Apr 28, 2022 • 1HR 10M

Podcast: The Stakes in the War Against Critical Race Theory

John Ganz on the right’s goal of rolling back civil rights

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Appears in this episode

Jeet Heer
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The Placentia Yorba Linda School Board discusses a proposed resolution to ban teaching critical race theory in schools. (Robert Gauthier/Getty Images)

Last June I argued that Critical Race Theory (CRT) functioned largely as a bogeyman for the right. My contention was that few on the right understood or cared about the actual body of ideas behind CRT. Rather, CRT serves as a convenient label for an amorphous cultural change involving the popularizing of anti-racist ideas, only some of which are involved with actual CRT. By this analysis, paying attention to real CRT is besides the point and a waste of time, since that’s not the real stake in the argument.

My friend John Ganz, proprietor of the excellent Unpopular Front newsletter, has a different take. He feels that some the hostility right-wing thinkers have towards CRT is a clue about a larger set of attitudes, a reflection of a real agenda not just to stir up a bogeyman but to roll back the civil rights movement. Since I always learn from John, I was eager to talk about our differences. 

I feel our conversation is rich and rewarding. One warning: the audio is glitchy. My podcast producer Julia Elinore Peterson made a valiant effort to clean it up with only partial success. But I thought the contents of conversation has enough merit that it deserved posting. So if you’re willing to put up with some glitches, I encourage a listen.

(Post edited by Emily M. Keeler; podcast produced by Julia Elinore Peterson)

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