On Critical Race Theory: Why It Matters & Why You Should Care

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What exactly is Critical Race Theory? This "clear-eyed, expert field guide" (Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom, author of Thick) is an accessible exploration of CRT that demystifies this important framework for understanding and fighting racial injustice in the United States.

As our institutions and systems creak under the pressure of entrenched racism, renowned scholar Dr. Victor Ray explains how Critical Race Theory upholds truth amid misinformation to transcend backlash and uplift progress. On Critical Race Theory illustrates the centrality of race in American history and politics, and how the often mischaracterized intellectual movement became a political necessity.

Dr. Ray draws upon the radical thinking of giants such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ida B. Wells, and W.E.B. Du Bois to clearly trace the foundations of Critical Race Theory in the Black intellectual traditions of emancipation and the civil rights movement. From this foundation, Dr. Ray explores the many facets that CRT interrogates, from deeply embedded structural racism to the historical connection between Whiteness and property, ownership, and more.

Dr. Ray argues that multicultural democracy is a recent and relatively fragile innovation that is under threat, in the face of the erosion of voting rights and attacks on speech at universities nationwide. He calls on readers to recall that it took the intervention of the National Guard to integrate schools as recently as 1960, that codifying racial subjugation has become the norm, and that populist demagoguery deployed racial insecurities to stir the January 6th insurrection and threaten the fabric of democracy.

In succinct and thoughtful essays, Dr. Ray explores how the conversation on CRT has expanded into the contemporary popular consciousness, showing why Critical Race Theory matters and why we all should care.