Critical race theory (CRT) is defined by encyclopaedia Britannica as an:
...intellectual movement and loosely organized framework of legal analysis based on the premise that race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings but a socially constructed (culturally invented) category that is used to oppress and exploit people of colour. Critical race theorists hold that the law and legal institutions in the United States are inherently racist insofar as they function to create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites, especially African Americans.
As an intellectual movement (or doctrine) it was first organised in 1989, but its roots extend back to the 1960s and '70s with its precursor Critical Legal Studies (CLS) which looked at how institutions and law favoured those with privilege. It took aim at the idea of equality before the law as an ideal as:
emphasis on the equitable treatment under the law of all races ("colour blindness") rendered it capable of recognizing only the most overt and obvious racist practices, not those that were relatively indirect, subtle, or systemic.
This suspicion of equality before the law or colour-blindness is a common thread that made its way to the CRT of today. Many of those who preach the doctrine of CRT, both popular and scholarly, are constantly on the hunt for minor forms of racism ('microaggressions') or institutions that produce unequal racial outcomes regardless of diversity policies or affirmative action ('systemic racism').
This constant search for racism is why Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay subtitles the chapter on CRT as "Ending Racism by Seeing It Everywhere."
John McWorter has drawns the link between CRT and a religious ideology saying that:
Critical Race Theory tells you that everything is about hierarchy, power, their abuses, and how to not be Caucasian in America is to be akin to the captive oarsman slave straining belowdecks in chains.
It is a fragile, performative ideology, which goes beyond the passages above to explicitly reject linear reasoning, traditional legal theorizing, and even Enlightenment rationalism. We are to favor an idea that an oppressed race's "story" constitutes truth, in an overarching sense, apart from mere matters of empirical or individual detail.
The purveyors, particularly of the popular variety (e.g. Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi) are all entirely US-centric - yet their ideas are spruiked as universal truths. Another accurate shorthand descriptor of CRT would be "ending ideas about racial supremacy by exporting US racial ideas to every corner of the planet."
CRT has become the doctrine most favoured by big corporations who pay thousands of dollars an hour to lecture workers on how not to be racist - or rather "How to be an Anti-Racist?"
The doctrine of CRT has left the scholastic realm of the university and become a crowd-pleaser in the halls of power with travelling preachers (Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi et al) and big beneficiaries financing its proselytisation. But this isn't what brought it to the masses, for that an institution was needed, enter Black Lives Matter (BLM).
Black Lives Matter, The Church of Anti-Racism
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is more than merely a slogan to unite around it is a full-blown organisation that creates a religious movement around the cause of anti-racism by sanctifying the doctrine of CRT.
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