Walter Masterson started off making right-wing talking points against critical race theory but then exposed the hollowness of them.
Critical race theory is to understand the legacy of racism, including America's own racist past, and how systemic racism still causes discrimination and disadvantage. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, many have called for schools to teach about race, discrimination, and inequality in classrooms but right-wing and conservative outlets have been using critical race theory as a bogeyman to whip up fear. A comedian dismantled the arguments of critical race theory in a speech at a school board meeting. Posing as a conservative man, Walter Masterson, started off making right-wing talking points against critical race theory but then exposed the hollow arguments drawing laughter from the crowd at the hall, reported VICE News.
"I am an American and a patriot. I've never read critical race theory like most of my conservative friends but you know I did watch Tucker Carlson talk about it once. You know the best way to end racism is to stop talking about it," said Masterson on July 12, when the Yorktown Central School District Board of Education held an open meeting about its diversity initiative in Yorktown, New York. It takes a while for the crowd to realize that his speech is actually satire. He eviscerates the argument that talking about critical race theory will cause bigger problems in America, while also being factually wrong, echoing some of the arguments from far-right media. "We never talked about racism in the 1950s and I mean how great were the 1950s. I mean we won world war II, we invented airplanes, we went to the moon and then we started talking about racism in the 60s, and boom — the Vietnam war," he said to loud cheers and laughter from the crowd. The school board members were visibly agitated.
"Just because I don't believe in critical race theory, does that make me a racist? I get more angry when someone calls me a racist and I'm completely silent when there's actual racism," said Masterson, calling out the hypocrisy. He also points out the hypocrisy surrounding 'indoctrination,' saying, "We need to end forced indoctrination in our schools and right after we do that we need to mandate that everyone stands for the pledge of allegiance." The school board asks Masterson to address the board and not the audience.
Masterson was followed up by his friend, Maximilian Clark, who also gave a similar speech. "People have complained about what's in the district's books and I agree, I think that there's too much history in this history. He then highlights how America selectively chooses what to include in its textbooks. "We need to go back to teaching the basics — George Washington, but not the slavery part. World war II, but not the Japanese internment camps. We should teach the 'I have a dream speech'. We should teach MLK, but just not the part where FBI ruins his life," said Clark. He concludes dramatically, saying, "Teach people to love America, and not hate America by not teaching them about America."
“The school I went to to make the speech, [people] had made violent threats, both open and private," Masterson told VICE. Walter Masterson often posts videos of interactions with right-wing and conservative people and he almost always poses as a conservative in them. He added that the conservative media has been whipping up hatred and fear using the words "Critical race theory" and its effects can be seen. "When I interview Trump supporters, if you say “CRT” in an interview, they see red. They light up. It's Pavlovian," he said. "If you look at debate culture today, people think they're owning everyone in arguments. In reality, people are just opting out, because the person talking to them is just being aggressive and irrational. I'd rather people just get there on their own. I also don't have hope for them becoming de-radicalized."