To the Editor:
I want to add to the recent, well-written rebuttals to Monzo’s op-eds.
In claiming to define the expression of critical race theory for readers of the Herald in his first op-ed, Monzo is simply grasping at a term introduced to the general public by a man named Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist who used the expression on Fox News in September 2020.
What is critical race theory? It was, for most of its existence, a concept taught in graduate law school classes as a way of examining the intersection of race and U.S. law, challenging the mainstream, ironically, liberal approaches to racial justice. I’ve taken this directly from Wikipedia, just as Monzo claims to have done.
In his appearance on the Tucker Carlson show back in 2020, Rufo called on then-President Trump to stop critical race theory training from the federal government.
Trump quickly took the bait and signed an executive order banning diversity training within federal departments. That executive order has since been overturned by the new administration.
In his own words, Rufo has publicly declared that his purpose in using this arcane term was to create a negative connotation. To quote Rufo, “The goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think critical race theory.”
He has done a good job of creating a panic over school curriculum. What is being included in NJ teaching standards to combat bias is not critical race theory, but there is an incentive to make the public think so and to think of it in negative terms to sway opinion and votes.
Now, Monzo is acting as the local mouthpiece for Rufo and adding fuel to the flames by calling the term Marxist. This is simply not true, but a political scare tactic.
Since when did teaching correct history and fairness in school become such a political pawn? The NJ law will simply add to learning standards, concepts that all children should learn if this society is ever to experience equality and real equity.
Monzo states in his second op-ed that equality means all people have the same treatment under the law.
Anyone who believes equality and equitable outcomes are in any way evenly available to all people in this country is either naive or desperately trying to hold onto the privilege and power that comes with disseminating that falsehood.
The Declaration of Independence did not grant equal opportunities to all, as he also states. Many who resided within the new U.S. - women, Blacks, and Indigenous people - were just some excluded from that original document. Future laws to remediate those omissions have been inadequately enforced or purposefully skirted for decades.
One only needs to look at the fact that the Equal Rights Amendment, giving women the same rights as men and still not fully ratified nor amended to the U.S. Constitution, to understand that not all Americans are granted equal access.
By printing Monzo’s op-ed as “journalism,” the Herald is helping perpetuate a false narrative.
We have seen time and again that words matter, and it is time for those who recognize the spreading of disinformation to speak up.