On Friday, host and comedy writer Amber Ruffin used her “How did we get here?” segment to respond to Critical Race Theory critics. This after months of legislation changing how K-12 instructors teach about America’s history.
We're examining and defining critical race theory while asking ourselves, How Did We Get Here?! pic.twitter.com/faAucNbULv
— amber ruffin (@ambermruffin) June 12, 2021
The segment surrounds The 1619 Project, a work by recently snubbed professor and New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones.
Amber Ruffin said news outlets don’t give the best definitions for Critical Race Theory in their coverage. Instead, she says, this phrase has been thrown around by news organizations.
“Critical Race Theory: everyone is saying it, but no one seems to be able to agree what it is,” Ruffin said at the start of her segment.
Some of the right’s loudest opposition has said that this their goal. They want negative perceptions around these teaching methods to affect the ballot box. They want to “put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category.”
We have successfully frozen their brand—"critical race theory"—into the public conversation and are steadily driving up negative perceptions. We will eventually turn it toxic, as we put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category.
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) March 15, 2021
Moreover, activist Christopher Rufo wants to debate Joy Reid on the topic for some reason. He points to the laws that became the meat of Ruffin’s segment and lauds the use of “smart language” in these bills.
So what should outlets do?
Outlets covering these changes to education can do this same heavy lifting to cover this national story. This included speaking directly to experts, impacted communities, and disadvantaged students.
NBC News Now correspondents have created pieces that do just that. They have pulled together the controversy surrounding the theory, decisions, and political goals opponents may have. Now, they are covering the story with fewer jokes and tangents.
Amber Ruffin wraps her segment by highlighting a definition for Critical Race Theory and a potential reason why politicians may be attacking this analysis method.
“But my theory is that some white people don’t want to change our education system because it benefits them,” Ruffin said. So they literally were able to become Congressman and Senators and people who make laws about American history without actually knowing American history.”
I’ve enjoyed being an excitable “Gen Z Themfluencer,” working in politics, writing as a student journalist, and discussing what matters most. I currently produce and host podcasts, contribute to hyper-local news outlets and continue my education as a Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland.