The race for governor in Virginia won by Republican Glenn Youngkin was, to all intents and purposes, a critical race theory election. It should provide valuable insight for Australian politicians into the real concerns of mainstream Australians, as well as an opportunity for the government to use education to shape the next election.
Virginia is incredibly significant because it is a Democrat-supporting state that voted overwhelmingly for Joe Biden at the 2020 presidential election.
Critical race theory has become one the biggest political issues in the US, where its devotees have been pushing the theory and its tenets with such force on the population that parents’ groups have been resorting to legal action against boards of education.
Several states have even passed legislation banning it from their schools.
Across the country, parents of all races are uniting to reject CRT’s diabolical claims that the defining principle of the structure of Western societies is race, and that “whiteness” is the dominant system of power. They are dismissing the idea that white people are born with “white guilt” and “inherited guilt”, and they are repudiating the narrative that all black people are victims. They are refusing to allow schools to push this pessimistic, regressive and anti-materialist view that society’s default setting is racism.
According to the exit polls conducted by CBS following the election, education and the school curriculum were the top issues for half of all voters, from Democrat and Republican camps.
Recent polling commissioned by the Institute of Public Affairs (data collected by Dynata) reveals that Australians do not support radical ideologies that are infiltrating classrooms. The polling shows that 82 per cent of Australians disagree with the statement that school students should be forced to apologise for their skin colour. And 86 per cent disagree that schools should make boys ashamed of being male. Meanwhile, 69 per cent do not believe that school students should be taught that Australia is a racist country. These statements refer to events that have all occurred in Australian classrooms.
Yet, those on the left have chosen to ignore their concerns as legitimate because they are now denying that CRT even exists. Initially, they defended CRT as a good thing; then they claimed any attack on CRT was itself racist. Now they are saying that it is merely a figment of conservatives’ febrile imaginations. Indeed, the fatal mistake made by Democrat Terry McAuliffe during the campaign was to say that he didn’t think “parents should be telling schools what they should teach”.
Although he later claimed that the audience had applauded his statement, it appears that it was the final nail in McAuliffe’s coffin. As it turns out, American parents believe they should be able to tell schools what they should teach and they certainly don’t want their children being taught CRT and radical gender theory. The Republicans in Virginia campaigned hard against such woke teaching in schools and were richly rewarded in the suburbs.
CRT has already insinuated itself into the Australian education system. Many members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisory committee, who were called on to consult on all learning areas of the proposed national curriculum, believe that Australia was founded on white supremacy and that the teaching of maths is systemically racist. Thus, CRT has been embedded into the draft health and physical education syllabus, as well as the proposed history curriculum.
Students studying the year 10 strand “Rights and freedoms (1945 to the present)” will be taught about “the background and causes, such as discriminatory legislation and policies, to the struggle of First Nations Peoples of Australia for rights and freedoms”. Meanwhile, the NSW Education Department’s “Racism. No Way!” initiative teaches children that Australia’s history and its institutions are racist. A classroom activity for years 9 and 10 asks children to put together a “privilege sale list” so that they can “achieve an understanding of privilege and oppression”.
In Sydney’s Lindfield Learning Village, students in years 5 and 6 decorated the classroom with an array of Black Lives Matter-inspired signs such as End White Supremacy, White Lives Matter Too Much and Stop Killer Cops. In Melbourne’s Parkdale Secondary College, a youth worker humiliated 15-year-old boys in front of their classmates by making them stand up and apologise for being white, male and Christian.
Education Minister Alan Tudge has said he will not be endorsing the draft National Curriculum as it stands.
Meanwhile, the left is still defending CRT. The co-vice-president of the Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association, Sandy O’Sullivan, commented that “those of us who apply critical race theory to our work do so because we hope to locate race-based ideas and practices and reveal them”.
Like American parents, Australian parents want none of it. This presents an opportunity for the Morrison government to frame the election on back-to-basics education, rejecting woke teaching fads and CRT in our schools. The Liberals would be wise to take note of what is happening in the US. All they need to do is to listen to the parents.