Two Black conservative brothers have written a book to inoculate children against critical race theory – without exposing them to the ideology.
"More Than Spots and Stripes," which BRAVE Books published on Tuesday, tells the story of two cheetahs who compete as a team in an epic race – but a nefarious older cheetah, Bella, convinces the spotted cheetah, Rebel, to distrust her striped teammate, Madi. Bella reminds the cheetahs that striped cheetahs used to cheat against spotted cheetahs, and that drives a wedge between the teammates.
Yet Rebel eventually learns that she shouldn't mistrust Madi just because of what other striped cheetahs have done in the past. The cheetahs are more than their stripes or spots, and hard work and teamwork – not grievance – enables cheetahs to win the race.
"The importance of our book is to keep the country going in the right direction that MLK fought and died for," Kevin and Keith Hodge, two brothers known collectively as The Hodgetwins, told Fox News. "The dream that one day we will all live in a nation where we will not be judged by the color of our skin but by the content of our character."
"Through the story and the discussion questions in the back of the book, More Than Spots and Stripes does an incredible job of warning kids against CRT without directly exposing them to it," Trent Talbot, the CEO of BRAVE Books, told Fox News.
Some of the book's illustrations seem a bit on the nose. One page features a protest in which spotted cheetahs – the alleged victims – hold signs reading, "Spot Lives Matter," and "Stop Stripe Supremacy," clear references to the slogan "Black Lives Matter," and the claims of modern "White Supremacy."
Yet the book avoids any explicit mention of race or critical race theory, while teaching kids to judge one another based on their character rather than external characteristics like spots and stripes.
BRAVE Books offers a subscription service that sends customers a book every month, the publisher told Fox News. One book costs $19.99, while a monthly subscription costs $14.99, and an annual subscription costs $12.99 per month. Each book, written by a conservative author, focuses on a different conservative topic. The first round of books is called "The Origins," and each book introduces a major character. "BRAVE" stands for the 5 main characters: Bongo, Rebel, Asher, Valor, and Eva.
A BRAVE Books spokesman told Fox News that the publisher "basically created a ‘Marvel’ like universe" with these five characters. Ashley St. Clair wrote "Elephants Are Not Birds," addressing gender. Elizabeth Johnston wrote "Little Lives Matter," addressing the sanctity of life. Jack Posobiec wrote "The Island of Free Ice Cream," showing the dangers of communism. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, wrote "Fame Blame and the Raft of Shame" about cancel culture.
"More Than Spots and Stripes" focuses on critical race theory – a framework that involves deconstructing aspects of society to discover systemic racism beneath the surface. Parents across the country have spoken up against CRT in schools, noting that ideas of "White privilege" and "systemic racism" have popped up in some curricula or in training sessions for teachers and staff. School districts have insisted that they do not teach CRT, defining it as a law school course as opposed to a philosophy.
In a launch video for the book, the Hodgetwins mocked CRT.
One of the Hodge brothers spoke about what his son was learning in school: "He said his teacher told him that it's going to be hard for him to be successful in life because he's Black," the author said. His brother burst out laughing. "Imagine being so woke, you send your kids to school so they can teach 'em how dumb and Black they are."
The brothers argue that CRT is "creating division and hate."
"It teaches our kids to judge each other based on their skin. That's wrong," they add. "We have to replace the woke books with books that empower our children."