Opinion: CRT does not belong at USU – Utahstatesman

In any epoch, there are countless examples where liberty perished because individuals did not have the courage to stand up and speak out. The phenomenon known as “cancel culture” has made targets out of celebrities, academic figures and decent Americans, who do not view the world through the politically correct lens of the left. It has made people fearful of being bullied, shamed, fired from their jobs, even driven from society just for speaking their mind. I however will not stay silent. 

It is the purpose of this column to do what others cannot: stand up and speak out against an anti-American and entirely racist ideology being pushed on Utah State University campus called Critical Race Theory, or CRT. Whether through ignorance, indoctrination or extortion, this “woke” ideology has been allowed on campus without any resistance from faculty, students or staff. I am grateful for the platform and voice The Utah Statesman has given me and I intend to use it. If I am canceled for speaking out, then so be it. 

Far from a philosophical theory, CRT is a progressive political ideology used to cancel those the left deems undesirable or deplorable. CRT underpins identity politics and gives justification to organizations built on violent political movements such as Black Lives Matter and Antifa. These organizations reject the civil rights movement pioneered by Dr. Martin Luther King and label America as unredeemable. They claim to be engaged in a righteous crusade of ending systemic racism but insist individuals be judged based on the color of their skin and, in doing so, facilitate the racist behavior they claim to be fighting against. 

The Heritage Foundation examines this “new intolerance” and the grip it has on America. While there are strong themes linking CRT with other theories, the intellectual origins can be traced back to Marxist studies at the Frankfurt school, originally the Institute for Marxism, in Germany. After 1933, the Nazis forced its closure, and the institute was moved to the United States where “critical theory” found a hospitable environment at Columbia University training legal students. 

CRT provides an interpretation of Marxism and a critique of liberalism, specifically against Western traditionalism, modernity and capitalism. Instead of being used as a tool for liberty, as the Federalist explains, CRT has been used by communists as a divide and conquer tactic. It employs an unrelenting criticism of Western institutions and values to tear them down instead of improving them. A recent target has been traditional marriage and the family unit, which has historically been considered a hallmark of healthy societies.  

As with all forms of identity politics and intersectionality, critical race theory stokes divisions between people where few or none existed before. Rather than teaching “colorblindness” and inclusion, it groups individuals into categories of oppressors vs. oppressed based on race and skin color and discriminates against white people, males and Christians. 

“White privilege” is a common theme in CRT, which means you are racist just for being white despite your actions or the content of your character. In addition, African Americans and those with darker skin will always be oppressed, holding them forever in enslavement despite their opportunities or successes. In doing so, CRT promotes victimization through relational aggression and predatory alienation. It has caused a resurgence of racist policies not seen since the Jim Crow era such as “anti-racist” segregation. 

In Sept. 2020 the Trump Administration banned CRT from government agencies and established the 1776 commission. Since then, there has been a push, exclusively by Republican states, to ban CRT. Because of this, CRT has been repackaged by the left as diversity, equality, and inclusion or DEI. Trump’s ban was eventually blocked by an activist federal judge and was immediately repealed by Biden in January through an executive order which extorted a loss of federal funding linked to DEI training.  

In June, Utah banned CRT in K-12 on its own. Gov. Cox has said CRT does not belong in K-12 but is fine with it being taught in Utah colleges and universities. I do not understand our governor’s logic. While I applaud the ban, it does not go far enough — CRT should be banned outright.  

As a result, CRT classes have been allowed on campus. USU faculty, staff and students employees are required to take Critical Race Education as well as a multitude of trainings in DEI topics such as “implicit bias and microaggressions.” The USU Office of Inclusion promotes events to expand DEI exposure to everyone on campus such as hosting CRT speakers like Ibrahim X Kendi. The USU President’s Office has also scheduled a five-day inclusive excellence symposium supposedly designed to “enhance critical thinking and cultural understanding.”  

CRT supporters say bans violates freedom of speech and discrimination laws, but CRT itself is being used as a trojan horse to silence and discriminate against others. I am appalled USU would allow or even promote CRT on campus. If we are to retain our values as Americans and adhere to the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, we must say with one voice that critical race theory in any form does not belong at USU. I encourage everyone to get involved with USU College Republicans and fight back against CRT on campus.  

Keaton Hagloch is a public health major and has a passion for politics and writing. He loves the outdoors, playing the guitar and spending time with friends and family.

khagloch@aggiemail.usu.edu



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