Voters in Dallas Suburb Lead Revolt Against Critical Race Theory Curriculum

Critical race theory received a stunning rebuke at the polls in local Texas elections last week in a suburb of Dallas.

“On one side, progressives argued that curriculum and disciplinary changes were needed to make all children feel safe and welcome in Carroll, a mostly white but quickly diversifying school district,” NBC News reported. “On the other, conservatives in Southlake rejected the school diversity plan as an effort to indoctrinate students with a far-left ideology that, according to some, would institutionalize discrimination against white children and those with conservative Christian values.”

NBC News portrayed the Southlake elections on May 1 as “bitterly divided.” As many have noted, it may have been bitter, but it wasn’t divided.

About 70% of the vote went against a whole slate of candidates—from the mayor’s race to school board and City Council—who supported a “diversity plan” that pushed critical theory on students and faculty, and turnout for the election was high. That’s not a “divided” election; it was a landslide.

One of the newly elected Texas school board members, Hannah Smith, went on the Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” show on Tuesday to explain how she and others mobilized to fight the “false narrative” that their community was racist.

“When we started this battle last August, we paired up with like-minded parents around the country,” Smith told show co-host Steve Doocy. “I was on conference calls with parents from all over America who are fighting the same thing, so it’s important for people to know that they can band together and that they can make change.”

Smith noted that she and others worked to educate voters about what critical race theory is and how destructive it would be. Then, she and other members of the community made public records requests to ascertain how extensively those ideas were being propagated behind closed doors.

“We used [Freedom of Information Act requests] to really find out what our district was doing, and that empowered us with information that we could then use to fight against it,” she said.

What’s important about this rebuke of critical race theory and its advocates is not just that the doctrine was unpopular, but how parents and other opponents organized to stop it.

It raises the larger question: Is this just temporary good news or the beginning of a larger movement?

Critical race theory began being implemented in the Carroll Independent School District in earnest in 2018, when two high schoolers there used a racial slur on the social media platform TikTok. The students apologized, but this single incident began a crusade to create a racial reckoning in the community.

In response, officials at the Carroll school district released a massive Cultural Competence Action Plan.

Conservative columnist Dana Loesch laid out in Newsweek how that plan appeared to do little to stop racism, and instead force-fed students an absurd program based on left-wing ideological goals. It required students to go through “diversity and inclusion training” to graduate, it committed to weeding out “microaggressions,” and it introduced critical race theory into the curriculum.

The plan included all the critical elements of the woke managerial revolution happening across the country.

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion” bureaucrats are empowered to root out heresy wherever they find it—and given that their livelihoods depend on it, they will surely find it whether it’s there or not.

It’s clear that many of America’s elite institutions see critical race theory and related ideas, such as “anti-racism,” as the cure for what ails us. America is portrayed as a country permanently attached to white supremacy from the beginning, whether it knows or acknowledges that or not.

So, what exactly is critical race theory?

My colleagues Mike Gonzalez and Jonathan Butcher explained what it is succinctly in an excellent paper for The Heritage Foundation, of which The Daily Signal is the news outlet.

Critical Race Theory (CRT) makes race the prism through which its proponents analyze all aspects of American life—and do so with a degree of persistence that has helped CRT impact all of American life. 

CRT underpins identity politics, an ongoing effort to reimagine the United States as a nation riven by groups, each with specific claims on victimization. 

In entertainment, as well as the education and workforce sectors of society, CRT is well-established, driving decision-making according to skin color—not individual value and talent.

This is not “sensitivity training,” as President Joe Biden sought to portray it in his run for office.

If anything, it is teaching Americans to hate each other, to see fellow citizens as the “other,” and to give license to discrimination in the name of racial justice.

That was, at its core, the thesis of The New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning—but factually dubious—“1619 Project.”

It’s also a critical element of the “great awokening.”

Critical race theory has been promoted by corporate America and government agencies, on college campuses and in K-12 classrooms, and “Zoom rooms,” or whatever else they might call our cloistered COVID-19 spaces.

The intellectual point man has been Ibram X. Kendi, director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University and author of “How to Be an Antiracist.” He’s the most prominent proponent of so-called “anti-racism,” which is largely just racial discrimination in the name of equity.

