Critical Race Theory Is Not The First … Or Last Conservative Outrage

Solaiman Khamis Hassanin ‘23

After more than six months of being in the news, Critical Race Theory is by now a familiar controversy to many. It is, by nature, the perfect issue for conservatives to weaponize to scare a lot of parents, get nationwide coverage, and play off the already existing distrust of public education among those on the political right. While conservatives love to play off of the idea that “liberals” are outraged, the rage around Critical Race Theory gives conservatives exactly what they may want: terrified parents fooled by misinformation rather than learning the actual facts. 

This tactic is nothing new. All the way back in 1961, then-actor-transitioning-to-politician Ronald Reagan warned the public of a new petrifying idea that would usher in the era of authoritarianism: the Kerr-Mills Bill. The Kerr-Mills Bill created the Medical Assistance for the Aged Program, which preceded the later passed Medicare and Medicaid systems created in 1965. Now, naturally, giving the elderly health care is a fair few steps away from rolling out forced labor camps, but factual information did not impede Reagan from espousing such a claim.

 Let us also not forget that ten years ago there were serious conversations about whether Sharia Law could be a threat to the United States. Of course, Sharia Law was never even going to come close to becoming the law of the land, but it still remained an effective scare tactic for Republicans attempting to further anti-immigration propaganda. Another example came just four years ago and continues today to be a trope among conservatives: there were caravans at the border that would turn America black and brown and purge the white majority forever. For evidence of this, google “Tucker Carlson White Replacement.”

Last year, in the midst of the highly controversial 2020 Presidential Election, conservatives were once shouting from the rooftops that socialism was coming and that the American people must stand up and vote Republican to defend the nation. Trump himself repeatedly claimed that the Democratic Party was run by the “radical left,” going as far as saying that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had endorsed Joe Biden for President. Truthfully, Maduro did not endorse either of the candidates for the 2020 election and in fact, publicly opposed both Biden and Trump. Predictably, it has been nearly a year after Biden took office and no such socialism has materialized. If anything, it is the American left that has been left dissatisfied with Biden’s policies. 

Needless to say, there are endless controversies to choose from, and there are enough conservative outrages to fill up a whole night of storytelling. From “issues” such as gender-neutral bathrooms in schools, to everyone’s guns being taken away, to Hunter Biden, and even to the more “small fringe” controversies such as cannibalistic elites taking over the government, it is important to understand that Critical Race Theory is just the flavor of the hour. When the issue becomes tired and old, there will be something new that pops up all of a sudden to present America with a challenge it has never seen before. It is best if the noise around Critical Race Theory is not amplified beyond what it needs to be, since it, like preceding controversies, shall pass.