When parents across the country stand up against Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the classroom, school districts often respond by claiming that it isn’t actually being taught. Certain Colorado media have accepted their claim, asserting as fact that CRT does not exist in Colorado public schools.
Yet to take one example to the contrary, the Anti-Defamation League’s “No Place for Hate” (NPFH) curriculum, which school districts across Colorado pay to receive, is merely CRT by another name. Consider three nexuses between NPFH and CRT: in their definition of racism, their vision of racism permeating everyday interactions, and their opinion that racism is foundational to American history.
On page 52 of the NPFH “Coordinator Handbook & Resource Guide,” ADL defines racism as “the marginalization and/or oppression of people of color based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people.”
Compare that definition of racism to CRT’s. In a 2019 study, David Gillborn, a professor of Critical Race Studies at the University of Birmingham, and Gloria Ladson-Billings, a former professor of Urban Education at the University of Wisconsin, write, “CRT defines racism more broadly than is usual in the mainstream. Rather than seeing racism as an individual manifestation of hatred, CRT explores the social structuring of racism as a complex, changing, and often subtle aspect of society that operates to the benefit of White people, especially White elites.”
Likewise, as Marisa Iati reported in the Washington Post, “Critical race theory is an academic framework centered on the idea that racism is systemic, and not just demonstrated by individual people with prejudices.”
Both CRT and NPFH characterize racism as systemic, not individual. This distinguishes them both from the traditional view of racism: that individual people could be either racist or not, depending on whether they judged people by their skin color or by the content of their character.
CRT and NPFH also both assert that racism bleeds into everyday life.
On page 34 of the NPFH handbook, the Anti-Defamation League features what it calls the “Pyramid of Hate.” This pyramid places “fear of differences,” “non-inclusive language,” and “seeking out like-minded people,” on a racist continuum that culminates in genocide.
Likewise, in the Washington Post story quoted above, Iati explains that CRT “holds that racial inequality is woven into legal systems and negatively affects people of color in their schools, doctors’ offices, the criminal justice system, and countless other parts of life.”
Both CRT and No Place For Hate hold that systemic racism is woven into small, seemingly innocuous parts of life such as dental appointments or the common phenomenon of seeking out like-minded people.
Finally, consider how CRT and No Place For Hate view America’s founding.
The Anti-Defamation League website defines systemic racism as “A combination of systems, institutions, and factors that advantage white people and for people of color, cause widespread harm and disadvantages in access and opportunity. One person or even one group of people did not create systemic racism, rather it is grounded in the history of our laws and institutions which were created on a foundation of white supremacy.”
Nikkole Hanna Jones’s “1619 Project,” one of the major proponents of Critical Race Theory, posits (in the words of the Wall Street Journal) “that America’s true founding was not 1776 but 1619, the year African slaves arrived in Virginia.”
Both CRT and No Place for Hate believe that white supremacy is ingrained in this country’s institutions.
The tenets of CRT are being taught in camouflage across Colorado. By claiming otherwise, disingenuous school districts are gaslighting their constituents.
Nate Ormond is a Castle Rock businessman who early in 2021 launched an effort to recall four members of the Douglas County School Board.