Meeting Notes from Chris Arend:
Follow Up Information from Chris Arend–ZOOM Presentation on March 31, 2022
Thank you again for the invitation to speak to your group this evening. It is encouraging to see so many people who are willing to spend two hours on a Zoom meeting to learn about CRT. The PowerPoint presentation isSlides_CRT_SCAM. In my view, this is the most important ideological debate for our society today. The American people will have to decide whether they want to live in a society in which the individual is what counts or whether they want to live in a society where the individual is much less important than the pedigree.
At the end of the meeting, I promised to provide additional materials and some further comments that you can forward to your members and other interested persons. Please, forward this email as you deem fit, and anyone receiving this email can also pass it around..
First the disclaimer: I am currently the president of the Board of Trustees of the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District. However, I am writing this email to you in my private capacity and not on behalf of the school district or the board. I am a retired lawyer who graduated from both UC Berkeley law school (formerly known as Boalt Hall) as well as German law school. I have attachedCV Arend my résumé so that you and your members have more information about my background. I learned long ago in my profession that a person should know what they are talking about before they take especially a public position on a controversial subject such as critical race theory (“CRT”). I have accordingly devoted a great deal of study to CRT prior to publicly addressing the issue of race in an article in August 2020.
Many people learned that our Paso Robles school board had adopted a resolution on 10 August 2021 banning CRT in our school district from the report published at Fox News on 11 August at https://www.foxnews.com/us/california-paso-robles-bans-critical-race-theory ). I am not aware than any of the mainstream media reported the story. There have been recent news reports that other school districts are rejecting CRT. A Colorado school district passed a resolution against CRT a few days after we did ( https://www.foxnews.com/us/colorado-school-district-bans-critical-race-theory ). The Ramona school district east of San Diego also banned CRT last August (https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/ramona-sentinel/news/story/2021-08-29/ramona-school-board-bans-the-teaching-of-race-theories ). I recently searched Google for “school board bans CRT”. It looks like some but not many have also done so or are considering such bans. Of course, that is not necessary in states where corresponding legislation has been passed covering the entire state.
The resolution to ban CRT in our school district was passed 4 – 3 after at least two hours of public comment in two board meetings and another roughly 20 minutes of public comment at a third meeting on 10 August. The three board members who voted “no” on the resolution, including a relatively liberal member, stated publicly during the board’s deliberations about the resolution that CRT has no place in our schools; they just didn’t like adopting a formal ban.
There is a common denominator in most opponents and supporters of CRT, namely, a lack of knowledge about what CRT actually is. This is readily apparent, for example, when someone says CRT means teaching our students how to apply “critical thinking” to history. This statement is completely false. The key to understanding CRT is in fact knowing the difference between “critical thinking” and “critical theory”. “Critical thinking” consists of rational thought, the scientific method, a willingness to always question assumptions and intellectually “kick the tires”. “Critical thinking” is what we want our students to learn.
“Critical theory”, on the other hand, is an ideology with assumptions carved in stone. A good way to remember the difference is that “critical thinking” can be traced back at least to Socrates, while “critical theory” goes back to Hegelian and Marxist dialectic and the Frankfurt school of philosophy in the 1920s in Germany which was imported to the USA in the mid-1900s (e.g. Herbert Marcuse). It would stretch the scope of this email to discuss at length the philosophical aspects. Suffice it to say that “critical theory” applies the Hegelian approach of thesis-antithesis-synthesis and the dialectic materialism of Marx to view people in groups while rejecting individualism (i.e., we are either in the group of oppressors or in the group of the oppressed). Marx applied the dialectic approach to view society as a clash between two classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. CRT divides American society along racial lines, namely, “whites” and “people of color”. This dialectic approach is an extreme over-simplification of the complex relationships among the citizens of an advanced industrial nation of more than 330 million people and represents the fatal flaw in using a dialectic approach to analyzing society.
The issues of CRT became relevant in our school district when a number of students asked that we implement an ethnic studies course for the 2021/22 school year. A bit of history about how the ethnic studies and CRT issues arose in Paso Robles will help you understand the context of the debate in other school districts around the country and especially in this state when ethnic studies becomes a mandatory course in a few years. I have read the approximately 881 page state approved curriculum (a rather painful exercise). The draft curriculum was initially full of CRT when presented in 2019 and met with lots of criticism. The authors were sent back to the drawing board. They scrubbed the document of blatant CRT language and made the document vague enough to permit an ethnic studies course based on CRT or an ethnic studies course consisting of the history of various ethnic groups and their trials and tribulations in becoming a united nation today. This means that the local school boards now decide whether or not to teach CRT.
“Ethnic studies” is a perfectly legitimate field of study when designed as a so-called “constructive” ethnic studies course. More information is available from the “Alliance for Constructive Ethnic Studies” which promotes such courses (website: https://www.calethstudies.org/ ) Our Paso Robles ethnic studies course, which I strongly support, is such a course because (1) the course is not “informed” by CRT, (2) we made sure that there is no hindsight bias and (3) our course analyzes historic events in the historic context. The issue confronting all school districts is not about having an ethnic studies course. Instead, the issue is whether an ethnic studies course is based on CRT or on the principles we set in Paso Robles for our course.
