In the five years of public life, Joe Biden has responded to almost every hot spot in American racial politics with varying degrees of success, from the abolition of racial segregation in schools to the crackdown that has disproportionately affected communities of color. crime. When he ran for president last year, he promised to “cure the soul of our country that was angered by Donald Trump.”
Now, in his term of office less than a year, Biden is facing a challenge to education and Critical race theoryThis is a decades-old academic framework that has become a diversity initiative that Republicans don’t like, how schools teach American history, and the race triggered by the murder of George Floyd last year. A general term for other chain reactions caused by unfair liquidation.
This issue poses a series of challenges for the president and his party. Driven by a right-wing media ecosystem that can amplify and distort debates, it echoes the dissatisfaction of whites with a tradition of successful elections. Democrats may hesitate to participate, but ignoring the controversy will make them criticized for being out of touch with their parents’ problems or dismissing them — Republican Glenn Youngin took advantage of this sentiment when he successfully ran for governor of Virginia.
So far, Biden’s answers to questions about critical racial theory have been brief.
He said at the White House last week: “I think the whole answer is to tell the truth and tell where we are.” Biden tried to refocus his attention on his comprehensive economic agenda, which took a step forward on Friday. Important step The House of Representatives approved bipartisan infrastructure legislation More than 1 trillion U.S. dollars.
Democrats view conservative concerns about critical racial theories as part of a long-standing racist dog-whistle political pedigree, a strategy that often leads them to rely on multi-racial coalition parties to take defensive measures.
Democratic polling expert Cornell Belcher described it as “the latest, greatest, and most persuasive iteration of the Southern Strategy”, referring to the political reorganization during the Civil Rights Movement, and the Republicans appeal to white people. Racists took votes from the Democratic Party. reunion. “This is the latest version of the welfare queen, the cross-city bus, the southern border invasion, and the police divestment.”
Jeff Roe, a Republican strategist who works for Youngkin, refutes the accusation that criticizing race theory is a dog whistle.
“Just because of Terry McAuliffe,” the Democrat who was defeated by Yankin, “saying it is racism does not mean it is,” Luo said. “Except for Democratic agents, no one thinks that way.”
Finally, McAuliffe tried to accuse Youngkin of racial discrimination and did not resonate with enough voters to allow the former governor of Virginia to win back his old job. He also did not attempt to portray Youngkin, a former private equity executive who has never held a public office, as “Trump in khaki pants.”
Political analysts said McAuliffe did not make enough efforts to generate positive messages about his record or his goals for re-election as governor. According to Amanda Wintersieck, a political scientist at Virginia Commonwealth University, voter turnout has increased, but Republicans have a higher voter turnout than Democrats-which shows that McAuliffe’s message is “right It’s not enough for the Democratic Party base.”
Biden ran against McAuliffe on October 26, but the school was not the focus of his speech, and he did not put forward a critical theory of race. Instead, he responded to McAuliffe’s message linking Youngkin to Trump.
“I am against Donald Trump,” Biden said. “And Terry is competing with Donald Trump’s followers.”
Youngkin’s appeal particularly resonated with families still affected by the pandemic.
Opinion survey expert David Winston, who advises Republican leaders in the House and Senate, said that after the coronavirus has disrupted children’s education, conversations about racism—such as efforts to change the school’s name—make some parents feel deaf.
“When their children are one and a half years behind, why should we participate in discussing all these issues?” he asked.
Winston said that when McAuliffe said: “I don’t think parents should tell the school what they should teach,” this issue was promoted in the final debate of the campaign, which allowed Jankin to put forward an argument that transcended partisanship. .
“The idea that you want to assert that parents should play a major role in defining or discussing their children’s education is not a particularly partisan discussion,” Winston said.
Adrianne Shropshire, the executive director of BlackPAC who supported McAuliffe in the Virginia campaign, acknowledged that Republicans have made a compelling message.
“I think they are not wrong about their parents. Parents want more say,” she said. “Of course they want to participate in and participate in the school’s decision-making methods.”
