As unlikely as it seems, a highly obscure academic theory known as Critical Race Theory has completely mainstreamed in society, and now everyone is discussing it. While Critical Race Theory has the noble goal of pointing out problems that can be hard to see and that maintain or constitute racism, it turns out to be a remarkably bad way of going about this. A little familiarity with the basic principles of Critical Race Theory and how they go wrong can help with this.
Before I begin, I offer my apologies to the reader. Critical Race Theory has been growing for over 40 years, and it has many deep problems. Therefore, this is long, and still it is not nearly complete. Here, I document just eight of the biggest problems with the entire Critical Race Theory approach. Treat them as eight short essays on specific topics in Critical Race Theory and digest them one at a time. I offer them in the hopes of helping people understand it better so they can decide for themselves if Critical Race Theory is the way we should be dealing with race issues and racism in our society, or if we can genuinely do better.
Since this is so long: here’s the ‘too long; didn’t read’ bullet-point summary:
Critical Race Theory…
- believes racism is present in every aspect of life, every relationship, and every interaction and therefore has its advocates look for it everywhere
- relies upon “interest convergence” (white people only give black people opportunities and freedoms when it is also in their own interests) and therefore doesn’t trust any attempt to make racism better
- is against free societies and wants to dismantle them and replace them with something its advocates control
- only treats race issues as “socially constructed groups,” so there are no individuals in Critical Race Theory
- believes science, reason, and evidence are a “white” way of knowing and that storytelling and lived experience are a “black” alternative, which hurts everyone, especially black people
- rejects all potential alternatives, like colorblindness, as forms of racism, making itself the only allowable game in town (which is totalitarian)
- acts like anyone who disagrees with it must do so for racist and white supremacist reasons, even if those people are black (which is also totalitarian)
- cannot be satisfied, so it becomes a kind of activist black hole that threatens to destroy everything it is introduced into
1) Critical Race Theory believes racism is present in every aspect of life, every relationship, and every interaction.
Critical Race Theory begins from the assumption that racism is an ordinary part of every aspect of life in our societies. Foundational Critical Race Theory scholars Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic write, “First, that racism is ordinary, not aberrational—‘normal science,’ the usual way society does business, the common, everyday experience of most people of color in this country,” on page 7 of the standard introductory textbook on the subject, titled Critical Race Theory: An Introduction.
Notice that these scholars list this assumption first among the “basic tenets of Critical Race Theory” in the introduction of their book. Understand also that what they mean by “racism” isn’t even what most people think racism means. It is not prejudice based upon race or believing some races to be superior or inferior to others that they mean by “racism.” It is, instead, the “system” of everything that happens in the social world and beyond that results in any disparity that works in the favor of “racially privileged” groups (on average) or any “racially oppressed” person claiming they experience racial oppression.
These assumptions lead people who take up Critical Race Theory to look for racism in everything until they find it. That is, after all, the job of a “critical” theorist or activist: to look for the hidden problems that they assume must be present in whatever they scrutinize.
In the workplace that adopts Critical Race Theory, this means that it’s only a matter of time until someone with that worldview finds out how your entire company and its culture is “racist.” At that point, they will cause a meltdown that forces everyone to take sides and demand a reorganization of the entire (now divided) office culture and management.
In schools, it will mean teaching our children to think this way and always be looking for racism in every situation and interaction. In our personal relationships, it means that friends and even family members—especially our kids who have already been educated with Critical Race Theory ideas that have been incorporated in our schools—will eventually call each other out and reject one another, because tolerating racism is also considered a form of racism that would have to be discovered and stopped.
2) “Interest convergence”: White people only give black people opportunities and freedoms when it is also in their own interests.
One of the founders of Critical Race Theory, a (now deceased) scholar at Harvard Law named Derrick Bell, made his “Interest-Convergence Thesis” central to the Theory. Turning to Delgado and Stefancic again,
The second feature, sometimes called “interest convergence” or material determinism, adds a further dimension. Because racism advances the interests of both white elites (materially) and working-class people (psychically), large segments of society have little incentive to eradicate it. Consider, for example, Derrick Bell’s shocking proposal (discussed in a later chapter) that Brown v. Board of Education—considered a great triumph of civil rights litigation—may have resulted more from the self-interest of elite whites than a desire to help blacks. (p. 7)
It isn’t hard to see how paranoid and cynical this idea is, but it’s also horrible when you pause to consider some of its implications. Take the demand that also comes from Critical Race Theory that everyone should be an anti-racist. This sounds good on the surface but is horrible underneath. If someone with “racial privilege” (including white, Asian, Hispanic, Arab, Indian, and lighter-skinned black people) decides to become an anti-racist in accordance with this request, the Interest-Convergence Thesis would say they only did so to make themselves look good, protect themselves from criticism, or to avoid confronting their own racism. This isn’t a fringe idea or possible gap in the concept, either. The academic literature on “whiteness studies” is filled with this notion, including book-length treatments by academic scholars, for example one titled Good White People that was published in 2018 by the State University of New York Press.
The Interest-Convergence Thesis makes it literally impossible for anyone with any racial privilege (again, as outlined by Critical Race Theory) to do anything right because anything they do right must also have been self-interested. If Critical Race Theory makes a demand of people with any form of racial privilege and they comply, they just make themselves more complicit in “racism” as Critical Race Theory sees it. By giving people no way out, Critical Race Theory becomes deeply manipulative and unable to be satisfied in its lists of demands.
3) Critical Race Theory is against free societies.
Believe it or not, Critical Race Theory is not a liberal idea. It is, in fact, critical of liberal societies and against the idea of freedom to its core. Critical Race Theory sees a free society as a way to structure and maintain inequities by convincing racial minorities not to want to do radical identity politics. Since Critical Race Theory exists specifically to agitate for and enable radical racial identity politics, it is therefore against free societies and how they are organized. (In this way, it is very different than the Civil Rights Movement it incorrectly claims to continue.)
Turning to Delgado and Stefancic, a critical stance about free societies and their norms is again central to Critical Race Theory: “critical race scholars are discontent with liberalism as a framework for addressing America’s racial problems. Many liberals believe in color blindness and neutral principles of constitutional law” (p. 21). The famous “critical whiteness educator” Robin DiAngelo (author of the now overwhelmingly famous book White Fragility) puts it even more plainly, writing with a colleague named Ozlem Sensoy in a widely read education book called Is Everyone Really Equal?,
These movements [Critical Theory movements upon which Critical Race Theory is based] initially advocated for a type of liberal humanism (individualism, freedom, and peace) but quickly turned to a rejection of liberal humanism. The ideal of individual autonomy that underlies liberal humanism (the idea that people are free to make independent rational decisions that determine their own fate) was viewed as a mechanism for keeping the marginalized in their place by obscuring larger structural systems of inequality. In other words, it [free society] fooled people into believing they had more freedom and choice than societal structures actually allow. (p. 5)
In other words, Critical Race Theory sees free societies and the ideals that make them work—individualism, freedom, peace—as a kind of tacit conspiracy theory that we all participate in to keep racial minorities down. When its advocates accuse people of being “complicit in systems of racism,” this is part of what they mean. Obviously, they would prefer that we do not have free societies and would rather arrange society as they see fit and make us all go along with their ideas.
4) Critical Race Theory only treats race issues as “socially constructed groups,” so there are no individuals in Critical Race Theory.
Critical Race Theory isn’t just against free societies and the individualism that enables them, but it also doesn’t even believe individuals meaningfully exist at all! In Critical Race Theory, every person has to be understood in terms of the social groups they are said to inhabit, and these are determined by their identity, including race. “A third theme of critical race theory, the ‘social construction’ thesis, holds that race and races are products of social thought and relations. Not objective, inherent, or fixed, they correspond to no biological or genetic reality; rather, races are categories that society invents, manipulates, or retires when convenient” (p. 7), write Delgado and Stefancic.
Under Critical Race Theory, races are categories that society invents and that we impose entirely through social assumptions (mostly stereotypes), and people are members of those racial categories whether they want to be or not. Moreover, they argue that society is “socially stratified,” which means that different social groups (like these racial groups) have differentiated access to the opportunities and resources of society. While this bears some truth on average, it ignores individual variations that are obvious when considering examples of powerful, rich, and famous black people like Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Kanye West. Critical Race Theory forces people into these averages, though, and considers them primarily in terms of their group identity rather than their individual identity. This is part of why they use the word “folks” instead of “people”—it designates a social group.
Thus, in Critical Race Theory, the goal of ideally treating every person as an individual who is equal before the law and meant to be judged upon the contents of their character and merits of their work is considered a myth that keeps racial minorities down. Instead, it sees people according to their racial groups only. This is why it is so common that progressive racial programs end up hurting the people they’re written to help most. “Racial justice,” in Critical Race Theory, means getting “justice” for the group, which it says is a social construction, not for the real person, who is just a member of that group. As Lynn Lemisko writes on page 193 of Educator to Educator, another education manual in Critical Social Justice programs: “If democracy is about individual rights (justice for individuals), then social justice is about group rights (justice for groups). And for me there is a fundamental difference between the general notion of justice and the notion of social justice.”
5) Critical Race Theory believes science, reason, and evidence are a “white” way of knowing and that storytelling and lived experience are a “black” alternative.
Remember above, where Delgado and Stefancic said that “normal science” is a part of the everyday, ordinary racism of our societies? That’s because Critical Race Theory is not particularly friendly to science, residing somewhere between generally disinterested in science and openly hostile to it (often depending upon the circumstances). This is because Critical Race Theory, using that “social construction” thesis, believes that the power and politics of cultural groups make their way intrinsically into everything that culture produces. Thus, science is just politics by other means to Critical Race Theory.
Since modern science was predominantly produced by white, Western men, Critical Race Theory therefore views science as a white and Western “way of knowing.” Critical Race Theory therefore maintains that science encodes and perpetuates “white dominance” and thus isn’t really fitting for black people who inhabit a (political) culture of Blackness.
This is obviously a horrible sentiment, and it is one that goes against one of the very first pillars of science: universality. Universality in science says that it doesn’t matter who does an experiment; the result will always be the same. This is because science believes in objectivity, which Critical Race Theory also calls an oppressive myth. For example, Robin DiAngelo and Ozlem Sensoy write,
One of the key contributions of critical theorists concerns the production of knowledge. Given that the transmission of knowledge is an integral activity in schools, critical scholars in the field of education have been especially concerned with how knowledge is produced. These scholars argue that a key element of social injustice involves the claim that particular knowledge is objective, neutral, and universal. An approach based on critical theory calls into question the idea that objectivity is desirable or even possible. The term used to describe this way of thinking about knowledge is that knowledge is socially constructed. When we refer to knowledge as socially constructed we mean that knowledge is reflective of the values and interests of those who produce it. (p. 7)
Sensoy and DiAngelo also claim that science “presume[s] superiority and infallibility of the scientific method” (p. 5) (by the way, this is false), and therefore we should be asking “whose rationality” and “whose presumed objectivity” underlies the scientific method. Then, even more cynically, they insist that we must ask whose interests are served by science, as though that’s the relevant question to ask of a universalist method. Critical Race Theory falsely asserts that white people’s interests are primarily served by science. This isn’t all just wrong (and genuinely racist!), it’s dangerous.
