Fight Dogmatism: Words Against Critical Race Theory
The new decade has marked itself already as an unusual time in history, and it is safe to say that its hallmark is care and concern for humanity. Most people are working harder than ever to assure that people are taken care of in a respectful manner that prioritizes human dignity. Opportunity, aid, and reform measures reveal real world action taken to see that the present and future are fairer and more virtuous. This care can be an important unifying element as the people in this country work together for a better future.
The sad reality, however, is that excessive concern for virtue can lead to knee-jerk responses, fanaticism, and oppression despite good intentions, and striving for a eutopic vision can potentially damage our ability to protect and see the good in what we already have. We have seen examples of this throughout history, resulting in long-term loss of life, liberty, and culture. The news bombards us with daily international tragedy, and many of us view those tragedies as something that can not touch us. The long era of domestic peace enjoyed in the United States makes most people feel comfortable and safe, with the threat of a totalitarian dictatorship establishing itself a remote and unlikely, even laughable, possibility. The problem is that good intentions can pave the road to disaster if people don’t exercise critical thinking, and there are many people who support ideological movements that opine idealistic visions while painting American history and culture with a bloody brush. The best strategy to undermine what is already powerful and good is to vilify it, and there are people out there who will do anything to destroy American life. They may say it is for the greater good, to increase equality, to prevent exploitation, to redress historic wrongs, but in order for the message to grow, people’s emotions are manipulated and their ignorance exploited, presenting dangerous implications like snakes in the grass.
One of the most compelling threats our country faces right now is the intellectual dogmatism of critical race theory (C.R.T.). This claim is a contentious one as many people unquestioningly support it and see it only as a remedy to injustice. Critical race theory is a theory rather than a fact, and it is a dangerous theory as it is totalitarian in implication, framing opposing viewpoints as inherently racist and those who think differently as unworthy of work, reputation, or ease of business as evidenced by cancel culture, which is currently destroying the lives of people who may be misunderstood or simply disliked, with the loudest virtue signaler dealing the most damage. Supporters of critical race theory view such tactics as anti-racist action, and since critical race theory is frequently espoused by anarchists (antifa), communists, creatives, black lives matter, social justice advocates, and other people who are minorities to whatever extent, it is easy to paint the theory as a liberating force rather than an oppressive one, yet if one speaks to survivors of communist takeovers, they are eager to relate their first-hand experience of groups promising liberation and then demonizing traditional culture, silencing dissenters, suppressing free speech, and later seizing what isn’t there’s and redistributing it as those with unchecked power see fit.
I am in favor of people in need receiving help, and I am impressed by the work being done to help the most vulnerable of people. I also can offer agreement with the critical race theorists in that bigots are assholes and that people shouldn’t receive ill treatment due to their skin color. There are others who are in agreement as well; for example, the framers of the United States Constitution who, though imperfect as human beings are, intentionally laid the ground work for the equality of all citizens. Metaphysically speaking, they recognized the self-evident truth that human beings are all born equally, naked and screaming, and that although each person is unique, each person shares the same experiential potentiality. The framers were Christians, believers in the brotherhood of man on earth, and it is this essential facet of their faith that so inspired them to create a government that honored human equality. The Free Masons also come to mind as they significantly influenced the construction of the Constitution and early American government. The Free Masons view each person, regardless of background, as part of the brotherhood of man. Buddhists, so often persecuted in Communist countries, also would agree that all human beings are of equal substance within and that external appearances are naught but illusion. On a personal note, I believe that God is manifest through all life, that we all are vessels of God, but I also believe that God, or the gods if you will, is complex, an entity with many faces and names. When speaking with atheists, I sometimes explain God as the will to life or sentience, something we all share regardless of external difference. It seems to me that atheist and theist alike can agree that all human beings should be treated with dignity, and that merit, rather than any superficial, external factor, should determine our opportunities in life. That being said, for those who believe spiritual tradition is fantasy, critical race theory has taken the place of religion. Within the secular lens, C.R.T. promises a eutopia, a classless and diverse place where everyone is helped and equality of outcome is enforced.
It is not that helping low-income communities and people of color is a problem. It makes sense that all citizens should be able to freely express their concerns and that we should all work together to make the country safer and healthier for all. My issue is the language of the theory itself and how it is dominating education, speech platforms, and the nation to the point that alternative perspectives are suppressed and demonized while dividing the country rather than uniting it. In light of the recent debunking of the anarcho-communist Howard Zinn’s A People’s History on the grounds of its distorted quoting, bias, and poor scholarship, it is also important to question critical race theory’s presentation of revisionist history as it paints every move of the United States as corrupt and racist and heavily relies on Zinn’s work (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 25). That’s not to say history is perfect. Throughout time, tragedies have happened to anyone who differed from the majority, the mainstream, the status quo. While attempting to heal the wounds of history, C.R.T. sadly oversimplifies the complexity of historical relationships and policy. Luckily, bringing more aid, harmony, and respect to the world doesn’t require blind adherence to one theory despite the current narrative.
