HBO Real Time host Bill Maher has defended parents who are opposed to Critical Race Theory in public schools, saying it is ‘disingenuous’ to suggest that they are upset with incorporating African American history into the curriculum.
During his panel discussion on Friday night, Maher debated Vanderbilt professor Michael Eric Dyson about the role parent frustrations played in Tuesday’s gubernatorial election in Virginia. It was won by GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin after a last minute surge in support credited to parents worried about what their children are being taught in the state’s schools.
Dyson argued that parents were outraged that black history was being ‘centered’ in schools, saying that they were ‘spooked’ by CRT even though ‘none of them can define it’.
Maher fired back: ‘I find that a disingenuous argument because I don’t think that is what people are objecting to… They are not objecting to black history being taught. There are other things going on in the schools.’
HBO Real Time host Bill Maher has defended parents who are opposed to Critical Race Theory in public schools
Vanderbilt professor Michael Eric Dyson argued that parents were outraged that black history was being ‘centered’ in schools, saying that they were ‘spooked’ by CRT even though ‘none of them can define it’
Pressed for examples, Maher said that parents objected to ‘separating children by race and describing them either as oppressed or oppressor.’
‘I mean, there are children coming home who feel traumatized by this. That’s what parents are objecting to,’ he added.
Dyson responded by arguing that much of the public discourse over CRT is driven by conservatives who believe the controversial ideology will ‘make good publicity.’
‘It’s not critical race theory, it’s the notion of centering black people as historical agents,’ he said.
‘I think you are underestimating the anti-black sentiment that’s deeply entrenched that’s way beyond Trump. … It ain’t just Donald Trump, it’s the [Republican] party itself,’ added Dyson.
Defenders of current progressive school policies argue that CRT is a college-level academic theory that isn’t taught in schools, and that it’s being used as a catch-all term to scare parents.
But those opposed say many lessons and school policies – most under the umbrella of ‘diversity, equity and inclusion,’ are created by adults influenced by CRT.
Schools have sparked outrage with lessons urging white children to see themselves as oppressors, with black children told they are victims.
And others have created ‘affinity groups’ where students can spend time with other people of the same race, which critics have condemned as segregation.
In his monologue on Friday, Maher also addressed the election in Virginia, in which Youngkin defeated former governor Terry McAuliffe in a shocking upset for Democrats.
Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated former governor Terry McAuliffe in a shocking upset for Democrats in the Virginia governor’s race on Tuesday
Opponents of the academic doctrine known as Critical Race Theory protest outside of the Loudoun County School Board headquarters, in Ashburn, Virginia earlier this year
Education became a hot-button issue in the race after McAuliffe said in a debate that parents shouldn’t have any say in what is taught in schools, follow parent protests over alleged CRT elements in education.
Democrats insist that CRT, which holds that racism is systemic in American institutions, is not taught in Virginia’s public K-12 schools. Republicans rubbish this claim as false and say there are clear elements of the ideology in the school system.
‘Virginia people, the only race they want their kids to be learning about is NASCAR,’ joked Maher in his Friday monologue. ‘That seems to be the message.’
‘I think Democrats should study Critical Race Theory, which is the theory that it’s critical to win races,’ he added.
Later, during the panel discussion including Dyson, the Vanderbilt professor doubled down on his argument that parents were actually upset about the inclusion of black history in the curriculum.
‘I think Democrats should study Critical Race Theory, which is the theory that it’s critical to win races,’ joked Maher
‘But that’s not all we’re talking about,’ Maher pushed back. ‘We’re talking about kids who seem to be too young sometimes to fully appreciate all this.’
‘I think if kids watched you, they wouldn’t know a lot of those words. So to ask them as opposed to letting kids be kids, maybe, where usually kids are pretty nice to each other if they’re instructed not to be,’ Maher said.
Brown University economics professor Glenn Loury also participated in the panel with a conservative perspective, arguing that ‘we need to be getting beyond race.’