Monthly Archives: September 2014

Paper #2 — Major questions, different directions

Major Questions, Different Directions

As CRT has grown, it has faced criticism from within the movement and without.  The external criticisms are worth mentioning briefly because in some ways, they reflect some of the internal criticism of the movement.  Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic address these criticisms in “Critiques and Responses to Criticism.”  Delgado, Derrick Bell, and Mari Matsuda, who helped establish CRT, have been accused of privileging minority voices as experts at the expense of non-minorities who may have insights or expertise (“Critiques” 99-100).  The movement has also been accused of “racial essentialism” and disregard for merit (102).  The most crucial criticism, however, stems from those who denounce CRT’s narrative methodology as being too ambiguous and amorphous to meet acceptable standards of academic rigor (103).  These, and other external criticisms have been addressed by Delgado and other members of the movement, but they have also served to turn a critical eye inward to a movement that must evolve and adapt to a changing world.  Recent critique of CRT argues that the black/white binary upon which CRT was based in the years following Brown v. Board of Education are too exclusionary given the contemporary significance of multiculturalism, intersectionality, and other forms of racism in the 21st century.  The major questions in the field hinge on the direction academics and CRT scholars want to go:  Move away from narratives?  Go beyond the black/white binary?  Incorporate and adapt CRT concepts, theories, and methodologies to contemporary issues of race such as multiculturalism and microagressions?  This entry will briefly address those issues.

Visual art representing concepts in CRT

Visual art representing concepts in CRT

Imani Perry, Professor, Center for African American Studies at Princeton University touches on narrative by asserting that storytelling alone is not sufficient to address racial inequity.  Perry approaches narrative through  cultural studies. In her article Cultural Studies Critical Race Theory and Some Reflections on Methods, she argues for examining the narrative created by “social practices and forms of consumption (television, church, film, games) (917)” and evaluating those cultural artifacts “as they relate to the structural power of law, and the underlying ideologies of constitutional and private law” (917).  For example, rather than disdain the “low brow” appeal of pop culture such “paternity test shows” that create and reinforce stereotypes about race (917), Perry argues that such artifacts of cultural production should be read as a series of interdependent texts that communicate values that influence, and are influenced by, law (917).

Perry’s approach is just one of the ways adherents of CRT address the criticism of a storytelling methodology.  She critiques culturally produced stereotypes and implicitly insists on counter-narratives to these stereotypes.  Rather than rely on stories or narratives that may be “atypical” or “a distortion of public discourse” (Delgado and Stefancic 103), cultural studies creates a narrative through consistent and cumulative artifacts.  This reflects an important aspect contemporary CRT in that it incorporates social media, new media, and digital technologies that were not part of the narrative framework during the early decades of CRT.  There are many ways to approach CRT — whether through literary studies, American studies, legal rhetoric, etc. – and each discipline has adapted the narrative aspect of CRT to keep CRT relevant and dynamic.

Gloria Ladson-Billings and Tara J. Yasso address another current debate in CRT:  the black/white binary.  Ladson-Billings and Yasso disagree about whether the black/white binary is still essential to CRT.  Ladson-Billings believes that the issue is not the binary, but how racial and ethnic identities are categorized according to their relation to Whiteness (116).  Yasso, however, believes that in a multicultural society, we need to move beyond the binary to address issues of liberal colorblindness, multiculturalism, cultural capital, and appropriation (117).

In addition to the aforementioned areas of contention, CRT has yet to come up with a theory that adequately addresses contemporary concerns of intersectionality and globalization.  These concerns include a wide variety of issues from the impact of class on housing segregation (“Critical Race Theory Today” 120), elite jobs (121), standardized

There isn't just "one" road.

There isn’t just “one” road.

testing (121), environmental justice (121), and poverty (123), just to name a few.   In contrast to these areas of concern that reflect Derrick Bell’s interest convergence theory and social justice, discourse analysts examine ideas such as identity, microaggression, race as a social construct function in the 21st century.

