States Are Passing Laws Banning The Teaching Of Critical Race Theory. What Is It And Why Is It Important? A Guide To Resources

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

by Amilcar Shabazz and Abdul Alkalimat

Critical race theory has its origins in the work of lawyer, civil rights activist and scholar Derrick Bell, and Kimberlé CrenshawRichard DelgadoMari Matsuda, and Patricia J. Williams, among others. It is rooted in critical theory, which argues that social problems are influenced and created more by societal structures and cultural assumptions than by individual and psychological factors. It argues first, that white supremacy in the form of societal or structural racism exists and maintains power through the law; and second, that transforming the relationship between law and racial power, and also achieving racial emancipation and the elimination of social stratification and hierarchies is both possible and desirable.

DefinitionsA guide to critical race theory


Key ScholarsDerrick Bell

Kimberle Crenshaw

Richard Delgado

Patricia Williams

Organizations/JournalsAmerican Bar Association

Critical Race Studies in Education Association

Education Week

Journal of Critical Race Inquiry

Equity and Excellence in Education

American Behavioral Scientist

Journal of Law and Modern Critical Race Perspectives

CurriculumNational map of course locations





University of Massachusetts Amherst

Black StudiesPenn State

University of the West Indies

Warren Wilson College

The ControversyNational Public Radio

The Atlantic

Michigan State University


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