Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Cornell Law Professor Dr. William Jacobson to the newsmakers line to discuss his website criticalrace.org and outline the underlying narrative that is the doing the real damage through critical race training and its message.
Leahy: We welcome to our newsmaker line our good friend for many years, Professor William Jacobson, the founder of Legal Insurrection and also the founder of criticalrace.org, and a Professor of law at Cornell University. Welcome. Professor Jacobson.
Jacobson: Hi. Thanks for having me on.
Leahy: It’s always fun to talk with you. Of course, you and I first met nine years ago when we sort of did a tag team of you and you at Legal Insurrection and I at Breitbart. We eviscerated the claims of Elizabeth Warren that she had any Native American ancestry.
In fact, we showed definitively that she has zip zero nada when it comes to Native American ancestry. So it was fun working with you on that.
Jacobson: It sure was. And all of the research we did came back to haunt her when she ran for President in the 2020 cycle because it was kind of funny to see a lot of Bernie supporters citing our research (Leahy laughs) that he had fabricated this. But we put it out there. One website you forgot to mention where all our research is at Elizabethwarrenwiki.org.
Leahy: You’re exactly right. Sorry to not mention that.
Jacobson: That’s alright. We put it all in one place. It’s still there. It is the definitive compilation, although it’s my website has a lot of your stuff, a lot of tile barns, the Cherokee genealogist stuff. It’s all in one place. And it is a devastating takedown of what she tried to pull off in her career by falsely claiming Native American ancestry.
Leahy: And those of you in our listening audience who want to send a thank-you note to Professor William Jacobson for derailing the presidential aspirations of Senator Elizabeth Warren, you can go to Legalinsurrection.com and make a donation to the Legal Insurrection Foundation.
Jacobson: Criticalrace.org is a website we launched in early February, got a lot of attention. It is many things, but what it is primarily is a database of critical race training. They come back to the word training.
Critical race training in higher education. So we have an interactive map. You can hover over a state, you can click on your state and then you can go to your school. Right now we have 330 or so schools in it.
We’re building it out to at least 500. We may go beyond it. And basically, we do the work for people rather than you spending an hour or two on a school’s website. You can come to our website and in a few minutes find a lot of information.
And we basically catalog and quote what the schools are saying. Everything is sourced, unlike some people who are doing great work with leaks and things like that. We just tell you what the schools say to themselves and with the source link.
And it’s a way for people, parents, and prospective students, to understand what their child is going to get into by going to a particular school. Now, not every school on the list has this sort of training, but this is a way to find out.
And I emphasize training because we’re not primarily worried about who’s teaching a class on something. And if a student wants to voluntarily take a class, that’s up to the student. We’re focused more on mandates, training programs, requirements, things like that, and campus atmosphere, which can also be very coercive.
Leahy: And I just looked up here in Nashville at Vanderbilt University. You can go and find it. And it’s got a list of all the critical race training activities at Vanderbilt. Here’s an example. Anti-racism bias and diversity training.
I’ll read this sentence. The Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University has created a guide for developing and writing a diversity statement. What is a diversity statement and what purpose does it serve?
And it’s a full description of that. This is a very valuable tool. And so I thank you so much for doing that. The other thing I want to bring to the attention of our listeners is that you recently signed on with about 24 other organizations to a joint statement against Critical Race Theory using race to divide Americans. Tell us about that joint statement.
Jacobson: That was a statement initiated by Californians for Equal Rights. That’s the organization that defeated the ballot initiative which would have restored affirmative action to higher education in the public university system in California. Essentially discrimination with reinstated discrimination.
And so they helped put it together. And we’ve worked with them on a number of things. Essentially, it’s 25 groups saying that, well, we are not opposed to the teaching of the voluntary study of the subject, we are opposed to the way it has been rolled out, the coerciveness, and the pejorative terms that are routinely used such as white privilege and white fragility.
So we’re basically opposed to the way it is being used and exploited in higher education and K-12 and elsewhere to create racial tension and to use that racial tension for political purposes.
And that’s really the problem. The problem with Critical Race Theory is not that it’s a goofy approach to the law or anything like that. What it is is that it is a mechanism. It is a tool used to try to tear the country apart, to try to set children against each other, to try to set people against each other, to create a perpetual struggle session, and to make absolutely everything about race.
And every relationship has to focus on race. Every job has to focus on race. The entirety of our lives has to focus on race. And I can’t think of a single, more destructive thing you could do to this country than to do that.
It’s one thing, and I fully support it, that we should make sure there’s no racism in practice or advocate racism, et cetera, et cetera. But it’s another thing to say to a child that another child sitting next to you in your kindergarten class, well, that’s the oppressor.
That’s the people based on skin color who have historically oppressed your people. What is that going to do to relationships? So this is completely destructive. And Critical Race Theory is really an umbrella term to describe a lot of things that are happening.
Leahy: I’m going to read just a couple of sentences from this joint statement. It’s just a one-page statement. Let me read this and just get your reaction to it. Critical Race Theory and its pleasant-sounding derivatives, diversity, equity, and inclusion, anti-racism, racial sensitivity, racial healing, critical pedagogy, and critical awareness are underlined by a common thread of placing race, racism, and racial struggles at the center of our national dialogue and public institutions.
The doctrine paints a grim, inaccurate, and discordant picture of our history and present, challenging the very foundations of the liberal order, distorting our basic virtues of equality and merit, and purporting to dismantle free markets. What’s your reaction to that?
Jacobson: I think the usage, the term liberal there is key because liberal now doesn’t mean what it meant long ago. Liberal long ago meant open to other ideas. Meant embracing the foundations, frankly of our Republic.
Freedom of speech, things like that, and freedom of religion now. Liberal has essentially come to mean progressive or left-wing and a very repressive sort of society. And that’s what is happening.
This Critical Race Theory and its offshoots, and it’s called different things. And you’ll never see an elementary school, a book that says Critical Race Theory. They’ll always couch it in some other terms.
But the constant, relentless theme is that there’s a racial struggle, and these children are part of that racial struggle, and these children have to become part of it.
The overriding paradigm is the misuse of the term anti-racism. This is how Orwellian this movement is. Anti-racism actually does not mean the way they use it and what we would think of as being against racism.
What it actually means is that it justifies racial discrimination currently in order to remedy past discrimination. And it’s a term most associated with a guy named Ibram Kendi, and his book is everywhere.
And in fact, I first became alerted to this. I was always aware of critical legal theory, Critical Race Theory for decades, but it really was actually last summer, almost today to the day when Cornell University, where I teach, designated Kendi’s book How to Be an Antiracist as the selected book for summer reading for the entire university.
And they made it available for free. So I read it, and I was horrified that this is what they are promoting which is really, frankly, quite racist.
Leahy: Professor William Jacobson, our good friend, the founder of Legal Insurrection, will you come back on more? There’s so much to talk about. we really appreciate you joining us today.
Jacobson: Absolutely, thanks a lot.
Listen to the second hour here:
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