Appearing on CNN, the far-left Squad member claimed CRT was not currently being taught in schools, argued that teachers should be “fluent in how to dismantle racism,” and accused Republicans of not wanting “kids to know how to not be racist.”
“Critical Race Theory is not taught in elementary school. It is barely taught in law schools, frankly, in the level that it should be taught,” Ocasio-Cortez claimed after liberal host Don Lemon said he thought bans on teaching CRT were being pushed by Republicans to “win back” White suburban voters by scaring them.
“We know that Republicans have started to now use these laws curtailing critical race ‘curriculum,’ that’s not even being taught in the first place, as a proxy to saying we can’t teach anything about race in our schools beyond just some of the most minimal, minimal, minimal facts,” she added.
“We should say why don’t you want our schools to teach anti-racism? Why don’t Republicans want their kids to know the tradition of anti-racism in the United States?” she said, growing increasingly frustrated. “Why are they attacking the core roots of history in this country that strays anything beyond what we already know? … Why don’t Republicans want us to learn how to not be racist? Why don’t Republicans want kids to know how to not be racist?”
Lemon suggested that people were opposed to those things because they thought kids were too young to be taught the subject and because “it makes White kids feel bad.”
“Here’s something that we know neuro-cognitively … [Babies] already start to gravitate towards members of their own race when they’re disproportionately exposed to just one race in their life,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It doesn’t mean that babies are racist, but what it means is that we already start to gravitate towards communities and people that we already know we’re acclimated to.”
“Children do not feel guilt about racism when they learn early on what racism is. In fact, children learn to recognize it and can engage in corrective behavior early,” she added. “Republicans are using these words like critical race theory, which again is a law school curriculum that is not even taught in schools, and their argument is well, some teachers may be exposed to it.”
“Oh, wow, so your child’s teacher is anti-racist and is actually fluent in how to dismantle racism and the dynamics of racism in a classroom. That is something that teachers should know how to do and Republicans are trying to ban this, are trying to ban us from knowing our own history,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez’s claim that CRT is not being taught in schools coincides with other similar claims from the media, despite a recent instance where one Rhode Island teacher went public about her school’s shift to a more racially focused curriculum.
Parents of students have also been speaking out against curriculum changes amid the nation’s largest teachers union endorsing CRT as “reasonable and appropriate” for kids, with many attending raucous school board meetings across the country to voice their concerns.