On Friday, Fox & Friends hosted right-wing activist Tatiana Ibrahim, who had previously gone viral online for a video in which she berated her child’s school board for teaching students “to go out and murder our police officers.” The supposed proof for her claim is that students are reading the award-winning children’s book One Crazy Summer. The segment represents yet another unhinged attempt by Fox News and the larger right-wing media infrastructure to shut down any critical conversations about racism under the false premise of fighting the specific academic field known as critical race theory.
In the original viral video -- which Fox aired before introducing Ibrahim today -- Ibrahim said that her daughter’s school in New York is “teaching my children and other children that if they believe in God almighty, they are part of a cult.” She also said that they are “teaching our children to go out and murder our police officers.” Her proof for this absurd claim is that middle school students read One Crazy Summer, a historical fiction book that includes characters involved with the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s. The book has won several awards, including the American Library Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults and Notable Children’s Book awards, the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, and the Coretta Scott King Award for author Rita Williams-Garcia.
Speaking to Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt, Ibrahim claimed that the book is “glorifying the Black Panthers as revolutionists” and teaching that “these cop killers” are “saviors to the Black community.” Ibrahim also told Earhardt that her concerns started when her daughter started asking questions like, in Ibrahim’s words, “Why are cops killing innocent people?" and "Why don't we like Black people?”
Earhardt did not challenge any of Ibrahim’s claims, concluding the segment by thanking Ibrahim and agreeing that anti-racism education is actually racist and divisive because “we are all Americans.”
In recent months, Fox News has become a pipeline for attacks on the very idea of systemic racism in American society under the guise of fearmongering about critical race theory -- mentioning it 552 times in 11 months as arguments against the theory have echoed the white nationalist “great replacement” theory. Influential right-wing groups like the Heritage Foundation have also attacked anti-racism efforts under the cover of critical race theory, and a recent Heritage event on the topic included a speaker with a long record of espousing misogynistic, anti-LGBTQ, anti-Muslim, and antisemitic positions. Republican officials across the country have now introduced legislation to ban the teaching of critical race theory in over 20 states.
This Fox segment represents yet another effort by Fox News to rebrand the backlash to racial justice initiatives and exploit fearmongering against “critical race theory” for electoral gains with the Republican base.