Talk:Critical race theory

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Key Theoretical Elements[edit]

I am a graduate student who has recently begun to study CRT. For the average reader, I think that it might be helpful to clarify the key theoretical elements by adding more to the definitions and by adding examples. I plan to do so soon. I would like to add the edits to the talk page first and obtain feedback before changing any text on the main page. N r davisUSA (talk) 16:49, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Yes, please do that.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:52, 24 April 2012 (UTC)


Here is the updated version. I have used Wiki code and have documented the sources for each of the items. Some of the items are linked out to other Wiki pages, I hope. This is the first time I have ever posted to a Wiki page, so please bear with me as I learn the process.


CRT’s theoretical elements are provided by a variety of sources. Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic have documented the following major themes as characteristic of work in critical race theory:

  • A critique of liberalism: CRT scholars favor a more aggressive approach to social transformation as opposed to liberalism's more cautious approach, favor a race conscious approach to transformation rather than liberalism's embrace of color blindness, and favor an approach that relies more on political organizing, in contrast to liberalism's reliance on rights-based remedies. [1]
  • Storytelling/counterstorytelling and "naming one's own reality"--using narrative to illuminate and explore experiences of racial oppression. [2]
  • Revisionist interpretations of American civil rights law and progress—criticizing civil rights scholarship and anti-discrimination law. An example is Brown v. Board of Education. Derrick Bell, one of CRT’s founders, argued that civil rights advances for blacks coincided with the self-interest of white elitist. Mary Dudziak performed extensive archival research in the US Department of State and US Department of Justice as well as the correspondence by US ambassadors abroad. She found that the passing of the law was to improve the US image abroad in Third World countries that the US needed as allies in the Cold War. It was not because they thought people of color were being discriminated against.[3] [4][5]
  • Applying insights from social science writing on race and racism to legal problems. [6]
  • The intersections is the examination of race, sex, class, national origin, and sexual orientation, and how their combination plays out in various settings. --e.g., how the needs of a female who is Latina are different from a male who is black and whose needs are the ones promoted. [7] [8]
  • Essentialism —reducing the experience of a category (like gender or race) to the experience of one sub-group (like white women or African-Americans). Basically, all oppressed people share the commonality of oppression. However, that oppression varies by gender, class, race, etc., so the aims and strategies will differ for each of these groups. [9] [10]
  • Structural determinism, or how "the structure of legal thought or culture influences its content," is the concept that a mode of thought or widely shared practice determines significant social outcomes, usually without our conscious knowledge. Because of this, our system cannot redress certain kinds of wrongs. [13] [14]
  • White privilege refers to the myriad of social advantages, benefits, and courtesies that come with being a member of the dominant race, such as a clerk not following you around in a store or not having people cross the street at night to avoid you. [15]
  • Microaggression are the sudden, stunning, or dispiriting transactions that mar the days of people of color. They are small acts of racism consciously or unconsciously perpetrated and are like water dripping on a rock wearing away at it slowly. The micoraggressions are based on the assumptions about racial matters that are absorbed from cultural heritage. [16]
  • Empathic fallacy is the belief that one can change a narrative by offering another, better one and that the reader’s or listener’s empathy will quickly and reliably take over. Empathy is not enough to change racism as most people are not exposed to many people different from themselves and people mostly seek out information about their own culture and group. [17]

Gloria J. Ladson-Billings adds the theoretical element of whiteness as property. She describes whiteness as the ultimate property which whites alone can possess. It is valuable and is property. The ‘property functions of whiteness’—rights to disposition, rights to use and enjoyment, reputation and status property, and the absolute right to exclude—make the American dream a more likely and attainable reality for whites as citizens. For a CRT critic, the white skin color that some Americans possess is like owning a piece of property. It grants privileges to the owner that a renter would not have. In this way, a renter (or a person of color) is not afforded the privileges of owners. [18]

Karen Pyke documents the theoretical element of internalized racism or internalized racial oppression. The victims of racism begin to believe the ideology that they are inferior and white people and white culture are superior. The internalizing of racism is not due to any weakness, ignorance, inferiority, psychological defect, gullibility, or other shortcomings of the oppressed Instead, it is how authority and power in all aspects of society contributes to inequality. [19]

Camara Phyllis Jones defines institutionalized racism as the structures, policies, practices, and norms resulting in differential access to the goods, services, and opportunities of society by race. Institutionalized racism is normative, sometimes legalized, and often manifests as inherited disadvantage. It is structural, having been absorbed into our institutions of custom, practice, and law, so there need not be an identifiable offender. Indeed, institutionalized racism is often evident as inaction in the face of need. Institutionalized racism manifests itself both in material conditions and in access to power. With regard to material conditions, examples include differential access to quality education, sound housing, gainful employment, appropriate medical facilities, and a clean environment.[20]
N r davisUSA (talk) 02:02, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Ooops. I wanted to provide the list of sources since you can't see them at the moment. For the items that I did not update, I documented using the previous writer's source. These are the sources for the rest of it that I used.

