Tuesday afternoon, President Donald Trump announced via Twitter that he has prohibited the United States government from conducting business with companies and individuals that promote critical race theory (CRT), claiming that the theory is “divisive and harmful.” Moreover, Trump ordered federal agencies to cease racial sensitivity training courses that discuss CRT and white privilege.
“A few weeks ago,” Trump tweeted, “I BANNED efforts to indoctrinate government employees with divisive and harmful sex and race-based ideologies.” He continues, adding that “Today, I’ve expanded that ban to people and companies that do business […] with our Country, the United States Military, Government Contractors, and Grantees. Americans should be taught to take PRIDE in our Great Country, and if you don’t, there’s nothing in it for you!”
This follows a White House memo sent on Friday to federal agencies by the director of the Office of Management and Budget, Russell Vought, instructing them to begin to cease racial sensitivity courses that discuss those subjects, referring to the programs as “un-American propaganda training sessions.”
“All agencies,” the memo reads, “are directed to begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on ‘critical race theory,’ ‘white privilege,’ or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil.”
Vought continues, saying that “the Office of Management and Budget will shortly issue more detailed guidance on implementing the President’s directive,” adding that “all agencies should begin to identify all available avenues within the law to cancel any such contracts and/or to divert Federal dollars away from these un-American propaganda training sessions.”
Encyclopaedia Britannica broadly summarizes that CRT is “the view that the law and legal institutions are inherently racist and that race itself, instead of being biologically grounded and natural, is a socially constructed concept that is used by white people to further their economic and political interests at the expense of people of colour.” Conservatives have commonly argued that the theory is “anti-white” and discourages patriotism.
CRT is a concept that has become dramatically popular among left-wing scholars and activists over the past few years. Simultaneously, with that rise in prevalence, the theory has become a target for right-wing thinkers and activists more recently as race has returned to the forefront of national politics this past summer.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.