Kaysville Library, September 22, 2021
Sponsored by Utah Parents United
Guest Speaker: Utah State Senator John D. Johnson, Ph.D., District 19

[Prior to recording, the meeting started with a prayer]

Johnson: Rather than being “woke” let’s be awakened. That’s an important point.

Slide: Critical Race Theory.

Slide: My Concerns

  • I worry about the future of our children
  • I worry that they are being sucked into a growing revolution to rewrite the history of our country and supplant standards put forward by our founders.

Johnson: My major concerns about this topic are that I am sincerely concerned about the future of children. I think it’s really crucial that we prepare the next generation, and what’s going right now is brainwashing, I believe, of our children, in the things they are doing. I worry that they are being sucked into a growing revolution to rewrite our history. Not only that – because this isn’t just about history, but to change their outlook and their attitudes, and the most important thing, though, of what I have been thinking about, is that I really don’t want the standards put forward by our founders to be ridiculed, to be canceled. I think that is a really important thing for us to think about.

Slide: Critical Race Theory

  • CRT is a continuation of the work inspired by Hegel and laid in Traditional and Critical Theory (1937) by Max Horkheimer who defined critical theory as social critique meant to effect sociologic change and realize intellectual emancipation by way of enlightenment that is not dogmatic in its assumptions.
    • Critical theory analyzes the true significance of the ruling understands (the dominant ideology) generated in bourgeois society in order to show that the dominant ideology misrepresents how human relations occur in the really world and how capitalism justifies and legitimizes the domination of people.
      • This was foundational at the Frankfurt School and is a social Marxist continuation of the work of Marx and Engles.
  • This work in its present form and many iterations through modern versions such as the work of Ibram X. Kendi, a recent guest at Weber State.

Johnson: So Critical Race Theory: I am going to go back to some of the history of this. CRT is a continuation of the work inspired by Hegel. I don’t know if you know much about that philosopher Hegel, but he is really the forefather of this movement and he is especially responsible for looking at things differently. So it was inspired by Hegel. Hegel is the same one who inspired Karl Marx and Fredrich Engles. That is where he gets a lot of his philosophy from. His philosophies were really latent in the Traditional and Critical Theory.

So this was in 1937. Max Horkheimer defined critical theory as a social critique meant to effect sociological change and realize intellectual emancipation by way of enlightenment that is not dogmatic in its assumptions.

It’s kind of interesting. I don’t know if you know much about Horkheimer, but he was a member of the Frankfurt School. The Frankfurt School followed the tradition of Karl Marx. This was really thought of as a way to get western civilization to buy in to the whole Marxist ideals. And as we go through this, you will see the similarities between Critical Race Theory and some of the work of Karl Marx.

Critical theory analyzes the true significance of the ruling understandings (the dominant ideology) generated in bourgeois society in order to show that the dominant ideology misrepresents how human relations occur in the really world and how capitalism justifies and legitimizes the domination of people.

So that is what this is really about. It is really an attack on capitalism. One of the things that I think is important to know is that if you read the words of Karl Marx – I was trained as an economist. I have a Ph.D. in Economics. And that is how I know history, and what is interesting with the work of Marx, if you think about it, at the time when he first gained popularity, people, well, he believed and his followers believed, that the only way that wealth was acquired was to steal it. You conquer another society, you take their gold, right? You bring it back, and everything was kind of run that way.

You know, it is really too bad that he didn’t seem to have the same insights as Adam Smith. When he looked at the Industrial Revolution, and when he talks about a pin factory, and the fact that people can stay in the same place and they can create nothing. Wealth was only acquired by stealing it.

If you think about this, this philosophy is an abundance philosophy. That you’re not dividing up a fixed pie; rather, you are growing the size of the pie.

So people like Mark Zuckerberg – you know, he doesn’t have to be a good guy, right? He just created something that had value, that other people wanted. He actually made that pie a lot bigger, because 1) people that use different entertainment venues now have entertainment by sitting at home and being on the internet. I don’t know if that is quite the same type of entertainment, but he created something of value. But the big point is, he didn’t have to steal from someone else. He created value that wasn’t there before. So the pie is actually getting bigger.

