Podcasts/Sacred Tension-Critical Theory Adam Goldstein FINAL72jur
Critical_Theory_Adam_Goldstein_FINAL72jur SUMMARY KEYWORDS critical race theory, people, bills, problem, schools, students, laws, education, bullying, spaces, racist, theory, happening, feel, classroom, system, talk, critical, policies, issue SPEAKERS Will, Adam Goldstein, Stephen Bradford Long
Will 00:00 You're listening to a rock candy podcast. Hey, I'm Will and they call me the doctor. And I'm Joe, the maestro, we host a podcast called common creatives, where we break apart the art, we love to see what makes it tick. Basically, we give you the definitive take on whatever or whoever we're discussing, you don't need to go anywhere else. So check out common creatives wherever you listen to podcasts.
Stephen Bradford Long 00:33 This is sacred tension, the podcast about the discipline of asking questions. My name is Steven Bradford long, and we are here on the rock candy Podcast Network. For more shows like this one, go to rock candy recordings.com. All right. Well, for this episode, I am talking to Adam Goldstein of fire the Foundation for Individual Rights and education. Once again, this time we're talking about the critical race theory bands. But before we get to that, I have to thank my patrons. My patrons are my personal lords and saviors. I truly could not do this show without them. So for this week, I have to thank Sam, Megan, and ash mania. And if you would like to join their number, just go to patreon.com forward slash Steven Bradford long for $1 a month, $5 a month, you get extra content. And it really really supports the show. This show takes an enormous amount of work. I believe in doing it consistently and bringing you these conversations for free. But in order to do that, I need just a little bit of help. And so my patrons make the show sustainable. This show is also supported by the satanic temple.tv. If you're into weird religious, new religious movements, the occult, live streamed rituals, talk shows all kinds of fascinating, weird things are going on over at the satanic temple.tv. And if that interests you, you will get one month free using my promo code sacred Attention all caps, no space at checkout. All right. With all of that out of the way, Adam, welcome back to the show.
Adam Goldstein 02:23 Thank you for having me. Yeah.
Stephen Bradford Long 02:24 So you've already been on the show before you you're on earlier this year to talk about free speech. You work with fire, which stands for the Foundation for Individual Rights and education. Tell us who you are and what you do. Sure, absolutely.
Adam Goldstein 02:42 My My official title is Senior Research counsel. If you don't know what that means is because we made it up. Research is because I do research and counsel because I'm a lawyer licensed in New York and DC. But fire has been around since 1999. And it started really when a student was being unfairly disciplined for having yelled something outside of his window that was intended to be innocuous and someone decided it was racist. And it turned on whether it was racist to call someone a water buffalo. Okay. This does sound you know if this sounds asinine to you, you're probably a healthy well adjusted individual on some level. But there were administrators who insisted I mean, it was really an astonishing series of like, head tilts, you know, like when dogs tilt their head, I was like, the only reaction you could have to some of the things they said, well, it was this was a student who yelled out of his window, quiet down your water buffalo to sorority sisters who were stomping, and they interpreted that as racial because he was white and they were black. Yada yada yada. He had a water buffalo because he was a yeshiva student. And that was that's a common term in Yiddish for a noisy person to water. Oh, really was what he thought this was just his culturally speaking. That's what noisy people are water buffalo. Oh, interesting. Okay, assigning it was racist. Among the things the school argued was that water buffaloes are large black African animals, which is they're not African. They're Asian. hadn't been a Chinese sorority this might have been been a more worrisome analogy, but like, right, didn't even get the continent right for the animal that they decided was racist.
Stephen Bradford Long 04:30 So I could honestly, honestly, the first time you the moment you said that and that, you know, he was yelling this at a sorority. The first thing that came to mind was, oh, you know, maybe that could be interpreted as sexist. Like, but, but that's what you're talking about. It's so interesting, because there are these just cultural chasms that like what can be interpreted as offensive in one culture is very different in another culture. And so when you get these multi multicultural places like a big university like that shit can get complicated really fast. There's
Adam Goldstein 05:07 a whole lot of friction we do not experience elsewhere in the world, or at least didn't experience for a long time elsewhere in the world, with social media making the world smaller. That is now we're seeing this friction elsewhere, too. But yeah, that's true. But that's really what started to you know, two people came together, one was a professor and one was a lawyer to start fire. And since then fires main concern has been free speech and individual liberties on college campuses. We do that now. Over 20 years later, through a number of different projects, we have the most, I think, when most people think of fire, they think of the individual rights defense program, which is people get in trouble for this type of thing on a college campus, they call us and we help them. We also have policy reform experts who work with schools cooperatively to reform bad policies. We've got a litigation team, we're, you know, to the extent the policy reform department is the angel of mercy. The litigation team is the angel of death. And then there's me and my department, we do primarily research, both qualitative and quantitative. Some of that ended up in coddling of the American mind a couple of years ago, the Greg Lukianoff and John Hite book about how an excessive focus on safety has led to students who are risk averse to the degree that actually makes them afraid to take chances.
Stephen Bradford Long 06:27 Guess I've been I've been encouraging everyone to read the coddling of the American mind, even though to quote someone in my Discord server, it has big Boomer energy. I'm like, yeah, definitely, you know, just just work through it. It's fine. It's worth reading. You don't have to agree with every part of it. I don't agree with every part of it. But it's it's a very worthwhile book, despite its Boomer energy.
Adam Goldstein 06:52 It does have a lot of that, and especially I think, in the way we portray social media. Yes, there's absolutely like, and I think in the years since John hight, both Greg will get up and get ahead of sort of, that was very much a John hight thing. And I think he's very dialed in a little bit more into what it is about social media he's worried about, he's he feels very vindicated. Now that the Facebook research has come out.
Stephen Bradford Long 07:12 Oh, I can. I can imagine. John hight is someone who I would absolutely love to get on the show. But
Adam Goldstein 07:17 he, I'd love to introduce you. I think I mean, I would, I would,
Stephen Bradford Long 07:22 I would absolutely adore that. Because I've been following his work for years. And he would be a really, really interesting person to talk to. On the show. Yeah, so the found foundation for individuals that do that, let me try that again. And Foundation for Individual Rights and education. You described it last time as like almost militantly nonpartisan. It's like if there is a free speech issue. If there is if there's a liberty issue on campus, it's like you are there doesn't matter what it is
Adam Goldstein 07:52 essentially, right. I think, you know, being nonpartisan is a sometimes it feels like it's a shrinking pool drawing inward from the edge. But we are standing in the middle of it. I think, to the extent we can find the middle, we're trying to stand in the middle of it. There's no nobody's ever turned away for any ideological reason.
Stephen Bradford Long 08:07 Yeah. They're, it's almost like you're a doctor, you know, I had when when I was, this is such a weird analogy. But you know, I've before COVID, I was a yoga teacher, and it's like, I have a policy of just not judging any of my clients views. That's not what I'm in this studio space with them right now to care about, I'm here to help them with pain. That is, it doesn't matter who they are. And it there is something really important about people like that just serving the community. All else being equal, serving serving a specific need, all else being equal. And I do feel like that's kind of a shrinking pool of people.
