How liberals are morphing the CRT of the 70s into a cudgel of divisiveness
CAMBRIDGE: The late Harvard Law professor Derrick Bell is credited as being the father of critical race theory (CRT) dating back to the mid-1970s. Derrick Bell, an African-American professor of law at Harvard Law School, and Alan Freeman, a white scholar at SUNY-Buffalo Law School, formulated the movement that came to be called critical race theory (CRT).
Some say research by legal scholars, activists, and lawyers trying to understand the stymied progress of the 1960s civil rights movement led to the early development of critical race theory in the 1970s.
Bell is said to have contributed groundbreaking analyses of conflict of interests in civil rights litigation.
He often blamed white elite self-interests in explaining the outcomes of blacks’ racial fortunes. In an article in the Yale Law Journal, Bell pointed out that lawyers for elite civil rights organizations like the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), often pursued one agenda—law reform and innovation. Meanwhile, the client community wanted something more to the point. They argued for safer streets and basic needs for their children – including food and better schools.
An example was given how the NAACP Legal Defense Fund relentlessly pursued school desegregation, while black parents often wanted something totally different. Spend some of the vast Teacher’s Union money on providing better education for black schools.
In the early 1980s, students of color at Harvard Law School organized protests regarding Harvard’s lack of racial diversity.
Professor Derrick Bell left Harvard Law in 1980 to become the dean at the University of Oregon School of Law. Bell had developed new courses for Harvard that studied American law from a racial perspective. Harvard students of color wanted faculty of color to teach the new courses after Bell resigned his position because of what he viewed as the university’s discriminatory practices.
Harvard rejected student requests, stating no sufficiently qualified black faculty existed.
This may well have been true since Bell designed these exploratory courses himself and would have been the first to teach them. Legal scholar Randall Kennedy wrote that some students felt affronted by Harvard’s choice to employ an “archetypal white liberal… in a way that precludes the development of black leadership”. (Professor Derrick Bell: Scholar credited with founding critical race theory – 2011)
In response, numerous students, including Kimberlé Crenshaw and Mari Matsuda, boycotted and organized to develop an “Alternative Course” using Bell’s Race, Racism, and American Law (1973, 1st edition) as a core text. They included guest speakers Richard Delgado (white) and Neil Gotanda (Asian) and those became 4 more top leading figures in CRT.
Harvard has not changed since the 60s
Cornel West is one of the country’s biggest Black scholars and a far-left progressive activist has recently resigned from Harvard. While mainstream media brushes it off as a “tenure” dispute, West says he is leaving Harvard University, saying the school has been participating in “intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy of deep depths.”
This is my candid letter of resignation to my Harvard Dean. I try to tell the unvarnished truth about the decadence in our market-driven universities! Let us bear witness against this spiritual rot! pic.twitter.com/hCLAuNSWDu
— Cornel West (@CornelWest) July 13, 2021
West said the “disarray of a scattered curriculum, the disenchantment of talented yet deferential faculty, and the disorientation of precious students loom large” has led to his resignation.
CRT is not readily understood by those outside the scholarly world
But it is more understandable after looking at the 5 tenets of it first.
Tenet One: counter-storytelling: higher education provides faculty, staff, and students of color a voice to tell their narratives with regards to feeling marginalized experiences in institutions becoming less inclusive than superficially diverse.
Tenet Two: the permanence of racism: holds that racism is regarded as an inherent part of civilization, privileging white people over colored ones in higher education where diversity action plans become ineffective when racism is ignored in this regard.
Tenet Three: whiteness as property: originated from the premise of embedded racism in American society, where the notion of whiteness operated on different levels, such as the right of possession, the right to use and enjoyment, the right to disposition, and the right of exclusion (DeCuir & Dixson; Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995; Ladson-Billings, 1998).
Tenet Four: interest conversion: asserts white people as being the primary beneficiaries of civil rights legislation (Ladson-Billings, 1998; DeCuir & Dixson, 2004; McCoy, 2006), which is exemplified in affirmative action and diversity initiatives.
- Tenet Five: a critique of liberalism: comes from the notion of color-blindness, the neutrality of the law, and equal opportunity for all, are just mechanisms allowing people to ignore racist policies that perpetuate social inequity, as proven out in the lack of inclusivity in the academic curriculum (Ladson-Billings, 1998).
President Trump issued an executive order (EO) in September of 2020 excluding any language from federal contracts that included diversity and inclusion training interpreted as “Divisive Concepts,” “Race or Sex Stereotyping,” and “Race or Sex Scapegoating.”
Among the content considered “divisive” was Critical Race Theory (CRT).
In response, the African American Policy Forum, led by legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, (she is noted prior) launched the #TruthBeTold campaign to expose the harm Trump’s order posed. It was reported over 300 diversity and inclusion training courses to have been canceled as a result of the order. Over 120 civil rights organizations and allies signed a letter condemning the executive order.
So, exactly what is CRT, why is it under attack?
The American Bar Association holds…
“CRT is not a diversity and inclusion “training” but a practice of interrogating the role of race and racism in a society that emerged in the legal academy and spread to other fields of scholarship. Crenshaw—who coined the term “CRT”—notes that CRT is not a noun, but a verb. It cannot be confined to a static and narrow definition but is considered to be an evolving and malleable practice. It critiques how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers.
CRT also recognizes that race intersects with other identities, including sexuality, gender identity, and others. CRT recognizes that racism is not a bygone relic of the past. Instead, it acknowledges that the legacy of slavery, segregation, and the imposition of second-class citizenship on Black Americans and other people of color continue to permeate the social fabric of this nation.”
