Former Pres. Barack Obama sat for an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper in which he remarked on the prominent role critical race theory has come to occupy in our public conversation and in schools, where lesson plans are being shaped around it. Here is a video of a portion of that interview, followed by a transcript:
A white population that is witnessing a changing America and seeing demographic changes and do everything they can to give people a sense that their way of life is threatened and that people are trying to take advantage of them and we’re seeing it right now where you would think with all the public policy debates that are taking place right now that the Republican Party would be engaged in a significant debate about how are we going to deal with the economy and what are we going to do about climate change and what are we going to do about — lo and behold! — the single most important issue to them apparently right now is critical race theory. Who knew [laughs] that was the threat to our republic? But those debates are powerful because they get at ‘What story do we tell about ourselves?’
To listen to Obama tell it, there is nothing radical about this change, which is being mischaracterized by white Americans as a threat to the very fabric of the nation. At one point in his monolog, he even emits a laugh that something so utterly benign as critical race theory is receiving the attention it is when so many far more pressing issues, such as climate change and the economy, beckon.
In reality, there is nothing benign about this theory, which in any case Obama is no stranger to. As I wrote in 2016, Obama, while at Harvard Law School, became immersed in and a strong advocate for critical race theory, which was developed by his mentor there, Derrick Bell. The theory “proceeds from the assumptions that white supremacy is rampant in American society, both on a conscious and unconscious level, and that the only remedy is ‘racial emancipation.'”
And how is racial emancipation achieved? As Hans Bader explains, “anti-racism” founder Ibram X. Kendi “advocates widescale discrimination against whites and Asians to ‘remedy’ blacks’ underrepresentation. The ‘key concept’ in Kendi’s book How to Be an Antiracist is that to remedy the underrepresentation of certain minority groups, you need to engage in discrimination against other groups, such as whites: ‘the only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.'”
Obama’s rejection of the concerns many are expressing about critical race theory is intended as a diversion from his own true feelings. Overtly, he dismisses angst over the theory as a mere bag of shells. Covertly, he hails the movement as a “second coming,” which can’t happen fast enough to suit him.