This Racial Justice Activist Gets Right to the Heart of the Critical Race Theory Mania

“We want to be convinced that it was so long ago. It was last night. It’s today.”

An even mix of proponents and opponents to teaching Critical Race Theory are in attendance as the Placentia Yorba Linda School Board discusses a proposed resolution to ban it from being taught in schools. Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/Getty

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From a Tennessee school board banning Maus to a proposed Florida law that would prohibit teachers from making students “feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin,” the moral panic over critical race theory shows no sign of abating.

It can feel hard to understand what the hell is going on. But for activist and author Kimberly Latrice Jones, it’s not all that complicated. She cut through the bullshit when she appeared on The Breakfast Club podcast on Monday, offering what she thinks is the real reason why the anti-CRT craze has taken hold: White parents want to avoid having difficult conversations with their children about race.

“The truth is, Ruby Bridges, who integrated school, is only in her sixties,” Jones, who co-authored the 2019 book I’m Not Dying With You Tonight, said. “So what it is is that you don’t want your kids, your grandkids, to know that you spit at her. You don’t want your grandkids to know that you witnessed lynching. You don’t want your grandkids to know that some of those family heirlooms that’s in the will are things from atrocities that happened to Black people.”

“We want to be convinced that it was so long ago,” she concluded. “It was last night. It’s today.”

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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