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Learn & Unlearn: Anti-racism Resource Guide

Lesson 10: Critical Race Theory

Original post on @saic.maffairs posted 10/2/2020.

Foundation: Critical Race Theory

What is Critical Race Theory?

Fundamentally connected to the social construction of race, and definitions of racism, is Critical Race Theory.1 Critical Race Theory examines how racism is sewn into the legal system and is largely responsible for the racial inequities that exist today. It questions the very foundations of social hierarchy, and challenges the laws and systems that perpetuate social order and racism.2,3 CRT predicates that there are no equal outcomes for all racial groups. 

According to CRT, race and racism are alive today and conditioned as our ‘normal,’ experiences. Race is constructing in the diminishing of individual pluralistic differences, and ascribing monolithic stereotypes to entire groups. The dominant ‘elite’ group can maintain their superiority, profit, and power by manipulating and controlling these racial groups.1

Critical race theory asks us to acknowledge the racism in the history of America, recognize the racism that exists today, and consider how we can transform the relationship between race, racism, and power and work towards the liberation of People of Color.4


“Our social world, with its rules, practices, and assignments of prestige and power, is not fixed; rather, we construct with it words, stories and silence. But we need not acquiesce in arrangements that are unfair and one-sided. By writing and speaking against them, we may hope to contribute to a better, fairer world,” - Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic 5

To Read

Flaxman Library Materials - May take up to 3 days from request to pickup. Instructions are available here.
I-Share Books - May take up to 10 days from request to pickup. Instructions are available here.

To Research

To Watch

To Reflect

How can you accurately, authentically, center the individual experiences of racially oppressed groups?
Racism and racial hierarchy have continued unchallenged. Why haven’t things changed?
What are the areas or individual actions you can do to challenge racial inequities? 

To Act

Recognize the relationship between the legal system, race, and racism. Make sure you're ready and registered to vote!


Works Cited

  1. "Racism Defined," Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks). Last modified June 2020.
  2. "Critical Race Theory," Racial Equity Tools Glossary, October 2019.
  3. "Critical Race Theory (1970s-present)," Purdue Online Writing Lab, n.d.
  4. The Adaway Group, What exactly is Critical Race Theory?, n.d.
  5. Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge, eds. Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Temple University Press, 2013).