Continuing the genuinely racist thinking that black people aren’t suited to or served by science, Delgado and Stefancic say that storytelling about their “lived experience” is the primary mode by which black people and Critical Race Theory produce and advance knowledge. Importantly, these lived experiences are only considered valid if they agree with Critical Race Theory. They write,
Critical race theorists have built on everyday experiences with perspective, viewpoint, and the power of stories and persuasion to come to a better understanding of how Americans see race. They have written parables, autobiography, and “counterstories,” and have investigated the factual background and personalities, frequently ignored in the casebooks, of well-known cases. (p. 38)
While stories can be informative, to create a position that science is a “way of knowing” for white, Western people (especially men) and storytelling is one more suited to racial minorities, Critical Race Theory is itself racist (against racial minorities) and cripples the people it claims to help. This happens in multiple ways, including by undermining their capacity for critical thinking, teaching them to see the world in an us-versus-them way that oppresses them, and associating them with harmful, negative stereotypes that rigorous methods are what white people, and not black people, use.
6) Critical Race Theory rejects all potential alternatives, like colorblindness, as forms of racism.
Critical Race Theory is completely against the common-sense idea that race becomes less socially relevant and racism is therefore diminished by not focusing on race all the time. Where liberalism spent centuries removing social significance from racial categories once it had been introduced in the 16th century, Critical Race Theory inserts it again, front and center.
In fact, as you might guess now, it sees the idea of “colorblindness” as one of the most racist things possible because it hides the real racism from view. “While colorblindness sounds good in theory, in practice it is highly problematic,” write Sensoy and DiAngelo (p. 108). As we read from Delgado and Stefancic,
Color-blind, or “formal,” conceptions of equality, expressed in rules that insist only on treatment that is the same across the board, can thus remedy only the most blatant forms of discrimination, such as mortgage redlining or the refusal to hire a black Ph.D. rather than a white high school dropout, that do stand out and attract our attention. (p. 7)
While there is a point here—that being too colorblind can cause someone not to see racism at all, even when it is a real problem and especially when its influence is subtle (this is called “racism-blindness”)—the remedy Critical Race Theory gives to this imperfection in the colorblind approach is to do exactly the opposite. Thus, racism has to be made relevant in every situation where racism is present, which is every situation, as we saw in point #1 above, and it has attached incredible amounts of social significance to race and how it factors into every interaction. That means you have to find and focus upon the “hidden” racism in your workplace, your school, your society, your neighborhood, your books, your food, your music, your hobbies, your faith, your church, your community, your friends, your relationships, and yourself (and everything else too) all the time, according to Critical Race Theory.
This has the opposite of the putatively intended effect. Although it does cause people to see some legitimate racism that they would have otherwise missed, it makes all of our relationships and social systems extremely fragile and tense, ready to explode over a highly divisive issue. It also diverts resources from doing real work or building real relationships because looking for and thinking about racism all the time takes effort. (Critical Race Theory says minority races already have to think about racism all the time and only white people have the privilege not to, but this is, again, more sloppy analysis that ignores the reports and experiences of every racial minority who disagrees.)
7) Critical Race Theory acts like anyone who disagrees with it must do so for racist and white supremacist reasons, even if those people are black.
Following the “social construction” thesis discussed above in point #4, Critical Race Theory has outlined what the essential experience of each racial group is. It then judges individual people (especially of minority races) on how well they give testimonial to that experience—which is to say, they judge individual people based on how well they support Critical Race Theory. This makes it impossible to disagree with Critical Race Theory, even if you are black.
Before we discuss the case of how impossible disagreement is for white people (and other “racially privileged” people) consider a few poignant examples. The black superstar musician Kanye West famously donned a “Make America Great Again” hat and said he thinks for himself. In response, the poet laureate of Critical Race Theory, Ta-Nehisi Coates, wrote a widely read article suggesting that West is no longer really black. The black musician Daryl Davis, who is most famous for talking hundreds of real white supremacists out of their Ku Klux Klan hoods, once tried to invite a conversation of this sort in 2019, and members of the nominally “antifascist” group “Antifa” called him a “white supremacist” for being willing to associate with (rather than fight or kill) the people he invited to have a conversation.
This phenomenon can be explained. As Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the New York Times Magazine 1619 Project (a Critical Race Theory historiography—not an article of history), tweeted (and then deleted) that there is “racially black” on the one hand, and “politically Black” on the other. Critical Race Theory is only interested in the identity politics associated with being “politically Black,” and anyone who disagrees with Critical Race Theory—even if “racially black”—does not qualify. The common way to phrase this is that they are “not really Black.” This means that in Critical Race Theory, diversity (which it calls for often) must be only skin deep. Everyone’s politics must agree and must agree with Critical Race Theory.
This is obviously much worse a problem for white people or others who are said to have “racial privilege.” There are more concepts in Critical Race Theory to deal specifically with how and why white people are racists for disagreeing with Critical Race Theory than perhaps any other idea. Charles Mills claims that all whites take part in a “racial contract” to support white supremacy that is never discussed but just part of the social fabric. Barbara Applebaum says all white people have “white complicity” with white supremacy because they automatically benefit from white privilege and “white ignorance” which is a way for them to willfully refuse to engage (and proper engagement can only be proven by agreeing). Robin DiAngelo says white people enjoy “white comfort” and therefore suffer “white fragility” that prevents them from confronting their racism through Critical Race Theory. (Therefore, she says, anything that maintains white comfort should be considered suspect and in need of disrupting.) Alison Bailey claims that when racially privileged people disagree with Critical Race Theory, they are engaging in a “defensive move” called “privilege-preserving epistemic pushback,” which means that they are just arguing to keep their privilege and could not possibly have legitimate disagreements. All of these ideas implicate racially privileged people in racism anytime they disagree with Critical Race Theory.
8) Critical Race Theory cannot be satisfied.
We have already seen how Critical Race Theory cannot be disagreed with, even by black people. We have also seen how it rejects all alternatives and how it believes any success that it has comes down to “interest convergence.” Because it rejects science, it cannot be falsified or proven wrong by evidence, and because it assumes racism is present and relevant to all situations and interactions, even the acceptance of Critical Race Theory must somehow also contain racism. Therefore, Critical Race Theory cannot be satisfied. It is, in this way, like a black hole. No matter how much you give to it, it cannot be filled and only gets stronger—and it will tear apart anything that gets too close to it.
This means that if your workplace takes up Critical Race Theory, eventually activists will start to make demands and will threaten to make trouble if they do not get their way. (They usually do not ask.) If you give into them, you will not satisfy them, however, because Critical Race Theory cannot be satisfied. It is guaranteed, before you do anything at all, that you will do it wrong because of your racism. You did it out of “interest convergence,” to make yourself look good because of your racism. You did it in a way that just created new problems that amount to racism. You didn’t do it sooner, faster, or better because of your racism. No matter what you do, the resulting situation must contain racism, and the Critical Race Theory activist’s job is to find it and hold you to account.
Therefore, giving into a demand made by Critical Race Theory cannot appease it. It can, however, signal that you will give into their demands, which will then continue to come and to escalate. As we have seen in countless examples across the corporate world recently, this will include demands for you to step down from your job and give it to activists, and even that won’t satisfy them. And if the venture fails as a result of all of this disruption, racism was the cause of that failure too.
And that’s not all!
This is a grim but fair description of Critical Race Theory, and, what’s worse, it’s woefully incomplete. There are other horrible ideas at the very core of Critical Race Theory that fall in this same mold that we do not have time to list here. These include the idea that racism barely gets better, if at all, that equality is a source of racism, that people who benefit from “racism” have no incentives to be against racism, that racism is a zero-sum conflict that was arranged by white people so that no one else can have a real chance in society, that the races cannot truly understand one another (while demanding that they must and that racism is the whole cause of the inevitable failure), that racially privileged people are inherently oppressors and everyone else is inherently oppressed (this is derived from Marxism applied to racial groups), and that the only way to end racism is through a social revolution that unmakes the current society entirely and replaces it with something engineered by Critical Race Theory. It is easy to see what kinds of problems these doctrines will create in practice, and it’s horrible how Critical Race Theory consistently preys upon the best parts of our natures to achieve its goals (which, if it were correct (and it’s not), mostly leaves only the worst candidates to oppose it—real white supremacists—which it then uses as evidence of its bogus claims).
Therefore, there are many good reasons that have nothing to do with real racism to reject most of what Critical Race Theory teaches. Good people have every reason to reject Critical Race Theory for better alternatives, and the main reason they don’t is because they don’t know what it is and see what what it offers kind of sounds right and sort of seems good.
In summary, we can see that Critical Race Theory is a truly horrible way to deal with race issues and racism, and that would be true even if every problem (or “problematic”) it points out were 100% true. It simply is not a good way to go about these problems, and, as its advocates might say in realizing such a situation, we have an obligation to educate ourselves (about the problems and weaknesses of Critical Race Theory) and to do better (than they can hope to do).
The biggest issue with Critical Race Theory here in the US is that it has become a black vs white issue not a race issue. That being the case, it is automatically ejected. If CRT was presented to solve a problem, then it its root is has created a new problem by singling out 2 races and not adjusting for race (which is incredibly funny and ignorant). The reality is that human beings are animals and while we may aspire to rising up beyond our “animal instinct”, we are so far from the reality that the only way we can begin is by first acknowledging that we are DIFFERENT. Not that DIFFERENCE makes us worse or better, it just makes us different. A mind is like a parachute, it doesn’t work if its not open, so listening is the next step, which we haven’t begun to master either. Were all doomed lol.
i swear to god racism is barely hanging on by a thread simply because of garbage like crt and the idiots who shove the shit down peoples throats. racism would have dies twenty fuckin years ago if clowns would stop fucking TALKING ABOUT IT and fanning the embers. if crt exists, racism will NEVER die,
Racism is hanging on because good people like yourself who do not experience it, think it is just hanging on. We are actually going backward in regard to racial progress, and have since the end of the civil rights movement. Racism is a virus that refuses to die, and we refuse to vaccinate.
I owe nothing for the color of my white skin. This junk social science is about as worthless as the Marxist other junk science to manipulate us like Climate Crisis hoax.
BLM is a racist terrorist organization promoted by DNC. They said on their website that they were practicing Marxist, then took that comment down.
We see you Leftist in all your deceptive forms from over 1000 miles away and we will be in your way forever.
Teaching CRT to public school kids is against the law in Texas as abortion is too. AMEN !
I am a white male 80 years old. I have conservative friends who are against CRT, and then I have a well-educated daughter telling me there are some good things in it. So, for a month now I have been reading about it. I’ve read Bell, Delgado and Stejanic, Freeman, Crenshaw, Ladson-Billings, and DiAngelo trying to learn what it is. I have read this article and other critiques like this one pointing out the negative aspects of it, and I have read through most of the comments to this article.
The comments here are pro and con. Many of he ones that are con give their reasons for it. I am still in the process of discovery but admit I am leaning one way. What I have not seen or missed are any pro arguments where they list the benefits of CRT. So, I am looking for its benefits. For those here who support it, can you give me a list benefits of CRT? I’d like to weigh them against all the negative reasons cited against CRT. Thank you in advance.
1. Not interested in individual blame
2. Focus is on the detection and remediation of institutional bias
3. Improves institutional performance whether there is institutional bias or not
3. Goal is truth and reconciliation
Nothing this “professional troublemaker” indicates about CRT is even remotely true.
I think he would be more aptly described as an “amateur bullshit artist”.
“Nothing this professional troublemaker indicates…is even remotely true.”
Nothing. Nada. Zip.
You make an eloquent and compelling argument…
Agreed! readers will be dumber for having read this article. I expected more out of a mathmatician!
you literally just summed up everything he said affirming that he is correct
Except all of it. Are you mad that your anti white racism is being put down ?
and you as just plain silly
You ignorant dolt, I bet you don’t even realize you just verified his statements by your juvenile little tirade. This is why ignorance, such as yours, will never be cured.
It’s absolutely on the mark. If you spend time, as I do, reading and listening to left leaning media content, it’s there for all to see. You are the amateur, if only because you failed to buttress your foolish statement with fact to counter the article’s contentions.
