Patterico's Pontifications


Constitutional Vanguard: David French Once Again Misrepresents a Law Addressing “Critical Race Theory”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:37 pm

I like the man, but this is starting to be a habit for him.

  • French says “the complaint is complaining about photographs and descriptions that depict what life was actually like for black Americans living in the Jim Crow South.”
  • French tells his readers that this complaint is made possible because the state law “bans any ‘concept’ that ‘promot[es] division between, or resentment of, a race, sex, religion, creed, nonviolent political affiliation, social class, or class of people.’”
  • French neglects to tell readers that the law he cites explicitly allows schools to present “[t]he impartial instruction on the historical oppression of a particular group of people based on race.” That language would allow the schools to use the very photographs and depictions that French claims the law bans.

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36 Responses to “Constitutional Vanguard: David French Once Again Misrepresents a Law Addressing “Critical Race Theory””

  1. I find this frustrating. It would not fly in court. No judge would tolerate it. Why does he think it flies in the court of public opinion?

    Patterico (e349ce)

  2. Here’s the problem: The racist society that I was born into is so diminished, through the actions of people of all races, and particularly the Boomers and Gen X, that youngsters today haven’t a clue about Jim Crow and the painful history of being Black in this country.

    Isn’t that a win? Isn’t that what we were all working toward? Eliminate the idea of “Us and Them”? But no, some people LIKE “Us and Them” and so they wave the bloody shirt.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  3. Well, first, I’m a fan of both French and Patterico.
    Patterico, I agree that you interpreted the law correctly. IANAL, just a guy who has read legal documents and case law for decades, but I can read it as well as anyone else and French is wrong in his characterization.
    Next, I disagree with this particular law–and the need for this law–in its entirety.
    If traditional conservatives are to be good traditional conservatives, then governors and state legislatures should allow school districts to teach history and other subjects as they see fit. They’re better at setting academic standards, not this or that subject matter.
    If a school district is off track, then the voters can make a change. The best recent example is Loudon County, where the school board revealed itself to be more interested in PC bullsh-t over keeping students safe. And now the Frisco school board is going to get nailed, and long overdue.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  4. There must be a historical precedent for the sort of pseudo-virtuousness that French consistently displays. I can’t think of a precise analogy, but it seems Neville Chamberlain-ish. It’s very damaging. French seems to think he can use knee jerk triangulation to bring peace in our time.

    Doesn’t he grasp the significance of the left’s ironclad control of K-12 education, the universities, the print and television news media, the prestige journals, think tanks, NGOs, multi–billion dollar foundations, the entertainment industry, the unions, social media, Big Data, the FBI, the CIA and its acronymic clones, the music business, the military, the state legislatures and governorships of almost all of our most populous states, the publishing houses, the civil service, the professions (and I probably could go on)?

    Read Anne Applebaum’s brilliant “The Crushing of Eastern Europe”. She explains how the Soviets destroyed voluntarism, religion, family, and individual freedom and autonomy bit by bit in less than a decade using exactly the levers the left in this country now has. And that was before the Soviets had computers. Think how easy it will now be to create lists of supposed “white nationalists” and “potential terrorists”.

    The predicament we face is so horrible, and so obvious, that people have turned to outsiders. This is how you get Trump. This is how you get the deluge. God help us.


    vince (da6183)

  5. Looking at my post, I see I failed to mention the left’s capture of the board rooms and HR Departments of the vast majority of corporate America and its stranglehold on the various organizations that are the engines of racial, ethnic, and sexual grievance, and the guarantors that these grievances will, by design, never be sated.

    We are seriously screwed, as Immanuel Kant said so often.

    vince (da6183)

  6. @3 school boards get off track cuz everyone votes them in, not just parents

    loudoun county’s school board, even with all the crap that’s happened, will still be pushing leftist nonsense

    state government is a valid check on school boards, and if the electorate doesn’t like it they can vote them out too

    JF (e1156d)

  7. “I find this frustrating. It would not fly in court. No judge would tolerate it. Why does he think it flies in the court of public opinion?”

    Some people might said the same about the Russiagate investigation, but the answer to the constant failure to deal with the actual facts and their consequences properly is of course the same: too personally and emotionally involved with the politics and the particulars to come to an impartial conclusion.