The major questions of CRT do not have clearly delineated trajectories or histories.  They have fuzzy borders as individual scholars, sociology departments, law schools, history departments, etc. determine the application of theories and methods.  Similar to Dr. Haitsma’s evaluation of the major questions in the field of Rhetoric and Composition, the questions in CRT are merely differences in application and not ideological or pedagogical debates that fracture the field and create the type of intradepartmental hostilities evident in Dr. Moberly’s articles on game studies.

I agree with Dr. Yasso’s contemporary insight into CRT.  My own vision for addressing race and racism maintains the “old school” focus on social justice and combines it with the contemporary interest in how race and microaggressions shape racial and personal identity in law and literature.  For example, I was recently discussing African American anger and stereotypes of the Angry Black Woman and the Dangerous Black Man.  Both of these stereotypes are used in an attempt to derail discussion about the circumstances that lead to real, or perceived, anger.  Often, it’s not even the overt racism that results in the frustration and anger (ironically, when non-people of color demonstrate anger, it’s often called righteous anger, passion, or even patriotism, depending on the circumstances), but the multitude of microaggressions over a day, a year, a lifetime that result in the harsh tone or outburst when someone touches your hair (this is not a zoo), states that you are articulate (unspoken: for a black person), asks “What are you?” (I’m a who, not a what), questions your credentials (do I need to pin my resume and recommendations to my chest?), or gives you a backhanded, racist compliment.

What are you?  A common question asked of mixed race people.

What are you? A common question asked of mixed race people.

Overt racism can be addressed through legal channels or even social media which is implements its own form corrective castigation; microaggressions, however, are often unaddressed because they are typically subtle.  Calling out microaggression can cause someone to be labeled as “too sensitive” or “playing the race card.”  This perspective provides a fresh way of looking at African American lives and addressing it in literature.  What are the microaggressions that influence the character’s responses?  How do we see them shaping personal as well as cultural identity?  How is the law complicit in creating and reinforcing microaggression? These are some of the contemporary CRT questions I intend to address in my research.

 Works Cited


Delgado, Richard, and Jean Stefancic. “Critiques and Responses to Criticism.” Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. New York: New York UP, 2012. 99-111. Print.

—– “Critical Race Theory Today.” Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. New York: New York UP, 2012. 113-142. Print.

Ladson-Billings, Gloria. “The Evolving Role of Critical Race Theory in Educational Scholarship.” 8 Race Ethnicity and Education 1 (2005): 115-19. Web.

Perry, Imani. “Cultural Studies, Critical Race Theory and Some Reflection on Methods.” 50 Villanova Law Review 4 (2005): 915-24. Law and Society Commons. Web. 20 Sept. 2014.

Yosso, Tara J.  “Whose Culture Has Capital?  A Critical Race Theory Discussion of Community Cultural Wealth” (2005).


Filed under ENGL810, Papers

PAB#2 Questions, but no right answer

Critical Race Theory & Cultural Studies — Departing from the Counternarrative 

Imani Perry, Professor, Center for African American Studies at Princeton University, discusses the methods used in cultural studies and Critical Race Theory (CRT) in her article Cultural Studies Critical Race Theory and Some Reflections on Methods (2005).

Perry recognizes that while the conventional narrative approach to exploring and critiquing the relationship between law and race are a key components of CRT, cultural studies provides a methodology that uses “social practices and forms of consumption (television, church, film, games) as they relate to the structural power of law, and the underlying ideologies of constitutional and private law” (917).  She argues that it is social practices such as the consumption television of talk shows she calls “paternity test shows” that create and reinforce stereotypes about race (917).  Rather than disdain the “low brow” appeal of pop culture, Perry argues that artifacts of cultural production

Talk show host, Maury Povich, frequently hosts young, impoverished women of color seeking to establish paternity of their children.

Talk show host, Maury Povich, frequently hosts young, impoverished women of color seeking to establish paternity of their children.

should be read as a series of interdependent texts that communicate values that influence, and are influenced by, law (917).

