Dr. Phil waded into the critical race theory debate on his show this week, and along with parents and academics, heard from James Lindsay, an outspoken critic of critical race theory. As parents and academics made claims that critical race theory is not being taught in school, Lindsay brought receipts, reaching back into the archives to the 1990s and offering titles written by educators as to how to implement the ideas of critical race theory in lesson plans and general pedagogy.
Speaking from the audience, Lindsay spoke to the panel, who appeared to have shocked expressions on their faces, as Lindsay tore their assertions that critical race theory was not being taught in schools completely apart.
Dr. Phil introduced Lindsay, co-author of Cynical Theories, along with Helen Pluckrose, who stated on the show that critical race theory should be archived as a relic of the past, never to make its ugly head shown again in the realm of education.
"You say [critical race theory] should be an artifact, we should be, just put this behind us," Dr. Phil said.
"I do not believe in the critical race theory tenet, that says that racism is the ordinary state of affairs in our society and that if we don't drudge up our race consciousness then we can't get over it," Lindsay said.
"I think this is actually a lie," Lindsay continued, "and it's very annoying to me to listen to the back-and-forth here in fact. I'm glad to be here, to bring some knowledge. I take a lot of umbrage at the idea that we're going to talk about 'should we have critical race theory' this-or-that because it's talking about racism in our history, when the fact of the matter is it's not 'are we,' it's 'how are we."
"And I am shocked and appalled to hear," Lindsay went on, "the defensive side for critical race theory misrepresented this way. They don't explain, for example, why the first paper, called 'Toward a Critical Race Theory in Education' by Gloria Ladson-Billings, was published in 1995. They don't explain why Richard Delgado's 2001 book explains on page 5, for example, that it rapidly spread from law to other disciplines, especially education."
"They don't explain, in the exact same situation, that Gloria Ladson-Billings is one of the chief authors of an Ed. Equity in Virginia that is bringing critical race theory into all the state schools of Virginia right now."
Instead of engaging with Lindsay's ideas, Dr. Phil jokes that he talked too fast.
"I have read the vast majority of the major works in critical race theory that have been published since 1970," Lindsay countered, "to the most recent things, including for example, in 2017 we have Alison Bailey writing a paper in Hypatia, an education paper, and she says that there's the critical thinking tradition, but what we're doing in critical pedagogy, which critical race theory is an integrated integrated part of, is from a different set of traditions called critical theory, which is neo-Marxism, which is interested in studying the relationships of power, rather than epistemic adequacy."
"You can look the paper up," he said, "it's called 'Tracking Privilege-Preserving Epistemic Pushback in Feminist and Critical Race Philosophy Classes."
One parent counters "that's not being taught in K-12 schools, it just isn't." And Lindsay is effectively cut off by a cut to commercial. The clip of Lindsay on the show was not part of the handful of clips posted to his YouTube.
What that parent is missing, however, is that while she is right that Bailey's missive isn't being taught to children, it is being taught to the people who teach children, and those teachers use her ideas, and other ideas based in critical theory, to create the curriculum that they teach in K-12 schools.
By the time critical race theory hits K-12 schools, it is not being taught as a theory, as it is in graduate programs, it is being practiced. Lindsay's message is not that critical race theory is being taught to children, it's that critical race theory is being implemented in education.
Children aren't learning critical race theory, they are learning in an environment were critical race theory is believed and practiced.