Gov. Greg Abbott is likely to sign the bill that will effectively ban the teaching of critical race theory in Texas, but its implementation will be key. In the months that CRT has been debated in Texas, it has been dismissed as merely another way of looking at things (much as Antifa has been dismissed as a set of ideas).
State Rep. Mary Gonzáles even said CRT “helped her to understand society in a way that allows her to be loving, compassionate and a unifier,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. What’s more, many claim that CRT isn’t even taught in Texas schools.
That’s not true. As a high school debate coach, I’ve watched critical race theory crush the souls of students for years. When it began to creep into the honored and honorable academic pursuit of policy (CX) debate, it lowered standards, created division and sundered relationships.
Let me explain how. Policy debate pits two two-person teams against each other. The Affirmative team (Aff) presents a plan that falls within this year’s topic; the Negative team (Neg) argues against that plan. This requires immense research and study; if the year’s topic is, say, the oceans, teams must be prepared to argue against plans ranging from the Law of the Seas Treaty to plastics to overfishing.
But some years ago, a new tactic emerged. Why argue that the Aff plan is terrible, when you can simply argue that the United States is terrible? Or worse, that the Aff team is terrible?
This kind of argument is called a kritik—debate jargon for employing critical theory (including, and especially, critical race theory) to undermine not the plan you’re supposed to be refuting, but the very legitimacy of ...