Thank you for publishing “Attacking Educators” by USD Professor Tim Schorn in the Tuesday, July 6, 2021, edition of the Press and Dakotan. It is rare these days to see a bigot and a bully so thoroughly discredit himself in print.

In the beginning of his article, and again toward the end, Professor Schorn accurately lists several of our grievous national failures and embarrassments; some of which persist despite the best efforts of most of the American people. From these examples, he concludes that “our country, government and institutions are built on laws that are rooted in racism.” (I disagree.)

Here are a few more quotes, along with my comments in parentheses.

“Those who attack critical race theory, social justice and inclusion do so because they know that their opinions are not based on facts, and that their ideas would not survive the light of day.” (Note the linkage of “social justice and inclusion” with his pet theory. This is called virtue signaling.)

“The critics are not interested in honest discussion; they wish to shut down the marketplace of ideas.” (The professor is honest. Anyone who disagrees with him is evil.)

“Critical race theory encourages an open and honest discussion, as do other academic theories.” (Imagine yourself as Professor Schorn’s student. Would you dare disagree with him?)

Professor Schorn’s conclusion is: “This country was built on rejection and bigotry.” (Absolutely, without any exceptions or conditions?)

I would like to believe that Professor Schorn’s myopic disdain for our country is not reflective of the entire University of South Dakota faculty. However, his brazen willingness to publish his doctrinaire beliefs in a local newspaper indicates otherwise.

If there truly is a “marketplace of ideas” at USD, we will quickly see other professors push back against such a poorly reasoned article. I hope so. It reflects poorly on the entire institution.

To parents of prospective college students, I suggest paying attention to what your children are being taught. And think twice before writing that tuition check; there are other choices.

That, by the way, is how a marketplace of ideas actually works.

 

(30) comments

Abe

Thank you for your letter. It is refreshing to read something with a hint of conservativism in the P&D, for a change.

MISTER GARY

Conservatism is the CODE Word for Racist!

E pluribus

Really, Mr. Welsh? This “is how a marketplace of ideas actually works”? By calling Professor Schorn a “bigot and a bully” and declaring that he’s “thoroughly discredited himself”?

I’m struck by the unintended irony of your first sentence.

But unfortunately this is what passes for dialogue

In the jockeying for position ahead of the 2022 midterms.

Instead of struggling to come to grips with our nation's past, we’re arguing over Critical Race Theory.

Squabbling over a 50 year old academic concept most of us don’t really understand is a poor substitute for seriously confronting the many crucial issues we all DO understand.

Jon Wick

E, I generally find your posts to be well stated as to your position. Therefore, I find it interesting that you state you don't understand CRT. Is it that you truly don't understand or that you don't want to understand? Or, are you concerned that a true understanding of CRT would expose its falsehoods and delegitimize its offspring, social justice, systemic racism and racial equity?

Jolly Roger

Mr. Welsh, you write “It is rare these days to see a bigot and a bully so thoroughly discredit himself in print.”

But it’s not so rare at all. Your letter is a prime example.

I join you in appreciation of the publishing policies of the Press & Dakotan.

Kate70

Mr.Welsh and Abe, Thank you.

QgopFromnowon

Thanks, Kate. I always know I can count on you and Abe (and now Mr. Welsh) to defend the Anglo-Saxon vision of America that our Founders intended.

I know you all weep as I do at what’s become of America as CRT forces us to accommodate the inferior people among us.

They’re just coasting on the benefits of the superior genetics God has given you and me and all TRUE Americans.

Keep the faith, brothers and sisters…

Where We Go One We Go all.

JMDrury

super fun to watch you Conspiracy nuts talk. Anglo-Saxon is a term used for Germanic people that Immigrated and then took over an area, but your against Immigration now....I have soooo many questions lol

Also you Q nutters quote God and Christianity so fiercely it is amusing at times and sometimes scary your zealotry.

As I understand your "christian" beliefs you buy into the whole belief about a Cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father and he can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and drink his blood and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so can can remove an evil force from your soul (THAT HE PUT THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE) and is present in all humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.......yep makes TOTAL sense.

Mr. T

This letter and the comments following show how thoroughly White Grievance (now fueling the uproar over CRT) is manifest in the polarization of our National Dialogue on American race relations.

And this may well herald a second era of Jim Crow control of our electoral process as many states rush to change their voting laws and regulations to benefit those in power.

The first era of Jim Crow denied Black voting rights for 100 years after the Civil War as angry White folks passed laws to prevent Blacks from voting while lynching them into submission and burning and looting their most successful Black neighborhoods.

America's White-controlled institutions did nothing to even try to stop this until the first feeble attempts under the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Most White folks have only recently learned of the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma Massacre, but there were many others that never appear in most histories of America read by White folks. A few examples:

The 1873 Colfax, Louisiana Massacre, the 1898 Wilmington, North Carolina Massacre, the 1906 Atlanta Georgia, Massacre, the 1919 Elaine, Arkansas Massacre, the 1923 Rosewood, Florida Massacre,

After 250 years of slavery in America and then a century of Jim Crow suppression of Black voting rights after the Civil War how likely is it that today there are NO remanents of this history in our society’s institutions?

So while we have this silly argument over a 50-year old academic concept, say what you will about CRT, it is undeniably a historic fact that White folks - for better and worse - have controlled the electoral process for the entire existence of the USA.

Nonetheless, the American experiment has not collapsed.

The US still endures in the endless uphill struggle toward Lincoln’s “more perfect union.”

Black folks know all about this. The only difference this time is that many non-Trumpster White folks are feeling this injustice for the first time.

And these White folks may have to comfort themselves with the words of Martin Luther King that - "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Yet - like Black Americans - they may have to patiently accept that this bending may take much longer than their time on this earth.

Jon Wick

Mr.T, I am not trying to be disrespectful because I enjoy our debates but, you are being terribly naive when it comes to CRT. CRT is not about history and never was. CRT uses history as a benign appearing smokescreen in which to subsequently spread its poisonous doctrine. The key to CRT methodology is how the history is framed because CRT has no intention or desire to presenting history in an unbiased way. It purposely takes history and twists it in whatever way necessary to fit a predetermined racial narrative. Oppressor and oppressed. Remember, since you are white you are automatically guilty of all injustices past, present and future. This is the true doctrine of CRT. One last comment for you to contemplate, if racism is so systemic as preached by CRT, then explain the success and prosperity obtained by Asian Americans since they often surpass American whites.

VoiceforAll

Mr, T, I am offended by you calling white people and black people, white folks and black folks, that offends me and you need to stop, it is racists and not appropriate. Since you are now labeled a racists, you don't have the right to state your opinion, what you say is not true and holds no merit in any discussion. Please stop posting your racist comments in this forum. Oh wait, you and your party think you only have the right to label and censor people, no one else can, until now, I am calling that shot here, so it will be good not to have to read anymore of your hate filled diatribes.

Gimmy A. Breake

At most “VoiceforAll” speaks for 30 percent.

For everyone else, it’s without their consent

From dubious sources his wisdom is drawn

One thing is certain, he’ll go on and on…

E pluribus

Whoa, Voice, you’ve lost me here.

You write that you’re offended by Mr. T “calling white people and black people, white folks and black folks, that offends me and you need to stop, it is racist…”

I really don’t understand this piece of political correctness.

Can you please explain it for me?

And while you at it, could you also please be more specific about the “hate filled” content of Mr. T’s diatribe as you perceive it?

I come from the 60’s era when hateful racism was exemplified by such incidents as the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church or Bloody Sunday on the Edmund Pettus Bridge or the Freedom Summer murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner.

So I don’t really understand this new definition of racism you younger folks seem to recognize.