You know, I think that is an important point, because you can see where a lot of this stuff comes from.

Slide: Critical Theory

  • Critical Theory has a narrow and broad meaning in philosophy and in the history of social sciences.
    • “Critical Theory,” in the narrow sense, designates several generations of German philosophers and social theorists in the Western European Marxist tradition known as the Frankfurt School.
    • According to these theorists, a “critical” theory may be distinguished from a “traditional” theory according to a specific practical purpose: a theory is critical to the extent that is seeks human “emancipation from slavery,” acts as a “liberating influence,” and works “to create a world which satisfies the needs and powers of” human beings.

[Johnson reads slide]

Johnson: So it’s really a disruptive force. I had to bite my tongue a little bit during the last Special Session when a few of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle said that we need more critical thinking in schools, and therefore, that’s why we need this.

But if you actually study Critical Theory, you find out that logic and reason which are part of critical thinking, right? are actually constructs created to keep people down. Certain classes of people. It is quite the opposite of critical reasoning, right? So Critical Theory is a critique. It is a tearing down. It is a very negative approach to society.

Slide: Critical Theory cont.

  • Because such theories aim to explain and transform all the circumstances that enslave human beings, many “critical theories” in the broader sense have been developed.
    • They have emerged in connection with the many social movements that identify varied dimensions of the domination of human beings in modern societies.
    • In both the broad and the narrow senses, however, a critical theory provides the descriptive and normative bases for social inquiry aimed at decreasing domination and increasing freedom in all their forms.

[Johnson reads the first two bullets of slide]

Johnson: You know, it’s kind of interesting: when Obama came to the White House, one of the things he said was going to fundamentally change our country. This is a fundamental change, OK. What this means to do is to tear down what we currently have and build it up differently. The end game is really to destroy western civilization, in my opinion, and that’s why this is a threat. And this is something that we really have to worry about in what they are trying to do.

Slide: Politics

“This strong political commitment is at the core of CRT. We as Americans should defend civil rights, and we should actively work to eliminate racism in the U.S. and anywhere it exists – but these noble aims are not the stated intentions of CRT’s founders.”

[Johnson reads slide]

Johnson: That’s … that’s the Jedi mind trick, OK?

Slide: So, what is CRT?

Critical Race Theory (CRT) makes race the Lens through which its proponents analyze all aspects of American life – and do so with a degree of persistence that has helped CRT impact all of American life. CRT underpins identity politics, an ongoing effort to reimagine the United States as a national driven by groups, each with specific claims on victimization. In entertainment, as well as the education and workforce sectors of society, CRT is well-established, driving decision-making according to skin color – not individual value and talent. As Critical Theory ideas become more familiar to the viewing public in everyday life, CRT’s intolerance becomes “normalized,” along with the idea of systemic racism for Americans, weakening public and private bonds that create trust and allow for civic engagement.

So what is CRT? Critical Race Theory. It is an extension of Critical Theory – you know, it is actually interesting that in South America through a number of Catholic Priests and stuff, they started a movement, and it came out of the communist countries … which is called Liberation Theology, and it kind of sought to do the same thing that CRT is attempting to do now. I don’t know if you remember Reverend Jeremiah Wright? Well, he preached the gospel of Liberation Theology. And that was to liberate people and keep the oppression from happening that is occurring in the world, in their view.

[Johnson reads slide through “…identity politics, …”]

Johnson: You know, that by itself is should tell us — Why would we want identity politics taught in our schools? It dismays me when I really think about it. It makes me mad.

[Johnson continues reading slide]

This isn’t about civic engagement. This is about creating divisions, OK? And it’s interesting, as we move through this, I want to discuss a topic that is part of Critical Race Theory that I think is really [not audible].

