Critical Race Theory, Prison Culture Similarities Help Predict Where CRT Can Lead: Christopher Rufo

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Writer, filmmaker, and researcher Christopher Rufo realized while working on a documentary that the ideology of prison gangs that leads to racial segregation in prisons holds similarities to the critical race theory (CRT) being promoted in society.

Rufo noticed that although the phenomenon of prison gangs and the development of CRT are different and disparate, by comparing the two and analyzing the outcome of gang activities in the California prison system, he would be able to draw conclusions as to where CRT could lead society.

Rufo began exploring prison culture, gang culture, and street culture for a documentary he directed for PBS called “America Lost,” which looks at three of America’s poorest cities—including Stockton, California—a city with a highly diverse racial makeup comprising white, black, Latino, and Asian populations.

“A lot of the prison gangs emerged with a black nationalist or Marxist Leninist ideology in California. They were tightly interconnected with the revolutionary movements of the late ’60s and early 1970s,” Rufo said on EpochTV’s “Crossroads” program.

“And those same revolutionary movements, those same ideologies, from the Black Panther Party to Eldridge Cleaver [a Black Panther Party activist] to Angela Davis, were really a focal point and a key inspiration for the discipline of critical race theory.”

Angela Davis, a political activist, professor, and author, was leader of the Communist Party USA in the 1960s and had close ties to the Black Panther Party.

The operations of the California prison organizations led to the creation of an environment where a person isn’t an individual but is reduced to a racial category, Rufo said.

“This is a world where you are not at liberty to choose your associations, but your associations choose you. And this is also a world where racial conflict is considered endemic, inescapable, and permanent—and that is an ugly vision of our society.”

By Ella Kietlinska and Joshua Philipp

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Christopher Rufo: CRT Is Based on the Prison Politics of Racial Segregation

To see the possible results of critical race theory (CRT) and the type of society it could create, we can look at the prison systems where many of CRT’s ideas were formed. This is according to writer, filmmaker, and researcher Christopher Rufo, whose research into race politics within the prison system led him to research the origins and possible results of CRT as it spreads through American schools, corporate trainings, and government.

He explains there is a parallel between CRT and prison gang ideologies, which emerged from black nationalist and Marxist-Leninist revolutionary movements in California in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Rufo also details how CRT attempts to represent an anti-racist movement, but in reality, encourages hatred and racism. He explains “They’re telling certain employees you can’t mix with these employees during these diversity training programs because you are dangerous to each other. You should actually be in some ways hostile to one another.”

And as CRT trainings are finding their way into schools, businesses, and government agencies, the discriminatory roots of the system may even be illegal under U.S. law. Rufo explains, “By delivering that message, a lot of attorneys that I’ve worked with believe that you’re violating the First Amendment, which protects your right to conscience; the 14th Amendment, which guarantees equal treatment under the law; and also the Civil Rights Act.”

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