What Is Critical Race Theory (CRT)?
How Do You Define Critical Race Theory?
What Is Critical Race Theory?
The core idea is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies.
- Central Ideas of Critical Race Theory
- Racism is institutionalized
- Racism is embedded in America's history, legal systems, and policies.
- Acknowledges the continuing impacts of slavery and segregation in America
- Critiques how institutionalized racism perpetuates a caste system that is inherently unequal.
Principals of Critical Race Theory
1. Race is a social construct
Race is not biologically real (as demonstrated in the Human Genome Project) but rather a social construct.
According to scholars Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, race is the product of social thought and is not connected to biological reality
2. Acknowledge racism as a feature of society
Racism is not just based on the actions of individuals, but rather that racism is embedded in America's:
- legal codes
Racism and prejudice exists everywhere in American life from the workplace, to schools, and businesses.
3. Racism is codified in law & public policy
Addresses why racial disparity exists in America so to eradicate racism and eliminate oppression.
CRT recognizes that it is the systemic nature of racism that bears primary responsibility for reproducing racial inequality.
4. Importance of Experienced Knowledge preserved through storytelling
Experiences (storytelling, biographies, parables, narratives, family histories, the list goes on) of People of Color are crucial to understanding racism and changing the American society for the better.
Questions That CRT Seeks To Answer
1. Why is it that racial inequality endures and persists, even decades after laws have been passed to serve all?
2. Why is racism still enduring and how do we truly abolish it?
Critical race theory emerged in the 1970s as a response to Critical Legal Studies (CLS), which argued that law was not objective or apolitical. The way to solve oppression was to pass legal reforms that expanded existing rights and provided more pathways for victims of discrimination to receive remedy.