Slide: Definition

  1. The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.
  2. “Through an awareness of intersectionality, we can better acknowledge and ground the differences among us”

[Johnson reads slide]

Johnson: I really don’t like that second part of the definition because it is really creating angst. It’s creating struggles. It is creating a new power structure, which, you know, it’s interesting to me that we use soft words to describe dark meat, OK? In fact, in Utah, this is not even called Critical Race Theory. We call it social and emotional learning.

Did you have a question?

Emily O: Yes, I do. I understand that intersectionality just means like a black woman, for example, who is both black and a female, experiences two different kinds of –

Johnson: I’ll show you a graphic here in just a second, and that will clear that up. OK?

Emily O: All right.

Slide: Intersectionality

[pie chart that shows Privilege at the top and Oppression at the bottom and a horizontal line in the middle labeled Domination.]

Johnson: So, if you look at intersectionality, what we really do is divide the groups by privilege and oppression, OK? So, you’ve got male and masculine, female and feminine, genderism, sexism, racism, Eurocentrism – So you’ve got all these groups, and we can basically reduce it to one group who oppresses and the other group that is oppressed, OK? And I think this is really an important point. I remember watching a documentary that Dinesh DeSouza did. He interviewed an imam. And he says, I don’t understand why you are aligned with all these groups that really aren’t part of what you believe. And he responded, well, that they are convenient idiots, basically. One of the difficulties is that if you think about this privilege vs. oppression – you know, have you heard about white fragility and the inability of people to recognize their privilege and where they are in society? One of the problems I have is that I don’t think it helps anybody if you identify one group as oppressors and one group as oppressed.  What does that do? Who does it help, right?

And if we really want people to move forward beyond the state that they are in, why would we separate people that way?

Slide: Bourgeoisie Versus Proletariat
[Picture of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels]

[First column:] Bourgeoisie:
Bourgeoisie refers to capitalists who own the means of production and most of the wealth in society
Owns the means of production
Exploits proletariats and makes massive profits

[Second column:] Proletariat:
Proletariat refers to wage earners who do not own means of production and most sell their labour to survive.
Does not own means of production and survives by selling their labour
Exploited by the bourgeoise and generally earns a minimum wage and lives in poverty

Johnson: It’s kind of interesting if you look at the work of Marx and Engels – you have the Bourgeoisies and the Proletariats

[Johnson reads slide]

So if you think about this – the oppressed vs the oppressor what’s the difference? It’s the very same argument, OK.

I’m going to play a short video, and I think this is very well done.

[Title of video:] Miseducated: The Decline of America’s Schools
By PragerU

[Text of video:]
Male 1: This ideology and these lessons are poison for all kids. The design of this is to put into the minds of kids as young as kindergarten that you are not like him; he is not like her. All of these things are designed to divide.

[Fox News Chiron:] Indoctrination vs Education in America’s Schools

Male 2: – as teachers and teachers’ unions continue to push Critical Race Theory in the classroom –

[NBC Chiron:] Education experts worried critical race theory fight may spill over to textbooks

Female 1: Critical Race Theory – the study of the impact of racism has become a flashpoint in America’s schools –

Female 2: Black and white children and Hispanic children, you know why they get along? Because they don’t look at each other’s colors. You’re the racist – not them – not us.

[CBS Chiron] Kindergarten Transgender Reveal: Parents scorn teach for talking gender identity

Female 3: Who wants to be a drag queen when they group up?

Female 4: The transgender student at some point during class also changed clothes and it was revealed that it was her true gender

Female 5: The system is set up to where if you are teaching anything about gender identity, you don’t have to notify parents, let alone talk to them.

Female Host: Parents have no idea, and they don’t know how radically sex ed has changed.

Image: Anti-racism, black lives matter, equality, George Floyd, justice!

Female Host: Here in America, our kids are taught divisive racial ideologies skewed history and a new kind of sex education that robs them of their innocence.

Image: 1779 is crossed out and replaced with 1419

Image: Protest signs that say “Too Much Too Soon — Sex Ed” and AB329 and SB48 are bad laws.”

Female Host: This is the miseducation of our children.

