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Critical Race Theory

Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, Second Edition

Richard Delgado
Jean Stefancic
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 207
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  • Book Info
    Critical Race Theory
    Book Description:

    In 2001, Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic published their definitive Critical Race Theory, a compact introduction to the field that explained, in straightforward language, the origins, principal themes, leading voices, and new directions of this important movement in legal thought. Since then, critical race theory has gone on to influence numerous other fields of scholarship, and the Delgado and Stefancic primer has remained an indispensible guide for students and teachers. Delgado and Stefancic have revised the book to include material on key issues such as colorblind jurisprudence, Latino-Critical scholarship, immigration, and the rollback of affirmative action. This second edition introduces readers to important new voices in fields outside of law, including education and psychology, and offers greatly expanded issues for discussion, updated reading lists, and an extensive glossary of terms.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-2136-0
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. xv-xx)

    In 1982 I was a graduate student in social science at the University of Chicago. I lived at International House, among a vibrant community of American students from African American, Latino/a, South Asian, and other backgrounds, as well as foreign students from Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. We protested and picketed over sanctions for the South African apartheid regime. We saw Michael Jackson moonwalking for the first time on television. Our black male friends got stopped by the police for looking like members of the impoverished African American community that surrounded Hyde Park. We read books in which feminists...

  5. Preface to the Second Edition
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  6. CHAPTER I Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)

    The critical race theory (CRT) movement is a collection of activists and scholars interested in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power. The movement considers many of the same issues that conventional civil rights and ethnic studies discourses take up, but places them in a broader perspective that includes economics, history, context, group- and self-interest, and even feelings and the unconscious. Unlike traditional civil rights, which stresses incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law.

    During the...

  7. CHAPTER II Hallmark Critical Race Theory Themes
    (pp. 19-42)

    This hypothetical question poses an issue that squarely divides critical race theory thinkers—indeed, civil rights Hallmark Critical Race Theory Themes 21 activists in general. One camp, which we may call “idealists,” holds that racism and discrimination are matters of thinking, mental categorization, attitude, and discourse. Race is a social construction, not a biological reality. Hence we may unmake it and deprive it of much of its sting by changing the system of images, words, attitudes, unconscious feelings, scripts, and social teachings by which we convey to one another that certain people are less intelligent, reliable, hardworking, virtuous, and American...

  8. CHAPTER III Legal Storytelling and Narrative Analysis
    (pp. 43-56)

    Critical race theorists have built on everyday experiences with perspective, viewpoint, and the power of stories and persuasion to come to a deeper understanding of how Americans see race. They have written parables, autobiography, and “counterstories” and have investigated the factual background and personalities, frequently ignored in the casebooks, of well-known cases such asKorematsu(the Japanese-internment case) orPlessy v. Ferguson(the separate-but-equal case). Other scholars have examined narrative theory, in an effort to understand why certain stories work and others do not. Still others study the way trial lawyers consciously or unconsciously construct narratives—theories of a case...

  9. CHAPTER IV Looking Inward
    (pp. 57-74)

    Because politics contains a personal dimension, it should come as no surprise that critical race theorists have turned critique inward, examining the interplay of power and authority within minority communities and movements. This chapter analyzes three aspects of that interplay—intersectionality, antiessentialism, and the tension between nationalism and assimilation.

    “Intersectionality” means the examination of race, sex, class, national origin, and sexual orientation, and how their combination plays out in various settings. These categories—and still others—can be separate disadvantaging factors. What happens when an individual occupies more than one of these categories, for example, is both gay and Native...

  10. CHAPTER V Power and the Shape of Knowledge
    (pp. 75-98)

    Building on the previous chapter, we now consider further issues dealing with categories and power. Chapter 4 concerned the role of small subgroups within civil rights communities. This chapter addresses how we think about race and identity—the black-white binary, critical white studies, and Asian and Latino critical thought. Some of these issues are explosive, controversial, even divisive.

    One of the more contentious issues in American racial thought today is whether the very framework we use to consider problems of race reflects an unstated binary paradigm or mind-set. That paradigm, the black-white binary, effectively dictates that nonblack minority groups must...

  11. CHAPTER VI Critiques and Responses to Criticism
    (pp. 99-112)

    As Thomas Kuhn has shown, paradigms resist change. It should come as no surprise, then, that critical race theory, which seeks to change the reigning paradigm of civil rights thought, has sparked stubborn resistance. During the movement’s early years, the media treated critical race theory relatively gently. As it matured, however, critics felt freer to speak out. Some of the areas that drew critical attention are storytelling; the critique of merit, truth, and objectivity; and the matter of voice.

    In an early article in theHarvard Law Review, Randall Kennedy, an African American law professor, charged three of the movement’s...

  12. CHAPTER VII Critical Race Theory Today
    (pp. 113-142)

    What is the situation of critical race theory today? In some respects, the movement is thriving. Dynamic subdisciplines, such as LatCrit and queer-crit studies, challenge civil rights activists to rethink the ways they conceptualize equality and civil rights. Critical race theory is taught at many law schools and spreading to other disciplines and even to other countries, such as the United Kingdom, where British scholars, particularly in the field of education, use critical race theory to understand inequality in the schools, high-stakes testing, and many other topics. Some judges incorporate its ideas into opinions, even if sometimes without labeling them...

  13. CHAPTER VIII Conclusion
    (pp. 143-154)

    Chapter 7 described critical race theory today. Now, it is time to offer some thoughts on the future. This includes hazarding some predictions on what America’s racial landscape may come to look like, as well as considering the range of problems civil rights activists and theorists may face. It will also entail a look at some of the choices critical race theory, as a movement, will confront in the years ahead, as well as at how the liberal establishment may react to CRT.

    Imagine a young, female child born in the year 2011. She might be white, black, brown, Asian,...

  14. Glossary of Terms
    (pp. 155-174)
  15. Index
    (pp. 175-184)
  16. About the Authors
    (pp. 185-185)