Critical Race Theory

I don’t know how but I have been placed on a mailing list to get propaganda from Hillsdale College. The most recent one had the headline: “Critical Race Theory: What It Is and How to Fight it.” I’m saving the flyer in case anyone wants to see it.

As a rebuttal to the Hillsdale College propaganda flyer, I offer these excerpts from the American Bar Association website:

 Crenshaw—who coined the term “CRT”—notes that CRT is not a noun, but a verb. It cannot be confined to a static and narrow definition but is considered to be an evolving and malleable practice. It critiques how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers. CRT also recognizes that race intersects with other identities, including sexuality, gender identity, and others. CRT recognizes that racism is not a bygone relic of the past. Instead, it acknowledges that the legacy of slavery, segregation, and the imposition of second-class citizenship on Black Americans and other people of color continue to permeate the social fabric of this nation.  While recognizing the evolving and malleable nature of CRT, scholar Khiarah Bridges outlines a few key tenets of CRT, including:

  • Recognition that race is not biologically real but is socially constructed and socially significant. It recognizes that science (as demonstrated in the Human Genome Project) refutes the idea of biological racial differences. According to scholars Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, race is the product of social thought and is not connected to biological reality.
  • Acknowledgement that racism is a normal feature of society and is embedded within systems and institutions, like the legal system, that replicate racial inequality. This dismisses the idea that racist incidents are aberrations but instead are manifestations of structural and systemic racism.
  • Rejection of popular understandings about racism, such as arguments that confine racism to a few “bad apples.” CRT recognizes that racism is codified in law, embedded in structures, and woven into public policy. CRT rejects claims of meritocracy or “colorblindness.” CRT recognizes that it is the systemic nature of racism that bears primary responsibility for reproducing racial inequality.
  • Recognition of the relevance of people’s everyday lives to scholarship. This includes embracing the lived experiences of people of color, including those preserved through storytelling, and rejecting deficit-informed research that excludes the epistemologies of people of color.

Mari Matsudi described CRT as the work of progressive legal scholars seeking to address the role of racism in the law and the work to eliminate it and other configurations of subordination.

CRT grew from Critical Legal Studies (CLS), which argued that the law was not objective or apolitical. CLS was a significant departure from earlier conceptions of the law (and other fields of scholarship) as objective, neutral, principled, and dissociated from social or political considerations. Like proponents of CLS, critical race theorists recognized that the law could be complicit in maintaining an unjust social order. 

CRT calls for considering unintended consequences of proposed remedies, addressing intersecting policies and structures, and acting intentionally to ensure that harm is not further replicated by the legal system. Most of all, CRT demands challenging the status quo of racial inequality that has persisted for far too long in this nation and exploring how the law and lawyers can help to finally upend it.

Like any other approach, CRT can be misunderstood and misapplied. It has been distorted and attacked. And it continues to change and evolve. The hope in CRT is in its recognition that the same policies, structures, and scholarship that can function to disenfranchise and oppress so many also holds the potential to emancipate and empower many. It provides a lens through which the civil rights lawyer can imagine a more just nation.

Link to article:


Excerpts from Hillsdale College’s propaganda pamphlet about Critical Race Theory:

Marx believed that the primary characteristic of industrial societies was the imbalance of power between capitalists and workers. The solution to that imbalance, according to Marx, was revolution: the workers would eventually gain consciousness of their plight, seize the means of production, overthrow the capitalist class, and …. Abandoning Marx’s economic dialectic of capitalists and workers, the Marxist intellectuals in the West substituted race for class and sought to create a revolutionary coalition of the dispossessed based on racial and ethic categories. … The radical Left has proved resilient and enduring–which is where critical race theory comes in.

https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Imprimis_Mar_3-21_6pgNM.pdf

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