A while back I made a post about systemic racism in America but I failed to go into much depth so today I want to take a broader look at the subject by examining the tenets of critical race theory.
Critical race theory is an academic concept that emerged out of a framework for legal analysis in the late 1970s. Its contention that race is a social construct, and that racism isn’t the product of individual bias or prejudice, but rather something embedded in legal systems and policies was originally proposed by ‘legal scholars’ Derrick Bell, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Richard Delgado.
To be clear, CRT is not “diversity training,” rather it’s the examination of the role race and racism has played in society. CRT critiques how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers of society. Its proponents contend that racism isn’t a relic of a bygone era, but rather it’s the legacy of slavery, segregation, and the imposition of second-class citizenship on Black Americans and other people of color that continues to permeate the social fabric of the nation.
~ A Litmus Test ~
In examining CRT, I decided to look to the words of social theorist Thomas Sowell who suggested asking three questions when evaluating the soundness and efficacy of any public policy.
- Compared to what?
- At what cost? and
- What hard evidence do you have?
Since I’m limited by space, I thought we would look at just the first two tenets of CRT that Bell, Crenshaw, and Delgado proposed in their seminal work, Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. Their first tenet purports that race is not biologically real, but rather it’s a social construct and the product of social thought not connected to biological reality and holds that science refutes the idea of biological racial differences according to scholars.
But where’s the hard evidence to support that statement? Now keep in mind this is a social commentary, not a treatise on human physiology, so I’m not going to begin quoting medical journals. Nonetheless, the reality is there are significant differences between black and white people. Those differences can be found in the mineral content of bone structure, the distribution of subcutaneous fat, water & protein composition in fat-free body mass, body dimensions & proportions, the length of the limbs relative to the trunk, hormones such androstenedione, and a greater proclivity for blacks to contract one of the sickle cell diseases. To say race is not biologically real is simply inaccurate.
The second major tenet of CRT according to its authors is, “that racism is a normal feature of society and is embedded within systems and institutions, like the legal system, that replicate racial inequality.” But this too cannot be supported by hard evidence. This specious notion dismisses the idea that racist incidents are aberrations, but instead are manifestations of “structural and systemic racism” that is codified in law, embedded in social structures, and woven into public policy.
To examine this tenet, we first need to define ‘systemic racism,’ and the clearest and most comprehensive definition I’ve come across states, “Systemic or structural racism is a form of racism that’s embedded through laws and regulations within a society or an organization; and can lead to such issues as discrimination in criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power, and education, among other issues.”
Using that definition, we should again be compelled to ask, where’s the hard evidence? CRT’s contention that racism is a “normal feature of society and is embedded within systems and institutions, like the legal system, flies in the face of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Collectively those pieces of legislation address every legal aspect of the systemic racism that once existed in this country. Did that legislation eliminate racism as a social phenomenon? Of course not, but that leads us to another of Dr. Sowell’s questions – Compared to what? Racism has existed from time immemorial and there’s no place on earth that I am aware of where it either hasn’t or doesn’t exist; and while that does not make it morally right, that’s the reality; and common sense obliges us to accept the fact that what’s in a person’s heart cannot be legislated.
Racism is a stain upon humankind, not just the United States, nonetheless, I think we can all agree that at the very least, the basic tenets of CRT fail Thomas Sowell’s litmus test.
Quote of the day: “Ours is a nation built on the premise of equal standing under the law and only that. Everything else is to be achieved through excellence, dedication, training, and hard work.”— Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.