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Bonus SCOTUS Wisdom: Banning CRT and Other “Unpopular” Topics from Schools Bad for America

The Mahanoy v. Levy ruling on student free speech includes a reminder to the fascists who would stifle discussions of racism, social injustice, and other topics that upset status-quo-arians (and status-quo-Aryans) that schools have a special obligation to protect unpopular ideas:

Third, the school itself has an interest in protecting a student’s unpopular expression, especially when the expression takes place off campus. America’s public schools are the nurseries of democracy. Our representative democracy only works if we protect the “marketplace of ideas.” This free exchange facilitates an informed public opinion, which, when transmitted to lawmakers, helps produce laws that reflect the People’s will. That protection must include the protection of unpopular ideas, for popular ideas have less need for protection. Thus, schools have a strong interest in ensuring that future generations understand the workings in practice of the well-known aphorism, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” [Justice Stephen Breyer, Opinion of the Court, Mahanoy v. Levy, 2021.06.23, pp. 6–8].

The fact that Republicans don’t like critical race theory, that they don’t like reminders that we have yet to perfect our Union, and that discussions of real problems may highlight their failure to come up with solutions does not justify silencing teachers and students. Quite the contrary: schools exist to teach students to confront difficult and unpleasant ideas and figure out what to do about them.


  1. John Dale 2021-06-24

    Yeah .. I kind of agree.

    It needs to be banned at the local level, through the school boards.

    Now, this is a two-edge sword, right?

    Mandating one thing is like banning all other things.

    All this “marketplace of ideas” banter has me contemplating section 230 and silocon sociopath censorship of the online town squares built by the taxpayer (yeah, that’s right, Google, FaceBook, Twitter, and others .. all suckling the public breast, then banning the public from speaking with a bit bite with some hand-wavy BS about domestic terrorism).

  2. Bob Newland 2021-06-24

    John, I rearramged your words so they make more sense.

    All this censorship then banning contemplating section 230 and silocon sociopath suckling banter built by the taxpayer domestic terrorism has me speaking with a hand-wavy BS.

  3. Donald Pay 2021-06-24

    Republicans don’t like Critical Race Theory, so they want to ban it. I don’t like Republicans. Should I seek to ban Republican ideas. Infantile, isn’t it?

    School boards can’t ban speech or the presentation of academic concepts and ideas. They can set some policy on how discussions on certain controversial academic topics should be held. I know Rapid City Area Schools has such policies, and I’m sure those policies are in place in nearly all districdts. There are also policies on academic freedom, which applies to staff, but especially to students. Such policies are made for the benefit of students, so that they are free to explore various topics. It’s important that students understand the world they are going to be entering as citizens. If you start banning academic areas student understanding of that world is impaired.

    Critical Race Theory has been an upper level university or graduate level area of academics, and hasn’t received much, if any, discussion in high schools. Like Gloria Ladson-Billings says threatening to ban Critical Race Theory is the quickest way to popularize it among the high school crowd.

  4. Porter Lansing 2021-06-24

    John Dale … As I said yesterday, teachers can teach CRT and the good ones already do.

    The teachers just don’t call it CRT.

    A rose by any other name will smell as sweet.

    Put that in your bong and smoke it. I did. lol

  5. Arlo Blundt 2021-06-24

    Well…the “market place of ideas” is still the market place of ideas. The totalitarian right would have some kind of case to make for intellectual freedom had they not organized a full scale revolt against the central government, the Federal government, and ransacked the Capital in an attempt to kidnap Congressmen and women, and HANG MIKE PENCE, the Vice President of the United States.It would have helped their case if they had not brought along zip ties, rope, and various stun guns and other weapons to their treasonous siege of the Capital. Sorry, John Dale, but there are limits to expression. Trump and his storm troopers exceeded the limits of civilized speech. You cannot be an agent in the death of five people and the injuring of scores of police officers and then hide behind freedom of speech. It is our duty to protect the Democracy from violent people who do not respect the rights of a free people.

  6. Mark Anderson 2021-06-24

    You know, this will of course make every student look up whatever they want banned. It worked very well for grudz and his evil weed back when I was in high school. I graduated in 1971 and we had all of that worked out well before. I wonder what the village of conservatives will make popular next?

  7. DaveFN 2021-06-24

    Wonderful and complex ideas under discussion in “New Discourses” which critiques CRT (which I yet maintain is better “critical race studies”) and pretty much traces everything back to the demon, French postmodernism an excellent site although tendentious in its own way. I don’t agree with all of the tenets of CRT but I’ll champion their right to be discussed rather than banned (and anything presented in K-12 can be but a caricature of the enormity of what’s at stake when it comes to the actual ideas and arguments at stake; critics of CRT in K-12 are stuck at the kindergarten level in contrast), and “New Discourses” does, IMHO, an excellent job of getting the ideas ‘out there.’

    Hopefully all this flurry of activity around the topic will serve raise the consciousness of the American people as to the world of the intellect (fat chance, oh well), something sorely needed in the current anti-intellectual, dumbed down world promoted by Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Mike Lindell, MTG, Gaetz….

    “Another central tenet of critical race theory is the critique of liberalism. This comes as a shock to most American readers who mistakenly identify critical race Theory as something associated with liberals and liberalism, but CRT is openly an anti-liberal theoretical and political project. The liberal approach to anti-racism is to divest race categories of social significance and treat everyone equally. That is, race is to become largely irrelevant and we, as a society, come to see skin color as having no more significance to a person’s worth or abilities than their hair color. This is referred to by critical race Theorists as “colorblindness” and is deemed highly problematic (see also, racism-blindness). A liberal society aims to make sure that everybody is treated equally by ensuring that race, gender, or sexuality does not prevent anyone from accessing any opportunity and then evaluates each individual on their abilities. This is known as “meritocracy,” which is viewed as a highly problematic ideology white people use to maintain their cultural dominance and justify their own white supremacy.

    Critical race Theorists reject colorblindness and meritocracy as myths and illusions that allow white people to perpetuate their own privilege by failing to see racism operating beneath the surface of systems (see also, white ignorance). Essentially, they see liberalism as the belief that equality, colorblindness, and meritocracy have already been achieved or enable white people to pretend it has or to be satisfied with a painfully slow incremental change, which is inadequate, while misleading people of color by hiding from them the realities of their oppression (see also, false consciousness).”

  8. Mark Anderson 2021-06-24

    Oh Dave, love me, love me I’m a liberal.

  9. Arlo Blundt 2021-06-24

    Naw, I’ll take a color blind meritocracy, please…Like MoTown..much preferable to anything currently on the menu

  10. Donald Pay 2021-06-28

    DaveFN is correct. CRT began as a critique of liberal approaches to civil rights, which ignored outcomes. Liberals thought incorrectly that passage of laws that put forth the idea of colorblindness was adequate to solve racism. It may be a nice philosophy, but it hasn’t worked in the real world. CRT recognizes that racism is baked into the system, and that colorblindness can’t get rid of it.

  11. Arlo Blundt 2021-06-28

    Well..the best critique of race I can think of is Spike Lee’s first movie “Do the Right Thing”.Spike Lee’s career is an example of what can happen when a talented person of color has the opportunity to exercise their talent. Common in the entertainment industry but not so else where.

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