    Even Broker (f8cda0)

  8. Sure, sure. Sh!tkicker politicians that only know how to beg, buy, or steal votes dictating what our kids should be taught, when we should be tarring and feathering them and running them out of town on a rail if we saw them within a thousand feet of a playground.

    nk (1d9030)

  9. Indeed, nk.

    mg (8cbc69)

  10. state government is a valid check on school boards, and if the electorate doesn’t like it they can vote them out too

    And when a wokey liberal state government uses their “valid check on school boards” power to cram CRT or some other progressive dogma down school districts’ throats, what then? The damage is much greater when implemented statewide than in a single school district, which is why traditional conservatism works.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  11. @10 “when”?

    hate to break it to you, montagu, but it’s already happening in california and oregon and elsewhere

    as for “what then”, doesn’t look like you have any alternative other than just giving in

    JF (e1156d)

  12. as for “what then”, doesn’t look like you have any alternative other than just giving in

    False. The point about pushing authority down to the lowest levels is that ordinary citizens are more effective at effecting change, and the lowest levels of authority are the most responsive. This is basic traditional conservatism that Trumpalistas have either ignored or tossed aside.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  13. @12 like sanctuary cities, right montagu?

    and when states like california don’t subscribe to your theory, what then?

    you don’t have an answer rooted in reality

    JF (e1156d)

  14. and when states like california don’t subscribe to your theory, what then?

    It’s not just my theory, JF. If you don’t like the politics in a municipality, you can either try to change it through the democratic process (which is easier to do the more local the level), do nothing and just whine about it, or move out. There are scads other cities that aren’t the “sanctuary” kind.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  15. Why does he think it flies in the court of public opinion?

    Because it works. People don’t care about logic, only their desired result.

    DRJ (03cb91)

  16. Because it works. People don’t care about logic, only their desired result.

    Witness Biden’s vaccine mandate and the sheer rage that is aimed a court that wonders where the F Biden gets that power.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  17. It’s complicated…and both sides fail to appreciate the other’s point. French believes that the anti-CRT laws are overly vague and that they will have the consequence of stifling discussions of difficult topics…topics that are an important component of a liberal education. Critics will counter that there are exemptions and that only the most eggregious activities….where students are being purposefully made to feel bad about their ethnicity…..are being targeted. However, some teachers will wonder how far they can go in talking about racial inequality and the roots of persistent inequality in our society. Others will question whether structural racism has much meaning today….and that as a society, opportunity is ripe for the taking…..and school kids might not being told that reality.

    I tend to agree with Paul that what is taught in K-12 schools should be the dominion of local communities….and though some will make decisions that I disagree with, that’s our system. Though, they should not be free of criticism or from local opposition. Bad ideas should fall because the evidence is persuasive (ex. some of the bad ways we’ve taught math). I disagree with French a bit because I do think kids are getting caught in the middle of what amounts to a political battle…whereas they would be better served to focus on the fundamentals of reading, writing, and arithmetic….versus the complex nature of what should be done about or made of racial inequality (is a K-12 student well positioned to track Patterico’s analysis of racial disparities in criminal justice and what is fact? What’s age appropriate is a relevant question). The fear many have is that this is just a pre-text for pushing for more income redistribution, set asides, and even reparations….and engraining this in the minds of the students. I tend to give parents more credit in countering such influences. Even though we’ve seen a lot of hyperventilating….there’s also been good discussion….and people are having productive conservations about how our troubling past regarding race should be presented. That’s not an awful byproduct….

    AJ_Liberty (3cb02f)

  18. CRT will be taught by rabid leftist teachers in ways that are going to be scandalous to parents.
    The parents are not willing to accept that and want the curriculum out period.

    The parents don’t like CRT because it is an easily abused subject, but what they are really saying is after a year and a half of zoom classes, teachers jumping to the head of the vax line and then not showing up to teach etc the parents don’t trust the teachers.

    steveg (e81d76)

  19. I thought he was moderated/banned. When did that change?

    DRJ (03cb91)

  20. @20. Why is this a concern of yours? Communicated w/P and posted an apology several threads back. Go read it.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  21. He did.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  22. “Go read it”
    Seems to cut away a bit at the apology.
    I’m pretty thin skinned about some things so I’m not here to preach at you, just noting incongruence.
    Have a nice Sunday everyone.

    steveg (e81d76)

  23. @23. It’s posted.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  24. DRJ: DCSCA asked for the chance to make an apology. I allowed it and he made Inez


    It is everyone’s concern who gets to comment here. You are on thin ice. Remember that.

    Patterico (e349ce)

  25. @25. Got it.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  26. I’ll post it again:

    This is an apology. A sincere apology to all those long time commenters and newbies, as well as Dana, JVW and Patterico posting topics on this venue. Some weeks ago, in a truly old fart fit-of-pique, I went over the top and used the term ‘darkie’ in angered reference to the race baiting ploys of Maxine Waters and Al Sharpton. It’s a term lifted from Thomas Mitchell’s dialogue in the 1939 film, ‘Gone With The Wind.’ Totally my bad– and I plead guilty to too much time spent watching TCM. I realized it was too harsh after I’d posted it– but in the heat of the moment, I was just super pissed at Waters and Sharpton for attacking those Texas border officers for doing their job, using their long reins properly and hearing them immediately wrapping it in some sort of throw back to slavery on national television. It infuriated me. And our current VP wasn’t a help, either.

