Discover more from Reality’s Last Stand
Critical Race Parenting: Race Essentialism for Kids
Race essentialism is being marketed to impressionable young children.
Reality’s Last Stand is a reader-supported publication. Most articles are free, so if you would pay to read this article, please consider becoming a paying subscriber anyway or making a one-time or recurring donation to show your support. I’d rather a million people read RLS for free than have it be accessible to only a small group of paying subscribers, but that means I rely fully on the generosity of my readers for support. Thank you!
The ongoing culture war regarding Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been steadily escalating across America, causing deep divisions and stoking heated debates. At the heart of this dispute lies a fundamental question regarding the place that race should, or ought to, occupy within our society, and how our youth must be educated on topics related to race within public institutions.
By now most people have heard of CRT:
Critical race theory (CRT) is a cross-disciplinary examination, by social and civil-rights scholars and activists, of how laws, social and political movements, and media shape, and are shaped by, social conceptions of race and ethnicity. - Wikipedia
Critical Race Theory began as an obscure academic pursuit, yet has swiftly proliferated throughout contemporary society, saturating large corporations, mainstream media, entertainment, and even children's classrooms. At its core, CRT employs a race essentialist perspective to analyze how various facets of the world operate. Because of this, CRT can summed up as "Race Essentialism," the idea that one's race is a fundamental and inescapable aspect of their identity that shapes their experiences, social interactions, and the opportunities afforded to them.
Concerned parents are sounding the alarm and voicing their apprehensions towards the influence of CRT-inspired race essentialism on their children's educational curriculum. Despite Christopher Rufo's extensive exposés on the topic, the validity of the claims surrounding the presence of CRT in schools and its appropriateness for children remains a contentious subject.
Enter Critical Race Parenting (CRP).
Perusing these articles made a few things clear. The first is that Critical Race Parenting is derived from Critical Race Theory. Secondly, Race Essentialism is being marketed to impressionable young children. The third and perhaps the most concerning aspect of Critical Race Parenting is that it extends beyond the boundaries of the child's immediate family. This is because Critical Race Parenting (aka ParentCrit or CRP) is not education per se, but is rather defined as “an educational praxis that can engage both parent and child in a mutual process of teaching and learning about race, especially ones that debunk dominant messages about race.”
The authors of these two pieces employ two different research methods—counterstories and autoethnography. Autoethnography (sometimes called mesearch) involves writing about personal experiences and attempting to extrapolate generalizations of the world based on those experiences. Meanwhile, counterstories serve as alternative narratives designed to protest commonly accepted facts in order to expose, analyze, and challenge narratives and privileged characterizations.
Both methods are highly anecdotal in their approach in that they draw on personal experiences to make broader generalizations based on the extracted narratives.
The screenshots presented above offer further insight into the principles of Critical Race Parenting, in that it emphasizes the importance of “continued learning and growing towards social justice in both parent and child.”
Of particular interest is the statement that “counterstories will be written so that both children and adults can understand them.” This indicates that the tenets of Race Essentialism are not only being incorporated into educational curricula for young children, but that the root literature is being written with children in mind.
Critical Race Parenting also teaches the concept of “Whiteness,” which is defined broadly as something that “is used to normalize and promotes white supremacy.”
White parents are even accused of parenting their children into racism.
This sets the stage for another astonishing perspective on parenting, one that challenges traditional notions of familial dynamics. According to CRP, parenting is no longer a solitary endeavor between parent and child. Instead, parenting is viewed “in a larger sense,” which they do not clearly explain.
The approach advocated by these scholars regarding racial parenting is alarming. According to one counterstory, children reared under the principles of Critical Race Parenting possess a remarkable command of racial vernacular by the tender age of four. The significant mastery of such terminology by these young minds suggests that the process of imparting this racial ideology must have commenced at an even younger age.
The other paper shares a story of a “White Presenting” young boy who was gifted a Black Panther costume but was discouraged from wearing it to school during Halloween season on the basis of his skin tone.
Despite these troubling trends, Race Essentialism has nevertheless found itself bolstered by the steadfast support of teachers’ unions across the nation. Reports suggest that a new wave of instructional materials intended for children of all ages is currently under development and slated for classroom use. Indeed, according to recent statements from the Arizona Department of Education, the scourge of racism can even be detected in babies.
The use of Critical Race Parenting (CRP) has become a widespread practice among various organizations, including the Children’s Community School, which caters to young children between the ages of 18 months to 5 years old. As depicted in the graphic shared by the Arizona Department of Education, CRP entails injecting Race Essentialism into children from a young age, raising concerns about whether this form of extreme racial messaging could lead to learned helplessness.
Despite these concerns, proponents of CRP argue that it has children’s best interests at heart. However, this argument fails to acknowledge that CRP does not respect the boundaries that parents may set around their children’s upbringing. Further, the origins of CRP as an offshoot of CRT disproves the oft-repeated assertion that CRT is not being taught to children.
As we ponder whether parents should adopt the tenets of CRP, a crucial question arises: is it healthy to impart Race Essentialist values into children? If your answer is no, then rejecting Critical Race Parenting, Critical Race Theory, and other forms of Race Essentialism is the logical response.
It is crucial that we acknowledge the potential harm that Critical Race Parenting, Critical Race Theory, and other forms of Race Essentialism can inflict upon our children. By rejecting these divisive ideologies, we can create an environment that fosters healthy and constructive conversations about race, without overburdening young minds with radical and potentially damaging racial messaging.
If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to The Rabbit Hole’s Substack below.