Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Friday that critical race theory was "as racist" as being in the Ku Klux Klan.
Critical race theory is defined by the Encyclopaedia Britannica as the concept in which race is a socially constructed category ingrained in American law intended to maintain social, economic and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites. It holds that the U.S. society is inherently or systemically racist.
In a speech at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority Conference, Cruz said he was asked about critical race theory by a reporter.
"Critical race theory says every white person is a racist," Cruz said. "Critical race theory says America is fundamentally racist and irredeemably racist. Critical race theory seeks to turn us against each other. Critical race theory is bigoted, it is a lie, and it is every bit as racist as the Klansmen in white sheets."
Cruz was referring to the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist domestic terrorist organization that brought violence to Blacks and other minorities in the South and Midwest beginning at the end of the Civil War.
According to Britannica.com, the Klan was organized as a fraternal club of Confederate veterans in Pulaski, Tennessee, in 1866.
The group represented resistance to the Reconstruction and sought to restore white supremacy through "intimidation and violence" against newly freed slaves.
The group wore white robes and sheets so they could not be identified, and carried out nighttime raids, whipping and killing freed Blacks and their white supporters.
The organization reached its peak with about 4 million members in the 1920s, and has since dwindled to only a few thousand members nationwide.
Those believing in the theory say legal and other institutions are inherently racist and function to "create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites."
More than 20 states have either passed, or introduced, legislation to ban critical race theory from being taught, The Hill reported June 9.
For example, West Virginia state Sen. Michael Azinger, a Republican, introduced Senate Bill 618 prohibiting the teaching of "divisive acts and critical race theory in West Virginia schools" on March 10.
The bill was referred to the Committee on Education and the Committee on the Judiciary. A similar bill (House Bill 2595) aiming to "prohibit ‘divisive concepts" from schools was introduced by Rep. Riley Keaton, a Republican, on Feb. 18.
It was referred to the Committee on Education and the Judiciary, The Hill reported.
At the local level, parents have been debating the issue in front of school boards, many against teaching the theory in public schools.
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