Two Fox News guests argued on Sunday over whether critical race theory has corrupted the U.S. history curriculum in American schools.
Fox News host Mike Emmanuel began the discussion by suggesting that critical race theory is a "religion of division."
"One complaint that I've heard is it divides our children based on their skin color," Emmanuel said.
Right-wing talk radio host Jason Rantz agreed.
"Built into critical race theory is this idea that any sort of defensiveness against this is an example of white supremacy," Rantz asserted. "So they have created a system in which anyone who pushes back will be called a white supremacist and by that very nature it means it's going to bully people into silence."
"It's time to take back the curriculum that's being taught in our schools," he insisted.
But left-leaning Fox News contributor Richard Fowler took the position that many opponents of critical race theory do not know what the term means.
"Critical race theory is not something you actually see being taught in schools until you're getting a master's degree or Ph.D. in sociology," Fowler explained. "What parents and what students and what teachers are asking for in the K-12 classrooms is for us to be educated about the truth in American history."
"Basically, we had slaves in this country," he continued. "We treated them pretty terribly. There was a thing called Jim Crow. During Jim Crow, African-Americans were lynched. They weren't allowed to vote. They weren't given their rights. We had a failed war on drugs that impacted Black people badly. I don't understand what's wrong with teaching the truths about American history. It's what actually happened in this country."
But Rantz pushed back by claiming that schools already teach about slavery.
"That's already being taught," he replied.
"No, it's not!" Fowler objected. "That's not being taught."
"You're claiming we're not teaching about slavery?" Rantz asked. "Are you saying kids are coming out of schools, saying, 'Slavery, what is that? I've never heard of it.'"
But Fowler noted that the United States has a poor track record when it comes to teaching about slavery.
"On the Standard of Learning Exam in Virginia, there's a question that's worded that African workers were brought over here," Fowler revealed. "They weren't African workers, they were enslaved people! That means that we're not teaching the curriculum correctly because that's not the truth. These people were brought in bondage."
"There's not a single history textbook that doesn't talk about slavery," Rantz interrupted.
"When you say we treated the slaves nicely, that's not the truth!" Fowler exclaimed.
"It's fair to say that we can go in and make some changes," Rantz conceded. "But what is different is when we're talking about labeling people oppressors or oppressed, when we're talking about white supremacy as simply being characteristics that all white people have. That's not history. [Critical race theory] is getting into our classrooms."
"This is not about history," he added. "If it was about history, it wouldn't be controversial."
"Name a classroom where they're teaching about critical race theory," Fowler challenged. "Name one classroom where the teachers are educating people about critical race theory... Name one classroom where they're saying all white people are racist. I haven't seen that anywhere nor is there any evidence of that."
For his part, Rantz claimed that students in Washington are "being shown videos saying that because they are white they have privilege."
"That is a cornerstone of critical race theory," he remarked. "That has nothing to do with history. That has nothing to do with slavery. If this was purely about showing our history, this would not be controversial. This is about shaming people and calling people out on the basis of their skin color. That's racist. That's wrong."
Fowler said that Rantz was wrongly labeling history lessons like the 1619 Project as critical race theory.
"It's just educating about the truth," Fowler continued. "It's history. When did slaves get to the country?"
"But when you frame history around an opinion, that's no longer history," Rantz claimed.
"So what, it's an opinion that slaves got here in 1619?" Fowler asked.
But the Fox News host brought the segment to an end.
"We'll let you guys slug it out during the commercial break," he said.