Splintered: Critical Race Theory and the Progressive War on Truth

Splintered: Critical Race Theory and the Progressive War on Truth

Back in February, frustrated San Francisco parents voted to recall three school board members for spending more time renaming schools than planning their post-pandemic re-opening. Among the school names being “canceled” were Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, John Muir, and even Dianne Feinstein – found guilty of exploitation and oppression. The pervasiveness of so-called critical race theory in school curriculums is not brand new, although it appears that remote learning during COVID caused many parents to start paying attention and to express their disapproval at the ballot box.

The recall was a strong sign, like the ousting of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, that most Americans still believe that schools should be in the education business, not the indoctrination industry. The term critical race theory has been thrown around a lot in the conversations surrounding the appropriate way to teach American history. Oddly, the proponents and defenders of critical race theory seem afraid to admit that it is already being taught in many places (as if they had a guilty conscience), while its detractors often seem confused about what they are opposing.

Thus, Heritage Foundation fellow Jonathan Butcher has done the American public a great service with his new book Splintered: Critical Race Theory and the Progressive War on Truth. The book charts the evolution of the idea in understandable terms, from its Marxian roots in academia, through the law schools, and now trickling down into grade schools across the country. Forget the universities – they’re too far gone. But can we still save elementary school kids from being lectured about privilege, while minority students are taught that they can’t advance because of system racism in the United States?

Butcher’s book is a powerful antidote to the ignorance on both sides of the issue. If we are to preserve America’s founding ideals, parents and policymakers must read and understand the ideas they are protesting.

Butcher and I discussed the main points from his book. Be sure to subscribe to the mailing list for a condensed summary of the book, plus show highlights and announcements.


About the Author

Jonathan Butcher is the Will Skillman Fellow in Education at The Heritage Foundation. He is the author of Splintered: Critical Race Theory and the Progressive War on Truth (Bombardier Books, April 2022). He co-edited and wrote chapters in The Critical Classroom (The Heritage Foundation, 2022), discussing the racial prejudice that comes from the application of critical race theory in K-12 schools. In 2021, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster nominated Jonathan to serve on the board of the South Carolina Public Charter School District, a statewide charter school authorizer. He has researched and testified on education policy around the U.S.

Jonathan co-edited and wrote chapters in the book The Not-So-Great Society, which provides conservative solutions to the problems created by the ever-expanding federal footprint in preschool, K-12, and higher education.