  • Delgado, Richard, and Jean Stefancic. Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. New York: New York UP, 2001.
  • Ladson-Billings, Gloria. "Chapter 1: Just What Is Critical Race Theory, and What's It Doing in a Nice Field Like Education?." Race Is...Race Isn't: Critical Race Theory & Qualitative Studies in Education, (1999): 7-30.
  • Pyke, Karen. "What Is Internalized Racial Oppression and Why Don't We Study It? Acknowledging Racism's Hidden Injuries." Sociological Perspectives, 53.4 (2010): 551-572.
  • Jones, Camara Phyllis. "Confronting Institutionalized Racism." Phylon (1960-), 50.1 (2002): 7-22.
  • Dudziak, Mary. "Desegregation as a Cold War Imperative." Stanford Law Review, 41.1 (1988): 61-120.

  • Source used by original writer: Delgado, Richard, and Jean Stefancic. "Critical Race Theory: An Annotated Bibliography." Virginia Law Review, 79.2 (1993): 461-516.

137.28.203.147 (talk) 16:10, 26 April 2012 (UTC) N r davisUSA (talk) 16:12, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

References
  1. ^ Delgado, Richard; Jean Stefancic (1993-03-01). "Critical Race Theory: An Annotated Bibliography". Virginia Law Review 79 (2): 461–516. doi:10.2307/1073418. ISSN 0042-6601. JSTOR 1073418. 
  2. ^ Delgado, Richard; Jean Stefancic (1993-03-01). "Critical Race Theory: An Annotated Bibliography". Virginia Law Review 79 (2): 461–516. doi:10.2307/1073418. ISSN 0042-6601. JSTOR 1073418. 
  3. ^ Delgado, Richard; Jean Stefancic (1993-03-01). "Critical Race Theory: An Annotated Bibliography". Virginia Law Review 79 (2): 461–516. doi:10.2307/1073418. ISSN 0042-6601. JSTOR 1073418. 
  4. ^ Delgado, Richard; Jean Stefancic (2011-12). Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. NYU Press. pp. 18–21. ISBN 978-0-8147-2136-0. 
  5. ^ Dudziak, Mary (1993-11). "Desegration as a Cold War Imperative". Stanford Law Review 41 (1): 61–120. JSTOR http://www.jstor.org/stable/1228836. 
  6. ^ Delgado, Richard; Jean Stefancic (1993-03-01). "Critical Race Theory: An Annotated Bibliography". Virginia Law Review 79 (2): 461–516. doi:10.2307/1073418. ISSN 0042-6601. JSTOR 1073418. 
  7. ^ Delgado, Richard; Jean Stefancic (1993-03-01). "Critical Race Theory: An Annotated Bibliography". Virginia Law Review 79 (2): 461–516. doi:10.2307/1073418. ISSN 0042-6601. JSTOR 1073418. 
  8. ^ Delgado, Richard; Jean Stefancic (2011-12). Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. NYU Press. pp. 51–55. ISBN 978-0-8147-2136-0. 
  9. ^ Delgado, Richard; Jean Stefancic (1993-03-01). "Critical Race Theory: An Annotated Bibliography". Virginia Law Review 79 (2): 461–516. doi:10.2307/1073418. ISSN 0042-6601. JSTOR 1073418. 
  10. ^ Delgado, Richard; Jean Stefancic (2011-12). Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. NYU Press. pp. 56–57. ISBN 978-0-8147-2136-0. 
  11. ^ Delgado, Richard; Jean Stefancic (1993-03-01). "Critical Race Theory: An Annotated Bibliography". Virginia Law Review 79 (2): 461–516. doi:10.2307/1073418. ISSN 0042-6601. JSTOR 1073418. 
  12. ^ Delgado, Richard; Jean Stefancic (1993-03-01). "Critical Race Theory: An Annotated Bibliography". Virginia Law Review 79 (2): 461–516. doi:10.2307/1073418. ISSN 0042-6601. JSTOR 1073418. 
  13. ^ Delgado, Richard; Jean Stefancic (1993-03-01). "Critical Race Theory: An Annotated Bibliography". Virginia Law Review 79 (2): 461–516. doi:10.2307/1073418. ISSN 0042-6601. JSTOR 1073418. 
  14. ^ Delgado, Richard; Jean Stefancic (2011-12). Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. NYU Press. pp. 26,155. ISBN 978-0-8147-2136-0. 
  15. ^ Delgado, Richard; Jean Stefancic (2011-12). Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. NYU Press. pp. 78–80. ISBN 978-0-8147-2136-0. 
  16. ^ Delgado, Richard; Jean Stefancic (2011-12). Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. NYU Press. pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-0-8147-2136-0. 
  17. ^ Delgado, Richard; Jean Stefancic (2011-12). Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. NYU Press. pp. 27–29. ISBN 978-0-8147-2136-0. 
  18. ^ Ladson-Billings, Gloria (1999). Race Is...Race Isn't: Critical Race Theory & Qualitative Studies in Education. NP. p. 15. 
  19. ^ Pyke, Karen (Winter 2010). "What Is Internalized Racial Oppression and Why Don't We Study It? Acknowledging Racism's Hidden Injuries". Sociological Perspectives 53 (4): 552. JSTOR 07311214. 
  20. ^ Jones, Camara Phyllis (2002). "Confronting Institutionalized Racism". Phylon 50 (1): 9–10. JSTOR 4149999. 



