Where does the bizarre hysteria about Critical Race Theory come from? Follow the money!
Isaac Kamola’s piece in Insider Higher Ed follows the money behind the recent outrage surrounding Critical Race Theory (CRT). Taking a close look at the people on Trump’s 1776 Commission offers considerable insight into the right-wing infrastructure that has manufactured the attack on CRT. He writes:
Where does this bizarre attack on CRT come from? Most recently it has taken the form of a frontal assault on Hannah-Jones’s “1619 Project.” The Trump administration even established the 1776 Commission to respond to Hannah-Jones’s claim that slavery must be recognized as central to the nation’s founding. Published two days before Trump left office, the 1776 Commission report was swiftly condemned as highly inaccurate, incoherent and regurgitating an outdated and false narrative of American exceptionalism.
It might be tempting, therefore, to read this report as merely clumsy revanchist nonsense forced upon society by the Trump administration. However, the 1776 Commission report should also be read as encapsulating the cottage industry among conservative and libertarian think tanks that specializes in stoking culture war outrage against those engaged in the critical study of race.
For example, the 1776 Commission was chaired by Larry Arnn, the executive director of the Aequus Foundation, which gives money to right-wing think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and the State Policy Network (which networks Koch-funded think tanks). Arnn also serves as president of Hilldale College, itself funded primarily by right-wing libertarian think tanks.
Another commission member, Thomas K. Lindsay, is currently a fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), which works closely with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to pass bills attacking renewable energy, denying climate change and undermining environmental protections. TPPF is funded by a “who’s who of Texas polluters, giant utilities and big insurance companies.” TPPF has received $4.1 million from Koch family foundations, millions in contributions from the Koch network’s donor-directed pass-through funds, Donors Capital Fund and DonorsTrust, as well as six-digit donations from the State Policy Network, the Bradley Foundation, Exxon Mobil, the Hartland Institute, the Cato Institute and many other prominent libertarian donors and organizations.