Five Ugly Truths About Critical Race Theory

«The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity. If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity, then it is racist. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.

The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.» From How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. 

The Civil Rights Movement called for living up to the foundational promises of the United States and incrementally changing the system so that those original ideals were met. Critical Race Theory rejects incrementalism in favor of revolution. It rejects the existing system and demands replacing it with its own. It rejects the liberal order and all that goes with it as being part of the system which must be dismantled and replaced.

The most they can do is «strive to be less white» and to become aware of and condemn «whiteness» as a system. «Wildman and Davis, for instance, contend that white supremacy is a system of oppression and privilege that all white people benefit from. » Generally whites think of racism as voluntary, intentional conduct done by horrible others. Whites spend a lot of time trying to convince ourselves and each other that we are not racist.

A big step would be for whites to admit that we are racist and then to consider what to do about it. «The white complicity claim maintains that all whites are complicit in systemic racial injustice and this claim sometimes takes the form of »all whites are racist. «Here we find a claim about complicity that is addressed to all white people regardless of and despite their good intentions. What I refer to as »the white complicity claim« maintains that white people, through the practices of whiteness and by benefiting from white privilege, contribute to the maintenance of systemic racial injustice. »

« As Zeus Leonardo remarks, all whites are responsible for white dominance since their »very being depends on it. If we take this perspective, then no white member of society seems quite so innocent. «.

The main difference is that Marxism is concerned primarily with economic class and rejects racial categories in favor of workers’ solidarity. « What this means is that Critical Race Theory operates like Marxism but using race instead of economic class as the line of »social stratification,« above which people are »privileged« or »oppressors« and below which people are »marginalized« or »oppressed. « This social order is assumed in Critical Race Theory as »the ordinary state of affairs« and analyzed in the same way Marx analyzed across class stratification. » Namely, Marx’s »conflict theory« is the tool for analyzing society, which is assumed to be totally racialized .

For those who understand Marxism, where Marxism sees capitalism as a superstructure that organizes society and determines the outcomes of the privileged and oppressed classes, Critical Race Theory sees »white supremacy« as a superstructure that organizes society and determines outcomes of the privileged and oppressed classes. To be critical is to show good judgment in recognizing when arguments are faulty, assertions lack evidence, truth claims appeal to unreliable sources, or concepts are sloppily crafted and applied. Here, the critical learner is someone who is empowered and motivated to seek justice and emancipation. Critical pedagogy regards the claims that students make in response to social-justice issues not as propositions to be assessed for their truth value, but as expressions of power that function to re-inscribe and perpetuate social inequalities.

This is the first step toward resisting and transforming social injustices. « By interrogating the politics of knowledge-production, this tradition also calls into question the uses of the accepted critical-thinking toolkit to determine epistemic adequacy.» From «Tracking Privilege-preserving Epistemic Pushback in Feminist and Critical Race Philosophy Classrooms,» Hypatia, by Alison Bailey, p. «Our analysis of social justice is based on a school of thought known as Critical Theory. » Critical Theory refers to a body of scholarship that examines how society works, and is a tradition that emerged in the early part of the 20th century from a group of scholars at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany .

These theorists offered an examination and critique of society and engaged with questions about social change. « Their work was guided by the belief that society should work toward the ideals of equality and social betterment.»Many influential scholars worked at the Institute, and many other influential scholars came later but worked in the Frankfurt School tradition. « From Is Everyone Really Equal?, by Özlem Sensoy and Robin DiAngelo, second edition, p. 50.»As the reader will see, critical race theory builds on the insights of two previous movements, critical legal studies and radical feminism, to both of which it owes a large debt.

« This is a way of viewing the world, however, not a way of analyzing the world as it is.»Racism exists today, in both traditional and modern forms. All members of this society have been socialized to participate in it. No one here chose to be socialized into racism . But no one is neutral — to not act against racism is to support racism.

The question is not »did racism take place«? but rather »how did racism manifest in that situation?« The racial status quo is comfortable for most whites. If you are white, practice sitting with and building your stamina for racial discomfort» -Robin DiAngelo «The critical race theory movement is a collection of activists and scholars interested in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power. Second, most would agree that our system of white-over-color ascendancy serves important purposes, both psychic and material. The first feature, ordinariness, means that racism is difficult to cure or address.

Whites do not see themselves as having a race, but being, simply, people.

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Source: James Lindsay | New Discourses

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