What is Critical Race Theory (CRT)?

From Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, 2nd Edition:

“The critical race theory (CRT) movement is a collection of activists and scholars interested in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power. The movement considers many of the same issues that conventional civil rights and ethnic studies discourses take up, but places them in a broader perspective that includes economics, history, context, group- and self-interest, and even feelings and the unconscious. Unlike traditional civil rights, which stresses incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law.

From Sherwood Thompson, Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice:

“Critical race theory (CRT) is a scholarly and political approach to examining race that leads to a consequential analysis and profound understanding of racism. It argues, as a starting point, that the axis of American social life is fundamentally constructed in race. As a result, the economic, political, and historical relationships and arrangements that social actors have to institutions and social processes are all race based. CRT also argues that, as a whole, this idea has been purposefully ignored, subdued, and marginalized in both the dominant and public discourse and that there are serious repercussions that arise from this structural blindness…. One of the important tenets of CRT is the assertion that race is socially constructed, yet it denotes explicitly and implicitly how power is used and appropriated in society.

From Payne Hiraldo, The Role of Critical Race Theory in Higher Education:

“CRT’s framework is comprised of the following five tenets: counter-storytelling; the permanence of racism; Whiteness as property; interest conversion; and the critique of liberalism.”

From Cummings, André Douglas Pond. “A Furious Kinship: Critical Race Theory and the Hip-Hop Nation,” in Delgado, Richard and Stefancic, Jean (eds). Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge:

“CRT rests on several foundational pillars:

First, racism is a relentless daily fact of life in American society, and the ideology of racism and white supremacy are ingrained in the political and legal structures so as to be nearly unrecognizable. Racism is a constant, not aberrant, occurrence in American society. “Because racism is an ingrained feature of our landscape, it appears ordinary and natural to persons in the culture.”

Second, “as a form of oppositional scholarship, CRT challenges the experience of White European Americans as the normative standard” against which societal norms are measured. “CRT grounds its conceptual framework in the distinctive . . . experiences of people of color and racial oppression through the use of literary narrative knowledge and storytelling to challenge the existing social construction of race.”

Third, CRT questions liberalism and the ability of a system of law built on it to create a just society. An interest convergence critique posits that white elites will tolerate or encourage racial advances for blacks only when such advances also promote white self-interest.

Fourth, CRT seeks to expose the flaws in the color-blind view of everyday social relations and the administration of law by positing that ending discrimination and racism through legal means has not occurred because of the contradiction between a professed belief in equality and justice and a societal willingness to tolerate and accept racial inequality and inequity.”

Why Should You Care?

  • Racism posing as “anti-racism.”
  • Accusations of “racism” for intellectual disagreeing with someone.
  • Guilty of “white fragility” for denying the racism that you do not have.
  • “White Silence” is violence.
  • “Violence” is freedom of speech; which will be attacked by real violence.
  • Accusations of “white privilege” for being successful.
  • Riots, looting, and anarchy under the flag of “Black Lives Matter.”

Welcome to the poisonous fruits of CRT — one of the many children of the “philosophy” of Postmodernism — the nihilistic philosophy of the anti-Enlightenment.

Proof of the power of ideas can be seen in an “obscure branch of academic thought called Critical Race Theory” writes Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay:

These ideas originated in the academic literature in the 1980s and 1990s and, until quite recently, seemed to have little impact. Helen Pluckrose and James LindsayThese (mostly bad) ideas have been mainstreaming over the last decade and especially over the last few months, as they are much of the theoretical underpinning of the contemporary Black Lives Matter movement.

The two have put together “A Beginner’s Curriculum on Critical Race Theory” on their website New Discourses.

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