    I’m sure you all know those Texas border officers were doing the next to impossible thing on rough terrain and anybody could see they were just managing the movement of their mounts, fielding folks breaking into the U.S. illegally– and surely Waters and Sharpton saw and knew that, too– they just played the usual race card again and for me it was just the final straw in their needless race baiting. We’d all likely agree that if the migrants would go to legal entry points, they’d be properly processed and welcomed.

    But I’m at an age now where I just won’t suffer efforts to elicit ‘white guilt’ or see it used as an attempt to claim reparations for the sins of generations long, long dead, by people in positions of power and influence. It should be smacked down immediately. I’m tired of it– and I’m sure you all are, too– and apparently Virginians felt the same way on Tuesday. I would encourage all of you to source and listen to Lt. Gov.-elect Winsome Sears’ victory speech from that night. It truly is “glorious.”

    But with respect to my own commentary, I’ll lift and paraphrase [not plagiarize] another piece of dialogue most of you may be familiar with from another old film: ‘I can assure you I had no intention of being harsh or cruel in my post to my fellow… commenters and posters who’ve questioned. My sole purpose was to voice outrage at blatant race baiting, white guilting, and smack it down immediately. This was on my mind. Now, I freely admit that my method was wrong, but I hope you can understand my motive. And that you will accept this explanation… and this… apology.’

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  27. If … “[t]he impartial instruction on the historical oppression of a particular group of people based on race.” does not promote resentment of European Americans by African Americans or Native Americans, what would?

    John B Boddie (9f8361)

  28. This is why this all gets so confusing:

    CNN & MSNBC suggest CRT ‘doesn’t exist’ ; Fox & Newsmax insist it does– and NBC’s SNL lampoons it.

    Yet Education Week posted a piece on CRT to explain it; and says it “is an academic concept that is more than 40 years old”…

    What Is Critical Race Theory, and Why Is It Under Attack?

    This all actually says more about the editorial mind set of the cable news outlets than about the ‘theory’ itself– and the kids are stuck in the middle.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  29. Ok. I don’t read his comments but I trust P’s decisions.

    DRJ (02d0b8)

  30. Well, there’s also that Tennessee seems to be especially political with its public schools. For example, the State’s nascent school voucher program has been challenged, and is now before the State’s Supreme Court, on the grounds that it impinges on the respective counties’ home rule authority. I am also under the impression, but don’t quote me, that the previous time that the Tennessee legislature puts its hands to school vouchers it died at the final moment when they realized they would also have to give them to Muslim schools.

    nk (1d9030)

  31. But let’s not forget the Blaine Amendment of 1875 vintage, which did not make it into the U.S. Constitution but did become law in 37 States. This stuff is neither new nor unique.

    nk (1d9030)

  32. Speculation: The vile attacks on his family might have thrown David French off balance, just a bit.

    Attacks by the alt-right
    In 2016, French and his wife and family were the subject of online attacks when he criticized then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and the alt-right. French was bombarded with hateful tweets, including an image of his child in a gas chamber.

    That’s his adopted daughter, from Ethiopia. (If I worked out the arithmetic correctly, the daughter would have been about 10 years old then.)

    That wouldn’t excuse French from getting a legal analysis wrong, as our gracious host thinks, but it would make it more understandable.

    (I’d like to see French go back to FIRE, and to protecting Christians in the public square.)

    Jim Miller (edcec1)

  33. A shame the cellar dweller isn’t on thin ice.

    mg (8cbc69)

  34. My wife is an FCPS teacher. While Fairfax County does not explicitly say they are teaching CRT, they are teaching CRT. And teaching the concepts of CRT at a young age. She was requested to read How to Be an Antiracist over last summer and be prepared to discuss it at the planning period at the end of the summer.

    She didn’t start voicing her displeasure until she was asked to serve of the diversity committee because she was a minority. “We need more people like you” her principal asked. She said “What, an American?” lol

    Hoi Polloi (7cefeb)

  35. “A shame the cellar dweller isn’t on thin ice.”

    Why should anyone bother to use names and reputation to bolster their argument if they’re just going to get deleted the first time you use a formulation that offends the perpetually offended?

    Why should anyone conform to a code that’s going to be only enforced against certain posters and not others?

    What’s the use of posting under a unique name if you’re just going to post government-approved narrative lines organized on secret listservs?

    Why respect a system whose experts don’t respect it themselves and are only manipulating its procedures for their own purposes to the detriment of others?

    Cellar Dweller (c569eb)

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