Legal scholar Richard Delgado and his wife Jean Stefancic, co-founders of the Critical Race Theory (CRT) academic field, have received tons of threatening messages since GOP strategists started skewing facts about the study about structural racism as a weapon to win elections, Axios reports.
"We get some of the grossest telephone messages that you can imagine,” Delgado, 82, told the news outlet, adding that some of the emails and voicemails accuse him of eating children, destroying America and hating white people.
Delgado, a University of Alabama law professor of Mexican descent, and Stefancic, who is white, have co-authored several books on CRT.
Developed in the 1970s and 80s by former Harvard Law professor Derrick Bell, who died in 2011, CRT examines how racism is embedded in institutions to protect white dominance, according to The New York Times.
It challenges the idea that racism exists only at the individual level. Rather, racism is systemic, across the nation’s education, criminal justice and other systems.
Over the decades, CRT has largely been debated in academic circles, among scholars at universities. Delgado blamed the sudden venom over CRT on supporters of President Donald Trump’s failed 2020 election bid and the nation’s changing racial demographics.
"Before then, critical race theory had had a pretty easy glide path,” Delgado explained to Axios. “We wrote our books. We developed our theories. We taught our classes. We published law reviews."
GOP strategists have warned their supporters that school districts plan to teach CRT in classrooms to young students, igniting racist fears that they hope will energize their base in the 2022 midterm elections.
It seemed to work in Republican Glenn Youngkin’s victorious campaign for Virginia governor in November. On the campaign trail, he vowed to ban CRT in schools on his first day in office, according to Newsweek.
After his victory, the GOP signaled that this battle over how to teach about racism in public schools could sweep the party into power in Congress, the Associated Press noted.