Republican hysteria over critical race theory—the advanced academic framework examining how racist policies in America's past contribute to current racial inequalities in American society—was on full display as the Senate Judiciary Committee considered Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination to the Supreme Court this week.
Far-right Senator Ted Cruz of Texas was particularly forceful, chastising Jackson for serving on the board of Georgetown Day School, which he claimed was "filled and overflowing with critical race theory." He soon brandished copies of books he claimed were a part of the school's curriculum, including Antiracist Baby by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi—a children's book that introduces youngsters to discussions about racism and how to be actively antiracist.
Sen. Ted Cruz spent 4+ minutes complaining about books he says are related to critical race theory, including one called ‘Antiracist Baby.’
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson: '[Senator,] those books … don’t come up in my work as a judge, which I am respectfully here to address.' pic.twitter.com/rx2Nu1jSwo
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) March 22, 2022
Cruz's characterization that the book teaches that babies are racist was widely panned, including by Washington Post book critic Ron Charles.
But the questioning also led to heightened scrutiny of St. John's School—the Houston, Texas institution where Cruz sends his daughters—from journalists, including Vimal Patel of the New York Times.
Amid the historic uprisings against racist police brutality in the summer of 2020, top officials at St. John's school released a statement reiterating its commitment to antiracism:
“St. John’s, as an institution, must be antiracist and eliminate racism of any type — including institutional racism — within our school community and beyond."
What's more, at least one of the books Cruz brandished to shame Jackson—Stamped (For Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You, also by Dr. Kendi along with Jason Reynolds—is in the library catalog of St. John's.
Social media users called out Cruz's hypocrisy.
Ted Cruz sends his daughters to the same kind of school he railed againsthttps://t.co/2O7H1MN2L5 pic.twitter.com/qCakb1piIn
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) March 25, 2022
What a hypocrite @tedcruz is. He just keeps proving that. He’s making sure his daughters are ready for the real world, while preventing that for others’ kids.
“Ted Cruz’s Daughters Attend a Private School That Is ‘Antiracist’” https://t.co/ciVzsZ1FLS
— Dahna M. Chandler, MPS (@dahnamchandler) March 25, 2022
Looks like @TedCruz approves of CRT in his daughter's school but is against it in other schools. Typical hypocritical Republican. What's good for mine isn't good for yours. #CriticalRaceTheory #antiracism https://t.co/jYOgTMp69P
— Brad the Dad (@BradtheDad17) March 25, 2022
I'm from middle-class, well-educated Texas and this is just a reminder that well-educated right-wing Texans from that milieu do not really want to personally be around or live in spaces populated by the folks whose side of the culture war they champion. https://t.co/MuWw21Lj08
— Christopher Federico (@ChrisPolPsych) March 25, 2022
If Ted Cruz's hypocrisy burned any brighter he could be seen from space.
Because he sends his kids to a private school that holds the same values as those he railed against in his 'questioning' of Ketanji Brown Jackson.https://t.co/082zYSgHpR
— TrumpsTaxes (@TrumpsTaxes) March 25, 2022
Ted Cruz is a hypocrite? I'm shocked. Shocked!https://t.co/tepGRRG8VK
— (((BoozeFoodTravel))) (@ChinaMatt) March 25, 2022
That wasn't the only part of Cruz's questioning that sparked backlash.
I’m pretty sure @tedcruz ate paint chips as a kid. https://t.co/PpzjiINGQ5
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) March 24, 2022
Having to pretend to respect Ted Cruz for three whole days seems by far the hardest part of the SCOTUS confirmation process
— Hari Kunzru (@harikunzru) March 23, 2022
Judge Jackson deserves some sort of medal for keeping a straight face during Ted Cruz's nonsense.
— Christina Reynolds (@creynoldsnc) March 21, 2022
Since Cruz's questioning, Antiracist Baby has jumped to the top of Amazon's bestseller list.