Saturday, June 19, 2021

The Latest Conservative Heap of Lies

Remember when Conservatives were in a screaming panic about Ebola? How Ebola was going to enter our country and destroy everything, all because Obama wouldn't man up and closed the borders? 

How you couldn't turn on Fox News or open a conservative blog without seeing raving fury and terror over Obama, who was going to let those Africans come over here and destroy everything? 

Lately, it's been trans people, and forcing people to use pronouns, which is going to destroy everything.

Before that it was immigrants. They were entering our country -- illegally! Illegals! -- and bringing disease and criminals non-White ideas, which was going to destroy everything.

Before that it was gay people, forcing people to bake cakes, and demanding to be allowed to marry, which was going to destroy everything.

Before that, black people. And Catholics. And Jews. And women, demanding rights, which would destroy everything. 

Atrocity stories play so well, at least to a certain sort of mind.

Right now, it's Critical Race Theory. I've been earnestly lectured, by more than one bot on FB, about how liberal Marxists who insist on teaching about racism and white privilege are just exactly like Stalin: how teaching kids (and apparently "kids" means anyone up to age 26) anything except that America is Great and Just and treats everyone exactly the same = Pol Pot. 

Some of these bots have earnestly explained to me that they had teachers whose parents or uncles or preacher came from Cuba or Portugal or wherever, and that person told them this is exactly what happened in their countries, and how it is going to destroy everything.

Most of these people couldn't explain what Critical Race Theory is with a gun to their heads. Or Marxism, for that matter. It's like when they were shrieking about socialism, a few months ago. "Socialism" meant "anything I don't like." By "Critical Race Theory," what these piles mean is "anything that talks about anything wrong that white people did."

It reminds me of when I was teaching in Idaho, about 25 years ago. My first job as a baby professor. Idaho was then -- I don't know if it still is -- a very religious, patriarchal community. The young men in the class saw themselves as having authority over me, because they were men, and I was just a girl. Not only did I not recognize this authority, I didn't even notice it.

So I taught the way I'd taught as a graduate student, asking questions, pointing out interesting subtexts, showing them how to use various critical lenses to interpret the texts. I taught them to examine sources for credibility, how to decide what was fact and what was opinion. The usual stuff. When they made a claim, I forced them to provide sources -- to back up what they asserted. (I still remember the young man who claimed that Indians were poor because they were lazy, dishonest drunks. (Racism against Indians is huge in Idaho.) I told him he had to provide evidence to support that claim if he was going to use it in his paper, and he got so mad.)

Some of the young men went to the dean to complain that I hated men, that I was "attacking" men in the classroom. When pressed, all they could say was that I was a feminist. (I was, and I said so in class.) That I didn't immediately agree when they asserted something. That I argued with their claims.

That's where we are with conservatives in this country at the moment. They have asserted that white men are responsible for civilization, that racism in the US does not exist, and has in fact never existed (oh, a few racist people, maybe, but not racism embedded in the de facto and de jure aspects of our laws and systems), and that anyone who says otherwise is just like Stalin and Pol Pot.

And not only are we not agreeing with their raving, we're for the most part ignoring it. 

I mean, why wouldn't we? It's obvious nonsense, and we have actual work to do.

So -- as with trans people -- the legislatures that they control are passing non-constitutional laws to forbid the teaching of certain subjects*, which even Trump's joke of a Supreme Court will overturn. But -- like my students who complained to my dean -- this makes them feel as if they have power.

And the illusion of power is all they really want. Illusions and lies being, after all, their entire world.

Anyway! If you want some facts about "Critical Race Theory," here's what the AAUP has to say.

ETA: While conservatives are waving this flag in front of us -- and their base -- this is what they're really doing.

Lonnie Hollis has been a member of the Troup County election board in West Georgia since 2013. A Democrat and one of two Black women on the board, she has advocated Sunday voting, helped voters on Election Days and pushed for a new precinct location at a Black church in a nearby town.

But this year, Ms. Hollis will be removed from the board, the result of a local election law signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican.

They're changing election laws to make it easier to keep the "wrong" people from voting, and easier for them to overturn any election result they do not approve of. This was inevitable once the Voting Rights Act was abolished by the courts, and is how an unpopular party -- the Republicans -- must act if they are going to gain and keep control of our country.

*Remember when conservatives were shrieking about "trigger warnings" and how those violated free speech and would destroy everything? Trigger warnings about rape and abuse and violence are extremely bad, apparently, but laws forbidding the teaching of certain historical events are the salvation of America.

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