Adam Goldstein 08:53 It's amazing how many groups and organizations there are that are willing to help you if you agree with him, right? Yes, yes, exactly. And, and thank you for doing it with yoga I think and I think I feel the same way and that since I truly believe in the importance of the thing I'm doing I'm not going to look for any reason to deny someone access to it.
Stephen Bradford Long 09:11 Exactly. You know, it's like there are these fundamentally fundamental issues that cut across you know, I also manage grocery stores and same thing with food it's like everyone needs to eat I'm not you know, unless someone is truly egregious I'm not going to you know, in a bully or does something terrible in the store I will never turn anyone away at the grocery store because everyone needs to eat it's it's similar with like, in people's individual liberties being defended. It's that same kind of principle.
Adam Goldstein 09:44 out more I think, I think we can we get along very well.
Stephen Bradford Long 09:47 I would love that we should hang out some. So there's some craziness going on. And that craziness is what you know, the far right has been has a weaponized Critical Race Theory to an extraordinary degree. And there is this sweep of bills across the states banding it within various forms of education. I think that we can separate out a few things here. I expect that I have some listeners who are very critical of critical race theory. And then I have some listeners who are completely down with it. That isn't really the conversation that I'm interested in having with you. I don't, I'm not interested in this discussion of whether or not critical theory is right. Instead, let's focus on the free speech issues of these bills themselves. Regardless of what people might think of critical race theory. Does that make sense? Does that sound like the right track to you?
Adam Goldstein 10:59 It does, although I think part of the problem is that everyone is operating from a different definition of critical race theory. So I think room for all the people young for all people yelling at each other. If we were operating from the definition of critical race theory that existed in the 90s, the sides would, I wouldn't say they'd be switched. But certainly most of the people who were there who were angriest about it would be the ones most fervently advocating for it. Right? That's just a weird part of it is because people use it as like a Motte and Bailey argument for other things. Part of it is because we haven't found the right name for the thing that people are angry about. So we tried to come up with it ourselves. And we talked about it internally, whether is it applied race theory? Is it just anti racism? What is really going on? Yeah, that was one of the reasons of this is that most of these bills don't actually die. Even the ones that talk about approval race theory don't actually include anything about critical race theory in them.
Stephen Bradford Long 11:51 And they don't seem to define their terms. Right. And so well, yeah. And so you know, like, last week, I had on Helen pluck rose, I'm not sure if you're familiar with her. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. She's very interesting. And, you know, I don't know what I think of her criticisms, yet. I impart because I would say that I come from a more woke disposition, you know, like, I consider myself a pretty hardcore lefty. But I'm deaf, I'm definitely willing to entertain criticisms of critical race theory. And there, there might be some merit there. And that, and so that's why I have conversations with people like Helen pluck rose. Right? Exactly. But no, you're totally, you're totally right, about how these bills fail to define their terms. And when I see discussions about critical race theory online, I'm like, I literally don't know what the fuck you're talking about. Like, I have no clue what on any, from anyone. At this point, like, it doesn't matter who it is, because it's like, the internet is such a, you know, distorted mirror maze hellscape. That, I don't know what anyone means by something anymore. So with that said, what are the issues that you see with these bills? What, what's wrong? What's the problem here?
Adam Goldstein 13:25 Well, I think there's a few differentiation points, among them. I mean, first is bills, there's bills that target K 12, and bills that target higher ed, I think categorically, all the bills that target higher ed, are both wrong and probably unlawful, the ones that target K 12, might be merely wrong. Okay. But maybe within the power of the legislature to do and part of that is, we have sort of flattened the the education system in our minds where we see a lot of people think of like freshman years, 13th grade, and we just assumed that you're gonna go to, you're going to graduate and at least for a certain segment of the country, you're going to go to college. And that's just what you're going to do. And it's instilled in you from birth, and there's never a moment where that's not going to happen. And that really fails to grasp that. The K 12 system was created to serve a particular purpose, a particular governmental purpose, really state government purpose. And the higher educational system was created, then to serve purposes of individuals for their own betterment, advancement, the advancement of science and the useful arts and the human progress,
Stephen Bradford Long 14:28 right, their own formation, right. That
Adam Goldstein 14:31 one of the side effects of that is traditionally legislators do dictate content to K 12 schools. In fact, state legislatures are the only reason we have k 12 schools, there is no federal mandate to have an education system. We have lots of laws that say if you have an education system and you get federal assistance, you're going to have this kind of policy, and you're going to offer this kind of school lunch assistance. But if if a state tomorrow just said we're we're not doing K 12 Education anymore, the federal government would have no quarrel with that. Now, that doesn't mean In the state as the unrestrained master of that, which it creates, but it does mean that it should not shock anybody that the education system the State operates for its own benefit is occasionally given mandates by the state legislature. Right? Which actually is just us, right? Like we we, we elected them so we can decide what we want our schools to be we
Stephen Bradford Long 15:20 write we an airman, he's making, you know, air quotation marks, right. When he says, uh, we,
Adam Goldstein 15:26 there's obviously a great deal of slippage there. That's where you get into issues like gerrymandering and things. Yes. But hypothetically, at least, I see one thing I see about this about these k 12 bills, and people say, well, it's shocking to me that the legislature would intervene so so before.
Stephen Bradford Long 15:40 So before we get to that, just to summarize what you just said, there, there's kind of a four part for, you know, four blocks that I see in my head. There's the issue of K through 12. And then there's the issue of higher education. And those are two separate issues in regards to these bills. And then there's the issue of wrong, the delineation between wrong and unlawful. Is that right? So K through 12, and then higher ed, those are two separate issues in regards to these bills, and they need to be kind of discussed in different ways define the difference. Explain the difference between wrong and unlawful? Well,
Adam Goldstein 16:25 this is another misconception that people have about the law is that the law is some great guiding force in our life, arbiter of morality, right? And the law is simply not that especially like any country that where liberty is a goal, that means freedom to do things that we think are inadvisable. And in the case of the law, it's meant to be the lowest level of acceptable behavior before society ceases to function. And so this is the this is the issue when people say like, I'm 18, and I can do what I want. Yes, but that doesn't mean you're not an idiot. Actually, the government is prone to the same mistakes, where I'm the legislature, I can do what I want is sometimes true, even though what they want to do is asinine. And this there's great precedent here in abstinence only education. We have a number of court decisions that that have clarified for us, it is totally lawful for a state to to declare no student will be informed about contraception at the K 12 level. Well, we also have as a few decades of pretty strong anecdotal and correlative evidence suggesting that if you don't, they will still have sex. Yes, correct. So it is legal to have an abstinence only education policy, it is just objectively wrong if your goal is to avoid teen pregnancy.
Stephen Bradford Long 17:36 Okay. That makes complete sense. And I am sorry to derail what you were saying.
