A conservative radio show host has gone viral after he dramatically denounced Critical Race Theory at a meeting of an Illinois school board.
Ty Smith, host of Cancel This on Cities 92.9 and star of a popular YouTube channel, appeared at the June 9 meeting.
The Bloomington Public School area, District 87, does not teach Critical Race Theory – the controversial analysis of racial inequalities and historic disparities, which critics say encourages children to view each other as different. Teachers say they have no intention of introducing it.
However, given the current debate around CRT, the June 9 session, focused on the curriculum, attracted around 50 people holding signs with sayings such as ‘Stop indoctrination of our children’ and ‘No critical race theory’ – packed into the small meeting room alongside others wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts.
Smith, a father of two teenage children, delivered an impassioned address, declaring: ‘When you talk about Critical Race Theory, which is pretty much going to be teaching kids how to hate each other, how to dislike each other.
Ty Smith, a talk radio host on a conservative Bloomington, Illinois station, gave an impassioned speech against Critical Race Theory at a June 9 meeting of District 87 of Bloomington Public Schools. CRT is not taught in the school district, but activists flocked to the meeting to speak out against the controversial educational program
The school board meetings are usually uneventful and routine, but the June 9 session turned into a heated two-hour debate, enlivened further by Smith’s performance
The radio host, whose YouTube channel has received 58 million views, said that he never discussed the issue of color with his sons
‘It’s pretty much what its all gonna come down to.
‘You’re going to deliberately teach kids: ‘this white kid right here got it better than you because he’s white’ – and you’re gonna tell a white kid: ‘the black people are all down and suppressed.’
‘How do I have two medical degrees if I’m sitting here oppressed?’ Smith said.
Social media users were quick to ask Smith for details about his degrees.
His YouTube channel, Modern Renaissance Man – which has received 58 million views, states that it offers ‘comdey (sic), ministry, Music reaction, DIY videos, Marriage counseling, relationship discussions, motivation, self help, healthy lifestyle, live chat discussions.’
His radio show biog states that he was born in Decatur, Illinois, and grew up in a tough neighborhood – but managed to turn his life around.
Smith is pictured in the Cities 92.9 studio in Bloomington, Illinois
Smith frequently listens to country music on his YouTube channel, Modern Renaissance Man
His channel features ‘comdey (sic), ministry, Music reaction, DIY videos, Marriage counseling, relationship discussions, motivation, self help, healthy lifestyle, live chat discussions’
Smith continued: ‘Not one white person ever came to me and said: ‘Well son, you’re not going to get anywhere.’
‘Black folks are getting told by other black folks: ‘you’re never going to be able to get out there in the world because white folks are never going to let you get anywhere, the white man is going to keep you down.’
‘How did I get where I am right now if some white man kept me down?
Smith said that CRT could ‘reverse’ Martin Luther King’s aim that people should be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.
Diane Wolf, the head of curriculum for District 87, agreed with Smith, saying it was not appropriate for students
‘We’re at the very beginning stages of truly getting to a curriculum that is representative of our student body and our community,’ Wolf said, according to WGLT.
According to the Illinois State Board of Education, a majority (52%) of District 87 students are non-white, including 23 per cent black, 15 per cent Hispanic and 11 per cent who identify as multiracial.
Wolf noted students in the district speak 40 languages.
Another board member, Superintendent Barry Reilly, said the two-hour meeting got out of hand.
‘I get that these issues are hot topics right now in the community and we hear them, but we need to be able to come together and talk about them in a more civil manner,’ he told WGLT.
A clip of Smith’s speech was shared by Benny Johnson, chief creative officer of conservative student organization Turning Point USA. It had been viewed two million times by Friday morning.
Ted Cruz, the senator for Texas, retweeted it and commented: ‘Powerful’.
Madison Cawthorn, who represents North Carolina in the House, agreed.
Smith appeared on Fox News on Friday, and doubled down on his criticism of CRT.
‘To me it’s a whole bunch of nonsense, virtue signaling, just trying to play off people’s emotion. The only race there is the human race,’ he said.
‘Color was never discussed in my house, at all.
‘As children grow, they just see other kids and start playing.
‘My sons never had a talk about white people, Asian people – all they know is they were people. They never came home and said: ‘my white friends across the street’ – they just said ‘my friends’.
‘The fact that they want to focus so much on race, why does everything have to be about race?’
Smith appeared on Fox News on Friday to discuss the viral video clip
He said CRT was ‘a whole bunch of nonsense, virtue signaling, just trying to play off people’s emotion’
He said 80 per cent of black people supported him.
‘Coming from the ghetto, coming from the ‘hood and the projects, they’ve seen me come out of it, so they’re supportive.’
He accused critics of ‘pushing what the left want to do to make it seem like black people can’t succeed.’
Critics on social media were taking issue with Smith being described simply as ‘an Illinois parent’, without noting that he was an active Trump supporter who was a guest of honor at a Trump rally in October, to watch a presidential debate.
Later that month he posted a photo to Instagram with the conservative commentator Candace Owens, taken at the White House.
‘Well since someone had to rat me out!’ he wrote.
‘Yes she’s my sister and I’m her crazy big brother! Thanks inviting your brother lil sis!’