“Things happen two ways. Gradually, then suddenly”

By Connie Pillsbury, Independent Columinst

Ernest Hemingway wrote, “Things happen two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.” This describes the current Critical Race Theory (CRT) battle locally and nationally. “How did we get here?” we all ask. Gradually, and suddenly. The Critical Race Theorists, starting in 1989, steadily and quietly permeated academia, the workplace, and media and are now popping up in the K-12 curriculum. In order to understand this sudden movement and its radical message, here’s a short vocabulary list. Hope it helps! 

Prejudice: Making a judgment or having an opinion without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge. As an introduction, I will say unequivocally that prejudice of any kind is unacceptable and that judging anyone by the color of their skin or their ethnic history is patently wrong. 

Critical Race Theory (CRT): Race is the prism through which CRT proponents analyze all aspects of American life, past and present. CRT’s goal is to reimagine the United States as a nation divided by groups, each with their own claim on victimization, forcing policy decisions to be made on skin color—not individual value and talent. CRT uses the mousetrap of labeling everyone a ‘racist’ who does not adhere to its ideas. Derrick Bell, godfather of CRT, says, “our work is often disruptive because our commitment to anti-racism goes well beyond civil rights, integration, affirmative action, and other liberal measures in an attempt to ‘disrupt’ American society.” 

Marxism: Based on class conflict of oppressor and oppressed, Marxism is a political and economic theory promoting a society with no classes. It argues for a worker revolution to overturn capitalism in favor of communism. The Marxism model is at the core of Critical Race Theory, where workers have been replaced by ‘blacks’ and the proletariat by ‘whites.’  

Racism: Traditional definition defined by Webster: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities: an individual that exhibits racial prejudice or discrimination through words and actions when dealing with others. 

Racism: New CRT definition includes race and prejudice but adds the component of ‘power.’ Developed in 1970 in academia and expanded by CRT, the new formula for racism is prejudice plus power equals racism. Under this rubric, people are divided into ethnic groups, “white” and “people of color,” and since “whites” are the only race with power, then all members of the race are collectively guilty of being ‘racists.’ People of color cannot be racists because they lack the element of power. 

Racist:  Under the new CRT definition, a racist, primarily in the United States, is everyone who was and is white and controls the institutions of society. Therefore, all institutions that have been established under the control of the white ethnic group are deemed “racist” by CRT.

Antiracist: This term sounds acceptable, like taking a stand against racism But the new CRT meaning is entirely different, in that an antiracist means accepting the theory of implicit bias, as whites, that “in the absence of making antiracist choices, we (un)consciously uphold aspects of white supremacy, white-dominant culture, and unequal institutions and society.” According to CRT Founder Abraham X. Kendi, “it’s not enough to say, “I am not racist” if you hold negative attitudes about entire groups of people.” Kendi also states, “In order to be truly antiracist, you have to be truly anti-capitalist.” Another words for antiracist is anti-white.

Systemic Racism: CRT believes that since the ‘system’ is controlled collectively by one ethnic group, whites, then the entire system is deemed racist. This new term is based on the unproven theory that the ethnic group in power will enforce their will and their ways on the groups not in power, in this case, the ‘people of color,’ another new CRT word to identify victim groups.  

White Supremacy: White Supremacy in this context does not refer to individual white people but to an overarching political, economic and social system of domination.” White supremacy describes the culture we live in.” (Robin DiAngelo, “White Fragility”)

Collectivism: The practice of giving a group priority over each individual in it with centralized social and economic control as in China. This is the opposite of individualism, a foundational pillar of the United States. CRT has capitalized on collectivism by separating people into victim identity groups. 

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion:  CRT feel good words. Equity is not equality. It is socialism bordering on Marxism, “to each according to his need.” Diversity is now ‘forced diversity’ to meet quotas. Inclusion is illusory—being included and accepted no matter the differences. It’s used as a ‘virtue-signaling’ tool because, well, it just sounds nice.  

Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Cancel Culture: Founded in 2014 as a “political project” from a series of Facebook posts by Alicia Garza. BLM Co-founder Patrisse Cullors stated in 2015 that she and her fellow organizers are “trained Marxists.” A predictable outgrowth of critical race theory, Cancel Culture teaches that since all whites from the foundation of America to the present have been ‘racists’ in a collective sense, then their memory and achievements deserve to be wiped out, destroyed, and canceled. 

So here’s the kicker. That which the Critical Race Theorists set out to abolish, they are now promulgating in their open and caustic anti-racism and prejudice against all white people. Remember, prejudice is “Making a judgment or having an opinion without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge.” If you are white, you are guilty of racism, whether you know it or not.  

This matters, not just for our nation, but locally, as the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees are considering a Resolution banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory in K-12 classrooms. After months of study, I wholeheartedly support the Resolution. If CRT is allowed in our public schools, we run the risk of losing the hearts and minds of our children. Gradually, then suddenly. 

If you agree, please email the Board of Trustees at: info@pasoschools.org urging them to pass the Resolution Banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory.  

Connie Pillsbury is an independent opinion columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at conniepillsbury22@gmail.com

*article was updated on July 9, 2021