Man, I was on the fence about CRT, but now that I’ve read your article, I’m wholly in support of it, Thank you for this excellent discussion.
Why are people so fearful of ideas?
Why are people afraid of ideas? Some ideas should be feared…
Mao had an idea called the Great Leap Forward to enrich the Chinese. Estimates are 30 million people starved to death as a result.
Mao had another idea called the Cultural Revolution — it was a 10-year reign of terror that pitted young against old, sons and daughters against parents, neighbor against neighbor, etc. Old Ideas, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Customs had to be literally destroyed (temples, statues, schools, books, scholarship, etc.). Everyone lived in fear of being labeled anti-Mao or anti-Party; it could lead to death, prison, or being officially ostracized by the state (no job, no rights, etc.).
CRT is nothing new. It’s a re-tooled version of Marxism. Instead of pitting classes against one another, it pits races against each other as oppressor/oppressed. Marx said we must have “ruthless criticism of all that exists” in order to create a better world. That’s what CRT purports to be doing…but it’s more likely to give us what Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh and others gave us: nations where men and women live lives of quiet and fearful desperation.
CRT’s more recent cousin is Critical Theory (which was developed by European socialists at The Frankfurt School — and later relocated to Columbia University). The mission of Critical Theory is to question/attack existing social, cultural, and institutional norms — similar to Marx (and Mao, and the others).
The problems with Marxism/CT/CRT are manifold. The biggest probably is there are no more individuals, individual thinking, or free will — you’re either with the collective or not. It doesn’t matter how good a person you are; if you stray even slightly in your commitment to the new thinking, you’re at risk. And because the Marxist/CT/CRT machine can only survive if there are “oppressors/racists” to identify and condemn, the machine usually arrives at everyone’s door.
Misinformation. like yours, is certainly an idea that should be feared. CRT is no more related to Critical Theory than critical theory is related to the Declaration of independence although they both critiqued the power structure in control of their societies.
CRT detects and remediates institutional bias, period; there is no dialectic materialism, no fight over the ownership of the means of production. Comparing it to communism is a silly attempt at demonization, which seems to be the right-wing’s one-trick pony these days.
Look up Lysenkoism. That’s an idea that should be feared.
That will make it all that much better to keep it illegal to teach this anti-white racism to public school kids in Texas then, Wise guy
CRT is not taught to kids, it is an advanced construct utilizing high-level math, law, psychology, etc used to detect and remediate institutional bias. I was introduced to it in Law School, it would be way over the heads of K-12 students. However, its no individual blame approach would be more comfortable than many of the anti-racism courses I have seen.
This is a horrible article- so many false dichotomies, inaccurate generalizations and other logical mistakes. It presents one wholly inaccurate straw-man for CRT after another.
So many comments, so little said. CRT looks at systemic racism, it’s history and causes.
I came here looking for alternatives because i see only 2 options when looking at racism, accept systemic racism or racial inferiority. When i bring up either of these to white people, they deny both. This is the se thing red states are doing. Ignore it and it will magically go away.
The only alternative Lindsay mentions is color blindness, gee that’s when we treat everyone as if they are white like us. Not a solution in my opinion.
Any thoughts to the contrary, please let me know.
First, I am a 60 year old black male. Systemic racism imp[lies there is a system. rules or laws, like Jim Crow Laws that were set up by the Democrats. Can you cite any rules or laws that discriminate? Is everything racist?
There is one systemically racist policy by definition that remains in the US : Affirmative Action. Thank you for citing the obvious argument to the term. I am about your age and white and go to a racially mixed church. Our congregation has many successful black doctors, engineers etc. who cry “systemic racism” without so much as a though such as yours. Many are immigrants from Nigeria. If we are systemically racist country we are not doing a very good job of it.
I think the millions of incarcerated black men would beg to differ.
Then they should stop commiting crimes then.
The magic number changed from 13 commit 52 to 13 commit 60. White supremacy didn’t do this. Eventually they have to answer for their actions.
You’re expressing the exact conundrum that CRT uses to promote victimhood. 1) You don’t believe you are a free person with the liberty to pursue and achieve your dreams and goals. (What is stopping you????”) 2) You assert that the only alternative to accepting your failures (taking ownership of your life) is that you are “racially inferior.” There are millions of black people who are very accomplished, having achieved in every area of their lives. There are millions of non-black people who have failed to thrive…academically, occupationally, financially, socially (family and otherwise.) I wasn’t able to become a doctor, a lawyer, a professional athlete, a industrialist, or a Wall Street tycoon either, but it had nothing to do with my race. All the laws to counter discrimination are on the books. Any racism now is personal and we will never be able to get rid of all the jerks (and they come in ALL colors!) Take hold of your own life! Ben Carson had an illiterate mother with a 3rd grade education, yet he became a brain surgeon, a presidential candidate, and the Secretary of HUD.
Color blindness doesn’t mean treating everyone as if they’re white. It means treating everyone as if they’re human.
The best alternative is seeing everyone as human beings made in the image of God. We are all valuable for that reason and that is where we get our identity. Color in our skin is only pigmentation and it varies for each of us. What causes most of the differences in us is our culture. Read Thomas Sowell’s books. Culture and Race is one of them. God has a plan for each one of us. He has giftings and a purpose for each of us. It’s really all so simple and we want to complicate it.
CRT ignores the fact that equality of outcome can’t be guaranteed. All people in a society need to be held to the same standards and these must not be selectively enforced. An individual’s competence, character , luck and other factors have everything to do with outcome, but race, really? CRT undermines black people because it fosters a mentality of victimhood.
Okay will do….
Listen to any complaints that claimants of oppression make and genuinely try to accomodate them (be they race gender, or class related, or anything else), wherever practicable.
No need for non-productive guilt, wailing and hand ringing, just recognition and genuinely attempted resolution . The “case made” must get a proper “cross-society”, colour aware hearing and if logically sound, and then a solution, agreeable to the claimants (or as close as practically possible), implemented. Not dissimilar to (genuinely) progressive liberalism I suppose, with the added benefit of recognising class (the elephant in the room of CRT).
Or is that too easy?
I suppose one downside is that it stops the likes of Robin DiAngelo (White Fragility’s author) from making $12,000 an hour telling white people (and indirectly black people too) on how to be negative about society, and resent each other, but other than that….
Hi John: The answer is proximity. Did you see the video of the two little boys running toward each other and hugging? It aired on some cable news shows a few times. It’s priceless, and the most heartwarming scene ever. The boys are about 3 years old. One is White and the other is Black. They’d become friends in pre-K, I guess, but hadn’t seen each other for a long time.
They were both so excited they couldn’t contain their joy. At first sight of each other, they began running toward the other just as fast as their little legs would let them.
The happy, unbiased result of proximity. Put kids together when young — all races and ethnicities — and just let them be kids, and they see each other as human beings first.
For what it’s worth, though there are still pockets of bias, prejudice and bigotry and rogue police officers working within a flawed system (look up successful changes made by England to its policing/investigating), we really have made enormous progress since the 50s and 60s even though some leaders are determined to have us believe otherwise.
One of our bigger problems at this point is the effect all this talk of systemic racism is having on the young, along with the effect of decades of mistreatment of Blacks by our judicial system. What hurts and disturbs me deeply is the idea that any man, any Black man, has to feel a moment of fear as he leaves his residence. Every time I think of it, I get the same pit in my gut they must feel. No human being should ever have to feel like that upon leaving his home.
We have the necessary laws in place. The rest is up to each individual adult, White and Black. It’s about changing hearts which no law nor classroom instruction can change. We need proximity with each other as adults, more opportunities to interact and get to know one another. And, if the next generation of kids can have proximity, most will grow up with hearts free of bias.
There are so many other factors and elements to this for both Whites and Blacks . . .maybe too much to write about here, but if you have any questions, just ask.
Why don’t you think teaching anti-white racism should not be considered as racism ?
“The only alternative Lindsay mentions is color blindness, gee that’s when we treat everyone as if they are white like us. Not a solution in my opinion.
Any thoughts to the contrary, please let me know”.
Then treat everyone as if they are black! It’s the same treatment if you are colour blind.
great comment! right on point!
Racism cannot be fixed by racism waged against other group or groups. Crt is doing exactly that and teaching young children to hate themselves and others of their race is cruel and disgusting., How does this put an end to racism??? In my humble opinion, children should be learning reading, math, (real) history, civics, and critical thinking if this country is to survive. I can bet you that the Chinese, the Russians, the North Koreans, and all the rest of America’s mortal enemies are NOT teaching crt to their children. Educators had better be warned that we are falling behind in educating our children and this could ultimately be the end of our country if we don’t wake up, and fast. We have a lot of ground to make up after a year+ of school lockdowns, and now we have this garbage to fight in our schools. I pray that this s\is not a losing battle……
Addendum to my previous comments: please add the study of the sciences to that list of subjects our children should be learning.
Jean: You hit it right on! Thank you. I am a retired educator of 30+ years in and out of elementary, Jr. High Schools. High School and 2 Universities. I have seen students in my classrooms from different races, places, those who are gifted learners and those who function below grade level. This entire CRT will ruin free thinking and spontaneous social skills. Kids don’t have racial prejudices. This entire CRT curriculum insults students, divides them, and causes distractions from accepting and developing spontaneous friendships. What a messy intrusion. Whomever put this together needs to keep their Marxist ideas to themselves!
CRT does not concern itself with racism only with systemic institutional bias and its remediation. CRT does not blame anyone and does not preach retribution. Its only goal is the detection and remediation of institutional bias, most of which, at this point in time, is implicit, not explicit.
And I agree with you about science because without it students would not even understand the mechanisms CRT uses to detect bias. it is an advanced concept not even teachable in K-12.
In the early 2000s while studying Sociology at Manchester University my daughter was forced to study CRT. She hated it but had to do it. She is biracial.
• ‘Why are the riots/chaos happening??? Yuri Bezmenov will blow your mind ‘ on Youtube. Ex KGB
•Western society is being hit by various wrecking balls.Do they really come from nowhere?
•Online search for ‘The New Order of Barbarians’ pdf
Common Purpose charity in UK has gained immense power secretly (exposed by Bryan Gerrish of UK Column of course branded as a conspiracy theorist). Part of the long match through the institutions connected with a vast occupation of jobs by people trained in a particular way, and training in a particular way.
If the effect of all this stuff is a breakdown of society then might it not be a conspiracy, or rather an unholy conjunction of conspiracies?
There are many unseen elephants in the room, pulling strings. In plain sight mainly uncriticised, exempted by their vast power and wealth. Everyone knows the names. Which one is not ‘White’ – who is criticising their unbelievable privilege?
To try to find some truth be prepared to dig in some filthy swamps.
All this is, I know, rather off piste for this discourse.
too few people are aware of the erosion of thought and common sense by the blanket teachings/brainwashing of common purpose. It is across the board, paid for by taxpayers and aimed at those who think career and conformity have made them special/successful. CRT is essentially racist leading to such hypocritical polarities as ‘you smell of curry’ being racist but ‘bacon is haram, and so are you’ being acceptable. Quite clearly both are small minded and racist.
CRT would not deal with Curry or Bacon, and does not concern itself with individual racism at all.
