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What Is Critical Race Theory?

What is critical race theory (CRT)? Critical race theory is a field of study that seeks to challenge the legal theories that support colorblindness, objectivity, and neutrality. Scholars who study CRT acknowledge that racism is a quotidian part of American life and that it manifests itself in many textual sources. These scholars try to challenge the practices and beliefs that make racism so prevalent. In this article, we will examine the most important arguments that support CRT.

Critics of critical race theory

Although the concept of critical race theory has been around for decades, some Americans disagree on its merits. While some argue that the concept is essential for understanding racism in America, others say it is divisive and pits black and brown people against whites. While this debate is still alive and well, many people are beginning to see the light on this controversial theory. Here are some of the most common criticisms of critical race theory.

Many of the arguments against critical race theory are rooted in the idea that racism and structural racism can affect racial interactions. Critical race theory explains the unconscious processes that lead to inequities and discrimination. For example, it describes how diversity on a team will lead to innovation and improved solutions. However, critics of critical race theory say that it fails to address structural racism, which accounts for a majority of anti-Asian hate crimes.

Criticism of legal theories that support colorblindness, objectivity, and neutrality

Critical examination of the relationship between colorblindness, objectivity, and constitutional law reveals the insidious effects of the constitutional doctrine on religious pluralism and racial equality. Colorblindness in American constitutional law entrenched racial inequalities, while the elevated status of religious neutrality in European legal systems may promote inegalitarian outcomes. This paper traces the history of judicial reasoning relating to the constitutional concepts of colorblindness and neutrality.

Historically, Harlan’s quote has been used to promote a color-blind ideology, arguing that race should not be considered or ignored. While his original intention was to ensure that all people have equal access to civil rights, this quote has been misinterpreted and twisted to justify the commitment to ignore race and objectivity. Critics of color-blind legal theories believe that this commitment to neutrality is inimical to anti-racist activism.

Development of critical race theory in the 1970s

While the early years of critical race theory were largely confined to law school classrooms, some legal scholars took it seriously. Jerome Frank and Karl Llewellyn, who had both taught at Yale Law School, noticed that the law may differ depending on the individual who presides over a case. These legal realists often viewed justice through a racial lens and laid the foundation for later Critical Race Theorists.

During this period, students became aware of the persistent, blatant racial disparities despite civil rights legislation. They developed new tools and principles to explain these disparities. One workshop organized by Professor Crenshaw helped establish what became known as critical race theory. Today, critical race theory has become a catchall phrase for racial concepts. Although the term has become a common one, many conservatives still view it as a rewriting of history.

Impact of critical race theory on education

The concept of critical race theory emerged from postmodernist thought, which tends to be skeptical of individual merit, objective knowledge, and universal values. Its advocates, however, have held liberal values. This theory aims to change these attitudes by encouraging students to think critically and creatively. To achieve this, it must embrace a multi-racial society, which is increasingly diverse. In the case of education, critical race theory has the potential to change the way educators approach classrooms.

Critical race theory is an intellectual current that has ties to many literary and sociological theories. These ideas have found their way into education, especially teacher training. While critics have accused critical race theory advocates of promoting racism and intolerance, the academic understanding of the concept is far different. The Heritage Foundation attributes several current events and debates to the theory, from the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, to the expansion of LGBTQ clubs in public schools, to ethnic studies model curriculum, and free speech on college campuses. And many have blamed Parkland school shooting on the theory.

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