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Column: Can the left defend critical race theory? Or merely oppose its critics?

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A national panic mostly from conservatives over critical race theory — erupting perhaps in a state legislature, university or school board meeting near you — triggers spirited counterpunches from its left-progressive defenders.

But are they defending CRT, I have to ask, or merely attacking its opponents?

I’m talking about myself, among others. Since the mid-1990s I occasionally have discussed and debated its pluses and minuses with lawyers, professors who know what CRT really is. Before it became a straw man for conservatives, activists, pundits and politicians to knock down, it was a pretty narrow field of intellectual study for law school students and professionals.

But in the wake of the social justice movements kicked up by George Floyd’s murder, it has provided something to the political right that their efforts to demonize President Joe Biden have not: A vague yet menacing issue that they can use to scare white folks in particular into voting Republican — and, they hope, help the Grand Old Party retake control of Congress.

“This is the Tea Party to the 10th power,” Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon told Politico in an interview. “And a lot of these........

© Chicago Tribune

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