Adam Goldstein 17:41 No, no, I think that really, it's an important distinction before we go any further into it, because this is this is the issue is that I have yet to see the bill from? Well, let me say this about it. But there's something else here. A number of these bills that are claimed they're targeted at critical race theory, are banning things that are probably illegal anyway,
Stephen Bradford Long 17:58 let's clarify what these bills are doing and where they come from, like, What What's the origin of these bills? What's going on with them? Oh, about half
Adam Goldstein 18:09 of them seem to be rooted in President Trump's executive order about critical race theory because they repeat the language of divisive concepts. And I'm sorry, air quotes, again, here divisive concepts, executive order, and is now in about about half of these bills and the things that some of them don't enumerate the divisive concepts at all. Some of them enumerate divisive concepts, and they'll say, arguing for the superiority of one race over another, or suggesting that any race has intrinsic guilt for something. Well, we already have laws against racial discrimination in schools. That's title six of the Education Code. Yes. So these things would tend to violate title six, if you were telling people that their race was lesser, that's the sort of thing we would penalize you for anyway.
Stephen Bradford Long 18:54 Yeah. And then there's, it also seems to me that there's the issue of so take, I don't know, and this, this might be coming from a place of not understanding what's going on very well. So just, you know, like, using me as a case, as a case study, I was I'm raised in the south. I growing up, I internalized a lot of racist assumptions. And then I go to college. And, you know, I come from a family that were plantation owners in Raleigh, you know, that's, that's my ancestry. And so that was just an unexamined part of my life. And then I go to college, and I learn the horrifying, truly horrifying things about my piste, you know, about the history of the South. Of course, I had known it before then, but it didn't really land until I was in college, and I didn't really start grappling with it until I was in college. And there's going to be some guilt. Like, there's just going to be some guilt and shame and big emotions, even just from the basic learning of history like, and you know, they're they're going to learning history is hard. Like it there's, it's it's confronting all of the complexities and depths of depravity of human nature and how that is connected to us. Like, that's hard shit. And there's going to be some grappling there. It's unclear to me where the line is between, like, what do they mean by guilt? Like, because do you see what I'm saying? I don't know if that makes any sense.
Adam Goldstein 20:48 See what you're saying? Exactly. Because this is just a new story today about an elementary school in Texas, or was it a middle school, one of the two where they were canceled and author talk, and they were reviewing the author's books, because some people argued they advocated critical race theory. And the books were about being a student of color, a student of color, who goes to a largely white school district, and has a bunch of experiences there. And some of those experiences are with bullies and the bullies were white. Right? The argument was, this is critical race theory, because it could make white students feel bad.
Stephen Bradford Long 21:21 Oh, my fucking god. Yeah, no, that's exactly that is exactly the kind of thing that I'm talking about. And, you know, if someone is particularly fragile, and unwilling to confront these challenging experiences, and realize, you know, maybe maybe I should be more aware of the ways in which I enable racial biases, or the ways that I have been overtly racist in the past, and you know, and this is part of my, and that comes from my history and taking certain things for granted. And, and, you know, living in the Deep South, and just all of that stuff, there's just going to be guilt, like, when you come face to face with that, the first experience is just shame. Like, there's no way around it, and then you work through it, you deal with it, you get over the shame, you pull yourself together, and you become a better person. And it's simple, right?
Adam Goldstein 22:17 But everybody sort of grows as a person like, yeah, you know, not everybody wants to participate in wokeness. But I think there's, there's the argument, no one is born into a state of perfect wokeness, right, you end up you're born and you participate in systems you didn't create, that you don't control that you then later may discover, you know, a butterfly flaps, its wings, and you've actually participated in, in the oppression in some way, exactly, that you had no way of dealing with or examining. But now, now you do. And you can do better in the future. But you're gonna have some feelings about that fact, when you realize, and I think most, most men in general, like, at some point in your life you participate in, in some type of gender disparity, and some, certainly, like, it's some
Stephen Bradford Long 23:01 kind of overt sexism without realizing it, and,
Adam Goldstein 23:05 you know, at a sliding scale up and up intention, depending on age and circumstances, but you know, but no one is no one, no one wakes up with, like, a clear picture of third wave feminism, that they can actually make the decisions they need to make an elementary school or middle school to avoid being participants in this. So everyone is going to every thinking person who continues to evolve is going to experience some of these feelings.
Stephen Bradford Long 23:26 Absolutely. And or show it anyway. Or if they aren't, then they're a sociopath. Like if right, I
Adam Goldstein 23:31 didn't experience these feelings as as bigger issues and critical race theory. They don't exactly where they need to get there. They need
Stephen Bradford Long 23:39 to get therapy. Yeah, precisely. So with you know, it's, it's too vague, and what you just cited at this school of with, you know, literature about bully white bullies, and maybe you know, and that can make white students feel bad about themselves. It's, it's the protection of fragility, it's the it's the protection of from it, it is a protection from feeling any kind of shame, right? And, and I don't know if that is deliberate or not, but that can be how it's used, because these bills are worded so vaguely, and it actually blocks progress and introspection on the part of the students. And education is supposed to be hard education. It's supposed to involve this kind of, you know, soul searching and formation of the self. Right?
Adam Goldstein 24:29 Right. I think this comes from places where there are as an as an anything else where you have lots of actors. There are some people who are engaged in truly weird abusive things in classrooms. And legislatures are trying to write creatively and broadly to reach those things. Not necessarily carefully in a way that avoids sucking up a whole bunch of other stuff. We're not concerned about whether we want to encourage I mean, this is the the most common example is people said this Clark lawsuit of Nevada where it was a biracial student who who presented as white and was and at least according to the lawsuit was told that his late white father was probably abusing his black mother. Because there was no way for a white man and a black woman to have a relationship that didn't involve abuse because of the power dynamic because the racial power Oh,
Stephen Bradford Long 25:17 okay, so this is an example of the weird, creepy, abusive stuff that you're talking about. And whether that should be called critical race theory or not. I have no idea that just says clearly not critical race. Yeah, no, yeah, this is this is something else. This is this is neuroticism that's like how to racial erotica, not That's not what I want to say. Let's back up racial neuroticism like this, this racial awareness, this anxiety over racial awareness that's just like heightened to an insane pathological degree. And it ends up results in telling a biracial student that their parents were abusive to one another or that his father was abused. Yeah, that's not acceptable. That's no one that there was
Adam Goldstein 26:07 another example of this too, which again, this is, this is not critical race theory, and I'm happy to go down the rabbit hole, why it's not critical race theory lab, it
Stephen Bradford Long 26:13 gets definitely do that in a minute, because I think that's worthwhile.
Adam Goldstein 26:18 I'm happy to do it. But the Doulton school in Manhattan had a had a racial reconciliation plan. That said they were going to measure test scores after two years. And if black students didn't perform as well as white students that we're going to eliminate the science class.
Stephen Bradford Long 26:35 We will wait say that one more time.
Adam Goldstein 26:37 This is the Doulton school in New York, they had this plan where they were going to measure test scores. And if after two years, black students weren't performing at the same level as white students, they were going to eliminate the science class.