But the conversation also resonated in another way, Shropshire said. She believes that Republicans have gone from “declaring that white children should not sit with black children, and now saying that white children should not sit near the body of a course that talks about the role of racism. In this country.”
Virginia is not the only state where elections involve a critical racial theory, which is built around the idea that race is socially constructed and that racism has always been inherent in the country’s legal and government system.
Candidates who condemned it were defeated in local school board elections in states such as Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Connecticut. But after Yang Jin won in a state where Biden won in double digits last year, Republicans may be inclined to a similar message in the upcoming midterm elections.
The House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), who has condemned critical racial theories in the past, said that his caucus will issue a “Parental Rights Act” to keep the party’s focus on education. Traditionally, education is regarded as A stronger education. The Democratic Party’s problem.
Another leader of the caucus, Rep. Steve Scarlis (R-La.) said that the election showed that parents “worried about things like critical racial theories being stuffed into their children’s throats, trying to teach them Hate America.”
The controversy over education and race resonated particularly well in Virginia. After the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, some public schools closed instead of facing consolidation. Taxpayer funds were redistributed to “apartheid colleges”, which only targeted white students.
After Freud was murdered by a white police officer in Minneapolis, this cycle of racial progress and backlash continued, while the COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on communities of color. Hasan Kwame Jeffries, a professor of American history at Ohio State University, said that millions of white people participated in the subsequent protests, especially those young white people who suddenly asked their parents questions.
Before the protest, “Kyleigh did not go home and say,’We have a systemic racism problem,'” Jeffries said. “Now Mom says,’What the hell is this?'”
As the topic of race continues to change, when schools are closed during the pandemic, parents can suddenly observe their children’s education up close, which has changed their lives drastically.
Some parents don’t like what they see or think that the remedies go too far. Right-wingers refer to these concepts as critical racial theories. Republicans believe that the solution is to remove the theory from the school even though it is not actually part of the curriculum.
“Republicans are lying. They are dishonest,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House’s chief deputy press secretary, said last week. “They are not honest about our position. They cynically try to treat our children as political football.”
But some people believe that the Democratic Party underestimated the effectiveness of racially colored messages.
“Many liberal politics insiders tell themselves that racial dog whistle is obvious and only appeals to racists,” Ian Hani Lope, author of “Dog Whistle Politics” and professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Ian Haney López) said. “It’s not true at all.”
After all, he pointed out that Trump won more votes in 2020 than in 2016, and he increased the share of non-white voters. Republicans also elected various candidates in Virginia, including Winsome Sears, a black woman serving as lieutenant governor, and Jason Miyares, a Latino man serving as attorney general. They all won.
Celinda Lake, a Democrats polling expert who worked with Biden’s campaign team last year, believes that the Democrats can effectively respond to debates about critical racial theory. She said: “We want our children to learn good and bad. This way they have a bright future instead of not repeating the mistakes of the past.”
Entering next year, she said, Biden “has a lot of credibility, he has a lot of comfort, he has a lot of experience.”
Biden established a strong relationship with the black community early in his political career, but when it comes to issues of racial justice, he is not easy to categorize.
He participated in civil rights protests and worked as a lifeguard in a predominantly black community in Wilmington, Delaware. As a senator, he opposed the federal government’s support for school integration programs involving buses and the implementation of a policy of severely combating crime, thereby increasing the imprisonment rate.
He later became a loyal aide to President Obama and served for eight years during the vice president of the country’s first black commander-in-chief.He won last year’s Democratic presidential nomination and election, largely because of the support of black voters, even some improvisations. Speech sparks controversy Along the way.
Heather McGee, who has worked for Democratic politicians and organizations and studied the role of racism in American politics, said that Biden can successfully become his party by intertwining populist appeals with dialogue about race. Messenger.
McGhee added, “You can look honestly at the role of racism, and at the same time expand the circle of people who feel they can be on the right side of history by explaining that it’s not zero-sum.”
Majorian and Logan report from Washington. Mason reports from Los Angeles.