CRT basically says that if a white person acts in any way for his own self interest, that is white privilege and they are racists and supremacists; As a result every white person must act exclusive for the benefit of non-whites and do so with a enthusiasm. Any white who refuses to place blacks above their own self interest is engaged in “white fragility”. That is not just slavery but far worse. And, that would not be enough. Even those whites striving to be perfect slaves obedient at every turn would be engage in white privilege thinking they could do well (which would be advancing at some level their own self interests). Any white slave that was lazy to any degree in advancing black interests exclusively would also be considered white privilege (because avoiding hard work is also advancing at some level their own self interest). No behavior or action would ever satisfy the CRT authors. The root cause of any racism is the original blacks being sold by blacks, a pervasive practice geographically where few white even existed as it was black dominated. Anyone heard of the Cambodian killing fields? This will not end well unless it’s stopped now. Indoctrinating children was one core practice of the Khmer Rouge (CRT). One cannot afford to give an inch on this CRT excrement. This whole CRT thing makes we want to excel in everything more effectively since hard work like all good things is considered racists by CRT indoctrination. I got A’s in math, how racist is that! Is there a hierarchy of lives that mater or is that *ONLY* black lives matter? If I’m compelled to serve blacks or be a racist, I guess I better study up.
CRT does not deal with a person acting in his own interest or any other individual effort, it recognizes the idea of white advantage from a cultural standpoint, but is only interested in institutional bias.
The most primitive, self absorbed and ignorant elements of a society should not be defining things and telling others how to think and behave. This is evolution turned on its head and it guarantees the destruction of that society.
John Doe – who are you referring to? If you’re implying that simply because a group is a minority within a given society that it is “primitive, self-absorbed and ignorant”, you’re a bigot or a troll or both. Not cool.
“Primitive, self absorbed and ignorant” individuals exist in every society, cultural, and racial group. Attitudes and beliefs transcend race. Your response is a clear indication of your own CRT indoctrination. You assumed that Doe was referring to entire groups. I assumed that he was referring to singular individuals across different races/cultures that were united though their primitive, self absorbed and ignorant attitudes. I believe that Doe is correct. I also suspect that deep down that you are the true bigot because you see “elements of society” in terms of “minority group” instead of individuals of various backgrounds united by a common attitude.
I believe John Doe is referring to those that subscribe to CRT as primitive, self-absorbed, and ignorant in their thinking, which they are. That is truth, unlike “Theory”
if the hood and sheet fit, keep wearing them.
“believes racism is present in every aspect of life, every relationship, and every interaction and therefore has its advocates look for it everywhere”
The obvious question is ‘What do you mean by racism?’ If you mean preferences and attitudes based, however tenuously, on materialism and measure with regard to human variability then, yes, racism is present wherever materialism is present. Unless we are sages we have all kind of attitudes ..
“The Great Way is not difficult
for those who have no preferences.
When love and hate are both absent
everything becomes clear and undisguised.
Make the smallest distinction, however,
and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.
If you wish to see the truth
then hold no opinions for or against anything.
To set up what you like against what you dislike
is the disease of the mind.
When the deep meaning of things is not understood,
the mind’s essential peace is disturbed to no avail.”
“relies upon “interest convergence” (white people only give black people opportunities and freedoms when it is also in their own interests) and therefore doesn’t trust any attempt to make racism better”
This denies the existence of individual altruism, sense of justice, affinities etc. I smiled at the phrasing in this point. What would ‘better racism’ look like?
If a woman says ‘all men are bastards’ she sabotages her ability to distguish between men. The same thing applies here and is in addition quite obviously racist.
A distinction has to be made between the misconception that groups have interests and that reality that individuals have interests that may be served by identifying with a particular group.
“is against free societies and wants to dismantle them and replace them with something its advocates control”
So somewhere in the ‘authoritarian left’ quadrant ..
“only treats race issues as “socially constructed groups,” so there are no individuals in Critical Race Theory”
Badly worded but if this is a correct characterisation of CRT and presumably Critical Theory to which it is presumably related then this is particularly toxic as in denying individuals it denies individual human rights. Respect for individual persons is the only possible foundation for any system of ethics that claims to be objective.
“believes science, reason, and evidence are a “white” way of knowing and that storytelling and lived experience are a “black” alternative, which hurts everyone, especially black people”
This badly worded .. I know what is intended bacause of the context but it might be inferred from the way that it is written is that the ‘black alternative way of knowing’ hurts everyone.
CRT IS VIOLENTLY OPPOSED TO OBJECTIVITY. The theory is that objective standards, math, science, reason, etc. are all expressions of the oppressive ideas of those who oppress the oppressed. In stead of Western math or science, they think superstition, spiritual beliefs and emotionalism are equally valid ways of looking at the world.
Yet if a man says “All women are bitches” he would be immediately chastised and labeled a “chauvinist.”
Your coment is particularly relevant. Notice this list….
…released recently in the UK by CRT academics.
The vast majority of names signed by the senior academics behind it are many of the same names behind 2nd and 3rd wave Marxist-feminism. It was in that idiology that the concept of systemic thinking was unleashed on the world.
It started with “all straight white men are bad because masculinity is toxic”.
Now it has been expanded (by many of the same people using the same ideological mindset) to “all white people are bad because whiteness is toxic”.
The parallels are obvious, or should be.
In the same way that 1st wave feminism (fighting for women to have equal opportnities and rights) was hijacked by marxist theory at a group/system level, so too was the liberal fight for black freedom and justice hijacked by…you guessed it… marxist theory at a group/system level.
CRT, like marxist-feminism, is evil, pernicious and has disturbing parallels with Hitler’s view of the world. tke a group of people (in Hitler’s case Jews, in CRT’s case “whites”) and wrongly blame them for all the problems you percieve in the world.
That is borne out by a hoax carried out by James Lindsay and others in adademia in which they deliberately submitted an feminist article which was basically a re-write of Mein Kamps which was passed by feminist perr review as a good article. That says it all.
CRT is not concerned with individual racism or racist, its goal is to identify and remediate institutional bias.
And yes, America is a racial (notice the spelling) country, that was shaped by government condoned racism for 350 plus years; of course that had an impact on every aspect of society.
I am a Chinese woman living in Canada. You gave a basic understanding of CRT. I can only say I hope it never comes into Canada
He gave an erroneous understanding of CRT. CRT’s focus is the remediation of institutional bias without blame or retribution. I doubt you approve of institutional bias, and neither does CRT.
All in all, the author’s voice in this article is just as extreme and simplistic as the most extreme and simplistic examples he criticizes. This piece is a very poor critique of a body of knowledge and theory that is now large and complex enough to merit real examination–and criticism, when necessary. The point at the end about CRT never being satisfied is worth going deeper into. But his insistence that CRT is 100% bad and has resulted in absolutely ZERO good undercuts his own points about moderation and liberality. Also…it’s not that long an article.
Oh my gosh Avery. So sad for a closed minded person such as you. Hope you are on the short end of this stick someday. It will be a big eyeopener for you.
How was his comment “close minded”, because he didn’t just accept what the author asserted as fact? I noticed that the quotes the author used to support his points were contextually incomplete and only marginally supported his statements. The links were not to supporting references, but to other articles he had written. I also didn’t find the article that long, just grossly biased which doesn’t make it a very credible source.
I wish that CRT had resulted in absolutely zero. The net result is very negative.
The most harmful part of CRT is the obvious lie that when it comes to race, we are not better off than we were 50 years ago. Pretending that the lives of blacks in the 1950s and 1960s was the same as now, is preposterous. I wasn’t even born then, and I didn’t move to the USA until the late 1990s, but I know for a fact that things are much better now than they were in the 1950s or even the 1980s. What is the goal of such a distortion of reality? In my opinion, it is self serving. If things are better, then we don’t have a need for racial education, or at the very least, we don’t need a specialist. What bothers me so much, is that this “education” will hurt the people that it is supposed to help, the most. At the very least, it increases tension and distrust. How do you think any student feels when listening to CRT? Does it bring that person closer to or further away from people that belong to a different race? Children don’t think of race when choosing friends. That is a good thing. We are telling them that they should look at race?
So please enlighten us with the beneficial ‘good undercuts.’
I’m sure you have some evidence for them.
I thought the article long enough and should I wish to do so, provides enough information for further investigation.
Just to clarify, my earlier post was in response to ‘Avery.’
Also I was amused to see –
“Also…it’s not that long an article.”
This is a novel reaction to an article by James Lindsay.
Or perhaps you only got as far as the bullet point summary?
Even in the main eight points, James is uncharacteristically brief, but this is not a criticism.
The article is perfect for me to forward to people who need a clear summary of the main criticisms of CRT.
Also the summary that can be found by scrolling down the responses by ‘cancelled Soon’ is a good accompaniment to the Lindsay article.
Can you explain to me how something that is “highly obscure” also be “completely mainstream?”
*Can you explain to me how something that is “highly obscure” also be “completely mainstream?”*
God. That should do it.
“Wind blowing,crickets AND tumbleweed. …
It began as something highly obscure. Over time, it became mainstream.
IT ALL SOUNDS IT WAS DEVELOPED BY SOME LEFT WING COMMIE.
I would just like to point out that all the people who hated Donald Trump may forget that he put a stop to the teaching of this garbage in the Federal Government. Joe Biden just signed an Executive Order reinstating it. Remember that when you read this article….particularly #3.
I knew Critical Race Theory was bad, but didn’t know the exacts about just how bad it was. When I saw, right at the start, the first “too long didn’t read” I knew I would have to read the entire article. It’s going to take time as its not a short read. But, that doesn’t mean it won’t be worth my time.
The first part about believing racism is everywhere, anyone who attended high school should see the horrifying dangers of that first part. Anyone who refuses to understand just how dangerous the idea of “racism is everywhere” need only replace racism with Communists.. McArthy did that. The result was nothing short of a Witch Hunt. That’s all it was. He believed Communists were everywhere, and the end result was a witch hunt, ready to burn down any and all “heretics.”
And many innocent people suffered, just like during the Salem Witch Trials.
Innocent people were accused of being Witches. Innocent people were accused of being Communist and today? Innocent people are being accused of being Racist. Have we learned nothing from History?
It’s a witch hunt. And if that’s one of the first foundational concepts of Critical Race Theory, it is already a morally bankrupt philosophy that will only leave destruction in its wake.
I have not finished reading this, but that part reminded me of my history lessons in High School and that was decades ago. That first paragraph about the tenets really struck home, because looking at the events of 2020, it feels like we’re back in Salem all over again. And that’s terrifying. That we have learned so little from our history that Critical Race Theory is not treated as something most horribly dangerous.
I look forward to writing another post with my views of the rest when I have the time. But that first part, I had to provide my commentary.
Unfortunately they don’t teach history anymore. The kids are not learning about communism, the Salem witch hunts nor Hitler and the Jews. Not knowing or teaching history we are doomed to repeat it.
Wonderful response! CRT divides everyone and everything into two classes: (1) The victim and (2) The oppressor. This is classic Marxism. The Bolshevik Revolution in the early 1900’s used this marxist principle to overthrow Russia. It is dangerous doctrine. Thank you for a great response.
Where would the thinking/position be of a Norwegian (say) emigrating to the US be if they emigrated today?
Note from the UK.
Kemi Badenoch, a PoC and minister for Women and Equalities in the present Conservative government, was very critical of CRT in a session in the House of Commons discussing Black History Month.
Note: Our Conservative government is to the left of any US Democrat administration.
Yes, she pointed out that the curriculum cannot be ‘decolonised’ because it isn’t ‘colonised’ in the first place.
In the UK, and across Europe generally, white people are the indigenes. The ‘whiteness’ that the CRT’s want to erase – the products of the Renaissance, Enlightenment thinking and the Western Canon etc. is indigenous knowledge, not imposed or colonising ideas upon another people or culture.
I think that this needs to be stressed on this side of the pond. CRT’s propose a sort of cultural genocide – I doubt they have an answer to that.
