Earlier this month, Winsome Sears was elected as Virginia’s first Black woman lieutenant governor. Republicans touted the win as proof that America isn’t racist and that their new “Black friend” is also proof that they themselves aren’t racist. But really, all they did was elect a safe negro to office, because Black people who are willing to say all of the white conservative-friendly things have become quite the political commodity now that race relations in America have become the trending topic that just won’t stop trending.
During an interview with CNN on Sunday, Sears came through with a picture-perfect example of what makes her a white nationalist sockpuppet as she decried Critical Race Theory while obfuscating what it actually is.
Sears sat down with CNN host Dana Bash and took issue with Bash saying that CRT isn’t included in Virginia school curricula.
“Well, let me back up, I beg to differ that CRT is not taught,” Sears said.
“I didn’t say that,” Bash interrupted. “I just said it’s not in the curriculum, just to be clear.”
“No, no, no, no, it is part of the curriculum,” Sears responded. “It’s weaved in and out of the curriculum.”
Sears claimed that in 2015 former Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s state board of education had information on how to teach CRT. Even if this is true, it’s curious that this happened in 2015—five years before Republicans began turning CRT into a hot-button political issue. It’s almost as if this academic framework that was founded in 1989 wasn’t a thing conservatives saw as a problem until they discovered its existence just last year.
Bash tried to point out that a non-descript reference to CRT in information McAuliffe’s board supposedly possessed is not even remotely the same as explicitly teaching the college-level academic theory in K-12 schools, but Sears basically dismissed it all as “semantics.”
Invoking the word “semantics” in this conversation is especially rich since the entire Republican-led narrative around CRT has been mired in semantics and vagueness since its inception. Conservatives have been taking this academic study that examines how race may affect America’s legal system and other institutions and turning it into an umbrella term for all things in America’s past that makes it look bad and makes white people uncomfortable. That has left room for a lot of playing around with “semantics.”
When Florida Gov. Ron Desantis declared that CRT would be banned from his state’s classrooms because it “teaches kids to hate their country and to hate each other”—which he never proved it did because it literally doesn’t—no anti-CRT advocates were worried about semantics.
When Senate Minority Leader and unintentional Jar Jar Binks impersonator Mitch McConnell included Nikole Hannah-Jones Pulitzer-Prize winning work, The 1619 Project, under the CRT banner, even though the two teachings are not directly related, no one was worried about semantics.
When ex-national security advisor Condoleezza Rice, the safe negro prototype Sears was created from, claimed that CRT makes “white kids feel bad for being white,” despite the fact that CRT doesn’t teach anything about white people at the individual level, no one was worried about semantics.
When white nationalist spank bank network Fox News host Tucker Carlson admitted that he “never figured out what critical race theory is…after a year of talking about it,” and, in the same breath said that CRT teaches that “some races are morally superior to others,” which it literally doesn’t, no one was worried about semantics (or in this case, demonstrable lying and propagandizing).
But now Republicans’ new favorite Blacky-lackey wants to talk about semantics while offering anecdotal, bare-minimum evidence that aspects of CRT might be being taught in Virginia’s schools.
But don’t worry, she’s not opposed to Black history being taught in general, so long as it’s taught in a way that doesn’t make the whites feel bad. She just believes “all of history must be taught, the good, the bad and the ugly.”
“When we talk about the Tulsa Race Riots, let’s ask ourselves how did the Black people amass so much wealth right after the Civil War so that it could even be destroyed? How did they do that?” Sears asked Bash.
So basically, rather than talk about how mobs of white people filled with pure American racism slaughtered hundreds of Black people and burned their affluent town to the ground, Sears wants to focus on how Black people in totally-not-inherently-racist America were able to achieve wealth in the first place. Because that part of the story gives white people the chance to point out American exceptionalism and call the nation the “land of opportunity.”
Indeed, Black people accumulating wealth in America is part of the history that should be taught—but that doesn’t change the fact that Sears only wants it highlighted to placate white people and get her pat on the head for using her seat at the table to serve the proverbial Kool-Aid.