The Atlantic Daily: Who’s Afraid of Critical Race Theory?

How an academic discipline became a partisan talking point

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The Atlantic

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The GOP has found a new cultural boogeyman, and it’s “critical race theory.” I style that term in quotes because, as my colleague Adam Harris points out, some of the texts under fire bear little resemblance to the academic theory. Instead, the term has become a catchall for conservative angst over the way race is taught and understood in America.

And GOP concerns aren’t limited to the classroom: Last week, Republican Representative Matt Gaetz raised the issue during a hearing on the January 6 insurrection. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, responded: “I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a Communist.”


One question, answered: While vaccines continue to perform against the coronavirus variants, some experts believe that Johnson & Johnson recipients may need a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot.

Should Americans who first got J&J seek out an mRNA shot on top of their current protection? Our staff writer Katherine J. Wu weighs in:

The J&J vaccine is, like the other vaccines available in the United States, a truly stellar shot. But the virus is changing quickly. Some experts have said that they’re worried that Delta—a super-transmissible variant that’s able to dodge some of our immune defenses—will be able to stump J&J more often than an mRNA vaccine.

The CDC is not currently recommending that Americans get these extra shots, but several experts have told me that J&J is probably one of the first vaccines we’ll need to eventually boost. The efficacy of mixing and matching vaccines is still under investigation; early data from the United Kingdom suggests that the strategy might lead to slightly rougher side effects. But there’s immense potential too: Opting for an mRNA vaccine after the J&J shot could mean juicing up slightly different parts of the immune system, creating a more comprehensive antiviral response that could thwart more variants.

I don’t think everyone needs to rush out to get these extra shots. But people could consider the option, especially those who are older or immunocompromised, or who have an otherwise weaker immune system.


The rest of the news in three sentences:

(1) A federal court dismissed the FTC’s antitrust case against Facebook, despite the social network’s unfathomable scale. (2) Rescue efforts continue following the building collapse near Miami. (3) It’s hot out—in many parts of the country, record-settingly hot.

Tonight’s Atlantic-approved activity:

Read a poem. We recommend “As From a Quiver of Arrows” by Carl Phillips, which was first published in our pages in 1995.

A break from the news:

No one imagined giant lizard nests would be this weird.


Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.