Transcript: Christopher Rufo On CRT In Schools
The famed crusader dives deep into the issue with me. I found it hard to disagree with him.
Rufo is a key architect of the anti-CRT legislation being passed in state legislatures around the country. He is also a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and his Twitter account is tirelessly flagging examples of CRT in the public school system, corporate America, and elsewhere. I’ve no doubt that some of this convo is going to stir up a fuss — but the truth is I’ve become more conflicted about this legislation as time has gone by. I once thought it was a terrible idea. I’m now not so sure, given the scale of the attempt to indoctrinate children in neo-Marxist understandings of race throughout public education.
The episode aired on January 14, 2022. Some of Christopher’s money quotes:
“This ideology, critical race theory, is a cynical, pessimistic, fatalistic, entrapping ideology … I just don’t think that is compatible with the spirit of most people in our country.”
“The curriculum is law. The curriculum is set by the legislature. If you’re assuming that [anti-CRT legislators] are interlopers, you’re already acknowledging the hegemonic dominance of left-wing ideology within the curriculum.”
“There are no neutral choices. Politics is imbued in the very heart of education.”
Andrew: Happy happy New Year! I am really thrilled to have as guest today someone I've been following for a while, and a lot of other people have too. A man called Christopher Rufo, who, according to most of the mainstream media, has single handedly created the entire movement against critical race theory. Which was news to me, since I've been banging on about it for years before I ever heard of Christopher Rufo! Nonetheless, they had to find somebody to pin all this on and managed to pin it on Mr. Rufo.
Congratulations, Christopher, on being the mastermind behind this massive sinister campaign to take over American education and culture.
Christopher: I appreciate that. That's high praise.
Andrew: Welcome to the Dishcast as well. Christopher works, officially, for the Manhattan Institute, writes for City Journal. He is in Seattle as we speak, in lovely Seattle. Welcome, and before we begin, let's begin where we always begin here, Christopher — is it Christopher, or Chris?
Christopher: Either one is fine.
Andrew: Either one. Tell me where you grew up? And what your parents did and where, and how, your childhood and adolescence was?
Christopher: I grew up in Sacramento, California. My father is an immigrant from Italy. My mother was a transplant from Detroit, Michigan.
My childhood was the typical Sacramento childhood. Sacramento is in California, but it's in the Central Valley, it's the state capital. It's really a kind of bureaucratic town. It's pretty sleepy, but a great place to grow up, a great place to be a kid.
My parents were both attorneys, since retired. So I always had a bit of law, politics, bureaucracy in the household, always talked about it. My father was involved in Democratic politics after he immigrated from Italy. He would always tell stories, the World War II stories from the family history. My grandfather and — this continues to this day — all my aunts and uncles are dedicated Marxist-Leninist, unreformed communists. Not kidding.
Andrew: You're another one of these people! It's like, how many more conservatives do I have to come across, who come from long lines of Marxist-Leninists? I think I'm the only normy one, who just grew up basically right of center. Were they Gramscian? What were they?