… Also from the UK …
Our Conservative Government hopes that it gives the impression that it is more left wing than the US Democrats. Beneath the surface, it is moving very rapidly to the right, and is instituting a number of new laws that are reminiscent of National Socialist Germany. For example, compulsory voter ID presentation at the ballot box; the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bil, to restrict public assembly; A review of Human Rights legislation, due to report in Summer 2021, and likely to result in recommendations to reduce the rights previously enjoyed when Britain was a member of the EU.
The Conservative party is a master conjurer, that’s how it persuades working class people to vote for it, even while it persecutes them. “Look over there,” it says, “while I deal with this little unpleasantness over here.”
I hate going into politics and almost always avoid it on these forums but I’m curious about a point Nick has raised: Voter IDs, which has flared up as an issue in the US recently.
Is there anything inherently wrong with validating the identity of a given voter? In fact, isn’t it negligent to not validate the identity of a voter, considering what types of fraud could be committed if it isn’t done and the ramifications of that fraud. (I intentionally say what “could” be done and not what “is” done – i don’t care to get into a discussion on what is/isn’t because it is frankly beside the point).
I have to show my ID every single time I visit a doctor or dentist, every time I purchase alcohol, board an airplane, go to the bank, pick up medications, buy insurance, test-drive a car, or heaven forbid I encounter a policeman. How is it oppressive for me to be required to show it when I vote? If it is oppressive, and potentially keeps me from voting, then a fair-minded person would have to say that I am similarly oppressed from using these other services and there should be equal outrage about those requirements. Yet there isn’t any outrage on that front, so I’m led to believe that those decrying the atrocities committed by voter ID laws are outraged for some reason other than “voter oppression” or that they’re not ‘fair-minded’.
Hate to pop your bubble, but the points you mention above as paralleling aspects of Nazi Germany are not a result of moving Right. Big mistake to equate anything Nazi with the Right. That lie has been perpetuated for decades. Nazism, so too Communism, is far Left. The simple clue is in the 2nd word of the acronym. We on the Right in America are constantly slandered with references to Nazism. Other than the fact that they both hated eachother, and pegged eachother mortal enemies, there wasn’t much difference between Stalinist Communism and slave-labor death-camp Nazism.
That’s because Stalinism and Nazism were both Right, not Left. Each was about protecting the material privilege of a ruling group facing a crisis of legitimacy — the capitalists in Nazi Germany, the bureaucrats in Stalinist Russia.
Sorry, but we know the truth about Critical theory and we’re not buying it. You’re bullying tactics don’t sell anymore.
Okay. Now: What are the alternatives to Critical Social Justice/Critical Race Theory for organizations that need “equity work?”
The only people out there peddling “canned programs” that organizations can utilize are the wokevists. What are the alternative programs or organizations that can help?
Programs & organizations, which inherently promote groupthink, are a large part of the problem.
Whatever happened to individual achievement, performance, etc.? Treating people as you would want them to treat you? Ever notice that, for instance, the Constitution, specifically the Bill of Rights, was written to protect the rights of individuals, not groups? As soon as groups enter into the equation, mob rule is the inevitable result, as there will always be some group that emerges to dominate other groups.
Sorry should be look up “replication crisis” in google scholar. (Decaf coffee is not getting the job done! Hehe.)
In my opinion, this piece is really poorly written and argued. Very selective use of quotations abound, leading to laughably bad misreadings of humanities texts outside of the writers domain of expertise (mathematics). People don’t behave like billiard balls. The idea of “objective truth”, in social processes, was demolished by Rorty in 1979 in Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. If you think that there is such a thing as “objective truth”, then you likely assume that language corresponds to “reality”. But language doesn’t correspond to reality. Language changes all the time and different concepts mean different things in different cultures. The best we can do is develop vocabularies that help us get the job done in specific contexts. Math is not going to solve racism. In fact it is misused all the time by “scientific racists” to “prove” their constructs. Also, the piece makes some assumptions about science that are plain wrong. “The” scientific method isn’t. Nobody “does” science like the first-year textbooks say it “should” be done. Science is actually done abductively (read Peirce)…it’s really as much about trial and error and luck and accident as it is about rigorously designed and deployed experiments. If this were not the case we wouldn’t have a massive replecation problem in psychology, medicine, biology and even “hard” sciences like Chemisty. Don’t believe me. Just look up “replication problem” in Google Scholar. Lived experience trumps the writer’s “theories” about objective truth and the scientific method.
In your opinion…
Only via tortured logic can one deny the existence of objective truth. Some things are true, irrespective of who says them. Gravity, the laws of physics, etc., are observable and consistent, no matter the identity of the person observing them.
So, I have a graduate degree in the humanities. From my own personal experience, everything Lindsay has written is both consistent with and accurately depicts the theoretical methodologies and attitudes I was exposed to in grad school. What he wrote above is meant as an introduction, so of course he’s “selective” in what evidence he brings to bear. Check out his book “Cynical Theories” for a more fuller portrayal of the source material.
Lindsay’s observations and critiques mirror my own, but you don’t have to take our word for it. Check out Leela Ghandi’s “Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction.” This book was written 1998 and she points out some of the exact same issues Lindsay has identified (see p. 60-63). While you’d be better off reading “Cynical Theories” (from an accessibility standpoint), Ghandi is a bona fide expert in the field. She specifically points out the anti-intellectualism of the “primacy of experience,” what is today call “lived experience,” and also discusses the proliferation of activism among scholars race, gender, and postcolonial scholars.
Another good introduction to the topic is “Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction.” It also highlights the same stuff Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose discuss in their book.
There’s other works I can point you to as well. The significance is that numerous scholars, from a variety of disciplines, have delivered critiques of the academic fields that makeup the postmodern constellation. What’s remarkable is that these critiques have a high degree of uniformity, meaning academics from hard sciences, soft sciences, and liberal arts are all spotting the same problems. To me, that’s significant.
Hi, I read your comment and was hoping you could point me to more sources that show the problems with crt. I own Cynical Theories and have read some of it. Do you know of any “unbiased sources” or scholarly articles that discuss crt? I’m trying to help a friend who’s drunk the koolaid with their social worker degree.
A little belated, and slightly tangential, but I think you might appreciate this:
Lindsay may be “outside his domain of expertise”, but you are outside of your domain when it comes to your characterization of science and objective truth. This is clear from your statement that “if you think that there is such a thing as objective truth, you likely assume that language corresponds to reality.” Wrong. Science uses “scientific language” to posit explanations of scientific reality, science does not confuse that language with reality. Scientific language does not change, it only becomes more precise. Scientific language is not dependent on culture. 1+1=2 is a universal truth available to anyone.
Scientific (and objective) reality only deals with repeatable experiments. (Quantum mechanics and thermodynamics encounter the replication problem for small systems, but the statistical treatment implicitly deals with only large, or a large number of systems, for which repeatability is a practical objective reality.) The reason for the “massive replication problem in psychology, etc. is proof positive that they are, to that extent, not scientific theories. You’re setting up straw men and knocking them down.
The fact that science arrives at its tentative conclusions, stated in a culturally-neutral language by trial and error, luck, or accident in no way invalidates those conclusions. A concept with replication problems is simply, to that extent, outside the realm of science. Without replication problems, science will either predict the future, or a new field of study will be born.
Logic and the scientific method are not a “white man’s” invention, designed to subjugate people of color, any more than jazz and the blues are a “black man’s” invention to destroy the “white man’s” dominance. They are nobody’s property, they are not inventions, they are discoveries of universal human truths, availiable to any human.
“Lived experience” is what science would call a single data point. No repeatability, therefore outside the realm of science. That does not mean it is invalid. Lived experience does not trump science and objective truth. They are two different games.
It is easy to see the result of science in technology: cars, airplanes, computers, phones, etc.
Agree or disagree, but one thing about CRT is true: if you question it, you are a racist. That should be enough to keep it away from schools, and really throw it away altogether.
Systemic racism or racial inferiority, what’s your preference?
If I didn’t know better, I’d think this was written by a racist. Critical Race Theory (CRT) was not meant to “deal” with racism. CRT recognizes that systemic racism is part of the American life, and challenges the beliefs that allow it to flourish.
I don’t know if he’s a blatant racist, but James has certainly found his success in life by making a strawman out of Critical Theory and trolling people on all sides with his ignorant hysterics. He either truly doesn’t understand what he’s talking about, and has driven himself crazy, or is a liar. I first saw him in a YouTube video called “The Truth About Critical Methods” where his rhetorical tactics are so heavy-handed it’s practically a burlesque with tears and “they’re coming for your children” and all of that. Yuck.
What specifically has he straw-manned?
Here is the problem with your view. You speak about systemic racism, yet you refuse to realize that some of the worst racism taking place is direct and nonstop attacks against White people.
Affirmative Action is nothing more than saying “We Discriminate AGAINST White People in Favor of Other Races.”
THAT is RACISM. That is saying one race is of LESS value than another race.
It is supported by the government, legal, and not considered Discrimination. That makes it therefore part of the System.
Ergo, Affirmative Action is Systemic Racism.
Racism is not everywhere like CRT types would believe. Racism is actually quite rare these days, outside of those who push agendas and claim that just because a black man is pulled over that its a matter of racism. When the cop didn’t even know the driver was black and only saw the expired tags. But, CRT types will call the cop racist for pulling him over.
When you open your eyes and look at your coffee and go “this was made by a racist company” there is something wrong with the way you think. There is something broken upstairs. A cake can be a cake, and nothing but a cake.
But, since you are determined to find racism everywhere, you must analyze the cake and discover how the cake is actually racist.
That is nothing but engaging in a Witch Hunt. Which we’ve done before in history, and the only result was innocent people suffering, and in many cases, killed. Because someone had been driven into a frenzy of fear of some perceived “evil” in the world.
It has been my observation that charging a person as being a racist, or his actions as racism, suspends rational discourse from that point on, and puts the person in a defensive posture from which it is difficult, if not impossible, to escape.
The words racist & racism have become so overused and weaponized to the point that it cheapens them, diluting cases where they actually exist.
CRT does not challenge the beliefs that allow racism to flourish. It simply rejects them outright, without argument. It also rejects outright any belief that attempts to cure the disease of racism. Instead it demands that the symptoms of racism (racial inequity) be forcibly supressed. You don’t cure a disease by rejecting the cure and forcibly eliminating the symptoms. You don’t cure nausea by sewing a person’s mouth shut.
CRT doesn’t recognize anything, it defines things.
Disagree: you are a racist. You want proof? Read your own comment: “If I didn’t know better, I’d think this was written by a racist”.
Yes, obviously challenging beliefs that allow racism to flourish has nothing to do with actually dealing with it as a problem. It’s just an amusement to pass the time.
Couple of things. It’s really difficult to stomach that white people are upholding a system built upon racism, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t acknowledge it. Yeah, when you start examining your world through a CRT lens, you start noticing everything has racist elements and its exhausting. But as a white person, Ive actually gained more layered, complex relationships after starting my antiracism work. Its brought me closer to my community, closer to BIPOC and other white people, not away. I don’t argue my points. I just listen and understand. Like with any point of view, there are people charged who think in black and white terms and there are people in the gray who understand other people’s point of views. But don’t lump people who believe in CRT into one category. CRT upholds a basic truth that makes most people with privilege uncomfortable. But if you actually start to unpack your own racism, you can’t unsee what you start seeing…
There is only “truth”. Things that are true can be demonstrated to be true. So, show your evidence. Disparity of outcomes is not evidence any more than “everything around you” is evidence of a god. What is your evidence? How did you eliminate other factors? What was your process?
Listening to and believing other people about their life experiences is a good place to start.
Gretta, that’s all well.and good but anecdotal evidence is not evidence. And should not be placed above truth and science which is what CRT advocates . Basically “ignore that which is proven ….listen to this story instead and believe it”. The story invariably being from a person who already supports CRT and therefore sees everything already through CRT lens. Hardly a reliable impartial source. If you are willing to ignore basic logic and assign new meaning to well established words, to make CRT anywhere near plausible, then your agenda is already as insidious as the theory itself.