Stephen Bradford Long 26:46 So critical race theory either. No, no, that's, that's not like it's gonna be critical race theory, and it takes a dramatic turn at the end. No, that's not critical race theory at all. And, you know, there are people like John McWhorter and and Coleman Hughes who argue that that kind of thing is actually just racist. It assumes that black people are unable to learn science is what they argue, I don't know enough about this area to comment on it. But I, you know, people should go listen to their arguments about this kind of stuff. But yeah, either way, I think that's nuts. Either way, I think that's kind of crazy. Yeah, the
Adam Goldstein 27:27 counter argument, which I guess is the anti racist argument, which is, I would probably the shorthand term for some of these concepts might just be anti racism is, which again, I don't think it's even necessarily fair, to some people who haven't practiced version of anti racism, that isn't crazy. But the idea that if we have a system we cannot make, if racism is so invested into a system that we cannot separate it, then we should dictate equitable outcomes by race or destroying the system that fails to achieve it. Right, which I guess is racial Marxism in essence, which is like, if outcomes, and maybe this is the best, this is a good time to bring up? What is critical race theory? And why does it get sucked up into this whole thing? Yes, critical race theory. And this is just the way it was taught in the 90s. It's examining a system to see if it has racially disparate outcomes, even though it may not be racist in intent.
Stephen Bradford Long 28:18 Right. And that can be racism without racists.
Adam Goldstein 28:21 Exactly. That's that's the core concept where that can either be because the system relies on factors that are themselves influenced by decades of racism. It can be because they're, they're unanticipated cultural effects. I can give you two examples, one historical and one current right now. That critical race theory says, Okay, we need to stop and look at this. The historical example, is drug sentencing in the 80s. For a long time, you got 10 times the amount of prison time for crack cocaine than you did for powder cocaine. Seems overtly racist, in hindsight, but at the time that people came up with the sentencing guidelines, it had nothing to do with race. They looked at the number of times the drug came up in violent incidents. And it was just a lot more people getting shot in Crack transactions than in cocaine transactions. Unfortunately, of course, that factor was because of poverty rates and poverty issues that were racially influenced that like, you know, generations of of, of Jim Crow led to a wealth disparity that was then reflected in crime rates that was then reflected in drug use. So that so critical race theory eventually did get applied to those sentences. And they were harmonized to recognize that the number of violent the number of violent crimes that occur near a drug transaction is not a factor of the drug transaction so much as it is a factor of the area where it's taking place. A current example where this is not just a critical race, there is this is critical theory in general is some people are starting to put on their resumes when they apply for a job their vaccination status. This creates two critical theory problems. One is a lot of people can't get vaccinated because of a disability because of an immunocompromised compromised system or something like that. And that would it would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act to discriminate against people who weren't vaccinated. So if employers are relying on vaccination on the resume as a, you know, unofficial litmus test, they're actually discriminating by doing that. The other thing is, vaccination rates, again, for historical reasons are lower in black and Latin communities than they are in white communities overall. So you end up even though you have a facially neutral rule, we're only looking at the resumes where they say they're vaccinated, your rule ends up creating a racially disparate impact. Now, critical race theory doesn't say we don't hire people, it doesn't say eliminate the job. But critical race theory says, let's figure out what we're trying to do. Figure out why this is happening and see, is there a way to set the system up? Where we get the information we want without the racially disparate effect? We don't?
Stephen Bradford Long 31:09 I'm finding this so refreshing. Because basically, what Critical Race Theory pushes back against is the notion that racism begins and ends with cross burning, and with overt racist attitudes, and what it's basically saying, which I think is a really reasonable point, is that no, there are, there is a form of racism, that is to that, that there is a form of racism that results in racial inequality, even if no one is consciously being racist, and might be mown racism, right? And I think that's an incredibly reasonable position. I mean, and it's obviously true to me, and whether someone whether someone wants to call that racism or not, it's like, well, I, whatever, that's fine. We can debate the semantics. But at the end of the day, there are these systems, that despite the best intentions of people who might want to go have people, usually, you know, white liberals who want to make the world a better place. Usually, despite those good intentions still end up with racialized results. And the I just, yeah, sorry, go on.
Adam Goldstein 32:35 Oh, no problem. I'll just say the it. But this is you're talking about what about white white liberals? I think it's white conservatives, too, because the element of critical race theory that sometimes gets lost here is the its purpose is to return the system to meritocracy. The whole point of critical race theory is that we believe meritocracy is possible. And it can it can be improved. Yeah, yeah. If we truly if we truly gave him sort of cultural Marxism, and we say that, you know, equality is a fantasy, there is no, there is no real equality, therefore, it must be imposed by the state to make sure all outcomes are equal. At that point, we don't need critical race theory that we no longer care systems are unequal, because they can't be because everybody, you know, everybody gets treated as badly as everyone else. But if you actually believe that the system that like the meritocracy can be real, and to the extent it's imperfect can be improved. This is this specific thing critical race theory is meant to do, which is why I think about the people who are in these school board meetings yelling about the critical race theory in schools ought to be encouraging critical. I mean, one of the most common applications of critical race theory in schools is, this happened at Loudoun County, they did a report that looked at their school discipline and realize that students of color were getting disciplined more harshly than white students for the same offenses, and were more likely to suffer expulsion and suspension for the same offenses. And of course, they applied critical race theory to that. They looked at that and said, Okay, why is this happening? And they engage in different bias trainings for their teachers at different implicit bias training for their teachers to try to get that number back to parity. That's what that's what it's for. That's all it's supposed to do is is to ensure these equitable systems or to make systems that are not achieving the goal we want, and this is where like, this is where some people when they were talking about critical race theory will bring up the housing market as an example of like a system that was achieving inequitable outcomes. I don't like that because there's a lot of evidence the housing market was being manipulated in overtly racist ways. Yes. Race Theory it needed to stop being racist. That's like critical race theory isn't is it is not the tool you pull up to deal with the Klan. It's the tool you pull out to deal with well, meaning people who don't see they missed something.
Stephen Bradford Long 34:51 Yes. Yeah. You know, this is I'm so glad that we're having this conversation after my conversation with Helen pluck rose and With all due respect to Helen pluck rose I think she's a lovely woman and various way fucking smarter than me like Jesus Christ. And, but interesting, smarter
Adam Goldstein 35:10 than me too. Oh, yeah. People sometimes buy into the Boogeyman. It's like everyone's saying critical race theory. So they think that's the umbrella term for like the crazy things that happened in these other classrooms. But that's not what it is. That's something that's something else. This is why like, we just saw a slight race here. We can call it Cultural Marxism. We can call it anti racism. Yeah. But we didn't like my I think the worst possible outcome here is that it's not even that we've been critical race theory, it's that people stop defending critical race theory and using it when we actually need it. Like this wasn't and don't get me wrong. I have many disagreements with the founders of critical race theory. Also, the founders behind speech codes and colleges, we have
Stephen Bradford Long 35:48 disagree. Okay, so here's, by the way, I just want to air this onto the internet. I have disagreements with every single fucking person on this planet. Even my boyfriend and I, whose dick I literally suck. And who's asked I literally eat, I have disagreements with some of them. Pretty substantial, right? And so I see critical theory as any other field of knowledge, there's going to be some insanity there. And then there's going to be some really good stuff there. Same with post modernism. Same with psychoanalysis. Same with psychology, same with whatever it is, there's going to there's going to be some good there. And then there's going to be some some stuff that's wrong. And that's normal. Okay. And public service announcement.
