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Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement

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... As evident with the 2020 executive memo and subsequent bans that reductively deemed CRT as "un-American" and collapsed the theory with "diversity trainings," little is understood about CRT as well as its origins (Cobb, 2021;Ray, 2020). CRT emerged as an intellectual movement in the legal field that positioned race and racism as central to understanding social reality and the negotiation of American consciousness vis-à-vis law (Crenshaw et al., 1995). A hallmark of CRT is its dynamism and diversity, in which legal and educational scholars continue to critique the role of racism in upholding White supremacy in U.S. institutions, one of them being P-20 education. ...
... CRT's legal origins are both well documented and commonly mentioned, even if hastily, in educational research (K. Brown & Jackson, 2013;Taylor, 2016). However, there is a tendency to overlook the role of ethnic studies and critical social theorists, especially Black critical theorists across the African Diaspora, who have contributed to the formation of CRT's theoretical contours (Busey & Coleman-King, 2020;Carbado, 2011;Chapman, 2013;Crenshaw, 2011;Crenshaw et al., 1995;Ladson-Billings & Tate, 2016;Leonardo, 2013;Rabaka, 2013;Solórzano, 2013;Tate, 1997). As Leonardo (2013) noted, CRT is interdisciplinary and appropriates insights from the philosophy of Charles Mills, draws from the sociological thought of W.E.B. DuBois and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, and engages cultural studies from Stuart Hall to Paul Gilroy, and social theory from Althusser and Zizek. ...
... Crenshaw's (1988) argument of retrenchment also addressed how expansive approaches to addressing racial subordination through the law were rolled back altogether, and at times intentionally subverted through antidiscrimination law that dealt with racism on the terms of formal equality. As a result, legal scholars especially influenced by Alan Freeman and Derrick Bell-the latter of whom is largely credited as the founding father of CRT-grew increasingly frustrated with the slow, incremental pace towards racial equality (Bell, 1992a(Bell, , 1992b(Bell, , 1995Crenshaw et al., 1995). Moreover, a dynamic body of scholarship that we now know as CRT began to develop its central thesis: that perhaps the issue is that racism is embedded within the law itself (Crenshaw, 1988;Gotanda, 1991). ...
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Since its introduction as an analytic and theoretical tool for the examination of racism in education, CRT scholarship has proliferated as the most visible critical theory of race in educational research. Whereas CRT’s popularity can be viewed as a welcome sign, scholars continually caution against its misappropriation and overuse, which dilute its criticality. We draw from the cautionary ethos of this canon of literature as the impetus for examining CRT’s terrain in social studies education research. Starting from Ladson-Billings’s watershed edited CRT text on race and social studies in 2003, this study provides a comprehensive theoretical review of scholarly literature in the social studies education field pertinent to the nexus of CRT, racialized citizenship, and race(ism). To guide our review, we asked how social studies education scholars have defined and used CRT as an analytic and theoretical framework in social studies education research from 2004 to 2019, as well as how scholars have positioned CRT within social studies education research to foreground the relationship between citizenship and race. Overall, findings from our theoretical review illustrated that contrary to the proliferation of CRT in educational research, CRT was slow to catch on as a theoretical and analytic framework in social studies education, as only seven of the articles in our analysis were published between 2004 and 2010. However, CRT emerged as a viable framework for the examination of race, racism, and racialized citizenship between 2011 and 2019, with a majority of these studies emphasizing (a) the centrality of race as a core tenet of CRT, (b) idealist interrogations of race, (c) the perspectives of teachers of color and White teachers in learning how to teach about race, and (d) the role of race and racism in curricular analyses that serve as counternarrative to the master script of the nation’s linear social progress in social studies education.
... As critical race theorists have explained, law codifies and legitimates racial hierarchies in innumerable ways (see Crenshaw et al. 1996;Delgado and Stefancic 2017;Valdes, Culp, and Harris 2002;Moran and Carbado 2008;Bridges 2018;Valdes, Bender, and Hill 2021). Law also contributes to the stigmatization of groups. ...
