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Newest Republican Boogeyman: Critical Race Theory

By Peter Ingle (@PeterIngleNC)

Critical Race Theory (CRT), the new conservative culture war rallying cry, is an academic concept that race is a social construct and that there is systemic racism embedded within American institutions. It has become the focal point for conservative rage over the past few months.

The Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, has used a similar strategy for many other culture war issues such as the “War on Christmas”, panic over gay marriage, and outrage over transgender bathrooms. Right-wing news outlets like Fox News then use these issues to further antagonize their audience to fight against the left.

A recent Media Matters review found that Fox News has mentioned Critical Race Theory over 1,300 times since the increase in March.

Furthermore, right-wing coverage of CRT makes it appear that the theory is being taught in K-12 public schools when that is not the case, according to a teacher survey, causing outrage.

For example, a recent school board meeting in Loudoun County, Virginia, devolved into chaos over CRT after a disorderly public comment session was called to an end by the board and led to a brawl, per the Loudoun Now.

After the incident, Fox News brought nearly a dozen of these “aggrieved” parents on its network the next day to share their concern about CRT in public schools. Notably, all of the aforementioned parents have day jobs as Republican strategists, conservative think-tankers, or right-wing media personalities.

The recent outrage and Fox News media coverage illuminate how the media can work hand in hand with right-wing think tanks to perpetuate culture war outrage, even if it is often stretching the truth.


Peter Ingle is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and majored in Political Science and Public Policy with a minor in History. He has worked in the past as a Finance Intern for North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and for North Carolina Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Anita Earls.

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