Adam Goldstein 36:47 No, that's exactly right. And I think some people have carried the way critical race theory has gotten this sort of weird reputation unfair reputation, is because there are some people who looked at the core of critical race theory that says, systems can sometimes produce inequitable outcomes that cause racial disparity. And then they took that and took it to another level that critical race theory is never said, which is that every system that produces inequitable outcomes is racist. Because systems might produce inequitable outcomes for lots of reasons. If you discover that most nurses are women. That's not because there's a gender disparity problem in nursing, it's because for lots of reasons, some of them cultural, some of them individual, there are more women going to nursing school than men right now. Right? And we might want, like, there's ways we can push it that for all these jobs, and I think we try to and we make stem toys for everyone, so that we end up we hope that more people develop an interest. But at the end of the day, we're not. We know we're discovering this as we go along. We don't know, we don't officially know that biologically, there isn't going to be some greater affinity for some professionals and others. So we, we can try to socialize around that we can try to educate all we can do it all. And all critical theory I think is really asking us to do is think carefully about the inputs we put into this system so that if that disparity emerges, it is individual choice, individual preference. It's not something that we've pushed people into through socializing.
Stephen Bradford Long 38:15 Yeah. And you know, this is something that I walked away from my conversation with Helen pluck rose, kind of uncomfortable about where I'm like, I don't know, I don't, I don't know if say all the insanity that I see whenever I log on to Twitter is due to theory, whatever you might want to call that theory. I think that a might just be human nature on the steroids of Twitter, like that. I think it might just be Twitter logic, like, I don't, I don't know, like, Judith Butler wasn't out canceling people in the 90s. Like she wasn't like that. I don't know, there's something. And I know plenty of people who take a critical theory approach to life, who are none of the accesses of who demonstrate none of the illiberal accesses that we see in certain corners of the internet and academia. And I, and I don't know that's, that was my main discomfort, walking away from that conversation with Helen. I was super uncomfortable, not not super uncomfortable with it, but I was uneasy with that. And I asked Helen, so I tend to take more of a technological explanation for all the insanity. Why am I wrong? Why and I don't know if she really gave me an adequate answer. You know, I'm still working on it. I'm open to her being right. But I agree with you that this is something different that the that the neuroticism that we're seeing in certain spaces online and in the academy, and in K through 12, this is something very different. And it is maybe unjustly being labeled as critical race theory. And that labeling of it as critical race theory, and then trying to legislate against critical race theory, on that basis just creates this whole slew of problems legally and culturally. And it's like one, and I'm really worried about this, because it's like, what's the toothpaste is out of the tube? You? It's hard to put that back in, like, it's hard to clean up a mess culturally.
Adam Goldstein 40:45 I think part of that. Yeah. And I think you're right, that there's a technological element in that, at least the data we have now suggests that it's something like 2.2% of American adults are active on Twitter. And so you figure, what percentage of them are angry? What 50% 70% Even, we're talking about the fringe of the fringe, yes, we are driving the conversation about what's acceptable in classrooms about what's acceptable from corporations. There's a whole layer, there's another layer overlay to this, about the theory of of woke corporatism, which is the idea that corporations are incentivized to dress themselves in wokeness specifically to defend against actual change.
Stephen Bradford Long 41:25 Yes. Okay. So this is something that I talked to Helen about, and I and we basically agreed on was a by the way, everyone, please go listen to that conversation with Helen. And also listen to my previous conversation with Adam, where we talked about the principle of pre pre speech of free speech. There is this kind of corporate, this, this corporate aesthetic, you know, social justice, corporate aesthetics, like, you know, Burger King having a rainbow foil wrapped burger, or Skittles, you know, having white Skittles, because they they, you know, took, you know, gave away the rainbow or whatever bullshit. Or, you know, another good example of this is Amazon posting Black Lives Matter on their website last year, and I'm like, you fucking ghouls. And it's this sort of, it's basically like a don't hurt me sign. That's all it is. It's a it's a don't hurt me sign like, No, keep buying stuff from us. Don't look at us. We don't have any human rights abuses. You know, ignore them, ignore the fact we're the good ones, ignore the fact that we don't, you know, pay our people a living wage, and that we're torturing people in horrific conditions. Like, ignore all of that. Black lives matter. I mean, it's incredibly cynical, and, and disgusting to me and does not
Adam Goldstein 42:57 read live action Mulan, right where they've got, you know, thanks for the cooperation of the Chinese government. What a great thing for representation. It's like, I get that life is complicated
Stephen Bradford Long 43:06 cooperation from the Chinese government.
Adam Goldstein 43:09 Oh, well, yeah, they need permission to film there. So they, I had no idea there was, you know, I heard different iterations of the story. But allegedly, supposedly the area they were filming in was not far from a detention camp.
Stephen Bradford Long 43:21 Oh, my God. Yeah. Very Scenic. There was nothing built there. Yay. Yay, for like, Yay for diversity or there was another, like when Black Panther was in theaters MP and this one person on Twitter, this activist raising 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of dollars, so that inner city, kids could inner city, black kids could go see black panther, and I'm just like, you know, that's nice. That's fine. Of all the things you could have done with that money, though, like of all the things to help to materially help to prove to provide a material need to people in instead of kind of a symbolic gesture of freedom of lips, and
Adam Goldstein 44:19 most of that ends up back in Marvel's says Disney's pocket, I guess. Like
Stephen Bradford Long 44:23 yeah, exactly. Most of it just goes back to this gargantuan Corp incorporation. You know, this gigantic corporation that I'm sure has, you know, tons of skeletons in its closet, and instead of actually going to the people in need anyway, it's just shit like that. It drives me fucking insane.
Adam Goldstein 44:43 But, you know, you add that on top of you've got the far fringes who are vocal on Twitter companies who are incentivized to participate with that energy. I don't want to say Capitular because they don't that's the whole point. But who are incentivized to echo and participate and reflect that energy? And a lot of people People with fringe ideas feel very enabled to, or very socially defended to enact those ideas. And some of them are teachers and some of those. And this there's other a lot of these things in K 12. And what people are calling CRT, that just ties into some of the problems with transparency in schools that have predated this issue, where we were we got very concerned about student privacy after Watergate. And we, we impose these stringent rules about student data that have this knock on effect of if you're not actually in the classroom, you generally don't have any idea what happens there. So it ends up now that the level of oversight, not that we want people sitting watching everything a teacher does. But the general public's knowledge of what happens in a classroom is so low that when the three or four horror stories come out, that you know, there's tangentially related to me, there's lots of horror stories, but there's a lot more classes, number of horror stories. It's enough for them to say, well, I don't know what's going on in Timmies class. And that's how you end up with people at a school board meeting, yelling about critical race theory, who would probably support it if they knew what it was?
Stephen Bradford Long 46:09 Absolutely. Hold on, my cat wants out. So let's drill down into the problems that you as a lawyer see with these bills, just lay it out as to why these various bills are bad in various ways.