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Racial capitalism is a conceptual framework that illuminates the relationship between race and class in the global economy. Formulated initially by South African scholars and activists, the theory of racial capitalism has been invoked in recent years by scholars in a variety of disciplines, including law, because it sheds light on seemingly unrelated phenomena, including rampant economic inequality; increasingly militarized policing and border control; the ongoing dispossession of Indigenous peoples and others racialized as inferior; the resurgence of right-wing authoritarian ethno-nationalism; the expulsion to the margins of society of growing numbers of humans (including persons who are unemployed, incarcerated, or homeless); and the unprecedented degradation of the ecological systems that support human and non-human life. This article contributes to the theory of racial capitalism by describing its historical foundations and analyzing what we believe to be its two key structural features: profit-making and race-making, for the purpose of accumulating wealth and power. We understand profit-making as the extraction of surplus value or profits through processes of exploitation, expropriation, and expulsion, which are grounded in a politics of race-making. We understand race-making as including racial stratification, racial segregation, and the creation of sacrifice zones, which reflect the strategies and outcomes of profit-making. The structural features of racial capitalism thus are mutually constitutive: profit-making processes create and reinforce the making of racial meaning, while race-making, underwritten by white supremacy, structures and facilitates the economic processes of profit-making. Together, they constitute a global system dependent on the unbridled extraction of wealth from both humans and nature. Law is deeply implicated in racial capitalism’s profit-making and race-making processes. The article highlights, with concrete examples, the ways that law and legal institutions shape, justify and naturalize the injustices that racial capitalism creates. For example, law defines, in part, what constitutes sovereignty, property, and citizenship; it delineates acceptable levels of environmental degradation; and it determines who is entitled to housing, health care, clean air and water, food, childcare, and a semblance of real freedom and choice (those who can pay). Among the areas of law discussed in the article are property, real estate, labor, immigration, housing, antitrust, trade, investment, environmental, and corporate law – as well as foundational principles of international law (such as sovereignty).
... Through this critical lens, we can better demonstrate how RPPs protect whiteness under the guise of protecting 'niceness' (Patton Davis 2016). Coined by Harris (1993), whiteness as property details the many ways in which property has been legally conceptualized, arranged and protected for whites. As Annamma (2015) writes, 'whiteness became further ensconced as property when it defined the legal status of a person as free, while blackness defined slavery' (p. ...
... Her"O we offer a brief and non-comprehensive contextualization of this conversation within scholarly literature. Critical Race Theory (CRT), introduced by Derrick Bell and fellow legal schoiars in the 1970s situates racism as endemic and enduring in American society (Crenshaw et al., 1995). Largely absent from public discourse until recentiy, CRT has taken on a life of its own and is falsely deployed by detractors as stand-in for everything from work force diversity training to any conversation around anti-racism. ...
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Linguistic norms concerning issues of social injustice, racism specifically, vary by discipline. In this study, the authors used content analysis to examine discourse in the social work profession related to racism and anti-racist action. Our investigation found that the usage of forthright terms such as racism, white supremacy, and oppression in the description of social work courses, authoritative disciplinary statements, and educational standards, was uncommon prior to the uprisings that occurred worldwide following the murder of George Floyd in 2020. In contrast, we find the pervasive promulgation of anti-racism as an explicit social work priority across multiple high-profile educational venues since this time. In our discussion, we interrogate the implications of this contrast as it relates to the ability of social work students and practitioners to both conceptually and practically engage in effective anti-racist action.
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The control, regulation, and policing of African American/Black people is a persistent feature of the history of White supremacist legislation, policies, and practices leading the construction of the era of mass incarceration. The mass incarceration of African American/Black families living in poverty in the United States has had a devastating impact on the lives of families and communities. The goal of this chapter is to examine the historical and contemporary legislative and policing practices resulting in the mass incarceration of African American/Black families. The authors also identify trends in incarcera-tion rates to demonstrate the staggering reality that a significant portion of the African American/Black population in the United States lives locked up behind bars in federal and state prisons, or community supervisory conditions including probation and parole. The authors conclude by offering recommendations to minimize the incarceration of African Americans/Blacks and resources for clinicians to better support the community.
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Black graduate women (BGW) are among the fastest-growing groups within higher education, and they make up the most significant number of students of color at graduate and undergraduate levels. Indeed, they outnumber other groups of color by two to one. This systematic literature review identifies three significant themes impacting their experiences: racial battle fatigue, intersectionality, and lack of mentorship. Recommendations are highlighted as institutional acknowledgment and support, creating mentoring opportunities and pathways to healing and freedom. Additionally, coping mechanisms are explored in the chapter.
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