The Critical Race Theory

Cornell West writes that “critical race theory compels us to confront critically the most explosive issue in American civilization: the historical centrality and complicity of law in upholding white supremacy. ” This theory tries to dig deep into the more subtle forms of unconscious or conscious racism. It took off after many began to see the efforts of the civil rights movement stall. Many also thought that the progress that was made during the civil rights era was being decreased, so a few early writers converged to fight these passive forms of racism.

Not only did the CRT stem from civil rights but it also constructed a lot of itself off the insight of critical legal studies and radical feminism. This movement put critical thinking to its best by adopting the idea of indeterminacy, meaning, one interprets one fact differently from another gaining a different outcome. This theory is one that causes major controversy, because some believe that it is a way that black leadership in this country has pardoned black people of responsibility, arguing that race, not truth, is the paramount factor in areas such as criminal justice, education and politics.

While this may be true to a certain extent I still believe that race does play a part in those aspects. Also, another reason why it has caused controversy is because, this theory states that we are unable to make rational choices because of past experiences in our life. For example, if a black child was abused by white children while growing up, they will unconsciously harbor negative emotions toward white people whether they want to or not. An idea of the CRT is one of white privilege.

An example of this is one in which a white woman goes into a grocery store and forgets her check book and the cashier allows her to take her groceries upon the agreement that she bring the check back later, while on the other hand a black man wouldn’t have that privilege. White privilege, like any social phenomenon, is complex. In a white supremacist culture, all white people have privilege, whether or not they are overtly racist themselves.

There are general patterns, but such privilege plays out differently depending on context and other aspects of one’s identity (male or female). I think whites are taught not to recognize white privilege just as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. In the world we live in there will always be an overcast of white supremacy in my opinion. This is until, as a country starting from the top of the pole all the way down to the bottom, we change our mindset and I can’t see that happening anytime soon. CRITICAL RACE THEORY Joseph Bryant Pols 410

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