One thing about conservatives—they virtually always assume they’re on the side of popular opinion. And the Republican war on critical race theory is a prime example of this.
Every right-wing pundit who has spoken out against CRT and every Republican legislator who has banned or sought to ban the academic study from being taught—none of whom have demonstrated even remedial knowledge of what CRT is—has claimed “America” is against it. They always claim their thoughts, feelings, and values represent “America’s” thoughts, feelings, and values.
Of course, we all know that by “America,” they just mean “white people,” because whiteness is America’s default, which, by the way, is exactly the thing CRT seeks to examine. (Whiteness and the system that caters to it, not white people individually, of course.)
To be fair, traditionally, conservative values have mirrored American values. Otherwise, slavery and Jim Crowe would never have been things (cue whiny white conservatives conflating political affiliation with ideology and tripping all over themselves to point out Democrats were in favor of the racist institutions). But the world is changing and the people are becoming more progressive (albeit, slowly and with minimal effort to bring about social change).
Anyway, while conservatives purport that their book bans and efforts to limit classroom discussions on race in the name of white discomfort serve the interests of “Americans” in general, a new poll indicates they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.
That’s right, a CBS-YouGov poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans surveyed reject the idea of banning books about history or race and believe students, regardless of race, benefit from learning a non-whitewashed version of American history that tells the truth about the nation’s racist AF foundations.
“Large majorities—more than eight in 10—don’t think books should be banned from schools for discussing race and criticizing U.S. history, for depicting slavery in the past or more broadly for political ideas they disagree with,” CBS News reported, noting that researchers saw “wide agreement across party lines, and between White and Black Americans on this.”
In fact, 68 percent of those polled felt teaching honestly about race in America will cause students to “understand what others went through,” and 42 percent believe it will make students “more racially tolerant.” Only 23 percent believe it will make white students “feel guilty about past generations,” and only 16 percent believe it will make them “less racially tolerant.”
Furthermore, between 83 and 87 percent of those surveyed didn’t believe books should be banned for “criticizing U.S. history,” “political ideas you disagree with,” “depicting slavery” or “discussing race.”
Lastly, 58 percent of Americans believed racism was still a “major problem” in the U.S. currently.
Now, suffice it to say, the numbers break down differently when Black and white opinions are analyzed separately, but they still show white conservatives don’t have the stranglehold on white opinions that they think they do.
For example, 81 percent of Black people believe racism in America is still a major problem today, and 52 percent of white people agreed. And 71 percent of Black people believed Black history isn’t sufficiently taught in schools while 36 percent of white people agreed.
Now, when it comes to the subject of CRT, the polls do show an overwhelming difference in the way Democrats and liberals think versus Republicans and conservatives. 81 percent of Democrats view CRT favorably while only 13 percent of Republicans do. Also, just under half of independents view it favorably, which only indicates that Republicans’ propaganda campaign against the academic study has been somewhat successful.
And while many will view that last statement as biased—which it admittedly is (biased towards the truth, but whatever)—it’s worth mentioning that only a third of those polled said they knew a lot about what CRT actually is.
This can be attributed to the fact that while CRT has been a thing in academia since the ’80s, whiney righty whities who only discovered it sometime in 2020 have turned it into a mainstream political issue without accurately discussing what CRT actually is.
Conservatives want desperately to believe they speak for “America,” but the only way they can actually speak for a majority of Americans is if they can manage to keep Americans socially, racially, and politically ignorant.
And what better way to do that than to ban books and take control of what educators teach?