Conservative MAGA supporter C.J. Pearson is speaking out on college campuses against the concept of the critical race theory (CRT) even though he seems not to be sure what CRT actually is.
Late Harvard University law professor Derrick Bell is credited as the father of CRT, according to The Atlantic. The only Black law professor among the faculty at the time, he began conceptualizing the idea in the 1970s as a way to analyze how race and American law interact. He later developed a course on the subject. In 1980, Bell resigned from Harvard because of what he viewed as the institution’s discriminatory hiring practices.
The theory’s proponents argue that the horrible history of slavery, segregation, and discrimination in the U.S. is embedded in our laws, and continues to play a central role in preventing Black Americans and other marginalized people from living lives untouched by racism. CRT “is often disruptive because its commitment to anti-racism goes well beyond civil rights, integration, affirmative action, and other liberal measures,” Bell said in 1995.
Although CRT has been around since the 1970s, it has come into the spotlight after the May 25, 2020 police killing of George Floyd, when many in the U.S. were looking for ways to address inequality and its roots. Schools and universities started discussing CRT in the classroom. Then came the pushback from conservatives.
“Let me be clear, there’s no room in our classrooms for things like critical race theory,” Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a March 2021 press conference. “Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money.”
On Jan. 12, Rep. Keith Ammon of New Hampshire introduced a bill to bar schools and organizations that have a contract with the state from endorsing “divisive concepts.” The measure would forbid “race or sex scapegoating,” questioning the value of meritocracy, and suggesting that New Hampshire—or the United States—is “fundamentally racist.”
Pearson, an undergraduate student at the University of Alabama, is fighting against CRT on campuses around the U.S. He supported then-presidential Trump when he was 14, even though he was too young to vote, Time reported.
Now president of the Free Thinker Project, Pearson recently told the conservative website Campus Reform that he will be “advocating for the prohibition of critical race theory within public classrooms,” The Tampa Free Press reported.
“Critical race theory isn’t education,” Pearson said, “it’s taxpayer-funded indoctrination intended to cause our students to hate America.”
In an interview with Temple University Professor Marc Lamont Hill, host of BET News, Pearson was unable to explain CRT. Hill asked Pearson to name “just one” CRT article or book. Pearson answered, “the 1619 Project,” referring to Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times series of essays that takes a critical look at America’s history of slavery.
It is not an article about the CRT, Hill argued.
When pressed by Hill, Pearson could not come up with the answer Hill was looking for.
“Imagine someone claiming they oppose critical race theory after reading all of it. Yet they can’t name ONE thing they’ve read,” Prof. Hill tweeted.
“It is a shame that a young African American man would tie himself up into knots defending white supremacist talking points,” tweeted Danny @danzu72.
“He hasn’t read the 1619 Project either,” tweeted Nikole Hannah-Jones, who won a Pulitzer Prize for the 1619 Project.
Image source: Twitter
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