Please let me know if I may add my recommendations to the main page. Thank you. N r davisUSA (talk) 23:54, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

I would encourage you to go ahead. It can always be tweaked later if someone else disagrees.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 01:11, 28 April 2012 (UTC)



I have moved this to the main page. N r davisUSA (talk) 16:19, 1 May 2012 (UTC)


What I Modified for the Key Elements section of Critical Race Theory.

  • Key Elements – Changed Name from Key theoretical elements to Key elements
  • Added sentence - CRT's theoretical elements are provided by a variety of sources.
  • Worked all Delgado and Stefancic bullets except “Applying,” “Cultural nationalism,” and “Legal institution.”
  • Added additional elements to the Delgado & Stefancic section: white privilege, microaggressions, and empathic fallacy.
  • Updated sentence structures for storytelling and critique of liberalism in Delgado and Stefancic section
  • Added more information to existing Delgado and Stefancic bullets: revisionist interpretation, intersections, essentialism, structural determinism
  • Added new info: Gloria J. Ladson-Billings, Karen Pyke, and Camara Phyllis Jones.
  • Updated citations so that every element has a source listed.
  • Added internal links to white privilege, micoraggressions, oppression, Gloria Ladson-Billings, and institutionalized racism.


Shouldn't the article be written in a way so that a general audience can read and understand it? Considering audience, I do recommend looking at the first part of the "Key elements" section. There is academic jargon that a general audience may not understand. N r davisUSA (talk) 00:29, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

Ben Shapiro[edit]

I still posit that the comments of Mr. Shapiro are not relevant to this article. His graduating law school a few years ago merely adds him to the ranks of the million or two lawyers extant in the USA. His accomplishments since graduation appear to be hosting right-wing talk radio, multiple appearances on Fox News, becoming an editor at breitbart.com, and having WorldNetDaily publish his pamphlet. I believe he falls easily into the politically-motivated category.

I believe the Pyle except from the Boston Law Review should remain, but don't think Shapiro has the credentials necessary or worthy to merit the inclusion of the derogatory statements he makes prior to introducing the Pyle text. 24.106.8.146 (talk) 19:26, 12 July 2012 (UTC) Paul

I just deleted an unformated, non-constructive and unsigned reaction to the above. I also fixed the spelling of "derogatory" ;) Jonny Quick (talk) 19:01, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Europe[edit]

I understand that rightwing/white criticism gets ignored, but maybe the negative reception in Europe should be addressed? (Eg. in Germany the terminology was introduced in universities, but immigrant organisations oppose the concept and argue that in Europe they are discriminated because of being non-germans/french/.. or muslims and not because of "being Black". Many claim that critical whiteness studies do not fit for Europe, complain that various US-theories get simply copied by the European left and that artifical categories get imposed on immigrants, who have to deal with other problems) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 178.190.105.228 (talk) 16:17, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

We cover what the sources discuss, but not our personal analysis. Do you have any reliable sources that talk about the application of Critical Race Theory in places outside of the US? -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 16:19, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Fundamental, Critical, Genetic Differences in Races[edit]

Does "Critical Race Theory" take into account that one component of racial divisions may be that there are scientifically provable differences between races, and that at least some of what passes for "racism" is really the natural reaction to the suppression of that possible truth, to the extent that it is considered racist to even ask the question(s), such as if there are scientifically demonstrable differences in intelligence between races, that some races are more or less likely to commit crime and violence, that some races have demonstrated a superior ability to adapt to a changing environment and survive while others do not, etc... In short, does CRT allow for the question that one race may be better or worse than another in some respect?Jonny Quick (talk) 15:29, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

I am not really sure, but Nazism does. Perhaps you might feel more comfortable editing that article? Hammersbach (talk) 23:55, 26 November 2013 (UTC)