Adam Goldstein 46:27 Well, even before it's a lawyer, first of all, the big the big problem here the big sin is conceptually as someone who cares about education, anything you do to impose a rule on education that reduces the topics that can be discussed, is a bad rule. Education should be I think, for those of us who are of a certain age, we remembered seeing Sesame Street teach us about Mr. Hooper dying, if you can explain death to a kindergartener, then you can teach anything in an appropriate way. And so that that's what the profession is for. That's why we trust the professionals to do that. So any legislative pronouncement, any rule that reduces the acceptable number of topics is an anti education rule. It has a basement that says, when you write broad laws, Now, admittedly, this is not necessarily an immediate issue, because these laws, for the most part, the legislators don't write these laws, and then they go, and just and they affect life. For the most part, the legislatures write rules that direct School Board's to do something or their State Department of Education to do something. And then the State Department of Education writes rules that govern the school board, which writes rules that govern the principal, which rights rules that govern the teacher. So it's not unusual that these legislative pronouncements would be very broad. But we do see in this recent Texas problem, what the problem is, if you write a bill designed to prohibit divisive concepts, and you define divisive concepts as something that exists in the feelings of an individual, yes, exactly. It is going to be you made an infinite lawsuit engine. Everybody will always feel offended by something. Now, I guarantee the election guarantee that most of the people who read divisive concepts bills would never think we're going to try to block a children's book, because the bullies have an identifiable race. That was not an intended consequence that I don't think But clearly, some parents are seizing on that and and trying to see if they can leverage it for that purpose. And this is not going to be invalid, because as you pointed out, there's there's no way to teach most topics, especially historical topics, but most topics that aren't strictly numerical, without causing people to feel feelings about it. Exactly. And that's not that that would, if more parents were to interpret this, these these anti CRT laws, as prohibiting this conduct this the content, we do get into that sort of dystopian area that some people have been afraid of where they say, Well, how do you teach slavery?
Stephen Bradford Long 48:56 Yes, exactly. Like how, yeah, how do you teach about America's real history, which is unspeakably horrific without evoking some kind of big emotion in students. And it almost strikes me as like the right wing version of safety ism that Greg Lukianov and Jonathan Hite talk about on on various college campuses. It's It's like, No, don't, you know, it basically, you know, legislating on the basis of feelings of feeling legislating on the basis of feelings and those feelings being a matter of, Am I secure or not? Am I safe or not? Am I and there's a there's a degree to which that is reasonable. Obviously, no one we don't want anyone to feel, you know, prejudiced against or unsafe or like, you know, any anything like that? It does. There is a degree of that gets, there is an extreme form of it, though, where it's like any big emotion, any big emotion that we might experience as negative is therefore bad. And it's like that kind of safety ism, when in fact, it's like no, some of those big emotions we should actually confront in an academic space we should actually work through in an academic space, because this is what it means to that that's what is required in the formation of a soul. That's what's required in the formation of a mind. And I almost see this as like the right wing version of that, in a way
Adam Goldstein 50:43 public a public adoption of that to some degree. Yeah, I don't think a lot just I haven't least I haven't seen a bill that I think there's legislators who are motivated by that necessarily. Sure. I'm only because I think maybe of how they're written and they really do at times, there's even versions of these bills where they will, they will go out of their way to say no, you should teach about slavery, you should teach about all these other civics topics, but also don't make anyone feel bad about themselves. Or not another don't make them feel bad about themselves. But don't make anyone sorry for the dogs barking in the background. Oh,
Stephen Bradford Long 51:14 I don't care. Oh, it's fine. We love animals on this podcast. So they're
Adam Goldstein 51:19 excited because they're my sister's dog just got here, I guess. And so they haven't seen him for a while. There's five of them, and they're just gonna Oh, nice. Let me find it a couple minutes.
Stephen Bradford Long 51:28 You have you have five dogs? I have six cats. So
Adam Goldstein 51:32 that was a heck of a snuggle pile.
Stephen Bradford Long 51:34 It is a snuggle pile. I wake up in the morning, and I'm literally covered in cats. i It's great. Yeah, dream, right. It is. So so the other thing that you talk about is these laws are also redundant. In that day, what they're trying to do, what they seem to be trying to target is actually already illegal,
Adam Goldstein 51:57 right? And there's a couple of cases there's a couple of instances where you could argue whether it's actually illegal or not like one that isn't necessarily illegal is this is gonna sound ridiculous, cuz you're gonna think this is the most obviously illegal one segregating your classroom. There's a lot of these, you know, just general life advice for any educators out there. If your inclusion training starts by segregating the classroom, you're doing it wrong.
Stephen Bradford Long 52:20 Yes, I So, for the life of me, I have such complicated feelings about this, because I am gay. And I feel like there are two principals that are getting tangled with the segregating of classrooms thing. I don't know, I'm going to verbally process this, and you can tell me if I'm full of shit or not. I'm gay. The need to protect gay spaces is really important. Like the need to protect LGBT spaces where it's like, okay, I can go to a club, I can go to, I can go to a club, and it's like, I am with my people. And there is a sense of solidarity. There is a there's a feeling of safety. And solidarity. Safety is the wrong word. Just just like, oh, I can breathe. Like I don't have to worry about how people are looking at me or how I talk or how I sound. Like that's really important. There is a necessity for exclusive spaces, exclusively black spaces, like the black church, or let me back up there is a necessity for people to to sort themselves to choose temporary exclusive spaces, because especially for minorities, because that's so healing for so many people. On the other hand, I get incredibly uncomfortable with a kind of top down mandatory segregation in a place like a classroom because I feel like that that could actually deepen and inflame racial divisions even more and so, but that's that's a line that's just so delicate. I feel like I don't know, what do you think of that?
Adam Goldstein 54:18 Well, no, I think your instincts are absolutely right. And it kind of calls back to our other conversation where we talked about policing the discord server for turfs right? Where Yes, there is this there is a need for especially because one of the weird things about the American experiment in this very multicultural civilization we're trying to make happen is that we normally don't have a situation where nobody had like in Norway, one Norwegian doesn't hold up another Norwegian as the ambassador for all Norwegians. Yes, but it is very common to find yourself in a situation where whatever your your intersections are, someone is going to put you on the spot as the voice of all of the all of them. Yes, I am. What it's like as a gay man. What do you say about I am
Stephen Bradford Long 55:01 the voice of the gays? And I'm like I am I am King of the gays. Right, right, right, right, there
Adam Goldstein 55:08 is a need to like, have those affinity spaces in parts to figure out like, what does it actually mean to be part of this community? What does it actually look like? And, you know, what is? What is this culture that I'm that I'm part of, sometimes whether you want to or not, I mean, I think in the most, you know, you can choose to be a fisherman or not. But other than that, right, like, if it's not something, if it's an intrinsic identity issue, that's what it is. And just like with the discord server, there's a need to have that space to grow and develop and figure out what is it that would actually advance our community more sometimes, because that's a conversation has to happen internally. Absolutely. Problem. I think, what hit the nail on the head about is the top down nature of it. Yeah, if the government has the power to separate people into groups that has the power to decide who goes where, right. And that's something I would not want the group because the government will then start deciding if the government is is, is the one who's separating out the discord servers, the government decides if the tariffs go in or not,
Stephen Bradford Long 56:03 oh, God, that's a terrifying thought,
Adam Goldstein 56:06 why our radar goes up. So we don't want like, we want these affinity groups as decided by the affinity groups, not but not by the government.