While Perry may seem to be advocating a departure from the narrative approach of CRT, she only approaches the narrative from a different framework.  In fact, she states that continued viewing of the absurd hypersexuality and promiscuity on display in the “paternity shows,” creates a narrative that is not only reified in stereotypes at large, but influences family law in which the stereotypes shape the decisions of judges, lawyers, and juries (918).

CRT is about the production of counter-narratives to oppose false pictures and stereotypes created by the dominant power structure that thrives on institutionalized racism.  Counternarratives have been critiqued as ineffective to combat systemic inequality and scholars like Perry have posited new ways to approach CRT.  Yet, the methodological approaches to CRT I have so far encountered seem to return to its narrative origins – it is only the lens through which the narrative is created and consumed that changes.

Perry’s discussion about family law and the influence of negative stereotypes reminds me of Dr. Mario L. Barnes’ article “Black Women’s Stories and Criminal Law.” Barnes, Professor of Law at University of California, Irvine and Co-Director of the Center for Law, Equality, and Race, writes that black women’s interactions with the criminal justice system revealed that “social and legal constructions of black women’s identities”(945) resulted in stereotypes and prejudices that undermine[d] not only individuality of the women, but also the court proceedings (950).  This article, like the one summarized below, demonstrates the overlapping application of CRT to a wide variety of academic disciplines.

A question that emerged from this reading pertains to the participation of African Americans in the stereotypes and cultural artifacts that serve to further oppress them.  This is where CRT merges with psychology and sociology and What does it mean to be African American? and the question of who decides.  I think it is apparent through CRT that power and law decides.  I like the ways in which CRT attempts to move beyond that paradigm to create counternarratives.


Works Cited

Perry, Imani. “Cultural Studies, Critical Race Theory and Some Reflection on Methods.” 50 Villanova Law Review 4 (2005): 915-24. Law and Society Commons. Web. 20 Sept. 2014.

Barnes, Mario L. “Black Women’s Stories and the Criminal Law: Restating the Power of Narrative.” 39 U. C. Davis L.  Rev. (2005 -2006): 941-90. Web. 05 Sept. 2014.



Critical Race Theory in Educational Scholarship

In “Evolving Role of Critical Race Theory in Educational Scholarship” Gloria Ladson-Billings gives a quick overview of some of the articles compiled for the April 2004 American Educational Research Association symposium (115).  While I plan to read each of the articles submitted for the symposium, Ladson-Billings’ introductory article gives a quick overview of some of the debates in the field of CRT.  I am going to give a quick review of the article most relevant to my area of study.

Gloria Ladson-Billings on the cover of University of Wisconsin- Madison's Isthmus Magazine.

Gloria Ladson-Billings on the cover of University of Wisconsin- Madison Isthmus Magazine.

Ladson-Billings critiques Tara J. Yosso’s “Whose Culture Has Capital?  A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth.”  Yosso, Professor of Chicano Studies at UCLA, insists that CRT must move beyond the “black/white binaries” (116).  Ladson-Billings proposes that the issue is not the binary , but how Whiteness is the standard by with all other racial and ethnic identities are categorized (116).  Ladson-Billings’ opposition to extending the discussions of CRT beyond the black/white binary is unconvincing as she goes on to discuss the variety of racial categories on the 1890 census and other racial groups that have been able, at one time, to claim Whiteness.  I think this is too fine a line.  Whether or not their identity was in relation to Whiteness, it did move beyond the black/white binary simply because the people claiming Whiteness were able to do so because they were not Black.  Although at certain times Asian Indians, Mexican Americans, and the Cherokee  were able to claim Whiteness (116), it was only possible because they were not Black.

