Updated: Apr 17, 2022
by Ruth Littmann Ashkenazi
If acronym overload makes you feel like you’re drowning in a bowl of alphabet soup, please keep reading. This article – the first in a multi-part series for the Zip Line – aims to help you understand the agenda behind Critical Race Theory (CRT), Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), along with Comprehensive Sexual Health Education (CSHE). Let’s start with a few typical – BUT MISLEADING – claims that portray this agenda as kind, tolerant, and fairly non-controversial: 1) Critical Race Theory (CRT) is taught in law school, not to grade-schoolers. But even grade-schoolers should learn about real American history. 2) Social Emotional Learning (SEL) includes programs for helping students understand and develop empathy for themselves and one another. 3) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs nurture our appreciation for the uniqueness of every human being while recognizing the special challenges that certain groups of people have faced due to bigotry and intolerance. 4) Comprehensive Sexual Health Education (CSHE) is a scientific, medically accurate, age-appropriate approach to Human Growth and Development that is inclusive of protective classes and promotes constructive consensual relationships. If the talking points above have been used to calmly (and somewhat patronizingly) assure you that what you've been hearing on FOX News or The Dave Rubin Report is "all rightwing conspiracy" nonsense, don't be fooled. You're not crazy. Let’s zero-in on reality: 1) CRT has – by its founders' own admissions – spread to all disciplines within academia. Although not called “CRT” in grade school, it is nevertheless being taught as a lens for viewing America as a fundamentally and inextricably racist nation, largely run by white men of social privilege. 2) Many (though not all) SEL curricula have been hijacked by a CRT-inspired worldview. Instead of nurturing behaviors of respect, kindness and tolerance, SEL focuses on privilege (who in society has it, and who doesn’t). Instead of nurturing appreciation and admiration for their classmates, SEL teaches children that some of their friends fall into categories of victims who are oppressed by our systemically racist society. 3) DEI programs have shifted in focus from diversity to equity (which calls for a redistribution of privilege in order to guarantee equal outcomes). Like SEL, many DEI programs have been hijacked by a CRT-inspired worldview, which maintains: “America is racist to its core.” Ironically, many DEI programs today emphasize diversity of skin color and gender identity while discouraging (or outright ignoring) a diversity of viewpoints. 4) CSHE… It used to be called “sex ed.” In class, we learned anatomy. We learned about how women get pregnant – and about sexually transmitted diseases. Today’s “Comprehensive Sexual Health Education” includes lessons about “choosing your pronouns,” “transitioning from one gender to another (gender fluidity)” and “marginalized communities of LGBTQIA2S+.” Why? Because America is not only a racist country but also a country that oppresses “non-hetero-normal” minorities. By now, the agenda of CRT, SEL, DEI and CSHE should be clear – and very sobering. All four disciplines have something distinctly destructive in common: a portrayal of our nation as racist and hateful, with the goal of dividing Americans into antagonistic groups of oppressors and victims. Sadly, this agenda (which is itself racist and hateful) comes at the expense of what ought to be our unified objective: a better education for all. Stay tuned for Installment #2 in the next Zip Line.