Friday, March 19, 2021

Small: Critical race theory’s harms widespread


Critical race theory’s harms widespread
By Jonathan Small

What do Pepé Le Pew and a high-school student in Las Vegas have in common? Both are targets of adherents of Marxist-derived “critical race theory” and its offshoots—and many Oklahomans could soon join them.

Pepé Le Pew drew attention when a New York Times columnist, soon joined by other critics, complained the cartoon skunk “normalizes” rape culture. That the female cat in the cartoons is always fearfully, frantically trying to escape Pepé’s embrace is proof, they say.

Yet anyone who has seen the cartoons knows that’s not what’s occurring. The cat is desperately trying to flee—first and foremost—because Pepé is a literal skunk. His foul odor can be physically viewed wafting through the air as a dark cloud. All who cross his path run fleeing, man and beast alike.

The joke is that a guy who thinks he is irresistible to women actively repels them. That’s not condoning rape. It’s making fun of boorish men. While the laws of that time may not have dealt with sexual harassment as forcefully as today’s statutes, Pepé Le Pew cartoons show such men were not viewed as role models in the past but were instead objects of ridicule.

How does this tie to a student in Las Vegas? Keep reading.

In that Nevada city, a student may not graduate high school because he declined to publicly declare himself both “privileged” and an “oppressor” as part of a required civics class. In that course, all students were supposed to identify their various “identities” and associated “privileges.” The youth declined. The students were then told any denial of having “malicious and unjust” and “wrong” beliefs based on one’s characteristics was itself unjust privilege “expressed as denial.”

Did I mention the youth is biracial? His mother, who is black, has sued, arguing the boy “and his mixed-race family belong to many of the groups characterized as ‘oppressive’ and ‘wrong’ by Defendants. The assignment of these derogatory labels based upon racial, sexual, gender and religious upbringing created a hostile environment …”

The above examples are the logical outcomes of “critical race theory” and its offshoots, which divide people into multiple groups of oppressed and oppressors, and demand that people be treated differently (and assumptions made) based on race, gender, income and other factors.

Logic is not part of the equation.

Sadly, critical theory is now taught in most Oklahoma colleges, including mandatory training at OU and OSU. Lawmakers should prohibit taxpayer funding for such training. And they should make it illegal to require such training as a condition of graduation.

At a minimum, critical theory results in idiocy, such as believing Pepé Le Pew cartoons are endorsements of male dominance. But at its worse, critical theory produces true oppression, as when zealots gleefully seek to destroy the life of a biracial child to prove their “antiracism” bone fides.

Jonathan Small serves as president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.

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