What is Critical Race Theory?

Critical Race Theory or CRT is a section of scholastic analysis of race within society—it is an academic branch of sociology that analyses the world around us. I would argue that the tranche of study is not based on the melanin of individuals but the power that is afforded to those who are racialised as white (or those who have a proximity to whiteness). Many scholars have echoed that the power structures are primary and are crucial to the promulgation of racism. I have been repeating this point like a mantra for the best part of two decades; we don’tdon’t have to hate or kill folx to uphold white supremacy.

The following statement should not be controversial:

“”Every school in the UK/US is institutionally racist.””

As in our role as educators, who can deny that we uphold systems that denigrate the lives of People of Colour? Through teaching an ethnocentric curriculum, implementing disproportionate sanctions, under assessing pupils of Colour, disproportionate HR and the treatment of teachers of Colour, etc. Racism is the norm, it is every day, and we all contribute to it daily.


CRT evolved from the need for an alternative to the tired narrative of reformation, which stems from the civil rights movement and its academic analysis and critical legal studies (CLS). In CLS, scholars aimed to identify and deconstruct the inequalities within society in the United States during the 1970s. With race being the defining factor in oppression in our communities, the approach taken by CLS scholars was to relegate race’s significance to be analogous to class-based oppression. Thus CRT arose as the alternative.


Opponents of critical race theory often question its validity and often require ‘proof’; I have written elsewhere about the pitfalls of positivism (seeing truth as having an absolute value). When talking about people, society and their analysis, we cannot quantify proof in the same way we do the natural sciences. This same process is also evident in education but isn’t it interesting that we rarely see challenges to those academic departments.

Some Tenets.

  1. All scholars in these sociological departments are tied to a constructivist ontology; I don’t believe you can take another stance when talking about race.
  2. Racism is typified in society, entrenched into the culture and everyday life. So it exists without the need is not necessarily overt or with intention.
  3. White supremacy is the culmination of political, economic, and cultural systems that allow white people to control commodities and other resources. These privileges are present regardless of intention or conscious observance.
  4. The narratives from People of Colour are diverse and numerous. Thus, the power analysis is taken from the overall trends and a culmination of experiences.
  5. Racial equity has rarely come from the sympathies or benevolence of white folx. Rather, moves that are conterminous with a mutual benefit, such as in times of labour shortages, may mean that the rights afforded to white workers are afforded those of Colour (through the bypassing through racist immigration policies).
  6. Intersectionality is the concept that states that all characteristics may contribute to the power imbalance, including but not limited to race with gender, sexuality, colour, etc. As I am racialised as a Brown man my experience of the world is different to those of a Black woman.

Denying this scholarship is the same as refusing to engage in the knowledge that doesn’t fit your narrative. Sorry if you feel this is contentious, but that’s not knowledge. What you are engaging in is propaganda.

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