Yosso’s article was written in 2005.  I’d like to find more recent work about moving beyond the binary, particularly in light of the colorblind and multicultural liberalism that has pervaded 21st century education.  Kimberle Williams Crenshaw’s article, “Twenty Years of Critical Race Theory Looking Back to Move Forward” addresses the significance of  multiculturalism and colorblindness in the 21st century “post-racial” discussions about race.  Her critique that these “post-racial” liberalisms impede social justice and racial equality by taking race off the table for discussion (1337) can inform an analysis of the binary.

Yosso also addresses cultural capital and appropriation.  In an example of a Coca-Cola commercial in which the “joke” stems from the viewer’s assumption that the Black person could not also be the Latino person, Yosso’s binary is again confirmed.  The commercial was banking on assumptions of “not Black” even though there was no “White” in the picture (117) – obviously moving beyond the black/white binary.

Although this article and the symposium from which it emerged focuses on CRT in education, it demonstrates the widespread application CRT principles.  Regardless of the academic discipline, the use of narrative/counternarrative and the analysis of race v. power/law are central tenets of CRT analysis.  The law component may be explicit, such as an analysis of the impact specific laws or interactions with the police or judiciary.  The law component may also be implicit, a silent, but present force that shapes behavior and expectations. The critiques and questions posed by Ladson-Billings are critiques that can be posed in the application of CRT to any academic discipline, and in fact have been applied by academics in support of an in opposition to CRT.

While this article doesn’t directly address how I want to use CRT in analyzing literature, it does address some of the issues with black/white and the role of CRT in education.  I reviewed several English and Literature department web sites.  Many of the larger universities have a Cultural Studies and Critical Race Theory division.  It is evident that Critical Race Theory has become its own discipline in English Studies and in education.  How and to what extent is a question that is constantly being negotiated.  I know that I want to direct my career toward working in department with a recognized Critical Race, Gender, and Cultural Studies component.

Work Cited

Crenshaw, Kimberle Williams. “Twenty Years of Critical Race Theory.” 43 Connecticut Law Review 5 (2011): 1253-352. Web. 18 Sept. 2014.

Ladson-Billings, Gloria. “The Evolving Role of Critical Race Theory in Educational Scholarship.” 8 Race Ethnicity and Education 1 (2005): 115-19. Web.

Yasso, Tara J. “Whose Culture Has Capital? A Critical Race Theory Discussion of Community Cultural Wealth.” 8 Race Ethnicity and Education 1(2005): 69-91. Web. 18 Sept. 2014.

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Filed under ENGL810, PAB Entry2

Paper #1 — Critical Race Theory

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Richard Delgado ‘s “Liberal McCarthyism and the Origins of Critical Race Theory” (2009) and Kimberle Williams Crenshaw’s , “Twenty Years of Critical Race Theory Looking Back to Move Forward” (2009) trace the development of Critical Race Theory (CRT) from the backlash in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s against progressive professors advocating for social reform to what Williams calls the “institutional and discursive struggles over the scope of race and racism” (1259)on the campus of Harvard in the 1980’s. These birth stories define the impetus of the movement as a response to institutional inertia and de facto segregation and the loci, the American higher education system.

Delgado asserts that “liberal McCarthyism” within the higher education system resulted in the ejection of civil rights activists from the academy.  Ironically, it was in response to liberal pressure to depoliticize campuses and prevent radical professors from influencing the influx of African American students making their way into higher education for the first time as a result of Brown v. Board of Education.

David Trubek was hired at Yale in the late 1960’s, but was denied tenure for supporting student activism against Yale’s “let the courts do their work” mentality.  Trubek’s political views resulted in an unstable academic career, during which he mentored and advised Kimberlie Williams Crenshaw, who became one of the leading members of CRT.  Her dissertation is a doctrinal CRT document (1536).  He also sponsored the participation of Crenshaw and a group of minority professors at the “New Developments in Minority Scholarship” panel, recognized as the foundation of CRT (1536).

Another Yale professor, Richard Able also drew the ire of the administration.  His critiques of law, government, and of Yale’s own resistance to social reform resulted in his dismissal (1537).  Like Trubek, Able’s most important contribution to CRT occurred when he organized the “New Developments in Minority Scholarship” panel (1537).