Kendi’s ideas, if they actually were to come to fruition, would end self-government in America and would create totalitarian authority invested in government officials every bit as absolute as they were in the former Soviet Union.

Kendi is taken very seriously by serious people, and he gets paid sizable sums of money to advise schools on how to adopt his toxic ideas.

Of course, the Biden administration is also eager to help the critical theory revolution along from the federal level.

That’s why the revolt in a Dallas suburb is so significant. Americans are becoming aware of this now pervasive ideology and are fighting back.

A single set of elections doesn’t quite signal a full turnaround on critical race theory and the neo-segregation that’s been on the rise in America, but it does show that it can be stopped at the local level if enough people are aware of it and organize.

The Biden administration may be doing its best to foist these ideas on American students for the next generation. But what the Texas elections show is that in their attempted takeover of American education, proponents of critical race theory will find at every school board meeting a group of angry parents armed with information about their radical agenda and willing to step up and fight back.

Given the immense power critical theory and intersectionality hold across America’s elite institutions, this set of Texas elections is a minor victory.

But it also provides a blueprint for how fed-up Americans can begin their own long march to take those institutions back from the woke.

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Myth vs. Fact: Don’t Be Fooled By Misinformation on Florida’s Election Reforms

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida signed a new election integrity bill into law today, SB 90, which will make it easier to vote and harder to cheat. Unfortunately, the mainstream media is helping to circulate misinformation about the law. Here is what you need to separate myth from fact.

Myth: Florida is trying to suppress mail-in voting.

Fact: Florida’s reforms simply make the process more uniform by strengthening ID requirements for absentee voting that already apply to in-person voting.

  • These reforms would enhance voter ID requirements for mail-in ballot requests.
  • Two-thirds (66%) of voters agree that applying voter ID requirements to absentee ballots, as SB 90 does, is a good way to safeguard ballot integrity.
  • Research shows that voter ID doesn’t actually negatively impact turnout, despite Democrats’ false claims of voter suppression.

Myth: Florida is trying to make it harder for seniors or disabled voters to have their absentee votes turned in by others.

Fact: Florida’s reforms allow a person to collect immediate family member’s ballots and up to two ballots from unrelated persons.

  • This is about restricting ballot trafficking and maintaining a secure chain-of-custody of ballots, which benefits voters.
  • The law expands the list of people authorized to handle vote-by-mail ballots to include a voter’s grandchild.
  • Limiting who handles other voters’ ballots ensures that paid political operatives will be prohibited from picking up and potentially mishandling or changing absentee ballots and pressuring or coercing vulnerable voters in their homes.
  • Polling shows that 62% of voters are against political operatives and paid organizers having direct access to absentee voters as they vote, and then taking unsupervised possession of their ballots.

Myth: Florida’s reforms put new limits on drop boxes to make it harder for voters.

Fact: The reforms ensure sufficient security to protect voters’ ballots, while maintaining access to drop boxes.

  • Staffing drop boxes ensures the safety of ballots dropped off and provides voters with confidence their vote will be counted correctly.
  • Under new legislation, drop box locations will be published 30 days in advance so voters have certainty on when and where to access drop boxes.
  • Voters are still able to place a stamp on their vote-by-mail ballot and drop in any secure mailbox.

Myth: Allowing access to the absentee ballot signature verification process will allow partisan operatives to file frivolous challenges.

Fact: Observation by poll watchers for in-person voting has been allowed for decades, and with the growth of mail-in voting, the same protections should be applied.

  • It is important that the mail-in voting process maintains the same important safeguards that in-person voting does.
  • The bill ensures party affiliation is not disclosed to election workers during the signature match process.
  • Transparency instills confidence in the electoral process and reduces the temptation of election workers to commit fraud.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation. 

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Why Big Tech Companies Continue to Lose Public’s Trust

The Big Tech companies consistently hide behind their algorithms when called to account for inconsistent content moderation and account suspension.

Such was the case when the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law on April 27 held a hearing titled “Algorithms and Amplification: How Social Media Platforms’ Design Choices Shape Our Discourse and Our Minds.”