Jon Wick

Mr. Welsh, your observation is correct. As a recovered academic myself, I can tell you from a decade of experience in higher education our universities are no longer a place open to different ideas. It has become a cesspool of Orwellian group think and all those who are independent thinkers and do not fall in line must be cast out. Indoctrination is now the goal and the education of students is no longer the primary function. The good professor has proven that exact point.

Red Cloud

Many White people feel as you, Mr. VoiceforAll.

Consequently the arc of the moral universe may take a bit longer to bend toward justice than the time you and I have on this earth.

Regrettably, Mr. T is likely right.

But the future is much bigger than either of us.

Mr. T

As I have said before Mr. Wick, academics always disagree. And as a layman, I don’t consider this politics-infused intellectuals’ kerfuffle over CRT settled at all.

I think this excerpt from the Wikipedia article on CRT pretty accurately states where things currently stand.

“Academic critics of CRT argue that it relies on social constructionism, elevates storytelling over evidence and reason, rejects the concepts of truth and merit, and opposes liberalism. Since 2020, conservative lawmakers in the United States have sought to ban or restrict critical race theory instruction along with other anti-racism programs. Critics of these efforts say the lawmakers have poorly defined or misrepresented the tenets and importance of CRT and that the goal of the laws is to silence broader discussions of racism, equality, social justice, and the history of race.”

Among intellectuals as well as us ordinary folks, the line between naïveté and righteous indignation is often just a matter of opinion.

Jon Wick

Mr.T, referencing Wikipedia really... Please understand that is not a credible source of information and it is not considered reputable for any type of academic research. Obviously you bring up this article only because it supports your opinion. I ask you Mr. T, why are liberals like yourself so afraid of opposing thought?

That said, if CRT is truly an accurate portrayal of a racist American society, please explain to me how Asian Americans and Indians (from India) out earn even white Americans? If America is so systemically racist, then this should not be possible correct? I'm looking forward to reading your explanation.

Mr. T

Please check back for my response in a day or two.

While I am not an academic, I am not uninformed, and I would like to continue this conversation in the spirit with which it began.

So may we agree to forgo the usual canards that right and left use so frequently in the place of reasoned discussion?

Jon Wick

Excellent idea Mr. T.

I'll check back in few days.

Mr. T

What do you think of this observation? ⬇️

There seem to be scores of folks since the ‘70’s who’ve propagated the CRT theory. Seems to me this is the reason the discussion of CRT is so hard to pin down. There’s no single source that defines this theory. Not even two or three sources.

It’s not like CRT has an “Isaac Newton” who’s published the CRT equivalent of Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation in “The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.”

So the result - it seems to me - is that everyone is “cherry picking” the parts of CRT they choose to excoriate or praise.

Would you agree?

Mr. T

To put a finer point on my observation :

Whose version of CRT are you drawing upon as you post your take on this theory?

I’m finding that CRT originated in the mid 1970s in the writings of a number of legal scholars who've had a hand in its evolution. Is there anyone on this list you would quote to illustrate the observations you’ve made on the theory? Or maybe there’s someone not on this list.

▪️Cheryl Harris,

▪️Charles R. Lawrence III,

▪️Mari Matsuda

▪️Kimberlé Crenshaw,

▪️Richard Delgado, Derrick Bell,

▪️Alan Freeman,

Thanks. Most people I talk to on both sides of the issue just spout bumper sticker slogans, so if your study has enlightened you, perhaps you can share it…

Jon Wick

Mr. T, thank you the observations. I personally do not draw on one single version of CRT to reach my conclusions. I am most familiar with Delgado and Bell, and have some knowledge of Lawrence, Crenshaw and Kendi. I agree with you on the “cherry picking” this is unfortunately expected with any topic these days. What concerns more with the CRT discussions are the calculated selective omissions.

Based on my research, the origins of CRT date back 1937 Germany specifically the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt and their Critical Theory doctrine. Coincidentally, the institute modeled itself on the Moscow-based Marx-Engels Institute.

