My Two Cents on Critical Race Theory
AbstractThesis title: “My Two Cents on Critical Race Theory”Chapter One: Context and ControversySince Critical Race Theory (CRT) was developed in the United States, Chapter One establishes the relevant historical and contemporary context. I discuss how the Atlantic Slave Trade and Jim Crow segregation established an unjust racial hierarchy that was entrenched by science, religion, and the law. I then turn to recent events to explain why CRT has become a major flashpoint in the ‘culture wars’ in the US and how the Trump Administration took executive action to ban its teaching in federal agencies.
Chapter Two: CRT’s epistemological rootsThis chapter is divided into two parts. Section One establishes the major philosophical influences on CRT: Marxism and Postmodernism. Section Two defines what “Critical Theories” are, with reference to their origins in the Frankfurt School and key concepts like repressive and liberating tolerance (Herbert Marcuse) and critical pedagogy (Paulo Freire). This background is key to understanding how CRT aims to awaken a “race consciousness” through praxis. Section Three discusses CRT’s more proximate roots in Critical Legal Studies and American Legal Realism to outline aspects of its unique legal lens and why the leading Critical Race theorists eventually became disillusioned with CLS and split off to form CRT.
Chapter Three: Critical Race TheoryThis chapter sets out the key principles of CRT. I establish the differences between the materialist and postmodern schools of CRT and give my evaluation of some of its more salient principles.
Chapter Four: Critical Race Praxis: Anti-Racism Because a Critical Theory involves a combination of theory and praxis, this final chapter sets out my understanding of what Critical Race praxis looks like in the real world. I provide several case studies to show how CRT, and its foundations in Marxism and Postmodernism, determine real-world outcomes in the practice of anti-racism.