Anecdotal evidence *is* evidence… it’s just not (usually) *good* evidence (and not proof).
Always amused me how CRTers like to tell us all that there is no absolute reality. No “grand narrative”. Your truth is yours and my truth is mine.
But anyone who doesn’t agree with, say, BLM for example, who dares to say so publicly, well that’s THERE truth right. Err… no suddenly there is only one truth, The one that CRT pushes and the whitleblower’s truth gets them cancelled.
An interesting work with a number of its own “assumptions.” The true Biblical interpretation is that man wanted to climb to the heavens so God who was displeased (another story with regard to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) and therefore put language differences between all the people so that they could not cooperate in their common goal. Then there is the development of mankind who’s greatest contribution might be the labeling of all the disciplines in existence, just so the study of them has become possible. There is the scoial contract and all that went before that concept. There are also the various struggles of mankind as both individuals and groups, each with their own narrative. There is objective scientific study that goes deeply into DNA and the development of mankind that begs to be studied and known, just to see how we got to where we are today. There are the different forms of sociology and philosophy in which the human learns to understand of how to think and sometimes to even use critical thinking skills, wisdom and how to use it; and historical perspectives on the science of sociology and what tends to be truths regarding humanity. These rules are high in the pyramid of thought than the truths regarding the races and the individuals, but truly the two are actually intertwined. As to the social mess that exists today? One person said all would be solved is all suspects just complied with the police who have a job to do. There is some evidence to the contrary, anecdotally, except that portions of time are stopped or slowed down with photos and video recordings of a portion of what happened. There is activism of course. There is another set of actions by people called criminal behavior and conduct. Certainly, the inability of the stake holders on all sides to separate out criminality from activism has led to chaos. Reminds me of Durkheim so long ago attempting to use science to observe accurately the conditons of people and to develop his chaos theories. The complexity of the different bottom lines that people have makes communication and definition of terms something that is either difficult or impossible to reach before discussion; before “proposals,” and even before setting goals. It does not beg the question to ask why there is such a thing as the Nobel Peace Prize. Achievement of true peace, rather than just today’s truce is a very difficult thing to accomplish. Treaties among nations are similar in the elements of that, “thing.”
When goals are not agreed upon or are not honestly expressed, they are not achieveable. While science has fairly easily show via DNA that humans are pretty much the same, the physical, mental and emotional differences among and between peoples still have the stake holders attempting to answer the questions about the innate differences among us. Those differences have set up via diverse mechanisms the possibility or even the probability that people choose to forever not have a commonality of goals. Perhaps the concept of non-commonality of goals should be set aside in the interests of furthering the true goals os all the stake holders in ways that can be reached. I will say that from my perspective, with the knowledge and information that humanity has, it might be possible to permanently agree to disagree about certain things in society and yet to move on from there in an effort to have a permanent truce. That during the truce, the seeking of a certain form of peace be a goal. That the highest priority of that goal make every other goal subservient to the highest goal. In this way, constructs of society can be either developed or tweaked to bring about some sort of truce or peace. In such a conditon improvement will occur for all, which really is or was one of the primary underlying propositions in the documents of agreement put together as it was in the 1770’s. While only a small percentage of humanity was represented, “back then,” a review of the concepts by the group of people in New England at that time had a whole lot to do with goals. Those goals had a whole lot to do with developing a new way of doing things. While America has never really accomplished any of the goals and objectives laid our by the people known as our Founding Father, we have, “practiced at it.” Along the way, we continued our war of Independence as second time and then had a series of wars including the Civil War and all that the Civil War meant. (The differences then is a certain way of looking at it, isn’t all that different when compared to the differences that exist with people within our borders, today.) There were Imperial movements and world wars and more limited wars. There were different forms of evolutions and revolutions of invention and information. There were changes of, “free time,” for a larger and larger number of people all over the world. And there were also so many developments in medicine and in other aspects of life that one cannot list them so the observer could possibly remember them. Some of these things have little importance to people and some of them do in varying quantities. Beyond all of this, the individual human being does exist and does count because its been pretty well accepted that human beings do not agree upon everything and in fact most human beings disagree with most other human being with regard to just about everything where an opinion can exist. Perhaps the most disadvantaged of people agree more on certain, “important,” things than those who have more advantages. This truth or the recognition of it does nothng to solve the problems that have been cited by commentors and the principal author, today, herein. Yes. i do think there are solutions. But without some recognition of concepts I’ve mentioned herein and accommodation for them, I fear no progress for the betterment of anyone, will occur. AF
The problem here is that while story-telling and “lived experience” may be perfectly valid ways of comporting oneself to the world – just ask any poet in a garret – they do not produce much in the way of wealth. But the whole bent of CRT is “social justice, ” i.e., a bigger share for minorities of the wealth which white “rigor” has produced. But do I hear someone say that “parasite” is just a social construct?
Parasite is not a social construct. It describes the entire owner class. I think that social justice would mean that the people who do the work would own the company and enjoy all the wealth their labour produced, not some do-nothing “owner” or “investor”. The world you described is one in which owners can unjustly syphon wealth from the labour of others. If you have employees and after you pay them and cover your other input costs and you have a profit leftover, you’ve just exploited them. That more people don’t “get” this shows how deeply brainwashed the American public is — both poor persons of color and poor white people.
And as for story-telling not producing much in the way of wealth, tell that to J.K. Rowling. LOL.
The “do-nothing ‘owner’ or investor” you describe are those who have the skills to organize labor to produce a product and/or service, and take risks in that organization’s success, respectively. That is hardly the definition of parasite. Your comment seems very anti-capitalist.
Story-telling for an author of fiction novels is not comparable to the story-telling referred to as being in use by proponents of CRT as an alternative to science. Trying to replace proven science is not, and should not, be profitable. Gravity applies equally to everyone, regardless of anyone’s attempts to rationalize it through lore.
I was born into a family that gave me no money. after completing public high school I worked and scrimped and saved and bought three miliking cows. I hired a person to help me milk the cows. Is this person entitled to one half of the profits?
Your point is quite valid — but CRT distracts people from it. That, I think, is a key to how popular it’s become with the ruling class
The circular nature is very cult like. It’s kind of like a religion back in the days when they had a lot of power over people’s lives. There was no way to satisfy, in fact “deadly sins” such as anger, lust, greed, and envy, emotions that all animals experience and are therefore unavoidable, are/were considered “sins”. In that way people would not possibly escape their sinful lifestyle and would need the help of the religious charlatans to gain their absolution in perpetuity. CRT is no different. It is strange that this nasty kind of self-hatred appears to be some sort of human need!
You misunderstand. Anger and lust are controllable. Greed and Envy are avoidable. Greed and envy are not normal human emotions. I’m 64 years old and I have never been a greedy or an envious person. Envy is not jealusly–which is normal. Envy is an ugly emotion. We all fall short of the glory of God. We flawed humans sometimes need reminding that we all are in need of Jesus–not some religious charlatan and only God can grant absolution. All you have to do is repent and ask Him. No middleman needed.
I have a strong faith in God. Scary times like these is when we need Jesus in our hearts the most. CRT is very scary and you’re right, It is a cult. 3 things stand out: 1) CRT seeks to strip us of our individualism 2) “assign” us a group identity, 3) hatred of America , 4) keep us endlessly looking for “racism” everywhere, all the time! This will cause perpetual conflict and undermine all relationships.
This article points out that CRT can’t be satisfied. If it can’t be satisfied, then what’s the point of it all? Then CRT is not about race. It’s about power, control & stripping the individualism out of Americans. Race is being used as a catalyst because it’s the most volatile issue & the most divisive. A collective mind is easier to manipulate & control than a group of thousands (or millions) of individuals. Exactly what would needed for Americans to live under the control of a global order.
Good post Cammi. You’ve nailed it!
It’s not a human need, but something that people can be manipulated into. The Demand for Purity is part of Robert Jay Lifton’s eight-point description of ideological totalism.
Over the years (I’m in my 70’s) I’ve pondered the question “What is that bright line, that goal line, that society should be working toward that would – once and for all time – put an end to real and perceived racial differences?”
CRT is not “it” for society. But it is it for CRT advocates, who are involved in an ‘interest convergence’ of their own.
Your article throws light on what’s really going on. Well-intended people are falling for CRT without really understanding what they are signing up for.
CRT must become a core topic of conversation – I’d venture that 99% of Americans have never heard of it.
Its a scary time to be 45yo white western male, will I be in the lowest caste in this new narrative ??
So what is your solution? All I have read is about the dangers of CRT, but not any proposals or ideas for addressing racism in our country and the rise of white nationalism. I am new to the conversation and am currently reading White Fragility. So far, I am only through ch 4, I am finding it helpful in reflecting on what it means to be in the majority and the things that I take for granted that I might not have seen before. It may take me to a place in later chapters that I will disagree with, but for me this is a beginning point to gaining greater understanding of racism in our culture. I have read several articles condemning crt, but have not seen any alternative recommendations on healing and addressing racism in our society. Would value resources to that end. Thank you for your time.
Exactly; and it’s because they DON’T have an alternative. Their alternative is ignoring issues of racism, sexism and homophobia/transphobia in the workplace and beyond. You don’t have to ACCEPT homosexuals, but you have to learn how to treat them as individuals in the workplace and advocate for them as citizens. CRT may not be the answer (though I honestly believe it has some great nuggets), but what is? Conservatives just want to discredit anything that a “liberal” has come up with to solve for racism/systemic issues. And they are also afraid of becoming the minority; so they have to fight back.
Make America Great is such a misnomer; because when was American truly great for African Americans, women, gays, etc? Yes, White Society has made huge strides to remedy inequalities of the past over the past 40 or so years, but it yet to acknowledge that a lot still has to be done to level the playing field.
And yes, some marginalized groups haven’t taken much advantage of the good polices in place to level that playing field initiated by liberals (urban young blacks; I know this because I grew up amongst them… nothing but blaming Whitey.), while other groups have (immigrant Asians/Indians/native Africans and Muslims). But how do we address that? First, we have to stop with this victimist mentality coming from some of the Left; not all. Sure, there will be adversity, but just as every other immigrant group proved itself (the Irish/Italians); poor Black Americans can too. BUT at the same time, let’s not minimize the effect systemic inequality has on their progress (mostly in the legal system), redlining, generational wealth, etc. They still have to catch up on the legacies that were put in place to keep them down.
My only gripe from conservatives is that any attempt from liberals to push for equality is seen as “marxist”…. enough already. What are your alternatives? The moment liberals push for access to birth control to curb abortions, no…. we can’t pay for you to be a slut. Yet, unwanted pregnancies continue and abortions do as well. Sex education? Forget it… no, you can’t do that either as it’s promoting fornication/premarital sex. Ugh. I have always felt that once urban black/brown youth start having babies young and with no father in sight, there is no turning back from generational poverty. It starts there.
I will start by pointing out how interesting it is that you take great care to note that “liberal” perspectives and prescriptions are not homogenous, but are more than happy to begin and end your statement by attributing broad generalizations of “conservative” ideas (or the lack thereof) to all members of that group. Your criticism of “Make America Great Again” is quite illustrative. The slogan is meant, first and foremost, to address Americans’ feelings about their country more than to make a historical statement. Throughout the WWII and the Cold War, it was common to view America as a nation capable of accomplishing great things on behalf of the oppressed, even (or particularly, in the 1960s) for those who were oppressed by the USA itself. Yet rather than being willing to understand MAGA as a slogan that encompasses and supports the idea that we should think of America as a great nation that can solve any problem set before it, you are eager to claim that America has never been great, and are happy to support a movement that explicitly and enthusiastically views the United States as the source of the world’s ills and prescribes dismantling all of its most successful institutions and ideals because they are oppressive – even as that movement relies upon those institutions for its own existence. This lack of respect for alternate perspectives, lack of an ability to understand and incorporate them into one’s own worldview, and lack of introspection regarding one’s own biases and hypocrisy, is why so many people have nothing but disdain for CRT and its proponents.