Staughton Lynd, also a Yale professor, took his activism beyond the classroom to speak at rallies and participate in protests (1539).  Even after his dismissal, he continued

Staugton Lynd teaching at a Freedom School

Staugton Lynd teaching at a Freedom School

to write and influence CRT, as his material-determinist view of the intersection of race and history influenced Derrick Bell Brown v Board and Interest Convergence (1539).

Delgado’s analysis of Trubek, Abel, and Lynd’s influence on CRT neatly intersects with Crenshaw’s discussion of the frustrations and activism of African American law students at Harvard Law School.  In 1982, Harvard Law’s Black Law Student Association confronted their concerns over the lack of minority professors (1264).  Derrick Bell, a well-respected African American law professor, had left earlier that year in frustration over Harvard’s hiring policies and refusal to review hiring practices that eliminated qualified professors of color (1265).  With Bell’s departure went all courses that dealt with law and social justice, a particular concern to minority students who were in the first wave of law students to benefit from Brown v. Board of Education.  Not only did the dean minimize their concerns, but his response was tinged with condescension and more than a bit of racial tone-deafness.  It was clear to Crenshaw and other Harvard Law minority students “whose legal problems would be served by Harvard Law School and which interests were not” (1274).

Derrick Bell walking with a group of Harvard Law School Students after taking his voluntary leave of absence.

Derrick Bell walking with a group of Harvard Law School Students after taking his voluntary leave of absence.

In 1989, Crenshaw, Richard Delgado, David Trubek, and twenty-one others developed a “New Developments in Minority Scholarship” panel, organized in part by Richard Abel, at a CLS conference in Madison, Wisconsin.  Not only did the documents produced for this panel create the foundation for CRT, but as Crenshaw states, “[they] were able to link [their] projects together within an emerging ideological frame.  The project thus grew into its name:  Critical Race Theory” (1300).

CRT embraces methodologies and adapts theories from other disciplines to examine the roots and exercise of power on individuals and institutions.  CRT not only pervades legal study, but is also cross-disciplinary tool used in “education, psychology, cultural studies, political science, and even philosophy” (1256).  Unlike other areas of study, such as Game Studies discussed last week, CRT does not derive its principles based on exclusion or by drawing narrow boundaries.  In fact, such practices would be antithetical to its origins.

One of the questions I have about CRT is how it has adapted to 21st century ideas about race and the expansion of racial and ethnic categories.  In my own life I have wrestled with racial identification, often from the outside as others seek to label my race and ethnicity.  Upon reflection and through my study of CRT, I realize that while most of it has been well-meaning, there is always a hierarchy to labeling and people express a bizarre satisfaction in being able to peg what racial/ethnic group I claim.  I am interested in how these dynamics are incorporated into the race/power dynamics of the legal system.

Finally, in researching the history of the CRT movement, I thought about ways to connect it to my interest in African American literature.  I am particularly drawn to Native Son by Richard Wright and A Gathering of Old Men by Earnest Gaines and how African American men operate within and resist definitions of race and the power of the law.

 Works Cited

Delgado, Richard. “Liberal McCarthyism and the Origins of Critical Race Theory.” Iowa Law Review 94 (2009): 1505-545. Social Science Research Network Electronic     Paper Collection. Web. 11 Sept. 2014.

Crenshaw, Kimberle Williams. “Twenty Years of Critical Race Theory.” Connecticut Law Review 43 (2011): 1253-352. Web.  10 Sept. 2014.

Recommended Reading

Crenshaw, Kimberlé, Neil Gotanda, Gary Peller, and Thomas Kendall, eds. Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement. New York: New Press 1995.  Print.

Delgado, Richard, and Jean Stefancic. Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. 2nd ed. New York: New York UP, 2001. Print.


