Mr McCarthy invoked Dr King in a tweet, saying "Critical Race Theory goes against everything Martin Luther King Jr taught us – to not judge others by the colour of their skin”, and claimed that the "Left is trying to take America backward”.
Dr Bernice King, Dr King's daughter, challenged Mr McCarthy to study her father's teachings beyond the final line of his "I Have a Dream" speech.
"Rep McCarthy, I encourage you to study my father's teachings & words well beyond the last lines of 'I Have A Dream,'" she wrote in a response to his tweet. "This nation has yet to firmly commit to the intensive, multi-faceted work of eradicating racism against Black people. You should help with that."
She then linked to a book by Dr King called Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? and encouraged him to read the work.
"In this book, written after 'I Have A Dream,' my father writes about racism in detail," she wrote. "He shares about 'white backlash' and the need for white people to commit to ending racism. Today, this would be called dangerous. It was called dangerous then. My father was assassinated."
The outcry over critical race theory, driven by right-wing media and social media groups, has resulted in a number of explosive school board meeting across the nation. Angry parents, incited by Fox News pundits and other culture warmongers, have confronted school boards and demanded they stop teaching the academic theory, even though in many cases the schools do not utilise it in their curriculum.
One Oklahoma school district has already succumbed to the pressure, passing a resolution that bans K-12 teachers from teaching eight concepts about race on punishment of losing their teaching licenses.
The resolution mirrored a state law passed in Oklahoma banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory.
Critical Race Theory is a legal and academic theory that examines the impact that US history and institutions have had on racial minorities in the US. Conservative critics claim that it casts white people as villains in the evolution of the country, while proponents argue that in order to truly understand American history and society, education must include the experiences of minorities.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies