In what ways, and on whose terms, might we expect a theory from 'outside' to have theoretical and analytic power for understanding inequality in education? As the first of two responses to Zeus Leonardo's chapter, Ladson-Billings reflects on the various misuses and abuses of Critical Race Theory in the scholarship of educational inquiry. Through telling contrasts with Leonardo's exegesis, she highlights a lack of deeper connection and criticality that may be detected in other, fundamentally superficial works. Setting aside questions of theoretical propriety and semantics, her response argues that the lived realities of racism compel both theoretical and practical development of research in education that confront - rather than sidestep - the structures of injustice and oppression. In short, if the texts and textures of educational research do not address this, do our questions of context and contextualization become little more than the willful persistence of 'eyes wide shut'? © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. All rights are reserved by the Publisher.