Filed under ENGL810, Papers

PAB #1 Critical Race Theory, Then and Now

Liberal McCarthyism and the Creation of Critical Race Theory

In 2009, Richard Delgado, co-founder of Critical Race Theory and the current John J. Sparkman Chair of Law at University of Alabama, wrote “Liberal McCarthyism and the Origins of Critical Race Theory.”  Delgado commemorates the origins of Critical Race Theory by explaining how seemingly unconnected forces were essential in the formation of the movement (1506).  The recognition of origins, he claims, is necessary for any movement because it serves a “constitutive function” by “designating an official ideology, selecting a set of heroes, and avoiding the appearance of contingency and luck in explaining how the group came into existence” (1506).  In short, birth stories for movements, like people, give a sense of stability, legitimacy, and even identity.

Derrick Bell’s powerful and groundbreaking Critical Race document “Brown v Board of Education and Interest Convergence” is credited with beginning the Critical Race Theory movement.  However, Delgado makes clear that Bell’s bellwether article is the culmination of the actions and potentially career ending sacrifices made by educators David Trubek, Richard Abel, Staughton Lynd, and Anthony Platt in the years leading up to official recognition of Critical Race Theory.

National Guard outside the Student Union at Berkeley.

National Guard outside the Student Union at Berkeley.

Still reeling from protests, student activism, and unrest of the 1960s and 1970s, universities sought to return to an equilibrium that satisfied the status quo.  What resulted was a national witch hunt that Delgado calls “liberal McCarthyism,” in which professors active in social justice and reform were fired, denied tenure, and blackballed from jobs in higher education.  Rather than be cowed by ejection from the academy, Delgado describes their continued efforts on behalf of social reform by establishing connections, convening panels on race and law, writing articles, and mentoring students who were essential in forming that basis of what we know today as critical legal studies and critical race theory.

In gathering their stories, Delgado utilizes Staughton Lynd’s “history from below” approach and merges those histories into one overarching birth story, demonstrating the unified purpose, methodology, stability, and identity that created Critical Race Theory.  Delgado recognizes that fragmentation and the absence of a clearly defined origin and ideology make it difficult for a movement to gather momentum and articulate goals.  Borrowing from various disciplines there was a tacit understanding of mutual goals that enabled the movement to thrive in a time of instability.

English Studies is experiencing those difficulties today.  Although, Critical Race Theory has had offshoots such as Critical Race Feminism and Critical Latino Theory, they are stronger because they share a common core and related goals.  From what we have studied so far, English studies not only has disparate offshoots, but these offshoots resist acknowledging a common core and often cannot identify their own goals.  This has made me recognize that in entering and engaging with my discipline, one of my goals should also be definition as a scholar within the discipline.  This article has already contributed to my understanding of the discipline.  In other words, roots give wings.



  1. Although higher education was predominated by white men, I’d like to learn more about the “history from below” of women and minorities involved in the movement.
  2. Many of these men eventually returned to academia.  I would like to know how they and others negotiated that return and their how they practice or implement Critical Race Theory in a so-called post-racial society.

Key Concepts/Terms

Interest Convergence:  Social justice for African Americans is only possible when the needs of African Americans intersect with the needs of the White majority (Bell 523)

Critical Race Theory:  “Radical legal movement that seeks to transform the relationship between race, racism, and power” (Delgado “Glossary of Terms”).

History from Below:  That stories of the nameless, faceless people that shape history through their “invisible actions – rather than the traditional version emphasizing generals, kinds, and wars” (Delgado “Liberal McCarthyism” 1538).


Works Cited

Derrick A. Bell, Jr., Comment, “Brown v. Board of Education and the Interest-Convergence Dilemma,” 93 HARV. L. REV. 518 (1980)

Delgado, Richard and Jean Stefanic.  “Glossary of Terms”.  Critical Race Theory:  An Introduction.  New York  New York. Univ. Press 2nd Ed. (2012) 159

Delgado, Richard. “Liberal McCarthyism and the Origins of Critical Race Theory.” 94 Iowa Law Review (2009): 1505-545. Social Science Research Network Electronic Paper Collection. Web. 11 Sept. 2014.


