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Thread: What, exactly, is CRT?

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    What, exactly, is CRT?

    So, I see threads asking why there is CRT hysteria, and see threads mocking people for opposing CRT.

    What I don't see is a hard concrete steel-manned definition of CRT.

    For me to know if it is as good or as bad as people say, I think I need to know more about what it is.

    So, what exactly is it?
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    Veteran Member bleubird's Avatar
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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_race_theory

    It is the current "look squirrel" from Repugs.

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    1997

    For Black Scholars Wedded to Prism of Race, New and Separate Goals

    Critical race theorists, who are on the faculty at almost every major law school and are producing an ever-growing body of scholarly work, have drawn from an idea made popular by postmodernist scholars of all races, that there is no objective reality
    Critics of critical race theory, like Prof. Suzanna Sherry of the University of Minnesota law school, contend that it defies common sense and abandons intellectual principles in an effort to promote the political standing of blacks in society.
    CRT rejects objective reality, is anti-empiricism, and is just self-serving bullshit.

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    From Wikipedia:
    ... the basic tenets of CRT include that racism and disparate racial outcomes are the result of complex, changing and often subtle social and institutional dynamics rather than explicit and intentional prejudices on the part of individuals. CRT scholars also view race and white supremacy as an intersectional social construction which serves to uphold the interests of white people against those of marginalized communities at large. In the field of legal studies, CRT emphasizes that merely making laws colorblind on paper may not be enough to make the application of the laws colorblind; ostensibly colorblind laws can be applied in racially discriminatory ways. A key CRT concept is intersectionality, which emphasizes that race can intersect with other identities (such as gender and class) to produce complex combinations of power and disadvantage.
    At Google Ngrams you will see that the phrase was rare until 1990, then books on the topic began appearing and usage increased linearly: Today it is three times as common as it was in 2000.


    Google Ngrams will show you excerpts from old books that have the phrase, but some of those showings appear to be newer books misdated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swammerdami View Post
    Today it is three times as common as it was in 2000.
    I bet it is more than twice as common in 2021 as it was 2020.
    January 6th left right wing extremists casting about for something to attack for persecuting white people, and CRT was the best they could do.

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    CRT is a rather old academic theory from the 70s, regarding systemic racism in the US. From my understanding, it was initially used to instruct law students so, I assume, when they were representing Black clients they would understand the racist elements in the system. That's just my interpretation from the little I've read about it. It's just been dusted off the shelf and discussed more openly recently.

    But, in today's crazy world, CRT is a symbol, grossly exaggerated by the far right, hoping to use it to defeat Democrats in the midterms. They are portraying CRT as a commonly taught theory used in public schools, to indoctrinate white children to be full of guilt, as all white people, including that cute little 5 year old blonde girl, are responsible for every racist act towards Black people since the time of slavery. Of course, that's made up propaganda. CRT isn't even taught in the public schools, but the Repugs have believed the lies and their dear leaders are passing laws against teaching it in public schools. Oh, the horror. We can't tell our children the darker side of American history. We must white wash the dark side of US history, and proudly rent our minds to the US flag, while chanting....USA....USA.....USA.

    At least that's how I see it. Opinions may vary.

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    Thank you Swammerdami for actually taking the time to start to answer the question. There are points there I am interested in exploring further a little later.
    No Biden, no KKK, no Fascist USA

    The word "know" has one silent k.
    The word "knuckle" has two silent k's.
    The word "Democrat" has three silent k's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Harvestdancer View Post
    ...mocking people for opposing CRT.
    Claiming that is what is going on without mentioning all the propaganda shows a bit of a one-sided perspective. I have been planning to make a separate thread on the propaganda portion of the anti-anti-racism movement and will do so shortly so you can at least see what CRT is NOT in addition to your question of what it IS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    CRT is a rather old academic theory from the 70s, regarding systemic racism in the US. From my understanding, it was initially used to instruct law students so, I assume, when they were representing Black clients they would understand the racist elements in the system. That's just my interpretation from the little I've read about it. It's just been dusted off the shelf and discussed more openly recently.

