Social Justice

I’ll Be the Bogeyman of the Far-Right if It Means Speaking Out on Racial Justice

If you know me, you know I can be provocative in the service of social justice.

Since the 1990s, I have written about race, racism, white supremacy, and social justice with a straightforward, thoughtful, and blunt voice. 

I’ve taken lumps and lost jobs for telling the truth as I see it. Though it’s my passion to use my pen to raise consciousness about America’s long history of marginalizing racial minorities, I have wondered at times if the words make a difference and if commentary does any good in the world.

I constantly look for signs of hope that I’m having an impact, however small.

Today I got such a sign when a friend forwarded me a really gross smear piece put out by a right-wing education blog that searched through more than two decades of my published writings to make the case that I am a Black racist.

Apparently, my commitment to constantly calling them out for stoking white grievances as a divisive political strategy for winning education policy battles triggered them so thoroughly that they needed to respond. In keeping with their tradition, they made the case that calling out racism is in itself racist. So, I am this week’s target for them to rehash that tired claim. 

Given their well-funded campaign against anti-racism, culturally relevant pedagogy, diversity, inclusion, and equity, I take pride in being their bogeyman.

I was almost tempted to say nothing about this attack. Why give air to their obvious attempts to kill the messenger? I’ve been through it before, especially with right-wingers who love to bemoan “cancel culture” and deplatorming, while claiming to value free speech and viewpoint diversity, only to go super fragile when they’re challenged.

I choose to respond because I want others to feel safe in raising their voices and demanding fairness.

I’ve made it my life’s work to build platforms for students, parents, and educators to say the things that need to be said and be in a community with other brave souls doing the same thing.

For the past year or more I’ve amped up something I’ve done for years by pointing out the ways bad faith actors—liberals, conservatives, Republicans, Democrats, whites, Blacks, and others—contribute to discrimination in our shared systems. This afternoon I continued this thread in a Huffington Post piece called “In The American Public Education System, Black Children Are The New Cotton.”

I encourage you to read through the blog posts on my website, or on my Substack, and at Ed Post, and decide for yourself what you think about me and my views. What I urge you not to do is pay attention to vindictive right-wing activists who can dish out but can’t take it.

Chris Stewart
Chris Stewart is the Chief Executive Officer of brightbeam. He was named CEO in April 2019, after formerly serving as chief executive of Wayfinder Foundation. He is a lifelong activist and 20-year supporter of nonprofit and education-related causes. In the past, Stewart has served as the director of outreach and external affairs for Education Post, ...

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