The Paso Robles school district’s resolution 21-27A banning CRT (attached)Resolution 21-27 A provides a good summary of the substance of CRT. Our superintendent, who also believes that CRT has no place in our schools after he informed himself about CRT, suggested as a compromise a general resolution stating roughly “CRT cannot be taught in our schools”. However, such a general resolution is so vague that it would not provide any guidance to our teachers and would most likely be unenforceable because it would lack specificity. Our Paso Robles resolution is very specific with regard to what is prohibited. The resolution has four basic elements:
- The “whereas” clauses where we pass judgment on CRT and explain our authority. I have08.18.21 First Amendment Rights our First Amendment letter sent out at the start of this year. It was an update of a similar letter sent out last year after a couple of incidents on opening day in that year, such as teachers with BLM banners in their video backgrounds and a kid with a Trump poster in his background. The rules are simple: Students have broad First Amendment rights at school. For example, they can wear a MAGA hat or a BLM t-shirt. Teachers in grades K-12, however, have no First Amendment rights when they are on the job. The school board ultimately approves the curriculum, thereby determining what the teachers do in front of the kids. The updated letter expressly now addresses CRT.
- The numbered items reflect the main premises upon which CRT is built. The cornerstone of CRT and the modern concept of “systemic racism” is a redefinition of the term “racism” to mean “power + racial prejudice”. I wrote the The Myth of Systemic Racism article “The Myth of “Systemic Racism” published in a local online newspaper CalCoast News in August of 2020 which shows how deceptive and flawed that definition is. Our resolution does not address two fundamental concepts in CRT (“intersectionality” and “race as a social construct”) because there is some validity to these concepts. “Intersectionality” is simp0ly a fancy way of saying that individuals can be classified according to a variety of features. My personal reaction to such a pseudo-intellectual concept, “Well, Duh!”. My article includes an analysis of “race as a social construct”.
- The lettered items are the main teachings of CRT. I reviewed about 20 statutes in various states, and this is where they focus their operative language. I chose to expand the operative language in our resolution, i.e. the prohibition, to include the main premises of CRT, in order to really “drive a stake through the heart of the beast”.
- The last paragraph enables us to teach our students about CRT so that we can “vaccinate” them against CRT before they go off to college. This is the same concept we apply when we teach about communism/fascism as opposed to teaching communism/fascism or CRT as gospel.
I have also ResolutionCondemingRacism a resolution we adopted in March 2021 condemning racism. Such resolutions were in vogue last school year throughout our state. Many districts adopted CRT style resolutions. Our staff did a copy and paste of other resolutions to present us a toned down draft, but it died quickly because it was still founded on CRT. I drafted the attached resolution on the basis of the genuinely antiracist concept of “equal protection under the law” as expressed so eloquently by MLK (quoted at the start of our resolution). It’s very hard to argue against MLK, which is exactly what CRT does when it condemns “colorblindness” and “assimilation” as being “racist”.
This illustrates the fundamental schism in the discussion about race in America: CRT versus MLK. MLK is the key to a country in which all folks can live as they wish as individuals. CRT is a collectivist ideology that encourages division among the races. The divisive nature of CRT is exemplified in a quote from Ibram X. Kendi in his book How to be an Antiracist (2019) on page31: “The only remedy to stop racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.” I grew up in Novato in Marin County in the 1950s and 1960s. My family enthusiastically followed the progress of the civil rights movement on an almost daily basis. We were absolute fans of MLK, which is why I am now so passionate about opposing the disgusting racism inherent in CRT.
CRT started out as “Critical Legal Studies” under the leadership of Prof. Derek Bell in the early 1970s. During my research on CRT. I found only one law review article in opposition to CRT (published in 1998, copy attached). The author informed me in the summer of 2021 that he had submitted the article to 66 law reviews at the time, and only one law review was willing to publish the article. This is a prime example of how CRT has been protected against any serious, intellectual “kicking the tires” in academia. Criticism has been simply suppressed.
In order to illustrate some of the crazy stuff that CRT produces, I have WhitenessCharta Word document containing the image of the “whiteness” chart produced by the National Museum of African American History and Culture (“NMAAHC”) which is a branch of the Smithsonian. Although that chart was subsequently removed from the NMAAHC website, it accurately shows what many proponents of CRT believe because it went through an extensive review process before it was published. I have also WhiteCulture a “white culture” handout distributed in Seattle local government circles. A guide for conducting a “Privilege Walk” is also Privilege Walk Exercise.
The two resolutions from our school district and the First Amendment letter are public documents, so you and your members are free to use and disseminate them as you deem fit. I am the author of the article and for the sake of good order I give you and your members permission to disseminate the article as you deem fit. I received permission from the law review author to disseminate his article as I deem fit, and you can also feel free to do so. The last three documents are freely available on the internet.
Member of the Bar (California, inactive status)
Rechtsanwalt (admitted in Germany, Frankfurt am Main)
Arend Law Firm (a professional corporation)
9610 Nacimiento Lake Dr.
Paso Robles, CA 93446
Tel.: +1 (805) 239-0614
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