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Wake the Children Sleeping: James Baldwin's White Fragility Meets Critical Race Theory and Freaks Right Out

SAY WHAT? - Fast running out of boogeymen and deranged conspiracies - Dr. Seuss, Mr./Ms. Potato Head, trans girls playing sports, Karl Marx and his evil spawn antifa, Italy and/or dead Hugo Chavez flipping elections, cancel culture warriors of any flavor - and bereft of principles or policies, a flailing GOP has feverishly glommed onto Critical Race Theory as the latest Scary Threat to American democracy, in the process miraculously failing to realize it's actually them. A 40-year-old, once-obscure academic concept developed at Harvard, CRT acknowledges the fundamental role of racism, and its accompanying inequality, in every aspect of American society, from legal systems and social structures to economics and education; common examples are the ways racism led to housing redlining in the 1930s, and still informs today's college admissions, income inequity and incarceration rates. But confronting the systems behind white supremacy, the narratives white people tell themselves to justify it, the way power and privilege work to support it can create fear - economic, social, cultural, racial - in those threatened by any change in the status quo, especially when they're busy trying to suppress the votes of those who would benefit. It's a lot - complex, nuanced, potentially hazardous - for a party of morons like Marjorie Taylor Greene who conflates Democrats with Nazis 'cause, see, they both have "Socialist" in their names, sort of. Thus flattened by idiotic branding, some say the end game is "to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think 'critical race theory.'" In those wee little brains, little wonder CRT becomes "any conversation about race I don't like," "hostile to white people," and "teaching kids to hate each other and our country" - which is the greatest, even though for centuries it did buy, sell, own, rape, abuse, exterminate and otherwise oppress hundreds of thousands of people who, according to a social construct, had the "wrong" color skin.

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