The points I present here aim to fairly and accurately represent the ideas of the C.R.T. proponents, even the ones who do not realize how C.R.T. has influenced the language and aims of social justice and has taken advantage of people’s good will. Still, as there are as many perspectives as there are people, I can not pretend to represent every facet of every belief that is associated with C.R.T. For this article, I focus on the arguments of a couple of popular critical race theory sources that are widely available at college libraries. It is true that there are many more sources that support critical race theory; my own familiarity with the theory and arguments within C.R.T. will act as a supplement to the source points. After all, C.R.T. has been dominating almost all aspects of the national discourse; most reasonably intelligent people do have an adequate understanding of the theory and how it works since it is so popular and pervasive despite its flaws. It is even a safe and valid assertion to argue that anyone who doesn’t understand the C.R.T. perspective is at risk for all manner of negative social interactions. Anyone who hasn’t had their heads buried in the sand knows the theory although most people are less familiar with counter-arguments about the more troubling aspects of C.R.T, which will be presented in this piece.
Isn’t it true that critical race theory seeks to heal wrongs based on racial hatred and discrimination?
It is true that, in the past, people of color faced systemic hardships as minorities within a dominant culture not their own, but the United States has culturally expanded to include all its citizens as it progressively improves and equalizes. The problem with C.R.T. is that it mislabels current aberrational mistreatment as actual systemic racism. It is true that people of color faced systemic racism in various forms in the past, but with anti-discrimination laws being passed, it is currently illegal for the state to exercise systematic racism. This is in contrast to South African apartheid where state law excluded blacks from hiring or housing (Sowell). In the current time, it is illegal to discriminate against people because of race, gender, religion, ability, health, or age, but the critical race theorists proactively seek to convince others that people of color are still the victims of systemic oppression and that people of Caucasian ancestry seek complete dominion over others and thus only support civil rights measures as they benefit whites. At the end of the day, one theory shouldn’t dominate the discussion of how to collectively heal from discrimination, pettiness, and cruelty especially when that theory ignores or distorts important facts that contradict its premises.
Isn’t critical race theory against the idea of biological race? Doesn’t critical race theory trump other viewpoints about the country and race since it was shaped with minority perspectives in mind?
C.R.T. argues that there is no such thing as biological race; rather, race is a fabricated social construct used to promote the interests of the dominant group at the expense of minority groups (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 9). However, C.R.T. consistently hinges its arguments on the particulars of biological ethnicity and suggests actions and arguments that pose people of Caucasian ancestry as enemies due to their race. It is thus a contradicting theory. It allows contradiction for its adherents which is testament to its unfairness and its potential for totalitarian application.
C.R.T. also claims that D.N.A. makes some people competent to speak on racism and not others, naming people of color as the ones who should be viewed as experts on race and race relations rather than Caucasians who are depicted as a privileged group. The C.R.T. perspective ignores the fact that people with lighter skin have dealt with racism in the past (like the Irish, Italians, Armenians, or Jews) or may deal with racism in the present (such as the Uyghurs in China or even poor whites in urban communities). It is my belief that anyone, regardless of D.N.A., who is adequately educated in critical thinking, history, and cultural geography (along with other relevant fields) should be able to work and speak on improving the country and/or race relations if they want.
In a legal sense, critical race theorists argue that minority status brings presumed competence to speak about race and racism. However, it is also true that anyone could have psychological and emotional issues that blind them to truths about their own behavior, agency, and choices that have nothing to do with ethnic background. Some people may blame race for their failings in life without ever considering other factors, such as less conscientious personalities or a fear of change. People in general, regardless of ethnic background, who say they have suffered from racism in the present should absolutely be listened to and helped, but increased awareness about other reasons for disparity and dismay should be part of our social discourse.
Critical race theory seeks to help people who need help, so what’s wrong with that?
C.R.T. aims to rescue minorities who are framed as victims of history and the system, but too much help can disempower minorities rather than uplift them. It robs people of their agency since it encourages a victim mentality and dependency. That is not to diminish the value of aid for those most in need. It is demonstrably true, after all, that most people who receive government aid, especially used for education, tend to finish their studies, achieve gainful employment, and contribute back significantly, and in a land of plenty, no one should go hungry or without shelter. Still, the offering of aid should be balanced since there are some human beings, in general, who develop an attitude that without the help they would be unable to do well for themselves. This is not an attitude that develops because of race, but rather, it is a psychological issue any human can experience, especially with the normalization of convenience culture.