As parents we worry about our kids. As a mom, I worry about my kids – what they are watching on TV, who they are friends with, what they do when I’m not around. Our children’s health and safety is always on our minds. We think they are in good hands at school, but now, instead of teaching basic math and science, and history, schools have become training grounds for political activism.

I’m Jill Simonian. [Director of Outreach for Prager Kids] I have two young children, and I have experienced first-hand how our school system has been hijacked to indoctrinate young students. Racism, white privilege, gender identity – words like these have been thrown around a lot in the media, lately, and in an effort to fight what some see as a privilege disparity, many school districts are imposing new curriculum and policies that actually divide our kids rather than unite them. How do they do this? I wanted to find out.

Male 1: [Christopher Rufo, Investigative Journalist, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute] In Cupertino, California, they were forcing first grade students to deconstruct their racial and sexual identities and then rank themselves according to their power and privilege. They separated 5- and 6-year-old kids into oppressor and oppressed based on their in-born identity categories.

Fifth graders in Philadelphia were forced to celebrate black communism, and then they were forced to march in the auditorium and simulate a black power rally.

In Buffalo, NY, they were teaching that all white people “potentially extend racism.” They were teaching them that white people derive their wealth from slavery, that white people are “unfairly rich.” They were even showing kindergarteners a dramatization video of dead black children, of warning these kindergarteners that they could be murdered by “racist police at any time.” This is explicit politicization.

Female Host: Most of these practices are compelled by what is known as DEI, diversity and inclusion. DEI claims to guarantee fair treatment, access, opportunity and advancement for all. It is often presented as new curriculum, new school policy or school activity aimed to teach children to be accepting and tolerant of all people. Sounds nice right? Well, come to find out, DEI is rooted in Critical Race Theory. [inaudible] … college course for it.

In school, Critical Race Theory infuses race into every lesson plan regardless of the subject. It divides children solely based on race.

Male 1: All the materials they are presenting to parents, all the materials they are presenting on websites, all the materials they are sending home with students, they are all couched and camouflaged in this very nice rhetoric. It’s about culturally responsive teaching. It’s about social and emotional learning. It’s about diversity and inclusion and belonging – all things that in neutral amounts are good, but when it becomes fully institutionalized in K-12 schools, you now have a generation of tens of millions of American kids that are going to be growing up in a world that is filled with ideology. They will stop thinking of themselves and individuals or human beings but as a collection of group identity traits

I think that our country has entered a period of racial retrogression, actually, in some ways going backwards. You see those old pictures of water fountains that are separated by race, and now you are seeing new pictures in public libraries of people being separated by race. And there is no way that we are going to be making progress as a country by re-normalizing racial segregation.

Female host: Critical race theory is only the beginning. Many school curriculums are now embracing a new kind of sex education. While age-appropriate sex education is important, many schools are introducing radical curriculum to kids as young as 5. For example, kindergarteners are being pressured to question their gender and are being exposed to ideas that are beyond their maturity level. In many cases, by the time they reach age 10, their sex education is less about health and more about learning adult sexual practices.

In 2012, the national health education standards were established by an organization called SIECUS. When you examine the national standards from K- through second grade, the lessons start by defining gender identity and stereotypes. By third through fifth grade, children are expected to discuss sexual feelings and learn about hormone blockers for transgender kids, and by the time they reach grades 6-8, children are expected to define sexual acts and know how to access an abortion. Since the inception of these national standards over 40% of school districts have adopted these directives. That is almost half of all schools in the country, and that number continues to grow, year after year.

Female 5: SIECUS is the organization that is used to bring in a lot of these standards and the type of things we should be teaching in our K-12 schools. If you go on to their website, it is very shocking what you find because they endorse and help sell a lot of sex toys. It is an organization advocating the types of sex education to be used in our schools.

Female host: These types of organizations are partnering with our schools, but first of all, parents don’t know who these organizations are, and who are these supposed trusted adults that are giving advice to their kids, and what do they represent?

