One of the creators of Critical Race Theory (CRT) says he and his wife, who co-authored the controversial academic theory, have been inundated with hate mail and death threats in recent months.
Richard Delgado, 82, and his wife Jean Stefancic, 81, wrote the book ‘Critical Race Theory: An Introduction’ two decades ago, back in 2001. Together, they have published several books on CRT and are considered its founders.
‘We get some of the grossest telephone messages that you can imagine… Some of the stuff is hard to believe. It’s full of venom,’ Delgado told Axios on Friday.
The theory teaches that racism is systematically ingrained into American society and is intended to teach students to view history and society through a critical lens.
In recent months, CRT has increasingly come under fire as racial tensions come to a head in the United States, and school board meetings across the country have erupted in debates and measures implemented banning the academic theory from being taught to students.
The University of Alabama law professor said he had never received such threats in his 50 years of teaching – until this past year.
Delgado said he and Stefancic have been flooded with emails and voicemails accusing him of eating children, wanting to destroy the United States and hating white people. Delgado is Mexican-American and his wife is white.
Richard Delgado and his wife Jean Stefancic have been flooded with death threats and wild accusations in recent months as Critical Race Theory has become a hot button issue
Delgado (left) and Stefancic (right) are considered founders of the controversial academic theory which teaches students that racism is ingrained in American society and systems
The couple co-authored ‘Critical Race Theory: An Introduction’ in 2001
‘Before then, critical race theory had had a pretty easy glide path. We wrote our books. We developed our theories. We taught our classes. We published law reviews,’ Delgado said.
He points to those who are upset with Donald Trump’s loss in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matter as to why CRT has exploded into a national debate this year.
Delgado claims that the pandemic, coupled with the BLM movement and protests, gave parents time and a reason to discuss race, which led them to discover that younger generations generally hold more liberal views.
‘Parents lost it. They blamed the teachers for indoctrinating their kids, even though the kids are growing up in a more diverse world,’ Delgado told Axios.
CRT has come under the national spotlight in the past year, with conservatives claiming the academic theory is anti-white.
‘We get some of the grossest telephone messages that you can imagine… Some of the stuff is hard to believe. It’s full of venom,’ Delgado, pictured, said
He said harassers call and email him and his wife making wild accusations of them of eating children, wanting to destroy the United States and hating white people
Delgado and Stefancic define CRT as ‘a collection of activists and scholars interested in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power.’
Many conservatives have become concerned that the controversial academic theory is being taught in schools, but a national teacher’s union denied that claim in July.
The president of America’s second-largest teacher’s union has said CRT is not being taught in public schools as she prepares a legal defense fund for teachers accused of teaching the controversial practice.
In her remarks to the 1.7 million members of the American Federation of Teachers, President Randi Weingarten vowed legal action to protect any member who ‘gets in trouble for teaching honest history,’ as more than 20 states consider bills banning the theory, which claims racism is systemic and ingrained in American society.
She said it is not being taught in elementary, middle and high schools, and is only taught at college or graduate studies, ‘but culture warriors are labeling any discussion of race, racism or discrimination as [critical race theory] to try to make it toxic,’ she said, according to The Washington Post.
At least six states have passed laws limiting how race can be taught in the classroom, and similar proposals are being considered in at least a dozen others.
Many of the bills are intended to bar the teaching of critical race theory – an academic framework that examines history through the lens of racism. It centers on the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions and that they function to maintain the dominance of white people in society.
In June, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law forbidding schools from teaching that people ‘should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress’ because of their race or sex.
It adds that slavery and racism can only be taught as a deviation from the nation’s ‘authentic founding principles’ of liberty and equality.
Bills in some other states threaten to fine individual teachers who violate the rules or reduce state funding to their schools.
CRITICAL RACE THEORY: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
The fight over critical race theory in schools has escalated in the United States over the last year.
The theory has sparked a fierce nationwide debate in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests around the country over the last year and the introduction of the 1619 Project.
The 1619 Project, which was published by the New York Times in 2019 to mark 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived on American shores, reframes American history by ‘placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the center of the US narrative’.
The debate surrounding critical race theory regards concerns that some children are being indoctrinated into thinking that white people are inherently racist or sexist.
Those against critical race theory have argued it reduces people to the categories of ‘privileged’ or ‘oppressed’ based on their skin color.
Supporters, however, say the theory is vital to eliminating racism because it examines the ways in which race influence American politics, culture and the law.