It was dormmate until the 60’s and 70’s when it morphed into Critical Legal Theory. According to the Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, CLT was greatly influenced by European philosophers, such as Karl Marx, Max Weber, Max Horkheimer, Antonio Gramsci, and Michel Foucault. Coincidentally again, all the individuals listed as influencers where also Marxists. The stated goal of this movement was to overturn the hierarchical structures of modern society.

This is where Delgado and Bell come in. The fathers of modern CRT. Two quotes from Delgado are particularly important in my opinion and are often purposely buried in the discussion of CRT; (1) “Unlike traditional civil rights discourse, which stresses incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law,” (2) “think how that system applauds affording everyone equality of opportunity but resists programs that assure equality of results.”

The five key words here are “that assure equality of results.” That is Marxism to me, therefore exposing its historical origins, doctrine, and goals. Would you agree Mr. T?

Americans fought a civil war to end slavery. Then everyday Americans supported the Civil Rights Movement to end race-based segregation and discrimination. Do we now want to divide ourselves because of Marxist race theory only to end up starting that struggle all over again?

Finally, Mr. T, examples that discredit CRT are all around us if we as a society are willing to open our eyes instead of remaining blinded by ideology. Interested in reading your thoughts on my observations?

Jolly Roger

E Pluribus, your fundamental misunderstanding of Mr. Voice’s perspective is rooted in your old-fashioned expectation of a rational dialogue.

You’ll better understand folks like Voice and Abe if you can accept that their primary objective is to “own the libs.”

Your hope for a reasoned response is “adorable” but futile.

Mr. T

Mr. Wick, I’ll respond to your Asian/Indian question in a following email. I haven’t forgotten.

But first let me promote Wikipedia for what it is and not for what it isn’t.

I didn’t go to Wikipedia because it agrees with me. In fact it didn’t. It didn’t agree with anybody. I picked it because Wikipedia excels at representing a controversial issue with a multiplicity of conflicting opinions.

This is because experts like you are free to contribute when they disagree with other experts’ opinions. (I think I have observed before that “academics always disagree with each other.“) Incidentally, your last posting suggests that you, too, might contribute something to Wikipedia’s CRT entry.

On entries of settled science or history Wikipedia is pretty cut and dried. You won’t find many folks pushing back on Copernicus’ theory that the planets revolve around the sun.

But on the other hand, with controversial issues like CRT, Wikipedia has an “on one hand, but on the other hand” kind of even-handedness that drives seekers of absolute truth absolutely crazy.

And of course if I were writing a term paper for you I would use Wikipedia only as a kind of “Cliff Notes” to highlight concepts and point me to original sources. I think this would be scholastically prudent for any student of any professor.

But I did learn that many people have contributed to the thinking we now call Critical Race Theory. And even THEY don’t agree with each other. (Again, that trait so widely shared among academics.)

As I evaluate the Wikipedia article, the folks who push back on CRT are also well represented in their overview.

To the extent that Wikipedia “supports my opinion,” I will say I still agree with that lone Wikipedia passage I quoted.

After digesting left and rightwing media outlets day after day, I believe the controversy of over CRT is well described in that Wikipedia quote.

Don’t you?

