We believe that while these goals are laudable and the problems confronted are real, some of the methods of redress are ultimately problematic and more destructive than constructive.
A major premise of Critical Race Theory is that rights must be fought, not by individuals for individuals, but by groups for their members. This is an important shift from classical Liberalism where rights are as individual citizens and not as group identities. But in CRT, the social position of a collective identity determines the privilege or oppression of all its members. This is not about any individual but the way one’s collective identity is categorized and operates in
As an example, former US president, Barack Obama, was a classical Liberal who did not want to create conflict by dismantling the old institutional structures. He wanted to get justice for Blacks within the framework of modern institutions, and not by dismantling them. Obama did not want to play identity politics that would pit Blacks against Whites. He sought unity as the way forward and was against creating rupture.
In his public speeches, Obama frequently advocated for societal integration through the pursuit of color-blindness; he specifically refused to concede that American society and institutions were irrevocably and irredeemably racist. Of course, as the first Black president of the United States, he was perhaps constrained by his unique position in history and the need to bridge the gap between White and Black citizens. However, he consistently articulated a thoughtful, constructive, and inspiring vision on creating a more just and united country. His vision needs to be appreciated while understanding and analyzing Critical Race Theory’s contrasting position.
Obama’s position on color-blindness represents classical Liberalism. The Liberal ideal has been that opportunities must not prefer one race over another, and injustices must be eliminated irrespective of race, i.e., a color-blind policy. Critical Race Theory complains that color-blindness allows a status quo in which the injustices continue. To dismantle racism, one must bring what amounts to reverse-discrimination.
Another key difference is that Liberals espouse equal opportunities whereas Critical Race Theory demands equal outcomes. According to the former principle, every individual must get equal opportunities, and outcomes are then determined based on merit. This is in line with the American ideal of meritocracy, also espoused by Obama. But Critical Race Theory states that the equal opportunity system is rigged because it produces unequal outcomes. This view ignores the fact that many factors including individual competence and pure luck, play a part in unequal outcomes. Critical Race Theory’s goal is ‘equity’, which means equal out comes. This is being demanded in all areas including college admissions, corporate and government jobs, and even math exam results.
Meritocracy, on an objective basis, is rejected because it fails to produce equal outcomes. The diversity of experiences from different identities is considered more valuable. Traditional ideas of hard work and merit, and traditional systems of rewards are called into question by Critical Race Theory.
Critical Race Theory projects the Black American experience of racial discrimination as the universal lens applicable to racism and other prejudices in all the cultures of the world. We disagree. While in the US, the White/Black dichotomy is relevant to represent the oppressor/oppressed, the circumstances in other cultures can be more complex and multipolar.......