Intro to Critical Race Theory

Critical race theory is a framework used by many to see the world in terms of race and power. Based on postmodernism, this concept is a significant influence on how many people see the world today. Primarily this relates to the difference in power and privilege between people who are white and black.

Tenets

Some proponents of critical race theory believe that race is a social construct developed to maintain the supremacy of white people. In addition, color was also at one time used to justify slavery. However, many also say that race is central when dealing with any issues of power and oppression. A significant problem is that it is difficult to define precisely what critical race theory is, and as with all definitions, there is no consensus.

Other significant tenets of critical race theory are the idea of white supremacy and white privilege, which means that people who are white have certain advantages due to their skin color. Another tenet is the need to give people of color a voice. By voice, it may mean being a part of decision-making and sharing grievances from oppression.

A final central tenet of critical race theory is the idea of intersectionality. Intersectionality is the idea that a person can be a member of more than one oppressed group. A classic example of this is a black woman. Such a person may experience oppression due to their race (black) or sex (female). As such, you can add more and more groups if a person continues to fight them based on the traits that are a part of their being.

Types

There are at least two types of critical theorists, and these are the materialists and the postmodern. The materialist look at how economic, legal, and politics affect race and may be considered to align more with communism. The postmodern focuses more on linguistics, deconstructing discourse to find power imbalances, and searching for implicit bias. Examples of what the postmodern critical race theorists do is look for things as microaggression, hate speech, cultural appropriation. These terms are used every day to attack people on social media. For example, being surprised that someone who is black is married because of the high out of wedlock birth rate would be considered microaggression by some and maybe even hate speech by others. The postmodern camp is generally more common today.

Both of these schools of thought have in common that they both dislike or even hate liberalism with its focus on incremental change. For example, many view Martin Luther King Jr as a liberal because he wanted to downplay color and focus on character. In critical race theory, it is all about color first and then some consideration of character.

Another trait of agreement is the view of knowledge as a social construct. This means that the marginalized groups determine what is true and not some external standard such as science or religion. To determine who is right, look for which group is more oppressed in a particular situation. This can be insanely confusing if it is taken seriously.

Even when there are attempts to end racism, this is viewed with suspicion by critical theorists. There have been accusations that white people give rights and opportunities to blacks only when it benefits them. In addition, legislation that is anti-racist supports racism. If these two beliefs are commonly believed, it makes it difficult for there ever to be any solution to justice and oppression.

Conclusion

Critical race theory is one of many schools of thought that has seized the minds of many. People who adhere to this worldview see race and oppression in most aspects of life. When a person sees problems of oppression everywhere, it is natural to wonder how they can have any sense of happiness or peace.

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