Stephen Bradford Long 56:14 Or by or by nature, or by a teacher in a classroom.
Adam Goldstein 56:20 Exactly. I mean, it shouldn't be, it should not be external authority. enforcing it, they can make the space for that to happen. But they can't be the ones to make the differentiation point of Oh, you're not black enough for whatever to say that you don't go on in this group. Right? Right. So that's why it gets weird in classrooms where, and that, of course, the problem then goes once they're set, once it's once those groups are separated, some of what gets set in those groups can be this is where the concern about you're making people feel bad about themselves, where they'll go, and they'll tell the white students no matter what you do, your existence is white supremacy. No matter what you do, where you go, the fact that the fact that you're breathing perpetuates the system of oppression your ancestors set up, it's like you can't if you're telling kids breathing is oppression. This is the sort of thing where I'm not like number one. Yes, I'm not trolled by the legislature saying you can't do that. Number two, I'm pretty sure you already can't do that under Title six. That's just, that's just being racist. That's just you're being racist as an institution. But again,
Stephen Bradford Long 57:21 that's not critical race theory. Why do people call that critical race theory? I feel like someone like I'm putting words in their mouths for sure. But I feel like a lot of the prominent voices out there may be someone like James Lindsay or Brett Weinstein or Helen pluck rose.
Adam Goldstein 57:47 Helen pluck Rose is over making a list. What's that? Chris Rufo,
Stephen Bradford Long 57:51 Christopher Ruffo for making a list. You know, I hesitate put to put Helen in that list. Actually, she's she's quite a bit more thoughtful and nuanced. And I feel like a lot of those guys are but they do call that critical. Race Theory. Why? Why do you think that attitude is critical race theory?
Adam Goldstein 58:13 I think it was really two things. One is unfamiliarity with critical race theory. Because it when people said, Oh, this is critical race theory, they didn't notice a no, it's not. The second thing is the people who are advancing these really radical culturally Marxist ideas, I guess I'd call them where equity is the only thing that matters, or just as equity of outcome, not equity of opportunities. The only thing that matters, when challenged, a lot of their argument was well, this is just critical race theory. We're just you know, your system is racist. That's just critical race theory says your system is racist.
Stephen Bradford Long 58:45 So is there an argument than that there are multiple forms of critical race theory, some of which are positive, and some of which are more negative.
Adam Goldstein 59:00 Oh, absolutely. That's, that's, that's another way to look at it. And it's very much the same, the same problem as defining are Islamic terrorists, Muslims or not, I mean, you can, we can have a top down definition that says they're not but they if they're gonna say they are, you're gonna end up in a situation where a lot of people are gonna have animosity towards a religion that doesn't practice the things they're upset about.
Stephen Bradford Long 59:21 Yeah, exactly. Or, you know, I just makes me think of all you know, I've like my time and 12 steps, there is a lot of baggage to 12 steps to 12 Step programs that I think is, and I think certain interpretations, which are practiced, are objectively harmful. Within 12 Step programs. There are some 12 Step programs that are that the way the culture interprets and practices, the 12 steps is legitimately harmful. And they're fully 12 Step people, you know, they're they are 100% 12 steppers and then there are other 12 steppers who take a much more healthy perspective on the 12 steps. That, you know, that bill wrote back in the, you know, in the 20s, or whatever. And I wonder if it's kind of like that, you know, it's like there's the critical race theory canon. And then people who can identify as being part of the critical theory. Or, as critical theorists can interpret that in different ways. And I would just see that as part of as just in line with the complexity of human nature, you know, as in line with how any social movement that we are always interpreting, you know, we're always interpreting and reinterpreting and embodying these various practices in very divergent ways. Even though, even as we are 100%, authentically, the thing that we claim to be, you know, I don't know, it's complicated. Does that make any sense?
Adam Goldstein 1:01:18 The same as, as, as the straightedge movement, really, back in the day, right? You have a bunch of people get together and say, we think it's cool not to drink smoke or have sex all the time. And somehow that morphs into people policing the community by finding people and like slapping their beers out of their hand. And it's like, that was never, that wasn't, what does him drinking a beer have to do with me not wanting to do drugs, that doesn't mean these things don't connect to me in my head. But they were people who took that ideology and sought a different way, and decided they were going to police it on other people. And that was, you know,
Stephen Bradford Long 1:01:53 I do think that a really compelling argument can be made, though, that a lot of what people are calling critical race theory has nothing to do with critical ROI race theory, I think that is a totally compelling argument to make. And what do you see as the outcome of these bills, like where, where if these things get enshrined in law in various states? What do you see as the outcome?
Adam Goldstein 1:02:22 Well, the short term lawsuits, clearly there's going to be a lot of lawsuits. I like to think this is maybe I'm being optimistic about human progress. We did eventually come to this sort of national realization. abstinence only had some limitations as a theory in K 12. I should think that we will not take that long to discover that the many of the bills, if enacted as written might go horribly and tragically wrong with people arguing precisely what's happening in the school is where they say, Oh, this book has bullies that share an affinity group with my child, therefore, they violate this this anti CRT law. I think what's going to have to happen before we really crystallized that moment is it's going to take people to have a little bit more of an honest conversation about what CRT means what's happening and what what we're what's already illegal, what we don't need new laws to stop, right? And what are these troubling practices we want to talk about? Because this is really, really the things that that we're concerned about are not that particularly widespread, and there's lots of Metra, because there's lots of people, but that we don't need necessarily broad blanket restrictions to prevent people from doing things that healthy, normal people don't do. And I think what one weird effect about this is that, you know, I brought up Loudoun County, applying critical race theory to their disciplinary measures. If you call Loudoun County, they'll insist they're not they don't have any critical race theory there. And I would like to see more schools actually say, let's actually tell you what, how we use critical race theory because I think it's very unhelpful to say, we don't teach critical race theory that to me, it's like you go to a restaurant and I say, all this is really salty, and they're like, We don't serve salt. There's no salt on the menu. There's no salt on the menu. But everything has salt in it. And like critical race theory is influential. And there's other places where if I was, you know, if we wanted to get into the real nuances of education policy, I think critical race theory has influenced anti bullying policy in a way that I think, has not necessarily advanced the cause of anti bullying. Because every anti bullying policy in the country just about views bullying through a racial lens. The problem is, not only is bullying not restricted to racial lenses, but some of the worst bullying actually happens in homogenous societies. And bullying in Japan makes our bullying look like nothing. Yeah. And it is not because of racial disparity. It is not because of gender disparity there. It's bullying is a problem of every culture everywhere, no matter how homogenous, so to have bully anti bullying, Pa policies that view all bullying through a racial gender protected class lens is not a way to stop bullying. I mean, maybe it would have stopped harassment. I'm not saying it's bad to have those rules, but to enact that as the rule and then say, okay, bullying, that doesn't mean a protected class is not of interest to us. Right? You end up with your just have endorsed a lot of bullying.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:05:20 And has that happened, basically, like, if it isn't, if bullying isn't an issue of LGBT or, or sex or gender or race, then it then it doesn't matter.