    But, in today's crazy world, CRT is a symbol, grossly exaggerated by the far right, hoping to use it to defeat Democrats in the midterms. They are portraying CRT as a commonly taught theory used in public schools, to indoctrinate white children to be full of guilt, as all white people, including that cute little 5 year old blonde girl, are responsible for every racist act towards Black people since the time of slavery. Of course, that's made up propaganda. CRT isn't even taught in the public schools, but the Repugs have believed the lies and their dear leaders are passing laws against teaching it in public schools. Oh, the horror. We can't tell our children the darker side of American history. We must white wash the dark side of US history, and proudly rent our minds to the US flag, while chanting....USA....USA.....USA.

    At least that's how I see it. Opinions may vary.
    I'd say you've got it about right. CRT is the latest in a flurry of bogeymen being thrown at the wall by the right. Previously it was trans athletes in schools. OMG, your daughter is going to have to compete with a trans kid for a slot on the volleyball team! Before that it was trans people generally. OMG, your daughter is going to be raped in a bathroom by a trans person. Now it's OMG your child (after they've been passed up for that team and raped in a bathroom) is going to be taught about the Chinese Exclusion Acts! Run for the hills!

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Harvestdancer View Post
    So, I see threads asking why there is CRT hysteria, and see threads mocking people for opposing CRT.

    What I don't see is a hard concrete steel-manned definition of CRT.

    For me to know if it is as good or as bad as people say, I think I need to know more about what it is.

    So, what exactly is it?
    Concrete it is not; it's more a very general paradigm of thought that has evolved over the last forty or so years through a network of publications by scholars starting arguably with the work of Derrick Bell and a loose network of his students and collegaues at Harvard and other elite American universities, especially Kimberle Crenshaw of UCLA. Its principal ideas are that the social theory of racism implicit in the social planning and legal framework of anti-racism employed through the 1960s (ie., that racism is primarily an individual choice made by socially dysfunctional persons primarily due to scientific ignorance on their part) was inadequate to address deeper, systemic forms of white supremacy that had been hard-baked into American law from the country's founding. CRT tends to focus on systemic, especially legal systems of racial discrimination, and has generally encouraged acceptance and synthesis of burgeoning areas of ethnic studies such as intersectionality theory and social contructivist models of semiotic study. CRT originated in the legal field, but had immediate implications in higher education, in part because the limited nature of tenured university appointments was a critical point of concern and activism for Bell and his students. CRT has thus been well known to those in the academic legal profession as well as to university administrators generally since about the mid-90's. Also around that time, other social sciences started taking an interest in the framework and occasionally interweaving it with the other major theoretical models of the day, for instance, within political science, sociology, and anthropology. CRT also has a historic though indirect connection to the discipline of Ethnic Studies and attempts to install the same at American universities.

    All this should be carefully distinguished from what is meant by CRT in contemporary political dialogue; since 2019, essentially any potentially controversial material on race has been at risk of the accusation from the American political Right. This was exacerbated by the publication of the 1619 Project, a journalistic meta-project aimed at educating the public on the history of American slavery, published in connection with the quatercentenary of the advent of Transatlantic slave market. A number of the people who worked on the project also considered CRT to be a major guiding theoretical principle in their research, leading to the accusation that the project "is CRT". Most conservatives believe that a primary tenet of CRT is race essentialism, the idea that race is a biological reality inextricably connected to your personality and beliefs, and that individual Whites should therefore be held personally responsible for the existence of white supremacy, regardless of their views or actions. Whites, in short, cannot help but institute racism, as it is in their blood rather than their mind that the impulse to discriminate arises. While this has nothing to do with the academic school described above and in fact directly contradicts its core idea of race as a social construct, if you don't understand the accusation that is being leveled, nothing about the resulting controversy will make any sense.
    "Banish me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of knowledge."

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