Female 5: Amaze was in the health framework for California in May 2019, but parents found out what was in the textbook because there was training on how to do sadomasochism, bondage, restraint, bloodplay, sexting, anal sex, using ropes, cords, cuffs, and we just couldn’t believe that they were recommending that this be a statewide read for 9-12 graders.

Female Host: What do you say to people across the country who say, “That’s not happening in my neighborhood. That’s not happening here”?

Female 5: There is a lot going on behind parents’ backs nationally because of these different agencies that are partnering with school districts, these outside agencies are reaching out to kids on many virtual platforms, and we have Amaze videos, cartoons – so it’s on YouTube – Amaze is telling kids that you can be both genders, neither gender, anything in between – similar to this book. And it goes into puberty blockers, that if you are unsure of your gender, don’t worry, you can stall and give yourself more time to decide, and it’s a choice. It’s important to see that they are talking about this as a choice, so we have all these new pronouns that can be created and made up by a kid that is three years old. And according to our laws and policies, we have to affirm whatever that kid says that they are, and when they are getting teachings like this, starting even in pre-school, you can understand and see that kids want to be different, creative, special, and they are going to start identifying, especially when we are using the word choice.

Female Host: So kids are going to start questioning their gender. How, if anything, is this tied to social justice and Critical Race Theory?

Female 5: In Critical Race Theory, the nonconforming genders are aligned with different minority groups, so when you look at nonconforming genders being the victim, the marginalized, then who would want to be a biological gender that is considered the privileged, mean oppressor? OK, so this is incentivizing kids to identify as a nonconforming gender so they can play the role of victim.

Female Host: These extreme ideas have infiltrated our schools and even the way our children learn history has been politicized. Curriculums are now designed to emphasize the failures of our common history while downplaying our successes. You may remember the 1619 Project that claims that America’s founding was not … in 1776, but rather when the first slaves arrived in Jamestown in 1619. Putting race at the forefront rather than our liberty and freedom. Rewriting the narrative of history of our nation’s freedom drives home the idea that America was never great, never something to be proud of.

Male 3: [Justin Kite, History & Social Studies Teacher, Texas Public & Private Schools] History is about which narratives to choose and how a district wants to amplify certain things, and so the analogy I like to use is that the headlines of American history are oftentimes put in place instead of the footnotes, and the footnotes of American history are now are being placed in the headlines. A lot of times, the district leaders will say, hey, he’s a program where there was an Hispanic hero or black hero, and blow it up into this big lesson, when it might get … when there are so many hours in a day, and the way the curriculum is set up, is it would come at the expense of something massive in American history, like something that has to do with the founding fathers, so, it’s almost like a PR stunt. It would like oh, look at how multicultural we are.

Female Host: All of this is happening in the schools. It happened with you. You left.

Male 3: Yes

Female Host: Do you regret it?

Male 3: I don’t regret it. Not being in teaching right now, because it’s not an environment that is healthy for teachers, students or party. I was told that behaviorally, I needed to have different expectations for children based on race. I was told that expecting kids to show up on time and turn in assignments on time? That was a sign of white privilege. That if I could teach my students not .. to be activists then they will have a shot at life.

Female Host: What are they wishing to accomplish? Why are they wishing so hard?

Male 1: Political and religious leaders have known for centuries that since the beginning of civilization that … children ages 0-6 is really essential. To recognize differences, at least in academia, what they did is very simple. They took Marxist oppressor and oppressed – they took that and the same idea, the same framework, as the Marxist conflict and replaced it with racial categories. They said that, no, no, the new oppressor is not an economic oppressor but a racial oppressor.

Female Host: Would you say that a majority of parents are not aware that students are being taught these alternate psychologies?

Male 1: Someone that is confident what their school district was teaching 10 years ago should be confident today. This not just in Berkeley, Brooklyn, Seattle – Critical Race Theory is being taught in North Carolina, Missouri, Texas and Florida, states that are nominally controlled by conservative politicians, but those specific institutions are being controlled by dedicated, ideological activists.

