Scarborough hosts critical race theory debate on 'Morning Joe'

MSNBC's Joe ScarboroughCharles (Joe) Joseph ScarboroughScarborough pleads with Biden to mandate vaccines for teachers, health workers Trump ramps up attacks on media Scarborough hosts critical race theory debate on 'Morning Joe' MORE hosted a discussion on critical race theory toward the end of his "Morning Joe" program on Tuesday that included praise and criticism of the subject, which has increasingly become a hot topic of debate on cable television and across the country. 

The discussion featured Princeton professor Eddie Glaude Jr., a frequent guest on the program who is supportive of the theory, and Christopher Rufo, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute who is a leading critic of critical race theory in public schools and ties it to Marxism.

Tuesday's discussion was sparked by a recent announcement by the National Education Association (NEA), the largest teacher's union in the country, that it supports an initiative in some public schools to teach principles of critical race theory, an academic and legal philosophy that is based on the premise that America was built on slavery, racism and oppression of minorities.  

ADVERTISEMENT

Scarborough, a former GOP lawmaker from Florida who emerged as one of cable's fiercest critics of former President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE, echoed concerns about critical race theory made by Rufo, who argued it teaches children that they are fundamentally racist if they are white.

"They’re telling people that they should feel shame, guilt and anguish because of their inborn characteristics and traits," Rufo said on the program.

"It’s now being endorsed by the NEA in 14,000 public school districts across the country. And you can’t retreat because parents know what they're seeing every day, parents know what they're seeing when children come home with workbooks like 'Not My Idea,' and they’re right and they’re rightly and very strongly pushing back," he said.

Scarborough said he is aware of "liberal members of the mainstream media, Democrats that are huge contributors to the Democratic Party and even people that work for Democrats, I’ve heard over the past three or four years, 'I’ve got to get my kid out of this private school.' "

ADVERTISEMENT

"They’re teaching my 7-year-old boy that because he’s white he’s, you know, a racist, he’s part of the problem, etc., etc.," Scarborough said. 

Glaude, who earlier in the discussion has pushed back against Rufo's assertions about critical race theory in the classroom and defended the merits of teaching school children about systemic oppression, conceded: "We’re going to make mistakes. There are going to be extremes, there are going to be moments of overreach." 

"But part of what we have to do in this moment, Joe, and we've talked about this, is to confront the ugliness of who we are," he said. "And part of what I hear in these sorts of arguments is this sense in which that confrontation must be won where we’re comfortable, where we feel good about who we are after we confront it." 

"Because we’re seeing right now, in real time, a reassertion of the lie," added Glaude. "The very thing that keeps us from becoming a different America because we don’t want to accept who we are, what we’ve done."

Scarborough questioned Glaude, asking him "reassertion, though, of what lie?" 
 
"I can believe in two Americas," Scarborough said. "I can believe that 1776 and 1619 can be merged together, that you can believe two things at once. I could disagree with critical race theory, but still believe what you and I have talked about, that we have a long way to go to being a just country the way that the founding documents said we were going to be. Do I have to choose one or the other?"
 
Glaude responded by saying that many of those arguing against critical race theory are not doing so in good faith.
 
"This sort of argument is happening right now, and I want us to link it to Jan. 6. I want us to link it to the attack on voting rights. This is, in effect, in my view, Joe, an attempt to arrest substantive change in the country, and we give these folk the credit that they’re making the arguments in good faith, and I don’t think they are," Glaude said. "And I’ll say it to Christopher right to his face. I don’t think this is a good faith argument, period."