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The white lies of critical race theory

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JUST when you thought radical cultural-Left ideology and political correctness could get no worse, along comes its most recent manifestation – critical race theory.   

In their book Cynical TheoriesHelen Pluckrose and James Lindsay define critical race theoryas the belief that ‘race is a social construct that was created to maintain white privilege and white supremacy’.   

Such is the dominance of critical race theory that Western liberal democracies where all are equal before the law and equality of opportunity reigns are condemned as structurally racist and riven with unconscious bias.   

Conveniently ignored are the many Islamic countries where Westerners, especially Christians, suffer injustice and, in extreme cases, torture and death.  The widely practised Islamic concept of Dhimmitude is based on the conviction those not of the faith are second-rate citizens denied the privileges and rights accorded to Muslims.

Also ignored is the endemic practice of enslaving non-believers characteristic of Islamic countries throughout history and the fact that it was the British who led the world by banning slavery in 1833 and enforcing compliance across their empire. 

Westerners continue to suffer injustice and unfair discrimination in many Asian countries, where they are denied the rights enjoyed by the native-born, including the right to own property, to establish a business and to become citizens.  Not surprisingly, according to the Human Freedom Index, nine out of the top ten countries where citizens enjoy the most freedom are in the West. 

As a result of the Black Lives Matter movement, critical race theory has become increasingly widespread and prevalent.  Over the last 12 months in the United Kingdom, America and Australia, statues have been destroyed, history rewritten and activists have campaigned to rid university studies of whiteness and European essentialism. 

At the University of Sheffield, academics argue that Western science is guilty of being ‘inherently white’ as it was ‘a fundamental contributor to European imperialism and a major beneficiary of its injustices’. 

Students at the University of London also condemn European scientific enlightenment on the basis what they are made to study promotes power and thought that is ‘racialised as white’ and ‘heteropatriarchally / cisgenderly male’.   

So much for the invention of the steam engine, Einstein’s theory of relativity, open-heart surgery and ridding the world of smallpox.  A number of South African students go as far as arguing that native science based on superstition and magic is on the same footing as Western science based on empiricism and reason. 

In Australia, students are told ‘indigenous history, culture, knowledge and understanding can be incorporated into teaching core scientific concepts’, with anyone critical of the decision attacked as racist and ignorant of the fact that indigenous peoples ‘lived here before Western enlightenment arrived and started raping and killing them’. 

As vividly portrayed in The Passing of the Aborigines, written by Daisy Bates, forgotten is the fact that before European settlement life for the majority of Aborigines was nasty, brutish and short.   

While woke activists paint indigenous culture as pristine and idyllic, in reality it was violent and patriarchal, characterised by inter-tribal warfare, misogyny and cannibalism.  

While critical race theory is increasingly prevalent across Western societies, the good news is that more and more voices are being raised in opposition.   

In the UK parliament recently, the minister for Women and Equalities, Kemi Badenoch, argued it was wrong to indoctrinate students with the belief that society was characterised by ‘white privilege (and) their inherited racial guilt’. 

She went on to say that schools have a statutory duty to remain politically impartial and ‘any school which teaches these elements of political race theory as fact, or which promotes partisan political views such as defunding the police without offering a balanced treatment of opposing views, is breaking the law’. 

The late British cultural critic Roger Scruton in his book Culture Counts, while not directly addressing the issue of critical race theory, also argues that education should be based on reason, balance and objectivity instead of being used to promote ideological, cultural-Left groupthink. 

Scruton details how, as a result of the Enlightenment, Western culture embraced rational inquiry and objective truth instead of witchcraft and superstition.  In opposition to those associated with the Black Lives Matter movement seeking to banish whiteness and Eurocentrism from the curriculum, he also suggests Western culture is superior. 

Central to critical race theory is the concept of identity politics and victimhood, where what is taught in the West’s schools and universities must be decolonised.  Instead of the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and truth, racial identity becomes the central factor in what is taught and what students encounter. 

As suggested by Kemi Badenoch, ‘the recent fad to decolonise maths, decolonise engineering, decolonise the sciences that we’ve seen across our universities to make race the defining principle of what is studied is not just misguided, but actively opposed to the fundamental purpose of education’. 

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Dr Kevin Donnelly
Dr Kevin Donnelly is a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University and author of A Politically Correct Dictionary and Guide (available at kevindonnelly.com.au)

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