Female Host: Sending our children off to school is not as simple as it used to be. We want our children to be educated, not indoctrinated. Schools should celebrate traditional values like hard work and service to one another, and pride in our country – not progressive ideologies. So what do we do about it? Fortunately, many states are banning Critical Race Theory in schools, thanks to parents standing up.

Male 4: Critical Race Theory teaches that white people are bad. That is not true … daughter … neither does my son

Male 5: This is not a political indoctrination …

Male 6: Not … left-wing ideology of our children …

Female 6: … children …

Female 7: I don’t care

Female 2: You know and I know that I am not the only parent fighting this. All across America right now, schools are trying to poison our children’s minds. And as long as I am standing here, as long as I’m good with God, I love life.

Female Host: As parents we have a right and a responsibility to be involved in our children’s education. It’s up to us to protect local school board meetings, review the materials being taught in classrooms, to question teachers and principals why certain perspectives are included and not other subjects. Be brave! Speak out! Our children and our country are depending on us to protect and preserve the ideals that make us who we are as Americans. We can no longer allow this type of disinformation, this most important ,.. for our children.

Male 7: If there is anything more important in this world,

Female 8: …

Male 7: It doesn’t matter if you are black or brown, yellow or white, Have truth based on who they are and not the color of their skin. This is our children right here … children … not going to happen. My baby is going to know that to be what she wants to be all she has to do is work hard, and she can overcome it.

[end of video]

Slide: State Objective Goals

Back in April at a Utah Board of Education meeting, more than a dozen parents, educators and community members addressed the Utah State Board of Education urging the board to support teacher training in diversity, equity and inclusion. While on the surface these seem perfectly acceptable

[Image labeled Equality with three children of three different heights standing on the same height of boxes to watch a baseball game over a fence, but one cannot see anything. A second image labeled Equity is to the right with the tallest child having given his box to the shortest child so they can all watch the baseball game together]

[Johnson reads slide]

Johnson: They are soft words for dark things. This is a poster that we see a lot. Here we have Equality and this is Equity. Equality is about opportunities. Equity is about outcomes. You know, one thing you might ask is why don’t they just give everybody two boxes? I have seen a version of this where the guy on the left is actually standing in a hole. Now this graphic goes on. Another frame of it is that they tear down the fence and they say, that’s a revolution.

You know a couple of things you might ask yourself are – why are they standing outside the ball park? Why didn’t they buy a ticket and sit inside, especially the privileged one on the left there?

Slide: Thomas Sowell

  • “In words, many see a need for “social justice” to override “the dictates of the market.” In reality, what is called “the market” consists of human beings making their own choices at their own cost. What is called “social justice” is government imposition of the notions of third parties, who pay no price for being wrong.”
  • “Nothing that Germans can do today will in any way mitigate the staggering evils of what Hitler did in the past. Nor can apologies in America today for slavery in the past have any meaning, much less do any good, for either blacks or whites today. What can it mean for “A” to apologize for what “B” did, even among contemporaries, much less across the vast chasm between the living and the dead?”

[Johnson reads slide]

Johnson: DEI … does a good job of explaining where a lot of this philosophy comes from. And why certain individuals want to keep this issue afloat. What might be a better goal?

Slide: What might be a better goal?

I believe our focus should be on:

Excellence, Opportunity and Unity

[Johnson reads slide]

Johnson: We should build each other up, OK? School is not a place for political battles. They have no place … up education. My opinion: I think that anything that … we should have laws in the state of Utah against these things. But passing a law is not going to change things, and I’d like to say that it will, in my opinion .,. not going to change things. We passed a resolution last session

Question from audience 1: (Inaudible)

Slide: What’s a Motto

Our country’s unofficial motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” means “out of many, one.” The motto originated in the 18th century when a new single nation emerged from the uniting of the original thirteen colonies. Over the span of nearly 250 years in our country’s history, there have been countless examples of how the United States succeeded when we united, collaborated, or came together instead of being divided.

[Johnson reads slide]

Johnson: Teaching children something that divides is not in the best interest of our country