Caitlyn Jenner’s Stance On Critical Race Theory Is Absolute Garbage, And Here's Why

by Kristen Mae
Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images

Caitlyn Jenner recently said during an interview on Harris Faulkner’s Fox News show that if she’s elected governor of California, she will “fight” critical race theory.

“I will do everything to fight critical race theory being taught to our children,” she said during the interview. “This generation coming up is probably the least racist generation, the most open minded generation in the history of our country, you know? We don’t need to set them back and try to teach them racism. I am totally 100% against that.”

Sigh. Oh, Caitlyn. Where do we even start with correcting the myriad ways you so clearly have no idea what you’re talking about?

Before Speaking On Critical Race Theory, Learn What It Is

Governor DeSantis in Florida knows exactly what critical race theory is, and he is perfectly aware he’s lying about it in order to instill fear in his supporters. Caitlyn, however, may be talking right out of her butt and have exactly zero idea what she’s saying. Bless her heart, honestly.

Because, for starters, critical race theory is not being taught in elementary school, middle school, or high school. It’s not generally taught until college if it’s taught at all, and then it is taught in law and sociology classes.

And what is critical race theory? It’s the study of racism as a social construct and how it is embedded in our legal systems and policies. Critical race theory explores how various historical events have contributed to the systemic nature of racism in the U.S.

In law and sociology classes, the goal of critical race theory is to bring awareness to the existence of systemic racism, provide context for how it got there, and offer a space for discussion on how to eradicate it.

Why Does Jenner Think She Needs To “Fight” Critical Race Theory?

Given that there isn’t actually anything to “fight,” why is Jenner talking about critical race theory as if it’s a battle to be won? In my opinion, it’s partly because she has simply glommed onto the Republican fear-mongering Talking Point of the Day without taking time to understand what she’s regurgitating.

And it’s partly because she is a pandering fear-mongerer, same as all the other Republicans. She knows that pandering to the racists in her base and getting them good and mad will make them more likely to vote.

On Father’s Day, I spoke to my father, with whom I don’t speak very often, and he expressed his immense frustration at politics and politicians. In particular he brought up how angry it makes him that they twist the narrative in order to get what they want. He brought up “this race theory stuff,” and I knew he was talking about critical race theory.

I asked my father what he’d heard about it, and to my utter lack of surprise, he listed the same talking points DeSantis mentioned when he spoke ahead of the Florida Department of Education banning the teaching of critical race theory in Florida public schools. He thought it was all about teaching kids to be racist, and in particular teaching white kids to hate themselves. I explained to him what critical race theory actually is and told him why it’s important for everyone to learn the truth about systemic racism.

I’m not sure if Caitlyn believes the same bullshit lies my father got from wherever he got them, but someone in her position damn well ought to know better.

As A Member Of A Marginalized Community, Caitlyn Jenner Ought To Know Better

As a transgender woman, Caitlyn Jenner should understand better than most the importance of teaching the full and accurate truth of marginalized communities.

Imagine being part of the LGBTQIA+ community, as a transgender woman no less, and believing that educating people about the truth is somehow harmful. Jenner is either ignorant of what critical race theory actually is, or she’s a hypocrite who is only out to serve her own interests.

Jenner wants to educate folks about trans issues and demand respect and affirmation for herself, but when Black folks ask for the truth to be told about the history of the oppression of Black folks and other people of color in this country, she thinks everyone just needs to be quiet and pretend everything is fine. Jenner needs to understand that just like things aren’t fine — or anywhere close to fine — for queer folks, they aren’t fine for Black folks and other people of color.

Even if literal critical race theory isn’t taught in K-12 the way it’s taught in collegiate level law and sociology classes, the fact remains that it is important for kids — for everyone — to be taught the truth. If that means introducing them to the idea that racism was codified into our legal, education, and economic systems and remains impactful to this day, then that is a truth none of us should be willing to turn away from.

One thing Caitlyn was right about is that this up-and-coming generation may be the most tolerant and open-minded yet. But what she fails to understand (or chooses to deliberately mislead people about) is that teaching kids the real history of racism in this country does not, and will not, make them racist. It will make them better humans.

We know that teaching kids about the Holocaust won’t turn them into Nazis. It is patently absurd — dishonest, actually — to suggest that teaching them the truth about systemic racism would make them racist.

It’s important to educate folks about what it means to be transgender. It’s important to acknowledge the discrimination transgender people face in order to combat it and make things better. Caitlyn Jenner damn well knows this. So why is she fighting against teaching the truth about systemic racism?