Another problem with C.R.T. is its Marxist roots. The (currently trendy) Marxist vision glorifies the idea of equal distribution of wealth, yet socialist and communist governments have consistently proved themselves economically harmful, impoverishing millions of people worldwide, causing widespread starvation, loss of liberty, and death since each and every true socialist government has proved itself totalitarian due to the otherwise impossibility of creating equality of outcome, and still those governments fail as they have been documented as corrupt case after case, year after year. Many people bring up Scandinavian countries as a rebuttal, but those countries have mixed market economies.
C.R.T. goes a step further than Marxism by painting class relations as racial, which delivers a toxic and divisive interpretation of socio-economic ethnic relations where racism advances the interests of white elites on a material basis and that working class whites gain a psychic benefit from it even though elites can be of any race and most working-class whites do not exercise racism (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 9). What C.R.T. does when posing this argument is equate the culture of Caucasians with racism, lumping all Caucasians as one mono-entity when they are actually from various ethnic backgrounds, and like any other group, should not be harshly judged for having shared cultural elements whatever those may be called (Western culture, European culture, Northern culture), nor should the racism of a small part of its members represent the entirety of the group and its many branches. The same is true in regards to any ethnic group. Human beings are individuals rather than cogs in a faceless machine. The fact that whites have culture should not be framed as the exercise of racism. Having a culture benefits all people materially (in terms of selling cultural items for example) and psychically (in relation to feeling a connection to one’s history). Caucasians should not be singled out for their culture.
What troubles me most is that C.R.T. equates its brand of racialized Marxism as realism and those who reject Marxism as being ignorant, delusional, or an oppressive force. These assumptions about other human beings who hold different values unfairly gaslights anyone who would dare dissent and openly distorts counter arguments, which has frightening implications. In a world where dissent is potentially labeled as delusional, speaking up may result in loss of rights, such as those who are committed for psychological disorders suffer. It also overlooks and/or trivializes the devastating impact socialist and communist governments have had on their own people over time, especially when those governments spun their socialist ideals as racial in nature (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 20).
One Marxist set-up that is used to support C.R.T. is this: imagine a beggar; if classism were eliminated (i.e., negative attitudes towards low socioeconomic backgrounds), would the beggar be better off (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 19)? The expected answer is “yes” because then the beggar would, in theory, have more room to grow and do better. However, the truth is that some beggars don’t notice or care if people judge them and that there is potential judgment towards everyone in general. The leading question suggests that if racism were eradicated, then people of color would be better off, which makes sense. However, the question doesn’t address the United States’ commitment to objective and neutral law that respects each person’s individual merit; in this country, it is already law that no one should receive poor treatment due to skin hue and that all citizens have equality of opportunity since it is unfair if not impossible to insist on equality of outcomes given the incredible diversity of human talent and predilection. What C.R.T. really is doing with this question is encouraging people to perceive racist treatment where racist treatment is not. It encourages people of color to falsely attribute negative treatment or outcomes to race when really the problems they are facing may have nothing to do with racism. Each human being suffers in life, and the problems we face should not be automatically be assumed as racial ones (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 19). I must emphasize again that sometimes people do face racism illegally, and their concerns should be taken seriously. It is our duty to help and safeguard our fellow man from the cases of racism perpetrated by the cruelty of bigots. Nevertheless, an over reliance on the racial lens to examine life’s problems doesn’t help anyone and can make people paranoid and quick to assume racism despite other potential influences.
What about slavery and historic wrongs against people of color committed by Caucasians in the United States?
There have been a wide variety of problems in the history of human existence, and some of those have been race based, especially in cases tied to survival and exploration. Wrongs of a racial nature have been exchanged all over the planet sadly. In the western world, however, the current trajectory is to fight against racism. It is an awe-inspiring aspect of American history that a war was waged to end slavery, and the American government and people worked tirelessly over time to create laws protecting citizens in commitment to the principles put forward in the Constitution. C.R.T. suggests that ending slavery wasn’t the real motivation for the Civil War. While there were other factors that tied into the war, such as economics and power, there are substantial historical records that show how a large portion of Caucasians urgently sought to end slavery and discrimination.
Despite the history of Caucasians fighting on behalf of minorities, C.R.T. still stereotypes whites as overseers that select token minority groups to fulfill their aims and monitor people of color (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 83). Based on this assumption, the experience of other ethnic minority groups are not considered as worthy of (as much) attention since they are believed to have some measure of privilege. The truth is that there isn’t a behind the scenes mono-entity of whites proactively enlisting any group as overseers of any other since it is merit in any particular field that is rewarded, at least until C.R.T. started fighting against meritocracy (Xu). The important thing to remember is that there is free opportunity in this country, and people choose their life paths. Any system viewed as one of oversight can’t racially discriminate by law, so this toxic world view is presented in contradiction to reality for the purposes of inciting ethnic hatred and division. It distorts race relations on purpose because C.R.T. is really about power and control.
