A practice of interrogating

Janel George at the American Bar Association on Critical Race Theory:

CRT is not a diversity and inclusion “training” but a practice of interrogating the role of race and racism in society that emerged in the legal academy and spread to other fields of scholarship. [ Kimberlé ] Crenshaw—who coined the term “CRT”—notes that CRT is not a noun, but a verb. It cannot be confined to a static and narrow definition but is considered to be an evolving and malleable practice. It critiques how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers. CRT also recognizes that race intersects with other identities, including sexuality, gender identity, and others*. CRT recognizes that racism is not a bygone relic of the past. Instead, it acknowledges that the legacy of slavery, segregation, and the imposition of second-class citizenship on Black Americans and other people of color continue to permeate the social fabric of this nation. 

*Note the non-mention of sex. Trans people and LGB people count but women don’t. Janel George is a woman but left women out.

That aside – again I ask – is this so crazy? There’s been some progress, but it’s far from complete. Is that a hideously woke thing to say? There are statistics that back it up – on health, education, income, wealth, incarceration, debt – basic stuff like that.

Some “key tenets”:

  • Acknowledgement that racism is a normal feature of society and is embedded within systems and institutions, like the legal system, that replicate racial inequality. This dismisses the idea that racist incidents are aberrations but instead are manifestations of structural and systemic racism.

  • Rejection of popular understandings about racism, such as arguments that confine racism to a few “bad apples.” CRT recognizes that racism is codified in law, embedded in structures, and woven into public policy. CRT rejects claims of meritocracy or “colorblindness.” CRT recognizes that it is the systemic nature of racism that bears primary responsibility for reproducing racial inequality.

I’m guessing that’s where the conservatives ask to get off the bus. I’m guessing they’d rather think it’s individual Sin as opposed to socially embedded. I think that’s just fatuous. How could we possibly think it’s not embedded? Unless we live in the world with bags over our heads.

  • Recognition of the relevance of people’s everyday lives to scholarship. This includes embracing the lived experiences of people of color, including those preserved through storytelling, and rejecting deficit-informed research that excludes the epistemologies of people of color.

Ok that sounds like an opening to bullshit. If the idea is that storytelling should trump research, then no.

It could be a mixed bag – some reasonable claims and some groupthinky faddish crap.

26 Responses to “A practice of interrogating”

Leave a Comment

Subscribe without commenting