Kate70

Mr.T, I have to agree with Mr. Wick on his questioning of your use of a Wikipedia quote as a reliable source. Since I am not as erudite as the two of you, but am very interested in your discussion, I have been attempting to verify much of what each of you have to say that essentially quotes a source. In checking Wikipedia I found this lengthy 'disclaimer'? and explanation of how it works in getting information. It is, of course not their complete description so I suggest each of you read the full article Wikipedia has about itself. However, here are some of the direct quotes from their editors. "It is supported by the Wikimedia Foundation and based on a model of freely editable content. Wikipedia is written collaboratively by largely anonymous volunteers. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles, except in limited cases where editing is restricted to prevent further disruption or vandalism.Anyone is allowed to add or edit words, references, images, and other media here.Contributions cannot damage Wikipedia because the software allows easy reversal of mistakes, and many experienced editors are watching to ensure that edits are improvements.Besides quantity, its contributors work on improving quality, removing or repairing misinformation, and other errors. However, because anyone can click "edit" at any time and add content, any article may contain undetected misinformation, errors, or vandalism. Where there are disagreements on how to display facts, editors often work together to compile an article that fairly represents current expert opinion on the subject.Users should be aware that not all articles are of encyclopedic quality from the start: they may contain false or debatable information. Indeed, many articles start their lives as displaying a single viewpoint; and, after a long process of discussion, debate, and argumentation, they gradually take on a neutral point of view reached through consensus. For a while, others may become caught up in a heavily unbalanced viewpoint that can take some time—months or years perhaps—to achieve better-balanced coverage of their subject. Allowing anyone to edit Wikipedia makes it easily vandalized and susceptible to unverified information, which requires removal.Numerous editors at any given time are monitoring recent changes and edit articles on their watchlists.articles and subject areas sometimes suffer from significant omissions, and while misinformation and vandalism are usually corrected quickly, this does not always happen. Wikipedia is written largely by amateurs. Wikipedia disclaimers apply to all pages on Wikipedia. However, the consensus in Wikipedia is to put all disclaimers only as links and at the end of each article. Proposals to have a warning box at the beginning have been rejected. Some do not like the way it looks or that it calls attention to possible errors in Wikipedia." With all of that, I agree must agree with Mr.Wick that Wikipedia is not a very reliable source of fact based information. I hope the two of you continue your discussion on CRT however. I am finding it fascinating. ☮

Mr. T

Kate, I agree with Mr. Wick “..that Wikipedia is not a very reliable source of fact based information.” Most especially for controversial subjects.

But it’s a great starting point. And it’s exceptionally good for giving one the range of opinions on hot topics like CRT.

If you re-read my posting after digesting the Wikipedia article, I think you’ll agree.

The Wikipedia quote was about the state of the controversy - not about CRT itself.

I wonder if Mr. Wick agrees as well.

Jon Wick

Mr.T and Kate70, I think we all agree on Wikipedia’s unreliability as a fact based resource. However, now that I have a better understanding of the original point Mr. T was trying to make, I would like to run with it for the sake of discussion.

To me, Delgado’s own words (1) ”critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law,” supports the academic critics of CRT you referenced “Academic critics of CRT argue that it relies on social constructionism, elevates storytelling over evidence and reason, rejects the concepts of truth and merit, and opposes liberalism”.

Additionally, based on my assessment, lawmakers have accurately described the tenets of CRT. The only group trying to silence discussions are the CRT proponents themselves. Because in their minds, dissent is blasphemy as CRT demands complete loyalty to its ideology.

I think there are several absolutes of choice we will all eventually have to make:

(1) You believe in individualism, or you believe in the collective.

(2) You believe in creating equal opportunity for all, or you believe in state sanctioned and directed outcomes.

(3) You believe in equal rights, or you believe in the state.

To me, CRT is simply a race based societal point of view and it is absolutely not a method of assessment, analysis or even fact. My expectation is that if there is a widespread adoption of CRT, it will eventually lead to a significant loss of individual, racial, ideological, and organizational trust within society and that loss will be irreversible. Then what happens?

Which leads to the most important question surrounding CRT, and that is “who benefits”?

Your thoughts Mr.T?

Mr. T

IS THE CRT CONTROVERSY REALLY A SHAM?

From my perspective the “controversy” over Critical Race Theory is a “red herring” that avoids a real discussion of America’s racial History, while providing ample opportunity for each political party to enrage its base ahead of the 2022 midterms.

That insightful Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, after his travels through the United States in the 1830’s wrote in his masterwork “DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA”🔽

“Three races, naturally distinct, and, I might almost say, hostile to each other, are discoverable amongst them at the first glance. Almost insurmountable barriers had been raised between them by education and by law…”

Of course Tocqueville was talking about 1️⃣ the White Europeans and 2️⃣ the Africans who labored in slavery and 3️⃣ the dispossessed Indians whose land these slaves worked for their masters.

