Critical Race Theory

CRT Image

CRT seeks to identify “laws, policies, and procedures that function to produce racial inequality.”
It looks at statistics that may show evidence of structural racism.

The characteristics of structural racism:

  1. Lack of intentionality: Structurally racist laws “do not have racial subordination as their purpose or design.”
  2. Banality: The practices that sustain racial inequality are not spectacular… they are daily, prosaic, mundane, ordinary.
  3. Race neutrality: Laws and procedures reproduce racial hierarchy without mentioning race at all.

There are complex ways that laws create racial inequality through structural racism. The purpose of CRT is to understand the structural causes of racial inequality — large and small — in order to dismantle them and create a fairer society. CRT scholars use similar analysis to explain how the law creates racial inequality in health, education, and other areas.

Disagreeing with some or all of CRT does not make you a racist. CRT is a lively field of academic study and many CRT scholars disagree with each other.

Lies being propagated about CRT:

  1. CRT is being taught in K-12 schools: It is NOT being taught in K-12 schools. The reason is simple: The concepts underlying CRT are generally beyond the scope of undergraduate education.
  2. CRT is about making white people feel guilty: Critics of CRT acknowledge that CRT itself is not being taught in schools but students are being taught concepts derived from CRT. CRT is about how structures — not individuals — create racial inequality and injustice. “According to most definitions of institutional racism, actors — be they good, bad, or indifferent — are irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, as they play a minuscule role in something much bigger than themselves,”. CRT is not about making white people feel guilty. It’s an argument that racial inequality is the product of something bigger than discrete individual action.
  3. CRT is about defining people based on their race: CRT scholars believe that race is a social construct and not a biological entity. They believe there is nothing “inherently” flawed or good about being a white person or black person. They are artificial categories that society constructed. CRT scholars reject the idea that inequalities between races can be explained through genetics. But Rather, CRT scholars believe the racial hierarchy has to be acknowledged in order to be dismantled. CRT embraces “race consciousness in the service of racial justice.” CRT teaches we should be aware of racial inequality not because people of different races are inherently different, but because they are the same.

Book: Critical Race Theory: A Primer, by Khiara Bridges (Berkeley Law Professor)