As someone who has been interested in understanding race and combatting racism in the U.S. for over 20 years, I feel justified in saying that the way that most people think about race in the U.S. is simplistic. So I was excited to find out about Critical Race Theory.

CRT is a body of legal theory (stemming from Critical Legal Studies) which is based on at least six premises – 1) story telling is a significant part of the law and disenfranchised people have different stories and ways of telling them, 2) racist behavior is not an aberration, but is normal practice, 3) elites act against racist behavior in society only when it serves them, 4) race is a social construct, not biological, 5) characteristics ascribed to a particular race will change (for example, Black people have been called “happy go lucky and childlike” historically in order to “rationalize” slavery, but are now most commonly called “threatening and criminal”) 6) people have intersecting identities, i.e. there is more than one way that they are affected by disenfranchisement or inequality. For instance, a Chinese single mother who is a lesbian has at least those three different lenses to look through. So does a Dominican Republic (Latino and Black) paraplegic, and a white Jewish immigrant, etc.

A few of the writers in this genre: Richard Delgado, Derrick Bell, Patricia Williams and of course many more, but my current favorite is Lisa Ikemoto.

Good books to read: Critical Race Theory – an Introduction; Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge

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