Others do not agree with the ABA view of what CRT is all about and they do not want it taught in our schools.
As the ABA explains,
“CRT grew from Critical Legal Studies (CLS), which argued that the law was not objective or apolitical. CLS was a significant departure from earlier conceptions of the law (and other fields of scholarship) as objective, neutral, principled, and dissociated from social or political considerations.”
Like proponents of CLS, critical race theorists recognized that the law could be complicit in maintaining an unjust social order. Where critical race theorists departed from CLS was in the recognition of how race and racial inequality were reproduced through the law. Further, CRT scholars did not share the approach of destabilizing social injustice by destabilizing the law. Many CRT scholars had witnessed how the law could be used to help secure and protect civil rights.
Therefore, critical race theorists recognized that, while the law could be used to deepen racial inequality, it also held potential as a tool for emancipation and for securing racial equality.”
All the Proof You Need CRT is bad is the ABA is in Bed with It!
An example of how the problem of race and discrimination was exasperated by legal experts happened some 32 years ago in Rockford, Illinois. A lawsuit was filed that alleged the Rockford School Board was intentionally segregating and discriminating against minorities. The suit was called by a minority group called “People Who Care”.
The suit lasted for years and was ultimately settled when a federal magistrate made a ruling the Rockford Public Schools had “raised discrimination to an art form” and ordered the schools to desegregate. Rockford paid a huge cost for the suit and their property taxes took a severe hit which goes on to this day.
The magistrate was wrong and the case was wrong. As many people, both black and white, of Rockford, explain what really happened.
With Black people living on the west side of Rockford and white people on the east side of Rockford, the school board did wrong by not weighing each student equally in dollar reimbursement of Federal, State, and local tax dollars.
Instead they slanted the value of dollars to white schools using the logic that the higher property taxes are paid on the “white” east side so the bulk of the dollars should go there. Which was not equally treating all children to the same education. The very first step to racial equality.
The solution was made for a “School Choice” program
Whereby students would choose which school they wanted to go to and be bussed there even if it meant getting up earlier to get bussed across town.
Educators who watched the case progress were duped by both the legal profession and those trying to portray Rockford as a racist city. Lawyers seemingly wanted the case to drag on as long as possible as well as the magistrate who gave the extremely poor and wrong summation. All the proof you needed they were right was in this 2017 report
So how did the magistrate get it so wrong?
In a school district of 28,000 students where one third are white, one third are black and one third are Hispanic, the court remedy set up a system of school choice. The court figured this would lead to racially balanced schools. In 2010, the order was lifted and the district chose to return to “zoned schools.”
Some say that led to re-segregation but that is a falsehood. What the Rockford School Board also did was move to both academy and charter type schools. Academy schools allow students to go where they want to immerse themselves in a field such as music, art, or STEM education. Charter schools are a little more difficult to explain but this part of a mission statement shows race is not in the equation:
“The mission of Legacy Academy of Excellence Charter School is to instill a lifelong passion for learning within all its students while ensuring that all learners, including those considered to be “at-risk” regardless of economic and social background, succeed academically and become contributing citizens of a global society.” – Rockford Legacy Academy of Excellence Charter School
In the end, both sides of this litigation felt screwed over by the lawyers as they watched their property taxes skyrocket to fund the litigation. Yes, the suit was about race. No, the people of Rockford are not racists. Mistakes were made but it was easy to understand the positions of both sides of the matter. It got blown way out of proportion by lawyers in the court.
The people of Rockford, Illinois, are some of the most charitable and loving people in the country. All the proof you need is to see the number of churches, Christian thrift stores, food pantries and homeless shelters in the city. None of them see color!
The people of Rockford do not want to see people living on their streets in a country that has so much. They are people that care. Then and now. Today Rockford is among Illinois’ “Best Places to Live” with a mixed racial demographic.
A report by The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation found only 39 percent of Americans can pass a multiple-choice test with questions taken from the U.S. Citizenship Test for immigration.
We do not need CRT. We need to stop attempting to divide a nation by race for the sake of politics. For our children to succeed, at any age, we need to get back to educational basics. And stop allowing splinter groups like BLM and ANTIFA, a relatively small percentage of Americans, to destroy all of America. With the help of socialist teacher’s unions.
The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation test had a passing score of 60. So, only 39 percent of Americans can get 60 percent right on a test about our country. Let that sink in.
Racism is not a problem in the United States of America.
Racism does exist. It will always exist. Even in future Sci-Fi fantasies like Star Trek, racism exists. But it does not exist in most homes. Or most communities. In middle America, a trip to the local market will prove this correct.
Our schools being taken off task by new progressive liberal programs as unfunded mandates with biased hidden agendas is the problem. CRT is self-serving to lawyers seeking to spawn more litigation in our school systems and other governmental bodies!
Again, all the proof you need is they had to change the name from “Critical Legal Studies” (CLS) to “Critical Race Theory” (CRT). Reminds one of a time when we had “Global Warming” until it came out the earth was actually cooling so they had to change it to “Climate Change”
About the author:
Mark Schwendau is a Christian conservative patriot and retired technology professor (CAD-CAM and web development) who prides himself on his critical thinking ability. Schwendau has had a long sideline of newspaper editorial writing where he used the byline, “- bringing little known facts to people who simply want to know the truth.”
Mark is on alternative free speech social media platforms after lifetime bans from Facebook and Twitter and shadow bans from Instagram and Fox News commenting. His website is www.IDrawIWrite.Tech
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