Critical Race Theory (CRT)
We live in a world where race is perceived as the most crucial part of personalities, and it helps shape individual’s identity with the society. Inherently, racism is ingrained in the current society, and many people perceive it as ordinary even though most denounce racist beliefs as immoral. Racialization process complicated as it is experienced globally. The Critical Race Theory (CRT) is an interpretive and theoretical mode that examines how race appears across the dominant cultural settings. This theory was developed during the mid-1970s by Derrick Bell, Richard Delgado, and Alan Freeman, who attempted to acknowledge how the cultural perceptions of race influence Racism victims. CRT began as a law movement to counter issues through key propositions that ethnic studies and civil rights failed to disclose.
Key Principles of CRT
Critical race theorists postulated that the legal institutions in the U.S created and maintained political, social, and economic inequalities between non-white and whites. The CRT scholars developed this theory to examine how the legal institutions favored the wealthy and powerful over the marginalized and poor. These fundamental problems prompted Derrick, Richard, & Alan (1970s) to develop propositions that will help address racialization in society.
- “Racism is Ordinary, Aberrational”
The basic tenets of CRT, according to the theorist, postulated that: racism is ordinary, aberrational; race is socially constructed, not biologically natural; and unique voice of color. These claims enable CRT scholars to express their views of racism through legal studies. According to the first claim of CR theorists, racism is normal in the United States; therefore, it is difficult to address and cure as society has normalized the conception of equality on color (Harris, 1993). White privileges enhance advantages in economics, politics, and social setting. This aspect creates division as the white citizen obtains advantages in access to power, educational opportunities, and social status. Thus, the notion of white privileges is obvious and makes it difficult to cure racism as the culture tends to normalize white citizens’ experiences, ignoring the experiences of non-white individuals.
- “Race is socially constructed, not biologically Natural.”
The second principle of CRT is that race is socially constructed, not biologically natural. According to the CRT scholars, racism develops from social relations and thoughts. It is neither genetic nor biological but a product of social inventions (Brizee et al., 2015). In addition, it emerges from the society that invents, manipulates other people where convenient. People with common origin tend to share physical traits such as physique, hair texture, and skin color. However, in their proposition, Derrick, Richard & Alan Freeman claimed that these features take a small portion of individuals’ genetic endowment and have less or no relations with personality, moral behavior, and intelligence. Thus racism is created not genetically born.
- “Unique Voice of Color.”
Another proposition is the “unique voice of color.” The CRT scholars identified that different experiences and histories with oppression, makes the people of color makes this people have the unique voice of communicating to the white counterpart about racism act they white are unaware off (Delgado et al., 2012). Thus, the minority status makes the people of color acquire presumed competence in order to speak about racialization and racism. Through the critical race theorist, the brown and black writers’ movements are urged to recount their encounters with the legal system and racism and utilize their unique voice or perspective to law narratives (Ford & Airhihenbuwa, 2018). Thus, with communication competence, uniquely qualified persons are urged to express any form of oppression and views about racism provide their insights are according to legal system jurisdiction.
Empirical Studies on the Critical Race Theory
The critical Race Theory was initially used in the legal system to express the civil rights of people of color, particularly in the United States. With diverse activists, legal scholars, and lawyers standing against oppression, the critical race theory was developed in the mid-1970s to enable the law and legal system to address race and racisms (Delgado et al., 2012). The CRT scholars have closely connected this theory with fields such as history, sociology, law, and philosophy. This aspect intends to trace and address racism in America through Civil Rights Movements, the nation’s legacy of slavery, and other recent events. The theory drew its works from other writers like Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and others studying poststructuralism. Following the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, the Critical Race Theorist developed this proposition to give insight into recognizing racism.
The CRT scholars also emphasize researching diverse individuals who shared their experiences with racialization. They establish individuals’ identity and experiences with racial identification and incorporate sexual orientation, specific class, nation, gender, et cetera. By studying the diverse cultural texts, the scholars established institutionalized racialized groups and daily individual experiences from racisms. As Richard, Delgado & Jean (2013) postulate in “Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge,” people have the power to social construct the world with stories, words, and silence. Thus, the rules, assignment of power and prestige, and practices are not fixed as they are social constructed rather not biological. The CRT contributes to the greater scope in the legal and education field as laws and teachers can educate people on racialization and challenge them to intellectual work towards fairness.
With the emergence of conservation organizations like the Heritage Foundation, the critical race theory has recently gain concern over the issues of racism from a host of movements like the 2020 Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ clubs in learning institutions, free speech debate in campuses, and diversity training in the federal agencies (Sawchuk, 2021). With the increase in racism, the critical race theorists have been at the forefront of addressing criminal justice, hate crimes and hate speech, poverty, welfare states, voting rights, immigration, police brutality, and health care (Delgado et al., 2012). Thus, Most CRT scholarship tries to demonstrate how racism is a pervasive component and how consistent racism denies peopling their constitutional freedoms, particularly those promised in U.S governing documents.
By advocating conferences and events that help people, especially the Whites, the CRT scholars challenge the government to use this approach to shape racist individuals’ identity (Gates Jr, 2014). Fundamentally, this approach will help scholars and people to understand the way race interacts with class and gender, among other identities. In addition, incorporating the Critical Race Theory in related fields like feminism, history, and women’s studies will establish the issues of racism and the affected individuals served with justice.
Limitation of Critical Race Theory
The CRT has some limitations despite its significance in addressing racialization. One of the major limitations of the theory is that some scholars claim that CRT theory advocates for discrimination against white people to achieve equality (Sawchuk, 2021). As the CRT scholar postulated that racism is ordinary, the critics have tabled legislation to ban this theory. The critics say that the theory only increases discrimination and division as policymakers, teachers, the general public, and lawyers can fall into intensive disagreements about race (Ford & Airhihenbuwa, 2018). For instance, in 2007, the U.S Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts, advanced that racial discrimination can be stopped if and only if discrimination on the white race has been stopped.
Conclusively, Critical Race Theory has been influential in law and the legal system, and currently, it is gaining significance in education, health care, and other fields. CRT scholars play a crucial role in advocating that race and racism are socially constructed, not individuals who are born racist. The theory has exposed the oppression that the non-white population encounters in Americans through different propositions and movements. With the main fields incorporating this theory, their units and oneness have been created in most societies. Despite threats from banning this theory, its significance has emerged with social initiatives like Black Lives Matter.