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have been accused of intentionally designing their algorithms to promote and amplify certain content, while hiding or even suspending other content for no specified reason.

When questioned by members of the subcommittee about the design and recent updates to their algorithms, all three companies had different—and vague—answers.

These Big Tech companies didn’t build confidence among users—or members of the subcommittee—that they are using sound, fair, or consistent principles in designing or using those algorithms.

Monika Bickert, the vice president for content policy at Facebook, stated that the purpose of its algorithm is to rank content for the individual user and was designed to “save the user time by putting content they would be most likely to interact with at the top of the newsfeed.”

Bickert said the algorithm looks at other factors, such as how often the user comments on or likes content from a particular source and whether they are more likely to engage with content that is in photo or video format.

She explained that Facebook would not want to produce a tool that would “annoy” the user because it is “not in [its] interest financially or reputationally to push people towards extreme content.”

But what is “extreme content” and who gets to decide what is “extreme” and what isn’t? It’s alarming that these Big Tech companies, which have shown an anti-conservative bias, are deciding what’s “extreme.”

Tristan Harris of the nonprofit Center for Humane Tech contradicted Bickert, saying it’s indeed within these companies’ business models to push users toward “extreme” content: The more outrage, the more views, the more comments back-and-forth, the more money, the better for Big Tech.

YouTube has been just one company criticized for removing certain content that does not appear to violate any community standards. At the hearing, Alexandra Veitch, director of government affairs at YouTube, stated that its algorithm “has a responsibility to limit videos that even come close to borderline content.”

But Veitch did not define what qualifies as “borderline content.” YouTube gives no definitions or guidelines for users to know whether their content could be classified as “borderline.”

If YouTube will also moderate content outside its own rules issued to the public, that’s explicitly not transparent and will inevitably result in inconsistent treatment.

YouTube explains its 4Rs of responsibility. Those are: Remove content that violates its policy; Raise authoritative voices; Reduce spread of borderline content; and Reward trusted creators.

Additionally, it has a machine-learning initiative that supports recommendations of all of those pillars along with the users’ past searches to tailor suggested content more efficiently.

But YouTube is very vague regarding its “4Rs.” To be more transparent, the company would need to be specific and concise in defining what content will be removed and would also need to be clear about who is a “trusted creator”—and how a person can become one. 

Lauren Culbertson, the head of U.S. public policy at Twitter, attempted to prove that it might be the most transparent company because of its machine-learning initiative that will look at the company’s algorithms and will share its findings publicly.

As of late, Twitter has launched Bluesky, aimed at creating open protocols that would create more controls for users. 

Even with those initiatives, it seems as though internal reform remains far off, unless they are forced to by law.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said the business model for all these companies is clearly addiction and advertising to get people to stay online longer.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., agreed that when users follow their peers on these sites, it’s like “viral bait.” In today’s world, that’s what keeps users coming back; namely, their need for social validation.

Coons added that “the goal of social media is attention-harvesting” and that their entire business model is based on increasing that. He suggested that we should instead create model humane standards for how social media should work. 

Harris contended that the Big Tech companies are telling the public that we are worth more as humans when we are addicted, polarized, outraged, and disinformed because that means their business models were effective in swaying users’ attention.

None of the companies would admit that they thrive on users having these negative emotions and patterns, and most likely never will.

Unfortunately, the legal immunity provided by Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act of 1996 “combined with the monopoly [that the Big Tech companies have], allows them to censor, block, and ban whatever they want,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in reference to the companies’ actually defining some of their terms.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said that Big Tech companies need a new business model that isn’t ad revenue-centric.

“Perhaps a subscription model, or a public interest model,” Harris said, citing Wikipedia as an example.

As long as the Big Tech companies profit from using people to unknowingly influence one another, “we are each going to be steered into a different reality and then pitted against each other,” he said.

Fundamentally, that’s detrimental to the nation.

The hearing on Big Tech was one of many that have been held on Capitol Hill, but Congress still hasn’t passed any bills addressing social media companies.

Because the tech titans didn’t build any more trust or confidence in their reliance on algorithms to identify, label, or remove content at last week’s hearing, Big Tech is likely to face growing calls for legislation and/or regulation. That’s a consequence of their own making. 

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