In a way, Tocqueville was an early proponent of Critical Race Theory - at least according to one of many versions of CRT. The one maintaining that racism is not just a personal attitude but is encoded in society’s structures.

Tocqueville tells us that the educational and legal systems of American democracy had already institutionalized racism almost 200 years ago.

Still, what is important to me is not our confused argument over CRT. I've been a practical, capitalist small businessman for almost 40 years, so the CRT controversy seems to me more like the philosophical discussions I was exposed to in college.

Philosophers set up the nomenclature and always prevailed in their arguments so long as they determined the terms of the polemic.

So to me, CRT is a philosophy. Intellectuals will argue it forever. Instead I care more about America’s actual racial history, and I have no dog in this CRT fight. I see the CRT controversy as a political football testing whether the outrage over CRT better helps Republicans or Democrats.

What IS important is America’s actual racial history - which afflicted African Americans and American Indians more than any other subgroup in the USA. By far.

The historic reality is:

◾️250 years of slavery and then a 100 years of Jim Crow suppression of Black voting rights after the Civil War, coupled with 500 broken treaties with American Indians.◾️

This is what confronts Americans of the present with a legacy hard to ignore. And how likely is it that today there are NO remnants of this history in our society’s institutions?

So while we have this silly argument over a 50-year old academic concept - say what you will about CRT - it is undeniably a historic fact that White folks (for better and worse) have controlled American cultural and legal processes for the entire existence of the USA.

Of course, Mr. Wick, to respond to your example of recent successful immigrants of color like the Asian and Indian Americans: It is obviously laudable that they thrived. Hard work and opportunity usually pay off in America. Most of the time. Which is important.

But they came to the United States in later years.

How lucky for them their forebears were spared the many generations of forced breakups of their families, the erasure of their culture and the denial of an education in the ways of their new world.

Although your anecdotal evidence is true and admirable, in itself it is no proof against the institutional racism Blacks and Indians have endured since well before our Founders created a Constitution which excluded them.

INTELLECTUALLY I see the argument over CRT as a tempest in a teapot. POLITICALLY I suspect Critical Race Theory will prove to be just a stalking horse for both Democrats and Republicans.

They’ll sneak up on each other in the coming midterm conflicts. Then after it’s over, they’ll likely move on to something new, and we’ll hear no more of it.

And it remains to be seen how much this stalking horse will help either of them. And which party will bag it’s prey.

And yet when the dust clears, and the votes are counted, in my opinion the CRT “controversy” itself will still remain a sham.

E pluribus

Interesting, informed and respectful conversation between an academic and a layman over the hot button topic of CRT.

Unfortunately few such dialogues are conducted in our media.

I’m in agreement with Mr. T that the larger dialogue over CRT in our nation is mostly political theatrics.

However, judging from the frequency it is brought up on FoxNews with its preponderance of white viewers (some 90%+, I believe), I think it’s clear that if this issue drives anyone’s base to the polls it will be the Republicans.

The liberal media doesn’t bring up CRT anywhere near so much and seems to think infrastructure, voting rights, climate change, tackling COVID-19 and investigating the January 6th insurrection is more compelling.

That’s a lot to have on their plate, and it may be too scattered to be effective. Especially if Mitch McConnell’s Senate Republicans continue their success in shutting it all down.

So it remains to be seen - as the pundits say - which approach will be the winner.

Jon Wick

Mr. T, I do not share your opinion that the CRT discussions are a sham or as E called it, political theatrics. I only say this because I have seen the tentacles of CRT firsthand throughout our educational system for some time and feel this will be a contentious issue well past the mid-terms. But I do agree with you both that time will be the ultimate judge of our prognostications.

Finally, as we conclude this discussion, I want to thank you for what E has rightly described as an “Interesting, informed and respectful conversation”.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.