As for conservation solutions to racism, well… you yourself start off by pointing out the idea fundamental to those solutions: Treat people as individuals and advocate for their rights as citizens.
Conservatives remember that the issues you point out were created by governmental interference, and that individual racism can be overcome relatively easily when it does not have the backing of the state apparatus. The conservative solution to historic government disenfranchisement of black people is not to create more government programs and rules that force blacks into specific paths and communities. It is to allow black people to work, live, and vote in accordance to their desires and opportunities. Liberals just want to discredit any solutions that “conservatives” come up with by characterizing them as racists who only care about the rich and convincing non-whites that they live in a system intentionally and specifically designed to oppress them and enshrine white supremacy, even as we see that whites often to worse in that system than those it was supposedly designed to oppress.
One of my gripes with liberals is that even as they support a movement that explicitly defines itself as Marxist they decry the conservative who points that out. The moment conservatives push for school choice… no, it’s racist to close failing local schools. Yet, black people continue to sneak their children across town to wealthy schools. Affordable housing and investing in black neighborhoods? Forget it… no, you can’t do that because we have to prevent gentrification and preserve the character of the neighborhood. Ugh. I’ve always felt that once black/brown youth start thinking of themselves as fellow Americans who are able to work within the system to take advantage of any opportunities they have to better themselves and their families there is no turning back from building generational wealth. It starts there.
Well, abortions have been legal for generations now and millions of babies have been killed, and it hasn’t changed a thing. There are still poor people everywhere. I don’t believe that killing your children is the answer to rising a group up out of poverty. It may work in the short-term on an individual level, but seems counterproductive at the group level because the group would lose out on a lot of generational wealth by killing their own children or losing them in any manner. Abortion is a short-sighted response to poverty.
My only regret is that I can’t post the Robert Downey Jr eyeroll.
Your comment must have hit every single massively regurgitated, brainless cliche talking point I can think of.
Right out of the Goebbels playbook.
(I guess you should be happy that isn’t calling you a Marxist)
On the level of individuals, racism can be addressed by the method black musician Daryl Davis has used to persuade some 200 Klansmen to give up their robes. These methods are in line with what’s described inabook co-authored by Lindsay, _How to Have Impossible Conversations_. Davis is a critic of CRT.
As for systemic inequalities between groups, the simplest way to address them is to abolish the main institution that perpetuates them: heritable private wealth. We need a workers’ government to nationalize productive wealth and bring it under workers’ control.
This fails every time.
Socialism works the same way in that it looks great for a moment but in reality when given the full length of time has failed 100% of the time. Argentina was a juggernaut economy in the early 1900’s but since is socialist regimes isn’t even in the top 20 of GDP worldwide. Japan declared itself the welfare state decades ago and it looked successful. But the last 20 years have shown their true colors as they have had almost no economic growth and their debt is the highest in the world.
China was essential socialist just a different kind and if you know anything about history they were widely known as the most powerful country in the world for 2000 years but in the 60’s and 70’s were the poorest in the world until they implemented free market policies which have resurrected the country and has made them much stronger.
North Korea vs South Korea. Social state vs free state which one has been successful? Cuba came to power as a social state. The examples are endless.
Now people say “well communism is different from socialism” but here is the funny thing every single communist movement originated as a welfare movement to help the poor workers. So Socialism often leads to communism which means it rightfully is included in the conversation of the results of social movements.
If you have time read this and you will be blown away at how workers rights parties can be very dangerous. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_Party
I think there are some liberal socialist directions in which the world would benefit. It’s extremes that always cause the problems.
I’ve always thought france gives a good example of a liberal socialist govt. Also Britain just after the war (although that didn’t last long unfortunately – Thatcher broke the unions and from then on it’s been individual greed all the way).
Ultimately no system will ever be perfect and I’m sure anyone can list perfectly valid criticisms of my examples, but I think taken overall they are better than what we have now.
Anyway….WAY off topic know.
Wow. Thank you for this breakdown. I had no idea the crazy ran this deep. Some thoughts and questions:
1. After reading #2, “Interest Convergence”, I’m now baffled at the number of white “allies” supporting BLM, implicit bias/white privilege corporate training, etc. They must be unaware CRT posits that, as a white, NO action they take on behalf of non-whites is free from the taint of racism (which begs the question of how whites can even call themselves “allies” of non-whites). Either that, or perhaps they find CRT a more palatable way to address their own cognitive dissonance when it comes to issues of race.
For instance, I live in a suburb populated by a lot of white professional-class transplants from NYC and Philly. I’ve heard many such people complain vociferously about the lack of racial diversity in our suburb — they are the same individuals who moved here because they were unwilling to send their kids to an underperforming but racially diverse city school. To me, they made a rational decision in the best interest of their kids’ education; but to a modern progressive liberal (and most of them are), it’s cause for white guilt. CRT offers a nice way to relieve that guilt: your actions aren’t the product of your decisions as an individual, but instead the product of “the system”. How can you be accused of hypocrisy when you’re just a cog in a machine?
2. As to #4, race as a social construct, what does that mean for people like Rachel Dolezal and, more recently, Jessica Krug? I’d think CRT would condemn them as white female “appropriators”, but if race is simply an invented category “that we impose entirely through social assumptions”, then it turns that argument on its head. But its becoming clear to me that CRT is full of internally inconsistent arguments.
3. In my personal life, the vast majority of persons I’ve observed advocating for CRT have been women. I wonder if that’s jibed with anyone else’s experience and why that is. My hunch is that it’s partly due to CRT being pushed in schools of education and other “helping” professions, since the female CRT proponents I know are mostly teachers, school admins, social workers and therapists.
4. Litigation may be the key to pushback. Once there’s money to be made suing schools and corporations for “white privilege” training under the anti-discrimination statutes, the fate of the movement will be determined by trial attorneys.
Lynn, although I cannot address your questions, which i appreciated I did see today that President Trump passed a ruling stating CRT will not be discussed etc in government agencies.
To me this is far overdue, but a step in the right direction.
Nice article. As a sociologist it’s been both encouraging at first to see Critical Theory observations become more broadly understood.
However it’s been frustrating/enraging to see those observations weaponized by folks who have little understanding of their origins to be used as a form of lazy advocacy via finger pointing and/or those within the social sciences who feel critical theory is anything beyond merely an observation to help inform action that helps bring about meaningful change.
Critical Theory has f any stripe is merely a lens to the world. A way to look at prevailing wisdom and see what’s actually going on.
Critical theory is an observational lens. It’s not a prescriptive. It can never be a prescriptive solution because it’s a ideologically constrained perspective.
It can inform. That’s it.
Translating those observations into social change requires a vast array of lenses/techniques from a myriad of disciplines ranging from Social Psychology, Philosophy, Economics, Marketing, Psychology, History, and on and on and on.
It must be grounded in scientific analysis steeped in best practices for desired outcomes.
And that’s where Critical Theory fails — particularly that dominant post modernist branch that’s eschews meta narratives like the primacy of science over the anecdotal.
What was once steeped in the meta narratives of struggle via Marxism with —- informed praxis being at the forefront —- has descended in the last 40 years into the purely ethereal steeped in ideological observation as being equal to or even better than social scientific inquiry conducted with as much rigor as possible.
In that world view actions for praxis are merely what the observer thinks they “should” be and not what social scientific inquiry has demonstrated them most likely to be.
As a result a person like Robyn DiAngelo can do a terrible job of racial justice trainings — where people react to her terrible people skills and approach with machinations and fits of rage —- and not have to look inward at her approach.
Because the subjective anecdotal is equal to the scientific in her world view, as participant observer she simply infers what she thinks is happening behaviorally by “reading minds”. Which of course she cannot do.
SHE doesn’t have to change her approach, it’s incumbent upon her audience to magically reject their human nature of not enjoying being subjected to ad hoc racist accusations and nonsense.
It’s lazy and racist.
But the impact of DiAngelos pernicious world view is incredibly dangerous for black people.
In these discussions though I think that any critique of DiAngelos brand of critical race theory must include the voices of black people first. And if I have one major critique of this piece you’ve written is that it doesn’t seek those voices out and highlight them first.
Ultimately when DiAngelo hurts the ability of people to have meaningful and necessary dialogue it’s black people who suffer the socio political consequences most.
So for any future efforts here are the best of the critiques of DiAngelos lunacy I’ve seen written by blacks people. I hope it informs and that you’ll highlight them in future narratives.
Dear Mr. Lindsay, as well as Mrs. Pluckrose & other contributors to this site,
I want to take the opportunity to thank you from the depth of my heart for all that you are doing here, with your new book which I will definitely purchase, being on podcasts like JRE etc.
I applaud you for your courage in taking the socio-economic risks associated with speaking out on these issues. I applaud you for your diligent work in wading through the garbage masquerading as “scholarly work” and exposing a degenerated academia with your hoax papers.
In my native country of Germany we have similar observable tendencies in public discourse, academia and mainstream media. The “Spiegel Beststeller Liste”, our equivalent to the NYT bestseller list, is filled with anecdotal narratives playing out the elements of CRT as listed here to a tee.
While I continued on doing different things with my life entirely after getting my degree, as a Political Scientist and citizen of a country that was plagued by two sets of totalitarian ideology during the 20th century I’ve recently become increasingly worried about the direction we as a society have begun taking because of the attention and power garnered by a radical minority peddling these ideas. And I have decided that I can no longer just stand on the sidelines in awe of the increasing absurdity of what is happening, but that it is my civic duty to educate myself on what is going on – and serve as an educator in turn to those reasonable but uninformed and intimidated people around me, who don’t have the time or inclination to take a deeper look at the roots and theoretical underpinnings of what is happening. To this avail your website has already proven an invaluable resource and it has helped me compile a reading list for further study on the subject.
I have experience translating technical material between German and English, and if you ever need assistance translating some of your material into German, you have my help free of charge.
I remain in deep gratitude and wish you and your contributors all the best.
This article made it onto http://www.allsides.com! And, they rate it as Center! Awesome all around.
The damage that CRT is doing to science curriculums is deeply disturbing. The very same leftists and liberals who once mocked young earth creationists for their denial of evolutionary biology will now sadly hang their heads and nod if some CRT disciple encourages them to see Western science as racist and colonial. Just as I mocked those young earth creationists for unwittingly utilizing the elements of the sciences they so passionately rebuff, I have to wonder how a CRT lecturer in a classroom can lecture his or her students about the racist evil of Western science while using the internet, a computer and an overhead projector to illustrate their “point”. It’s also worth noting that East Asian universities in Japan, China and South Korea likely won’t be adopting such ideologies, and as such, while Asian students of 20th century went to Western universities for science education, the 21st century may see Western students going to universities in Asia or possibly Eastern Europe to receive an education free of the taint of post-modernism.
CRT is indeed a horrible philosophy where everyone ends up angry, mistrustful and driven further apart. No one is ever pleased and no lofty goals are met. In fact, the loft goals aren’t even defined. It is my hope that some enterprising independent filmmaker out there will make a detailed documentary film about what CRT is and the damage is has caused and will continue to cause. I think that would make for an excellent remedy.
I agree all around.
One distinction: a genuine young-Earth creationist would at least theoretically, in application, endeavor to love everyone (the fulfillment of the Law according to Jesus).
