from FDR’s vision after WWII, and the democratic ship of state was carefully and slowly, almost imperceptible moved towards Oligarchy and Fascism – because the disruption to do racism and the provocation of turning people against each other is much easier when life is a huge struggle for working people. Look at the rest of the developed world and American are really getting screwed over badly.

  5. I believe the real reason the right wingers are amplifying the culture war around CRT because they see how the Robin D’Angelo type of anti-racism ideology of ascription (if you’re white you are racist in your DNA) and you must atone for your privilege, coming from wealthy people is upsetting it is for poor white living in poverty with no way out.
    The MSNBC/NYT liberal media sphere converge CRT with the atoning for the “sin of whiteness”.
    This ideology of ascriptive difference – you’re born white = you are X, you’re born black = you are Y, is much like old school Jim Crow era thought.
    The way that anti-racism in workbooks such as White Supremacy Culture asserts this ascriptive difference and tells poor people who happen to be white that they have agency which they don’t, rings false feels like the elites are punching you down again.
    This gives a huge opening for the Right to twist the ongoing, real economic terror that low income people already have into something resembling fascism.
    It’s not healthy.
    It’s really fucking dangerous, and I wish the liberals would quit giving the fascists such dangerous fodder.

    1. >> Robin D’Angelo type of anti-racism ideology of ascription
      >> (if you’re white you are racist in your DNA) and you must atone for your privilege,

      Robin D’Angelo [ Robin Jeanne DiAngelo ] was not mentioned here, so mentioning
      her out of context, and then putting your words in her mouth is really unforgivable
      in terms of actual discussion or debate. Either get it right and back it up, or put out
      your opinions, explain them and back them up. All I hear from you is a confusing
      work salad of racist-speak.

      No one is racist in their DNA, any more than any one else. It is one’s class, one’s
      circumstances, one’s upbringing, one’s society that teaches and institutionalizes

      If you are saying poor whites are angered because in this supposed racist
      culture that favors them those poor whites don’t feel like they are getting
      favored and are being asked to pay for something they cannot afford, I believe
      that is a misreading of what any reasonable person would expect or support.

      I am white and I have lived in a lot of areas of this country, and there is no
      doubt this country is unfair. Racism is an issue, as is sexism, but I think making
      the discussion about how to fix this about race or sex is a mistake — not meaning
      any dismissal or disrespect towards the crimes against any particular group …
      but the fixes of the system should not be based on pain and misery and crimes,
      because there is not way to do that that is not completely emotional and
      triggering for everyone to the point that it is completely unproductive.

      Like a good Marxist, I guess???, I think all discussion about how the system
      should be and should be fixed should be from a generic point of view of
      class, only bringing in extenuating circumstances when it is necessary.
      After all only war that is justified fighting is the class war for social justice
      for all. Drive the idea that one class benefitting from exploiting others is
      acceptable is the goal, but when the country survived by doing just that,
      we all have a big problem.

      This country is corrupt to the extent that it is classist, and the racist, sexist,
      religionist, and whatever else modes of division are cleverly used to prevent
      the very country that everyone lies about from existing. That is one reason for
      “retrogressives” to be against CRT — that is tends to bring people to the truth
      of other’s experience and motivate a tendency towards social justice.

      The Right is totally against social justice … in fact they are all about social
      injustice and manipulating various classes of people through their ignorance
      and emotions of things that are not true and provoke their emotions to make
      them into mobs.

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