Critical, race and theory are three words that have been lighting up media outlets across the United States. A debate that began among cultural pundits has now broken out into the national spotlight, as parents confront school district boards about the impact these ideas are having on their children.

A frontline in the battle opened up this week in Loudoun County, Virginia. The Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) district board held a meeting at which parents were free to comment and ask questions about the district’s curriculum. But due to intense blowback from parents, the board cut the comment time and the meeting short — and two parents were arrested for refusing to leave the meeting.

This is only the latest scene in a yearlong campaign by LCPS parents. Toxic ideas like critical race theory have been adopted by the district’s board under the guise of “diversity, equity and inclusion” (DEI) teacher training and curriculum. The Daily Wire reports that,

“These curriculum shifts and training seminars were primarily passed through the district’s progressive school board. The board did not publicly announce many of the changes, instead, there was a concerted effort to promote DEI messaging in nearly every facet of the district.”

Parents are wising up to the word games being played in the public schools of America. Critical race theory is most often presented as a way to make Americans more aware of the history of racism and slavery in the US — a worthy cause indeed. How can we learn from history if we don’t know history?

But in fact, CRT also insists that all white people are by default racists; that white supremacy still forms the bedrock of American society; and that white people alive today are responsible for the guilt of white people in bygone eras. It also bestows on Americans of colour a perpetual victimhood status, which many of them reject outright.

Parents of all ethnic backgrounds have noticed a change in their children, who have become suspicious of students whose skin colour is different to their own, when once they played together happily. They have observed glaring similarities between CRT and Marxism, with its oppressor-and-oppressed categories that switch class for race.

One mother made the following remarks before a school board:

“Growing up in Mao’s China, all of this seems very familiar. The communist regime used the same critical theory to divide people, the only difference is they used class instead of race.

“During the cultural revolution I witnessed students and teachers turn against each other. We changed the school names to be politically correct. We were told to denounce our heritage. The Red Guards destroyed anything that was not communist — old statues, books and anything else… This is indeed the American version of the Chinese cultural revolution… It should have no place in our schools.”

Another video that went viral on social media in recent weeks was of a passionate father who called out CRT for making kids hate each other, and who asked, “How do I have two medical degrees if I’m sitting here so oppressed?” He went on:

“Two medical degrees. No mum, no dad in the house. Worked my way through college. Sat there and hustled my butt off to get through college. You gonna tell me somebody look like all y’all white folks kept me from doing that? Are you serious?”

These parents are right. Left unchecked, critical race theory will tear the fabric of American society apart. The U.S. hasn’t perfectly lived up to Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a nation in which people are judged by their character, not their skin colour. But it has made incredible progress in that direction which must not be torn down in the name of “equity”, “inclusion”, or any other buzzword.

It is possible to have diversity without division. Kids need to be encouraged to strive for excellence and to break through barriers — real or perceived — to reach their potential. There is no room in the free world for neo-racist theories, race re-education programs, or re-segregated societies.

These parents know it, and they’re showing us how to stay the course.

Kurt Mahlburg is a writer and author, and an emerging Australian voice on culture and the Christian faith. He has a passion for both the philosophical and the personal, drawing on his background as a graduate...