A CRT disciple (I like that characterization), at best, would be good to very few…
I’m putting this on the back burner of productions, have two right now that are very, very important as to being relevant, as this is!
Excellent, thanks for all your great work.
This sentence seems is confusing:
believes science, reason, and evidence are a “white” way of knowing and that storytelling and lived experience is a “black” alternative, which hurts everyone, especially black people
Did you mean:
believes science, reason, and evidence are a “white” way of knowing which hurts everyone, especially black people and that storytelling and lived experience is a “black” alternative,
The sentence is intended to mean that….
…defining white “ways of knowing” in the way it is described for whites AND defining black “ways of knowing” in the wayit is described blacks, is a harmful thing to do.
So… when both are defined as different to each other like that, it is harmful for everyone.
“that people who benefit from “racism” have no incentives to be against racism”
Intuitively then, by its own logic, Robin DiAngelo has the least reason out of us all to be against racism and has all the reason in the world to continue to perpetuate negative racial narratives.
I keep looking for an indication that James Lindsay has read the work of Susan Haack.
Here’s what I’ve written and been sharing with multiple news, podcast, and media sites. I know it’s probably not fully accurate so I would welcome and appreciate any suggested edits.
I greatly appreciate that you are speaking truth at a time when it is so dangerous to do so. While I believe you are, in a round about way, describing the symptoms, the injustices, the hypocrisy, and some of the players in what’s happening I feel strongly you are missing or failing to articulate the root cause. The events unfolding are an implementation of “the long march through the institutions” critical theory concept as conceived by the Frankfurt School and further refined in the late 80’s by combining it with Bell and Crenshaw’s “Critical Race Theory” (and Intersectionality Theory). They came to the conclusion that revolutions, to be successful, take patience and proper planning, 15 years at least. In that time frame an ideology can be indoctrinated in 3 generations of young adults so a “long march” approach need be taken to own their minds and create activists/revolutionaries. The first generation is taught to train new professors and activists in the ideology with the goal of taking over Academia (the Universities). They have, for the most part, succeeded in accomplishing that. Future generations expand to public education and every influential institution and company possible. They are very close to accomplishing this as well.
Maybe you are fully aware of this but I can tell you as someone who has watched a good deal of your content the message never got through. My light bulb went off when I watched the James Lindsay video referenced below. All the puzzle pieces came together. My sharing the below with a small group I regularly discuss politics with had the same light bulb reaction. Most of us are passionate about politics and range in age from 25 to 81 and none of us knew Identity Politics was really CRT.
In my opinion, if you want people to better understand and combat what’s actually going on in our country they need to understand Critical Race Theory and Postmodern Theory. I think James Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose are the best resources. Spend some time on their website, if you haven’t already, https://newdiscourses.com/ and on their twitter feeds. They break down what’s happening and why it’s happening better than most anything I’ve found to date. Start with the article “Do better than critical race theory”. There is also a link in the body of that article to a more detailed explanation of Critical Race Theory. If you know little or nothing about it that will be a good primer. Again, as someone who spends and has spent years actively reading books, studying history, watching news, videos, podcasts and still couldn’t understand “how and why is this insanity happening?” CRT was the missing link and light bulb that made it all make sense.
Most Americans over 30 know nothing about this. CRT wasn’t taught in University until the late 80s, early 90’s and even then it was limited to fringe disciplines in the humanities. Academia thought it so void of reason they ignored it. Huge mistake. It is now mandatory curriculum for all students and included during orientation. We are now seeing the impact that adding this curriculum has had. This is blatant indoctrination and the techniques used are often identical to those used in cults. The way to stop this is to make the general public aware and especially those who are about to send their kids to what amounts to 4 years of University indoctrination on the evils of Western Civilization and the Enlightenment. Parents need to be aware of whats happening and demand that CRT (and it’s “training” in unconscious bias, white fragility, diversity, equity) be removed from mandatory curriculum.
CRT is also is being mandated in Corporations by often well meaning CEOs. They too don’t know what underlies this “training” because CRT is disguised by using the words Diversity and Inclusion training. HR departments have been over run by the graduates of CRT (which they are trained to infiltrate). Soon after, they lobby for new code of conduct statements, followed by C-Level Diversity and Inclusion Officers. The terms Diversity and Inclusion as historically defined would be fine/reasonable but the CRT’s don’t share that they have changed the definitions (as they have with most every definition including the word racism itself) until well after they are in control.
I believe one of the main mistakes being made is calling them social justice warriors, snow flakes, liberals, leftists, and especially identifying their politics as identity politics etc.. As mentioned above, I am and have been well aware of “identity politics”. But, I believe using that term is one of the main problems the public has in recognizing what we/they are up against. People over 30 simply think these “Progressives” and “Black Lives Matter” “activists” are just liberal democrats farther to the left. They aren’t. This is far more pernicious than that. We need to call out CRT and make the public aware how they have spread this racist philosophy they are masking through the Universities, and use the real name “Critical Race Theory” specifically. Americans need to know what CRT is, that it’s indoctrinating their kids in college, using all the same techniques cults use, and that CRT’s don’t believe in liberalism, humanism, or traditional left (or right) ideas. They aren’t remotely similar.
This video is a must watch https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IKpU6lyZKws
I won’t do this “justice” but in short, the theory teaches there is no objective truth nor reality (except intersectionality and power of course). Everything you believe/know is “socially constructed”. Those constructs were designed specifically to put white people in power and occasionally modified (by the bare minimum e.g. every civil rights advance) to keep White people in power. Essentially,the idea that society is systemically racist because it is built on the ideologies and discourses of Whiteness. Therefore the entire U.S. system is systemically racist and needs to be “deconstructed”, which is a pretty word for, destroyed and replaced. The reason anyone (not just white people) might find that offensive, ridiculous, or wrong is because of unconscious (or hidden) racism that is systemic in each of us, embedded by the current system and its ideology, which happens to be, yes you guessed it, a system/ideology designed to keep white people in power. Every white person “is” racist but may not realize it (yet). If you don’t think you are, and even if you don’t act like it, you still are because it’s been purposely embedded in you through social construction. That “Systemic Racism” extends to and includes all of American/Western language, science, medicine, literature, legal system, and institutions etc.. Again, all were purposely designed with an underlying motive to keep white people in power. If you are white and disagree with this premise than you don’t “yet” see it or are refusing to see it, and that is called “White Fragility”. Your socially constructed beliefs are so embedded that when revealed it causes you great discomfort. So, in your internal shame you resist and either act out, remain silent, or walk away (leave). Doing any of those things including arguing, disagreeing, or attempting to explain why the theory is wrong is you exhibiting your “White Fragility”. By the way, exhibiting “White Fragility” is proof of the premise that you are a racist. Denial of the accusation is proof of the accusation. It’s manipulative circular reasoning which is a tactic often utilized by cults. A Kafka Trap. The only other option is to agree and admit you are a racist and do “the work” which is “lifetime study” to become what they call “anti-racist”. If you become “anti-racist” you will still always be racist but you accept you are racist, become better at “seeing racism in everything” and are an “ally”. And yes, racism is in everything because everything has an underlying purpose to keep white people in power. The only solution is to “Year Zero” the United States. (See Pol Pot) That means completely dismantle the system (i.e. the United States) and start all over. Erase everything of our history (statues destroyed, classic literature and movies “canceled”) or rewrite our history with a new narrative (e.g. “1619 project” or the book “The Half Has Never Been Told”). Again, this is essentially a cult that has been implemented brilliantly by first taking this new racist ideology to Universities and making it mandatory study. After training these activists now for 30 some years they have expanded out of Academia and into the larger world injecting this evil into Corporations, Religion, (e.g. Southern Baptists) and every other bedrock institution under the guise of “diversity, inclusion, and implicit bias training”. It’s being embedded everywhere. It’s Scientology on steroids.
So, what to do? As they say, Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Citizens need to know what CRT is. There are well meaning people, CEO’s, business owners, parents who are promoting and allowing their children and employees to participate in Diversity, Inclusion, Racism seminars. They need to know these words have been hijacked and their definitions are not now what we grew up learning them to be. Under the original definitions it seems perfectly reasonable. Who wouldn’t want to advocate for kindness and equality between all people. But under CRT the meanings are altered. Being color-blind (which is what the CEO/Parent likely believe is being promoted) is now racist. The CRT explicitly rejects Martin Luther Kings concept of “character not color” as well as the concept of individualism. They look at race and group identity as your primary characteristic, so “I am Black” as opposed to “I am a person who happens to be Black.” Racist to the CRT means only those who have power. So people of color can’t be racist because white people have all the power. Racism no longer means – Individual and institutional practices and policies based on the belief that a particular race is superior to others. Racism to the CRT means – White racial and cultural prejudice and discrimination, supported by institutional power and authority, used to the advantage of Whites and the disadvantage of people of Color. And as you look further at most all of the words used by the CRT cult you will find the same thing. Truly Orwellian doublespeak that when examined does not fight racism but rather promotes it and an underlying philosophy that is vengeful, vindictive, racist and immoral at it’s core, taught in a manipulative sadistic way.
I sincerely hope you will investigate further and make the public aware of Critical Race Theory on your shows and news sites. The hour is dark and we desperately need some sunshine.
A Man far less courageous than you
Your summary looks good to me.
@ “canceled soon”
Good write-up & thank you for trying to do something.
If I may suggest one thing, I would make it a little more explicitly obvious that CRT – even though taught in universities – is openly anti-science, and that their favorite tool doesn’t hold up to scientific scrutiny.
This article (it’s quite long but very well worth the read) was linked somewhere on this website, explaining in depth why the IAT (an allegedly “scientific” tool uncovering unconscious bias/racism in test subjects & usually a part of implicit bias training) does not do what it is advertised to do, and doesn’t even do THAT (whatever “that” is) reliably: “Psychology’s Favorite Tool for Measuring Racism Isn’t Up to the Job” written by Jesse Singal, available on thecut.com
Thank you & all the best.
Your summary is excellent. I am going to share it. I have fought and lost this battle at a Unitarian Church, leading to my resignation. Yeah, I know, I’m white fragile…
Well said and amen to that!
What is your problem?
This was outstanding. I would love if you could do a similar article with 8 ways CRT is similar to a cult.
Also. something that we could share (a letter) with friends, family, Parents who are about to send to University.
And finally something for my CEO who just announced we are going to soon have Unconscious Bias Training.
For the benefit of your CEO, there is a great piece on this site from just a few days ago entitled “A Template for Resisting White Fragility in the Workplace”. I cannot link to it here since links are stripped from comments (quite wisely, in my opinion) but it is currently very easy to find on the home page if you have not already done so.
Call in sick that day and refuse to take it, if we don’t stand up to this, it will continue.
I’m not certain but looking at the origin date of this theory and remembering my newcomer orientation at McGuire AFB,NJ in 1978 it sounds a lot like the briefing we received from the social actions office! It was a bizarre conversation about race relations and since the Roots epic had been on a few years before one of the speaker’s decided to call himself Kunta Kinte walking around the room working on intimidatingly each of us! No one bought it, even those who were black. I know they weren’t happy about the man’s performance either because that was all we talked about after leaving ! Social Actions succeeded in doing one thing that day and it was in uniting people on McGuire AFB against them, both black and White, the last thing any of us needed was those nut jobs anywhere around us!
Thank you for this fantastic reading material on CRT. I agree with an earlier comment that CRT is akin to a cult. CRT’s tenets are wholly absurd and propagate mental and behavioral enslavement of just about everyone. Thus, it is not a theory that aims to equalize society. Rather, it is inherently vindictive, mascaraded violence against humanity. CRT is America’s present-day Lenin and Stalin.