“That’s why I am coming up with this recent understanding that to abolish whiteness is to abolish white people. That’s very uncomfortable perhaps, but it asks about our definitions of what race is and what racial justice might mean.”
That 42-second clip of a talk from 2007 given by Zeus Leonardo recently took center stage on social media among leading national critics of critical race theory.
Professor Leonardo teaches within UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education, which helps educate future teachers. He is also one of the school’s associate deans and is considered a leading critical race theory scholar.
“Much of the poison in today’s K-12 schools can be traced directly to schools of education, which push crackpot theories like this on America’s future teachers,” said Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education.
“This is further proof that our country’s system of teacher training and accreditation is desperately in need of an overhaul,” said Neily in an email Tuesday to The College Fix.
The 2007 talk resurfaced earlier this week and is gaining hundreds of thousands of views on Twitter after it was shared by Rhyen Staley, a researcher with Parents Defending Education.
He shared the clip as well as Zeus’ full talk as part of his Twitter thread, as well as highlighted another snippet in which Zeus asked: “Is it worth it for white women to be white anymore?”
UC Berkeley School of Education professor Zeus Leonardo states in a video from 2007 that “To abolish whiteness is to abolish white people” pic.twitter.com/YEZPpNornX
The clip was reshared by well-known critical race theory critic and Manhattan Institute senior fellow Christopher Rufo.
Zeus’ 45-minute talk was given to the Centre for Culture, Identity and Education at the University of British Columbia in September 2007 and titled “Teaching Whiteness in a Multicultural Context and Color-blind Era,” according to its YouTube page.
“In this presentation, Dr. Leonardo explores the critical theme of whiteness, appraising the conceptual and strategic understanding of this concept through the prisms of white reconstructionism and abolitionism,” the description states.
Leonardo is no stranger to teaching on critical whiteness theory.
As The College Fixreported last fall, Leonardo gave a guest lecture at George Washington University in which he argued that children are born “human” and then are “bullied” into becoming white.
“They were born human,” he said. “Little by little, they have to be abused into becoming white humans. This abuse is sometimes physical … such as being bullied into whiteness.”
“But also it’s psychological and cultural,” he added.
Leonardo could not be reached for comment by The College Fix.