 Critical Race Theory:  Then and Now

Race Still Matters

From: Colorlines, Youth and Race Focus Group

Kimberlie Williams Crenshaw, who wrote one of the foundational texts of Critical Race Theory, “Race Reform Retrenchment,” looks back on the movement in her Connecticut Law Review article, “Twenty Years of Critical Race Theory Looking Back to Move Forward.”  Crenshaw’s article discusses the differences and similarities of the Critical Race Theory’s beginnings and the challenges of a multi-disciplinary methodology and application along with opportunities and obstacles that developed in our “post-racial era.

Crenshaw takes an encompassing look at the perceptual problem of Critical Race Theory among Conservatives and accusations of anti-Semitism that threatened the survival of the discipline (1311).   Although for many, Barak Obama’s election seemed to indicate that the United States was ushering in a new era of equality and race reform, Crenshaw argues that “formal equality did little to disrupt ongoing patterns of institutional power and the reproduction of differential privileges and burdens across race” (1312).  According to Crenshaw, reframing and broadening Critical Race Theory is vital in order to address the contemporary issues of race, law, and power that were not present when the discipline was first conceived (1313).  She posits that Critical Race Theory must deal with seemingly benign colorblind racism and address what she calls “the Obama phenomenon,”  that is, that with the election of an African American president, America needs to no longer concern itself with race.  When in fact, his election presented a double-bind for African Americans.  By claiming to not see race, colorblind racism ignores the structural and institutional racism that made Obama’s election not so much a victory, but a miracle.  It serves to allow some well-meaning colorblind to be blind to the social, political, and other inequities still in existence and provide an excuse for racists to adhere to their notions of African American self-sabotage and missed opportunities for advancement.

Crenshaw’s analysis of critiques Obama’s reframing and often avoidance of discussions of race, has been a hindrance rather than a help to racial equality and social justice.

NYTimes Declares Racial Barriers Over

NYTimes Declares Racial Barriers Over

In fact, they have assisted not only the courts, but also the American people in drifting back to the harmful ideas about race and power that existed during Critical Race Theory’s early period.  She also addresses a “drifting back” by claiming that Critical Race Theory is in danger of becoming too tied to the civil rights activism of the past rather than incorporating the various formats of twenty-first century activism and the more subtle ways that race and power collide.  Rather than progress, Crenshaw writes, the post-racial world has been a series of regressions that establish the need for a Critical Race Theory that addresses post-racial discourses and moves the movement forward.

Crenshaw’s article not only encompasses the “post-racial” era, but addresses women in law and academia, and the necessity of an interdisciplinary approach to Critical Race Theory.  I found this article valuable in answering questions about the progression of the movement and the incorporation and recognition of other voices within the movement.  So many articles about race and law focus on black men.  This article was helpful not only for its attention to women, but because it went in greater detail about CRT’s application to other areas of study.  As I continue to develop my area of interest, the continued application of CRT to other areas was much needed guidance.

In terms of its application to English Studies, what was interesting about this article is that unlike its conception, CRT has become an accepted discipline within various academic departments.  It is still a unifying force among LatCrit theorist, Critical Race Feminists, and others.  The divergence of interests has only served to strengthen CRT over time rather than diminish it.

In the attached video, Crenshaw addresses pervasive structural inequality and how CRT can address it.  It’s an interesting keynote address if you have time to watch it.  I would be interested in your thoughts.  I am working through thoughts about CRT and how/if I would apply it to my research interests, so I would appreciate any questions or comments you have about the post or the video.

Works Cited

Race, Reform, and Retrenchment: Transformation and Legitimation in Antidiscrimination Law, 101 Harvard Law Review 1331-87 (1988). Reprinted in Critical Legal

Thought:  An American-German Debate (edited by Christian Joerges and David M. Trubek, Nomos, 1989



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