Isn’t it true that critical race theory is attempting to give people the boost they need to access opportunity they would otherwise be denied, such as in education?
C.R.T. based equity measures are now a mainstream feature of government funded education even if the theory is expressed in veiled language. The idea is that P.O.C. do worse in school because they lack the resources of Caucasians, and thus they should be supplied with whatever advantages they need to succeed. This has gone so far that in California, educational institutions are recommending a lowering of grading standards if not a complete dismissal of them. Getting rid of grades and lowering standards may improve pass rates, but long-term, it is a disservice to everyone as it devalues degrees and offers no competence accountability. In addition, when people graduate and find that they can’t hold down jobs because their literacy skills are not up to par, they have and will sue. As a student at Cal Poly Pomona, I often heard about the student athletes who received too much help in the 70s or 80s, which resulted in a costly lawsuit since the student athletes that were passed through were unable to keep jobs due to their poor reading and writing skills, and those former students won; hence, the C.S.U. system now has a writing exam for anyone who is graduating. We can also look to U.C. Santa Cruz’s failed long-term experiment of narrative evaluation instead of issuing grades. Because normal and consistent grades establishing competency were not given out, graduates had a difficult time gaining admission to graduate schools or attaining employment in their fields. U.C. Santa Cruz thus adopted a traditional grading system. C.R.T.’s argument that lowering standards and getting rid of grades is necessary to right the wrong of historic systematic oppression is short-sighted and will actually hurt P.O.C. more than help. The truth is that improving student services, teaching practices, and government policy will help all people do better, and the language of C.R.T. is not needed.
Still, C.R.T. argues that white poverty only lasts two generations while black poverty lasts indefinitely, yet there are plenty of well-off black people (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 119). The key to improving one’s situation is willingness to change, read, study, and do the work to find a better job. If the culture within the home and the local community doesn’t support that, then there will be poor people continuing on with the habits and perspectives of poor people. The cycle of poverty has more to do with habits, literacy, and discourse pattern than color itself although it is true that crumbling infrastructure in poor communities doesn’t help. Improving infrastructure in poor areas will be of more use to minorities, and the United States in general, and again doesn’t require the language of C.R.T.
Isn’t it true C.R.T. is attempting to establish increased social justice?
In situations where P.O.C. are illegally being discriminated against or persecuted, the legal system of the United States should be utilized to rectify wrongs. However, critical race theorists aim to take advantage of the law and manipulate it in order to procure favorable treatment for P.O.C., arguing that the legal system is prejudiced (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 46). Methods they use to do this include the favoring of story-telling rather than purely factual testimony, an emphasis on subjective experience, and the primacy of emotional reactions over rationality (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 51). These methods allow for the manipulation of the facts, poor reasoning, and excessive pathos, which work contrary to the blindness necessary within a Justice system that is meant to protect everyone’s rights.
Furthermore, it is my opinion that C.R.T. doesn’t really promote true social justice since it sets up a paradigm where Caucasian people are stereotyped as guilty of racism or bias with no means of proving innocence, but justice within society should be fairly distributed sans stereotype. On the other hand, C.R.T. seeks to shield people of color from guilty verdicts since historical injustice can be blamed for the bad behavior. The theory thus creates a double standard that is eroding our social interactions and justice system within the United States.
Social justice is more than the legal system, but C.R.T. arguments rely on bad logic despite its idealistic aims. To provide context, C.R.T. argues that even if whites aren’t blatant about their racism, they still are stakeholders in a racist system as evidenced by statistics showing that blacks, for example, are less likely to be approved for loans, housing, and jobs and have higher rates of incarceration and suspicion (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 116). However, the law protects all Americans from loan, housing, and hiring discrimination. The higher rates of incarceration and suspicion are due to higher rates of crime by minority groups, which is tied into financial, cultural, and emotional norms within low-income communities that face family instability and despair. The ills faced aren’t essentially racial even if the people suffering aren’t white, and the problems that do confront those people can be addressed and transformed without the divisive tenants of C.R.T.
What about microaggressions?
C.R.T. argues that if Caucasians are not friendly to people of color, it is racial microaggression at work whether or not the unfriendly people think of themselves as racist or if race has anything to do with their mood or behavior. This is an assumption that excludes a wide variety of reasons one person might be unfriendly to another. To use this assumption as a standard for judging behavior is incredibly unfair as the accused is powerless to defend himself against what amounts to a thought crime and which may indeed be rooted in completely different variables. It is not that microaggressions do not exist. Rather, the issue is that not all microaggressions are racial, and that human beings do not have the right to attempt to control something so subtle, especially with so much room for error. Any given person may harbor a micro-aggression toward any other person for any reason; we normally call this passive-aggressive behavior. We live in an imperfect world. Not everyone will like every other person, and to insist that they do is an invitation for insincere, micromanaged living.
Doesn’t critical race theory seek to create better conditions in the United States rather than destroy it?
Critical race theory’s pessimistic and biased outlook on western culture calls for the dismantling of a system viewed as inherently racist, which means the overthrow of the United States government. C.R.T. enthusiasts defend this tendency within the theory by arguing that they are merely trying to make things better, yet Western cultural forces are the ones that ended slavery and offered equal opportunity, liberty, and protection for people of all backgrounds over time. Preserving those ideals are extremely important if we are to keep people of all ethnic backgrounds free and equal. C.R.T. seeks to end equality in favor of equity, equality of outcome, where people of certain racial backgrounds get preferential treatment rather than individual treatment. Thus, C.R.T. is a threat to the equality of all human beings.
Aren’t most people woefully undereducated about race?
The C.R.T. lens argues that racism is not acknowledged or repaired because it is ordinary (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 8); however, what many people do not realize is that the lens itself is biased and attempts to assign all blame to race when, in reality, there are other, more compelling factors that explain why some people do well in life and some do not, such as birth order, income, abuse, and natural interest.
Nevertheless, C.R.T. proponents are working tirelessly to dominate the western curriculum at the expense of the philosophical and cultural works which shaped the country’s commitment to liberty and equality of opportunity (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 8). C.R.T. takes issue that those foundational works are Caucasian in perspective even if the United States has been shaped over time by people of various cultures. The western world that gave birth to the foundational works of the United States also grew over time with no intention of harm even if they were penned by Caucasians and are an essential part of the lifestyle all Americans enjoy. As the United States is part of Western culture, a focus on western philosophy and literature should not be viewed as offensive or oppressive but rather an essential aspect for educated citizens of this land. Learning about other cultures is of peak interest in this historical moment, but racialized Marxists should not be the ones dominating the instruction.
The real argument C.R.T. suggests is that people are woefully undereducated about the theory itself. Rather than being content with equality of opportunity, critical race theorists seek equality of outcome, which can not realistically and fairly find fulfillment within this realm of being since individuals have different talents and affinities and to force people to achieve things equally is to deprive them of opportunities to excel in their own unique ways and to learn how to appreciate individual variations of success in different areas. Not everyone can become a mathematician, an Olympian, or entrepreneur as success in some areas often negates the potential for success in others since a person has only so much time and energy. Despite the problems of logic involved in C.R.T., it is gaining the status it seeks, which is the defacto lens from which to view the world, and our educational system is presenting it as such without respect for diversity of opinion. To put it simply, American educational institutions are becoming increasingly biased and hostile toward difference of opinion as they enthusiastically adopt C.R.T. at the expense of other perspectives related to the American experience that could better unify people and better educate them about our mutual American heritage. Within ethnic studies courses, textbooks present instruction with a strong bias influenced by C.R.T., which diminishes the quality of information presented.
Perhaps C.R.T. is able to gain so much power despite its drawbacks since it argues that “…racism is ordinary not aberrational…the common everyday experience of most people of color in this country” (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 8). This statement portrays racism as so ingrained that people don’t consciously perceive its exercise, which is both a misleading and divisive viewpoint. The truth is that racist behavior is illegal, and the majority of Americans not only reject racism but also are well informed about race relations unless, of course, they’ve swallowed the Howard Zinn pill, and then yes, they probably do need more education on ethnic relations.
Isn’t it true that the top earners in the United States are Caucasian and that is fully or partially the result of a system skewed to favor whites at the expense of everyone else?
Every corner of the globe has some people who are rich and some who are not. This is even true in the Communist and Socialist regimes that took advantage of people’s idealism and corruptly drained their resources.
Still, it is true that in the United States, the old money belongs to Caucasian people who inherited that income from their deceased predecessors. On the other hand, the people who inherited that money have a right to it and are innocent of any systematic advantage by virtue of their late births. Some people don’t believe in inheritance, or they believe that the money was not fairly gained and thus should be subject to government seizure and redistribution. Such a move would set a precedent and lay the groundwork for a socialist takeover, however. It seems healthier to accept that the past is over, and sometimes the past was less than perfect. Most of the people who inherited old money heavily donate according to their wills. May the scales be balanced by cause and condition rather than the imperfect dominion of biased men.
