Monday, August 1, 2022

The Think Tanker Who "Weaponized" Critical Race Theory

Here is more from The Economist:

It’s like a bomb went off,” says Christopher Rufo. Mr Rufo himself helped light the fuse. After George Floyd’s murder in May 2020, discussions about racism spread throughout schools, he says. Mr Rufo labelled those discussions “critical race theory” (crt). Controversy around crt has continued to grow—recently expanding beyond race to matters of sex and gender. 

With the help of Mr Rufo, now a director of an “initiative” on crt at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think-tank, critical race theory, once an obscure academic topic, became a prominent Republican issue in a matter of weeks.

The Manhattan Institute now supplies a guide for parents fighting against “woke schooling”, and the Goldwater Institute, another conservative think-tank, provides model legislation. 


Here is a 2021 New Yorker piece on Rufo entitled "How a Conservative Activist Invented the Conflict Over Critical Race Theory."

The New York Times says that Rufo appears on Fox News so often that he converted a room in his house to a television studio with professional lighting, an uplink to Fox in New York, and an "On Air" light in his hallway to help prevent disturbances from his wife and children when broadcasting.

NYT notes that Rufo, 37, lives near Seattle and is a former documentary filmmaker.  Besides his think tank work he has a newsletter with 2,500 paid subscribers and runs a nonprofit entity to support his work, which he said had received $500,000+ in donations since late 2021.

Here is a recent piece on how the Manhattan Institute has emerged as a haven for "canceled" scholars.