Critical race theory has been described as the notion that racism is embedded in U.S. institutions. It has often been compared to the New York Times Magazine's 1619 Project, which is based on the belief that the first importation of the slaves to America in 1619 was the mark of the nation’s true founding.
"Open question to those who are afraid of ‘critical race theory’ (which isn’t being taught in K-12 schools; it’s a course offering in law schools, but you clearly are conflating it with the #1619Project.) What do you WANT taught about U.S. slavery and racism? Nothing? Or what?" Reid asked.
"Currently, most k-12 students already learn a kind of Confederate Race Theory, whereby the Daughters of the Confederacy long ago imposed a version of history wherein slavery was not so bad and had nothing to do with the civil war, and lynchings and violence never happened," she added.
In Reid's perspective, U.S. educators continue "to omit things like the founders owning slaves, or the facts about the mass extermination of the indigenous," and she bemoaned that schools will continue to engage in a "sanitization of history."
Social media users, parents and conservative commentators ripped Reid for her hot take on what students are learning in U.S. history classes, arguing that by and large the tragic history of slavery in America is getting the attention it deserves.
"'Most'? This is nonsense. Nobody in my family, of any generation, has ever been taught anything vaguely resembling this. In how many of the 50 states, in 2021 A.D., do you believe that the Daughters of the Confederacy presently control the public, private, & parochial schools?" National Review's Dan McLaughlin responded.
"No one, and I mean no one, is learning that ‘slavery was not so bad,’" conservative commentator Allie Beth Stuckey replied. "You live in a mythical world, Joy, and you do not understand what’s happening in the realm of reality."
Other respondents used the adjectives "crazy" and "moronic" to describe Reid's diatribe.
Grabien editor Tom Elliott challenged Reid to share some examples to corroborate her claim that today's students are learning that slavery "was not so bad."
Critical race theory opponents have argued that the initiative teaches students to judge one another by the color of their skin. Teachers and parents have started to speak out despite much negative media coverage, including a recent report from The Intercept that suggested the fight against the curriculum is a fueled by "mostly White parents."
Mothers like Shawntel Cooper, a Black parent in Loudoun County, Virginia, have delivered explosive speeches at local school board meetings arguing that CRT is racist, not the current U.S. education system.
"Critical race theory is not an honest dialogue. It is a tactic that was used by Hitler and the Ku Klux Klan on slavery very many years ago to dumb down my ancestors so we could not think for ourselves," Cooper said. "Critical race theory is racist, it is abusive, it discriminates against one's color … You cannot tell me what is or is not racist."
"I have seen a number of Black parents at school board meetings saying they don’t want any part of this," Fox News contributor Deroy Murdock said in an interview with Fox News last week, noting that Black people "do not want to be told ‘we’re victims, we can’t make it work, we’re oppressed, we’re losers.’"
"Is Joy Reid a journalist or a cartoon character? I fear it's the latter," Murdock added in a statement provided to Fox News on Sunday. "In her Looney Tune world, the Daughters of the Confederacy whitewash American history and make slavery appear as just another lifestyle choice."
Murdock said that several facts "T-bone" Reid's claims about the American education system.
"In America, where I live, children learn about the evils of slavery and Jim Crow in history class," he noted. "They and other Americans watch televised depictions of and documentaries on slavery, via epic shows like Roots (1977 and 2016), Ken Burns' The Civil War (1990), and Underground (2016-2017). The Silver Screen has glistened with the Academy Award-winning Django Unchained (2012) and Seven Years a Slave (2013) and the Oscar-nominated Harriet (2019), among others."
"American students focus on slavery during Black History Month, where they also learn how Republican President Abraham Lincoln crushed the Democrat-run Confederacy and emancipated the slaves. Free black men and women overcame their shackles, often painfully, and they contributed mightily to the transformation of America into the greatest country on Earth," he continued.
Ian Prior, the Executive Director of Fightforschools.com, agreed and told Fox News that Reid has a history of pushing "crazy" claims.
"Joy Reid believed that 9/11 was a conspiracy theory. She posted homophobic material on her blog, then falsely blamed it on hackers," Prior said. "Now she's pushing this crazy claim. One thing is clear, Ms. Reid needs help."
Nearly half of U.S. states have launched efforts to block the controversial curriculum.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, appeared to notch a victory in his efforts against CRT last Thursday when the Florida Board of Education approved a rule to ban teaching certain ideas about race and history in public schools. DeSantis' office told Fox News that the rule excludes the term "critical race theory" because "CRT isn't the only issue."
"No child should be classified as a ‘victim’ or ‘oppressor’ based on race or ethnicity," said DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw. "Race essentialism in any form is destructive, especially in a diverse society where each person should be judged only by the content of their character, not the color of their skin."