In my book, A Critical Look at CRT in Education, Research, and Social Policy, I discuss the core tenets that make up Critical Race Theory and the fact that it is much more than meets the eye. Since the Obama days, Americans have awakened to the rampant use of race as a weapon, with terms like white privilege being used to put white people in their place, inducing feelings of guilt for a past we had nothing to do with. Americans have accepted that slavery is a deep wound in need of healing and have tried to rectify the problem. The civil rights movement saw the passage of laws, which made it a federal crime to discriminate against anyone based on race, or any status that would identify an individual as a minority. This led to the notion of colorblindness, or meritocracy, where it was argued that race should no longer matter. The problem with Critical Race Theory is that the scholars and lawyers who use it as a research model reject the notions of equality as Americans understand them and insist that race be considered first in formulating social policy. Critical race research is driven by a commitment to social justice, and they begin their research from a subjective position of being active participants against racism. The primary issue driving all CRT research is the idea that the civil rights movement failed to remedy racial discrimination, except in its most obvious forms. This is where the term, institutional racism comes from.
Critical Race Theory is not a first-grade lesson about slavery, or an effort to make an individual think about race. It is a research model used by legal scholars to examine law and social policy from the perspective that the civil rights movement had failed to address systemic racism. One of the social policy issues closely examined by CRT scholars is affirmative action. There is a movement to eliminate affirmative action policies based on the idea that they lead to reverse discrimination. The term “rhetoric of innocence” describes the belief of CRT scholars that white people view themselves as innocent victims of reverse discrimination policies, therefore, Black people must be seen as guilty, or what they refer to as “defiled takers.” They are taking something they are not entitled to when utilizing affirmative action policies.
While most Americans would argue there is no need for affirmative action in a colorblind society, CRT researchers suggest it is the notions of colorblindness and meritocracy that justify the existence of racial preference policies because minorities are harmed when race is not considered a factor. This is coming from the same group of people who also call race a social construct. For instance, a paper entitled “Brilliant Disguise: An Empirical Analysis of a Social Experiment Banning Affirmative Action,” published in the Indiana Law Journal, suggests that the white majority exploits its own privilege when it gives itself permission to ignore racial realities. Furthermore, this paper suggests that there is more racial resentment towards minorities where race-based preferences have been eliminated and that a racialized stigma is more likely to occur because race has been decontextualized. The term “taken-for-grantedness” describes white privilege and the “systemic violence” against Black people when race is allowed to be ignored as a legitimate factor.
The idea of equality cannot be met unless people are free to achieve success on their own terms. The term colorblindness removes racial considerations from the equation to free racial minorities from the stigma that they are somehow disadvantaged in American society, while also preventing discrimination based on race. CRT researchers are arguing that the removal of affirmative action policies hurts racial minorities because it prevents race from being considered at all. This is what they call the new racial preferences, and it is discussed in detail in my book. To sum it up briefly, it is being argued by CRT advocates that removing racial preference quotas creates a new racial preference by giving priority to racial minorities who choose to ignore their own race. Remember, CRT researchers start their research from the preconceived notion of systemic racism, and as an “active participant in the fight for social justice.” Traditional notions of equality of opportunity based on merit are rejected by Critical Theorists in favor of their own subjective, Marxist viewpoints. They do not consider the possibility that a racial minority may want to be judged on the merits of their character and ability because, to CRT researchers, they are oppressed victims who need affirmative action to survive.
Critical Race Theory is used as a model of research for examining law and social policy. The driving theme behind it is that the civil rights era failed to remedy racial discrimination in an acceptable way and that systematic racism is still very much alive. To the CRT scholar, racism means not taking race into consideration when deciding social policy issues. In the effort to eliminate race-based quotas, CRT advocates argue that race is being “decontextualized,” and, from a legal perspective, minorities are being viewed as undeserving recipients in a system that justifies reverse discrimination against the white majority. None of this is true. Viewing race from a colorblind perspective allows all racial minorities to rise to the limits of what they expect of themselves. The same standards of success and achievement, despite being called social constructs by CRT researchers, are applied equally across the board. It is the belief that minorities need the protection of race-based quotas that shows the real racism in America. Most Americans understand this concept. The problem, however, is that the so-called academic papers which attempt to prove these viewpoints are accepted for publication and taken seriously by those who write our nation’s laws and social policies.
Don’t forget to check out my latest ebook, A Critical Look at CRT in Education, Research, and Social Policy.