“I’ve never figured out what critical race theory is, to be totally honest, after a year of talking about it,” Carlson told Fox News political analyst Brit Hume, who had been arguing that critical race theory “injects race into the lives of our schoolchildren.”
Even if critical race theory were being taught to schoolchildren, that’s not its purpose. The framework, developed by university scholars in the 1970s and ’80s, is based on the idea that racism is a systemic issue that has been baked into the nation’s institutions, creating an uneven playing field for people of color that endures today.
Carlson and Hume were discussing the top issues that led to the GOP’s clean sweep in Virginia’s top statewide posts. In the lead-up to the November vote, gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin and other Republican hopefuls leaned in to hot-button, culture war issues, exploiting false claims that Democrats had introduced the teaching of critical race theory in Virginia schools.
Youngkin said he would ban the teaching of the theory in Virginia schools. And even though critical race theory is not a part of the K-12 public school curriculum, it proved to be a flashpoint for conservative voters.
Fox News and other right-wing media have hyped up the concept for months, conflating it at times with any teaching about race in American schools or even the expansion of equity or diversity training in workplaces. In June, a Washington Post analysis found that the phrase had been mentioned with increasing frequency on Fox News over the year, from just 132 times in 2020 to more than 1,860 times by June 2021.
“They’re teaching that some races are morally superior to others,” Carlson went on to say Wednesday. “That some are inherently sinful and some are inherently saintly, and that’s immoral to teach that ’cause it’s wrong.”
Carlson later said, without evidence, that “schools are teaching your children that some races are inherently superior to other races.”
“That’s the definition of racism. That some children are born with the stain of sin, inherently,” he said. “That’s Nazi stuff! It is. It’s totally un-American.”