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What is Critical Race theory?   


Peter Clark
@Peter.Clark · Posted 01 Sep. 2021


Lily Campbell
@Lily.Campbell · Posted 01 Sep. 2021

CRT looks at racism and race in dominant cultural expressions from a theoretical and interpretive perspective. Scholars at the CRT use this approach to understand how victims of systemic racism are impacted by cultural perceptions of race, as well as how they can challenge discrimination by representing themselves.

WHAT IS CRITICAL RACE THEORY?

A critical race theory (CRT) is a movement that challenges conventional legal strategies as incapable of delivering social and economic justice and explicitly calls for legal approaches that incorporate race as a primary aspect of American culture. While many of the cultural and political concerns are similar to the civil rights movement, socioeconomic and historical contexts help situate those concerns. As a result, the Equal Rights Amendment is often elevated above the First Amendment's liberties provisions. It was not until 1989, though, when the first annual workshop on Critical Race Theory was held that the concept of critical race theory (CRT) officially became an organized practice.

Derrick Bell's philosophical writings in the 1970s and early 1980s lay the foundation for CRT. As scholars, lawyers, and activists realized, a number of civil rights advances in the 1960s and 1970s had been reversed or stopped. In some ways, CRT embraces the view that racism is a fundamental aspect of American society, not merely a legal aberration; that any given culture constructs its own social reality for its own reasons. Accordingly, in the United States, minority interests are used to benefit the system's self-interest, and the system's dominance ensures that minorities' struggles are tolerated and encouraged only when this is to the advantage of the majority.

WHAT IS CRITICAL RACE THEORY IN EDUCATION?

Critical race theory (CRT) in education is a body of legal scholarship and an academic movement of civil-rights scholars and activists who challenge mainstream American liberal approaches to racial justice through a critical analysis of race and the law.

WHAT IS CRITICAL RACE THEORY IN SIMPLE TERMS?

It is even more than 40 years since critical race theory was first developed. Racial discrimination is not only a social construction but a systemic practice that's embedded into legal policies as well. Critical race theory in simple terms originated in the late 1970s and also early 1980s through legal scholars Derrick Bell,  Richard Delgado, and Kimberlé Crenshaw, among others.

WHAT IS CRITICAL RACE THEORY IN A NUTSHELL?

Racism is the lens through which critical race theory examines American history. During the civil rights movement of the 1960s, scholars saw no tangible progress in the racial equality movement. The argument is centered around the idea that racism is institutionally ingrained in our institutions, and that these institutions function to maintain white supremacy.

CRT can also be misunderstood or misapplied, as can any other method. Various distortions and attacks have been made against it. CRT has the potential to emancipate and empower a large number of individuals, in part because it recognizes that the same structures, policies, and proposals that tend to diminish and oppress so many others also have the potential to emancipate them. It gives lawyers the opportunity to envision a nation that is juster.


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