When the earning rates in the United States are examined, we see differing averages, but Caucasians are not the top earners. Some of the richest people in the United States are recent immigrants of Indian descent who came in with work visas and started successful businesses, which proves that the system is not actively favoring Caucasians and barring minorities from acquiring significant wealth (Warwick 11). According to 2018 census data, black families made approximately 15% less ($49,000) than white families ($66,000), but then Asian families statistically speaking earn about 20,000 more ($87,000) per year than whites (Warwick 11). The group income rates are different, but they don’t represent individual variation, nor do they detail the types of work popular among the various ethnic groups. If certain groups put a heavy emphasis on constant study and a certain professional track, such as medicine, then clearly they would earn more on average, and it would be a dangerous world where doctors earned the same amount as air conditioning and heat repairmen, for example. C.R.T. wants to see a (socialist) equality of outcome (income), but that would discourage people from pursuing more complicated and time intensive tracks of study. All people should and do have equal opportunity and support in education, so they can pursue the jobs they want. Nevertheless, factors other than race influence people’s life paths. One heartening thing is that the differing incomes aren’t as wide as in other places in the world. Someone living in California may see $49,000 a year as meager, but in most states of the union, $49,000 is a good yearly income.
Some proponents of C.R.T. argue that there are less billionaires of color than there are of Caucasian or Jewish background, and that this is proof of systemic racism. However, that does not mean there is any legislation that enforces any kind of ethnic primacy among the small billionaire population. If anything, personality type is a stronger contributor to high income, and indeed there are plenty of minority people who do earn high incomes. Sowell mentions that one thing to keep in mind is that billionaire levels are higher in the middle east, and the poor are treated worse than in the U.S. There are less poor in the U.S. as well (Sowell). While these facts do not explain why there are less billionaires of color, they do offer some perspective.
Doesn’t C.R.T. seek to dismantle unconcious bias, ingrained viewpoints, and systematic norms that favor Caucasians?
In order to dismantle unconscious bias and viewpoints that favor whites or even other minorities, C.R.T. argues for black exceptionalism, arguing that the group’s history is so distinct that putting them at the center of the theory is necessary. Black exceptionalism creates an “us” vs. “them” paradigm, a binary that oversimplifies human interaction and lacks global as well as historical perspective. According to C.R.T. each race is mocked and discriminated against in its own way with blacks facing the worst of it (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 79). My counter-argument is that all human beings face mockery and discrimination and have some historical oppression that is absolutely terrible. This doesn’t mean that it is okay, but it does clearly prove that human pettiness isn’t inherently a racial issue. Whites mock other whites. They have discriminated against other whites and have oppressed each other over centuries. This is also true of indigenous groups who warred with rival tribes before and during the introduction of Europeans to the continent. It is also true in Asia where some indigenous Asian groups face discrimination by the majority group. It even happens in Africa amongst various tribes or within established nations. Petty mockery and discrimination can happen for many reasons beyond color, including age, weight, gender, beauty, income, scent, habits, or bad decision making. Black exceptionalism also is problematic for those who have faced state endorsed genocide, such as the Jewish people under the Nazis or the Armenians under the Turks. What is more precise and yet ignored within C.R.T. is the fact that the life of creatures struggling to survive under natural law creates hierarchies that are instinctual and relatively unavoidable. C.R.T. frames these hierarchies as racial or class based despite other factors (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 21). However, groups or individuals who are trying to triumph may treat whatever group is perceived as weaker as just that, and class and race aren’t defacto terms of the hierarchy instinct. Luckily, in the United States, all human beings have equal treatment under the law.
C.R.T. complains of Anglo-centric beauty driving ethnic hierarchies (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 83). However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In the modern world, people of all heritages are celebrated for their beauty. Whatever anyone finds beautiful at the end of the day is personal, and people have a right to their preferences. Either way, the old standard of only featuring Caucasians in beauty is a thing of the past and is thus a null issue.
C.R.T. presents itself as fighting against ingrained white privilege as commonly understood in popular culture. C.R.T. cites author Peggy McIntosh’s work as proof of unconscious bias that favors Caucasians. McIntosh argues whites have privilege by virtue of D.N.A. within the boundaries of the United States (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 89). Her example includes not being followed on the street, not having people cross street to avoid proximity, more summer jobs, and mistakes not being attributed to biological inferiority etc (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 90). However, her points are based on illogical stereotypes. As someone of Caucasian heritage, I have been followed around in stores and so have other Caucasians I know. It could be an issue of perceived economic status, style of dress, body language, and/or the clerk’s own situation (Was the store recently robbed? Is the employee new? Having a bad day?) Moreover, in the days of Corona Virus, people cross the street simply to have less virus risk although I will say that many European cultures value more space than do some modern Americans. Some Caucasians, as well as any other kind of person, may simply want space from everyone not just a certain type of person. While I can’t comment on summer job statistics, I suspect opportunity has to do with the person’s social skills, educational background, and style of dress. In my area, people of all walks of life work summer jobs. The idea that if a minority makes a mistake, it will automatically be assumed as a product of their ethnic heritage seems more like paranoia than the actual beliefs of other people. Either way, white people who make mistakes sometimes have to deal with other people assuming things on a biological basis, such as Italians have no emotional control or that the Irish are low-brow drunks or even that if someone makes an error it could be because they are Polish. All of the assumptions are stupid. They stem from inductive reasoning yet again where a small sample speaks for a whole group, attempting a universal conclusion when the proportions are imbalanced. Increase critical thinking education at an earlier age in public schools, and you’ll see improvement in everyone’s reasoning.
What about systemic racism and the legacy of colonialism?
C.R.T. also oversimplifies, demonizes, and/or stereotypes colonizers. While colonization did take advantage of indigenous populations in many undeniable ways, not all of the people lumped with the colonizers were essentially cruel. Many people lumped in with the colonizers genuinely wanted to help people and had little to no interest in dominating them; Zanzibar would be an example of this. C.R.T. arguments that nations demonize their own subjects “to feel better about exploiting them” (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 21) and that civil rights gains rely on white self-interest present worse case scenarios that do not account for genuine progress when it comes to compassionate policy, nor does it account for individuals of the colonizing group who treated colonized people with respect. To argue that there is essentially no respect possible within the context of colonization is to ignore the complexities of the sociopolitical situations that presented themselves throughout history. These situations presented themselves in ways unprecedented and were the outcome of trade needs, productivity goals, religious concern, job requirements, protection agreements, and consensual agreements. The contexts ignored by C.R.T. are those that feature peoples who were less technologically advanced than the European colonizers, in this case — rather than Arabic colonizers, and who gained immense instruction and guidance in fields ranging from agriculture to medicine and science. In cases where the colonizers were cruel, it is important to determine what variables contributed to the tragedy, and it is our duty to make sure our governments and armies do not act in such a way again.
Still, C.R.T.s are upset about colonialism now past. They argue that white colonialism stole the natural wealth of places inhabited by various non-white ethnicities (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 136), and thus whites must perpetually appease those who have origins in lands once colonized, yet the people responsible for that colonialism are now dead. It should also be noted that not all Caucasian families were involved in colonialism. A variation on the theme, which still features the living, is that Western governments replaced local leaders in the third world with right wing dictators when fighting against communism. It is important to remember that totalitarianism can come from the left or the right, and when the west took action, they were attempting to keep the world safe even if it worked out badly. No human or government has the power to absolutely control the way things turn out; to act as if the United States must live in constant guilt and appeasement isn’t the best approach since it is each country’s duty to improve its own situation if it can. It must also be acknowledged that the sons and daughters of those who came from colonized lands may have never experienced that hardship, but C.R.T. sees them as victims still who unfairly have found themselves far behind everyone else due to forces outside of their control. C.R.T. supporters once again prove themselves out of touch with the reality of passing time and hold people who have never colonized anyone as responsible for the actions of the deceased. Throughout human history, groups have oppressed other groups. For example, in feudal Europe, the lords profited from the hard work of the peasants in exchange for protection. Eventually, the serfs fought back, rejecting the smothering governance under that system, and they worked hard to make life better for themselves over time. All people can work to create a better reality for themselves even if their parents or grandparents were oppressed. The healthy attitude is to focus on the present and the future rather than ruminating and blaming those around you for things they never did and that their ancestors may not have participated in either. The distribution of suffering is influenced by cause and condition, but there is an element of cosmic randomness to it. After all, there are U.S. born Caucasians born into poverty who find it difficult to overcome their lack of advantage even after years of education and hard work. Instead of the blame game and racialized socialism, we should work to be humane and logical for the best and highest good of all.
Aren’t opposing perspectives on race-relations out of touch with reality?
C.R.T. is pessimistic because it assumes racism is ordinary and sees only selfish motivations for relationships among people of different races (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 8). C.R.T. argues that if critical race theory has a dark side, it’s a medicine for trauma and ailments that have been propagated by people with white skins and white privilege. Although there have been periods of time in the history of man that have undoubtedly been tragic and have had generational effects, tragedy has affected all people on the globe. For instance, Thomas Sowell, an African American economist and researcher of the history of slavery, has reported that the number of whites enslaved in North Africa by West Barbary pirates exceeds the amount of blacks enslaved by whites at any given time in history (Sowell). It is true that members of every race have been enslaved by dominant groups and have faced discrimination; that doesn’t mean that the enslavement or ill-treatment of any group isn’t tragic, but it is a fact that most people trivialize or ignore, and modern education and media have contributed to this ignorance. Either way, peoples of various historically oppressed groups seem to have recovered without constantly wallowing in the past, demanding special treatment, or acting as if past hardship equates to present hardship. Ultimately, meeting hardship with resentment is not a path to healing but rather a means of picking at the wound.
If people of color were held back in the past, doesn’t that mean they should be favored now since they have faced extenuating circumstances?
C.R.T. argues that minorities have higher rates of infant mortality, incarceration, dropouts, income, and life expectancy as a result of past oppression (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 48). However, these issues are less of a race issue than an economic issue and afflict whites of lower economic brackets as well. At the same time, other minority groups, especially those of Asian descent contradict the racial root of the problem. Many Asian immigrant families were fleeing poverty, starvation, and war, and worked hard in the United States to achieve success. The problems listed out are more accurately results of a combination of economic level and family/community issues. When C.R.T. seeks to address these problems, it ignores other important and relevant factors such as discourse community, bookcentric culture, order of birth, parent education level, fathers within the home, and familial prioritization of learning rather than entertainment (Sowell). Reality, is messy and doesn’t fit the equation like lens concocted by C.R.T. theorists (Sowell).
Seeing minorities as perpetual victims, C.R.T. favors affirmative action. The idea is that people of color have less access to the top schools and have less opportunity in their vocations. C.R.T. frames the problem as a symptom of racism yet again rather than on factors within the home or within the community that make scholarly pursuits less attractive or less of a focus. Years without a book-centric, study focused home can take a toll on anyone’s communication, reading, and study skills, which in turn affects how one does in education and in reaching higher vocational goals. Poverty can also contribute to this as poorer people will spend more time working at lower paying jobs in order to make ends meet, and thus they will spend less time reading, studying, and doing self-work, especially if cultural norms prioritize other things like oral communication, group activities, or quick convenience norms. It is also important to note that household abuse and instability can affect people’s ability to succeed. Collectively, it is not skin color that holds people back, so it shouldn’t be used as the favored metric.
C.R.T. suggests that ending affirmative action is like segregation (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 119), which is an interesting claim considering that many C.R.T. thinkers actually argue for self-imposed segregation, like all-black schools or medical facilities, and reject the unifying elements of western culture. It’s a false analogy either way because without affirmative action there would be more equal opportunity rather than enforced separation and obstacles for qualified candidates who are not part of the favored ethnic group(s). At the end of the day, equal opportunity for help, training, and quality of instruction to all people will create fairer opportunity based on the more logical factor of merit.
If critical race theory can change people’s thoughts about race relations, shouldn’t we support it?
C.R.T. suggests that all non-white ethnic groups should work together against whites (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 65 & 98). One of the main problems with C.R.T. is how it uses the idea of race while claiming race doesn’t exist and then orchestrating division and discord among the races against one race, the white one. C.R.T. stereotypes all whites as racist when it isn’t true, and the C.R.T. approach also suggests that the Euro-centric philosophies of the west should also be overthrown as if countries with Eurocentric roots aren’t entitled to their culture, language, and philosophy etc.
C.R.T. at the present is extremely focused on political philosophy from the right as they view it as an offensive against minority rights and progress. At the same time, classical liberals also are viewed as too soft since they still may embrace a color-blind approach (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 26 &132). The real problem C.R.T. has with opponents is they disagree. C.R.T. poses people who disagree as racists, the ultimate embodiment of ignorance and evil, all while promoting stereotypical thinking and divisive attitudes.
C.R.T. asserts that whites resist the movement because of power and that they will employ neocolonial mechanism or token concessions in order to trick minorities and deprive them of agency (Critical Race Theory: an Introduction 155). What C.R.T. fails to recognize is that the government in all its branches is composed of people from all backgrounds and that the voters also come from many backgrounds. Resisting C.R.T., therefore, isn’t about white power. It’s about true equality of opportunity, rejecting racialized socialism, and focusing on what brings us together as Americans rather than what divides us.
Works Cited and Consulted
Delgado, Richard & Jean Stefanic. Critical Race Theory: an Introduction. 3rd Ed. New York: New York University Press, 2017.
Delgado, Richard & Jean Stefanic. “Images of the Outsider in American Law and Culture: Can Free Speech Remedy Systematic Ills [?]” Cornell Law Review. 77.6. (1992)
Linday, James & Vaush. “Opposing Views: Is Critical Race Theory Solving Anything?” #134. MP Podcast. January 21, 2022.
Sowell, Thomas on “Discrimination and Disparities with Thomas Sowell.” Uncommon Knowledge UK with Peter Robinson. The Hoover Institute. March 14th 2018.
Warwick, Tarl. Debunking Critical Race Theory. Las Vegas, NV: 2021.
Xu, Kenny. “Woke Narratives Debunked.” #129. MP Podcast. December 21st, 2021.