Adam Goldstein 1:05:36 Functionally? Yeah, I think in most places, the policies, if you if there is no class, or protected class, just like nexus there, the policies won't even touch it. That's interesting. Yeah. Which is sort of and that goes back to the idea that the founders of critical race theory were also the founders of speeches of speech codes and colleges. And this is the way they conceptualized it. And this is the way it sort of got taken up into literature. But so almost every school that has an anti bullying policy, has some level of critical race theory baked into it.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:06:05 Right? Right. No, okay. Okay, so that's fascinating to have that Okay, so what I'm hearing you say is that you you wish, a lot of institutions would be more honest about the you wish a lot of schools would be more honest about the influences on their education. It's like, you know, Michael Jackson's influence is fucking everywhere, you know, like, it's like, basically, you know, ever all pop music is influenced by Michael Jackson. So if you if you're a pop artist, and you're influenced by Michael Jackson, in some way, or you know, it's kind of like that, like, just be honest about what is infusing and influencing the procedures and curriculum and so on.
Adam Goldstein 1:06:53 Because here's the problem, when they don't say that, when they say there's no critical race theory here. And then, a week later, like, a teacher's group comes out, talks about the importance of critical race theory. Everyone who's trying to attack it with critical race theory says, Hi, I found it. Yeah. And I found the proof that there have a critical ratio, and of course, the critical race theory, because that's how you run anything government related, you have to have, you have to be looking for bias and trying to eliminate it. That's the decent thing to do. And it feels like gaslighting. It does. It just feels like gaslighting to them, because they're like you said there was no critical race theory. I mean, you know, I always have the weirdest analogies. And I don't know if this is, this is not going
Stephen Bradford Long 1:07:32 to change. This is an episode of Weird analogies. So go for it.
Adam Goldstein 1:07:36 Sometimes they fit, you know, it's going back to the restaurant thing, right? Like they don't, the discussion of whether there's too much salt in the food does not need to begin with a denial of the existence of salt. That is not a that is not a useful position to take your I could be totally wrong. That could be the appropriate amount of salt. But we can't even have that discussion. Because I say there's too much as they say there's none. And so we don't even we're not even looking at the salt. At this point. We're yelling at each other about the philosophical existence of so we can't have a discussion about what happens in the school until we stop having this weird like witch hunt slash denial over because, again, you know, critical race theory, it's a tool. It's like a hammer, okay, you can misuse a hammer and lots of ways, but you can appropriately appropriately use a hammer. If I go to the carpentry shop, and I accuse you of hitting my car with a hammer, don't say there's no hammers. Right? You know, we use them only on wood. We use them only in these circumstances. No, none of us were all trained in hammers. None of us would walk up to your car and take a hammer to it. Check your ex girlfriend or whatever, right? Like that's like, right? That's, that's the response that's constructive, where we can say, okay, I get you're upset. Let's let's talk about what we actually do.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:08:51 And even if people were to be more honest about what critical race theory is, and isn't and where it is, and isn't, that still wouldn't make these laws as they are currently written, justified or helpful. So this is so what you're saying is, is not a defense of these laws in any way. It's just an added at all. It's just an added wrinkle to this whole cultural discourse.
Adam Goldstein 1:09:20 Right? I mean, these laws, because to the extent their defense of the of the existence of the laws, their defense of the crowds being angry, and then legislators saying, well, people are angry, I should do something. That's the problem is the solution doesn't address the thing they're actually concerned about. And the thing they're actually concerned about, isn't described by the term they're using to describe it. So this ends up being everyone's yelling about a thing. Or everyone's proclaiming the universality of or denying the total existence of a thing. That is just a tool that's existed for 20 years, 30 years now. It's been employed very successfully to it. prove many of the policies of our government and anyone who believes in the goal of a meritocracy, not the existence but the goal of a meritocracy should be calling for more critical race theory to be applied where it's meant to be applied, not necessarily, you know, segregating classes and, or eliminating classes, if the scores aren't perfectly equitable by population distribution,
Stephen Bradford Long 1:10:25 right? That makes complete sense, we should probably start to wrap this up. But this has been such a fantastic conversation, you're always great to have on the show, and you're welcome back anytime.
Adam Goldstein 1:10:36 I'm always happy to, um, thanks for having it. Because there's a lot of people who want to talk who want to echo this, these debates. But so much of the coverage is so credulous of the prevailing narrative, maybe also what I want to say there,
Stephen Bradford Long 1:10:49 and I'm sick of it. I'm, I'm so sick of it. And I, you know, I was telling Helen, last week, and I've talked about this on my patrons show, too, you know, the Twitter, and social media in general really feels like that scene at the beginning of the movie Amadeus inside the insane asylum, where you're just like you walk in it is just mayhem. And that's what it really feels like. And so I've gotten just so burnt out on the whole critical race theory, discourse, because all of it feels hyperbolic and delusional in certain ways, even while it's obvious that there is a problem. And culturally, and these bills are part of the problem. And also kind of this Overson sorriness culture that certain spaces are cultivating is also a problem. And so it's like, there are genuine problems, but we're all just shrieking at each other. And the problems don't get resolved. So this conversation has been super refreshing and productive, in my view. Any other final thoughts?
Adam Goldstein 1:12:14 Thank you for hosting it.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:12:15 Yeah. Do you have any other final thoughts? Any anything else that you want people to know, before we close this out?
Adam Goldstein 1:12:23 I would just say that as someone who's spent, I don't know, 18 years now working with with educators, I can absolutely assure you that the things most people who are upset about critical race theory are afraid of, or not happening in the vast majority of classrooms. I think, everyone, I would encourage everyone to get more involved with their schools and see what's happening. I mean, I not buy more involved don't mean go yell at a school board meeting. You know, start with a conversation, talk to your kids about what they're learning. And you'll you'll discover that it's actually not these these horror stories are exceptionally rare. And I guess maybe maybe my message is as if you were feeling the inclination to go by poster board and go to the school board meetings. And I just reflect on the on the totality of circumstances here. And maybe just start with a FOIA request.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:13:15 fantastic advice. And for people who want to learn more about fire and your work, where can they do that?
Adam Goldstein 1:13:23 At the fire.org.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:13:24 Perfect, yeah, everyone go check it out. They have a great blog there that Greg Lukianoff does, called the eternally radical idea, and I love it. Yeah, all the stuff that fire does, it's fantastic. So thank you, Adam. This has been great. Thanks for having me. All right. Well, that is it for this show. The music is by eleventy seven. The theme song is called Wild. You can find it on Apple Music, Spotify, or wherever you listen to music. The show is written, produced and edited by me Steven Bradford long and is a production of rock candy recordings. As always, Hail Satan. And thanks for listening