“A New Song” Critical Race Theory (CRT)

NTID Diversity Group Presentation
March 23, 2012
Thomastine Sarchet
 By its very nature, the topic of critical race theory may
be sensitive to people for a variety of reasons. The
terminology, quotes, and examples used are not meant
to harm, diminish, or offend anyone in any way. They
are used purely for illustration and discussion
purposes only.
 As we explore this topic together, I ask that we keep
openness and respect for alternative perspectives at
the forefront of our minds.
To provide information and perhaps a “wake-up call”
Ignite more conversation
Ignite reflection and action = praxis (Freire)
“ ‘[The aim… is critical consciousness] – learning to
perceive social, political, and economic contradictions, and
to take action against the oppressive elements of reality…
[This begins with] reading the world. Reading the world
always precedes reading the word, and reading the word
implies continually reading the world… Both are necessary
for critical consciousness and action, for understanding
and changing the world.’ ” (Freire,1970, p. 17; Freire &
Macedo, 1987, p. 35 as cited by Meuwissen, 2011).
Relationship of CRT to other
(Yosso, 2005, p. 71)
How did we arrive at CRT?
 “The ‘new’ song of CRT was transposed from legal
studies into the study of education in the mid-1990’s”
(Dixson & Rousseau, 2006, p. 4).
 “Critical race theorists began to pull away from CLS
because the critical legal framework restricted their
ability to analyze racial injustice (Delgado, 1988;
Crenshaw et al., 1995; Delgado & Stefancic, 2001;
Crenshaw, 2002)” (Yosso, 2005, p. 72).
Terms and Definitions
 Theoretical Lens
 “critical”
 Meta-narrative / Master Narrative
 Counter Narrative / Counterstorytelling
 Language Ownership
 Stereotype Threat
 Spokesperson Pressure
 Microaggression
Tenets of CRT?
Solorzano and Yosso (2001), proposed five themes:
1) the centrality of race and racism and their
intersectionality with other forms of subordination
2) the challenge to dominant ideology
3) the commitment to social justice
4) the centrality of experiential knowledge
5) the transdisciplinary perspective
(p. 472-473)
Counter Storytelling
 “Critical race counterstorytelling is a method of
recounting the experiences and perspectives of racially
and socially marginalized people”
 “Counterstories seek to document the persistence of
racism from the perspectives of those injured and
victimized by its legacy”
(Yosso, 2006, p. 11).
Pulling the Pieces Together?
1. Centrality of race
Social and
Critical Analysis (theoretical lens):
3. Commitment to social justice
4. Experiential knowledge
5. transdisciplinary perspective
2. Challenge to the
dominant ideology
Criticisms of CRT
 “Fails to offer replacements for liberalism’s core values”
(p. 789).
 “The race-crits are remarkably unhelpful as legal and
political advocates within the liberal system…blamegame rhetoric does much to alienate potentially
helpful whites” (p. 790).
(Pyle, 1999)
Criticisms of CRT
 “Has failed to meet the burden of proof of the
existence of fundamental cognitive differences
between subjugated and dominant voices that would
warrant privileging the former over the latter in the
research enterprise” (Farber and Sherry, 1995, as cited
in Duncan, 2006, p. 201).
 Storytelling “fosters onesidedness and encourages a
form of empathy that causes one to lose the distance
and, by extension, the perspective necessary for
judgment” (Duncan, 2006, p. 202).
Sometimes Good Intentions. . .
 Critical Race Theory has been used to address a variety
of issues in public education:
 Standardized Testing
 Affirmative Action
 First generation scholarships
 Social / emotional impacts on marginalized students
 Academic achievement “gap” and drop-out rates
 Using a CRT theoretical lens, how do you think this
theory has addressed racial equality in schools? Why?
Questions to puzzle over
 Have you ever felt “spokesperson pressure”? How did
you respond?
 Is a verbal or physical act a “microaggression” or could
it be an (unfounded?) suspicion?
 Where is the line between acknowledging a cultural
norm or practice and stereotyping?
 Does language ownership influence microaggressions
and stereotypes?
Group Activity
 Read the scenario and discuss it in small groups.
 Talk about what you think is happening in the
 Can you relate to it? or Have you experienced
something similar?
 What would you do in this situation?
 Challenge Questions: Have you experienced (or
witnessed) microaggressions here at RIT/NTID?
What can we do as a community to address these
Dixson, A. D. & Rousseau, C. K. (2006). Introduction. In A. D. Dixson & C. K. Rousseau (Eds.), Critical race theory in
education: All god’s children got a song (pp. 1-8). New York: Routledge.
Duncan, G. A. (2006). Critical race ethnography in education: Narrative, inequality, and the problem of epistemology. In A. D.
Dixson & C. K. Rousseau (Eds.), Critical race theory in education: All god’s children got a song (pp. 191-212). New York:
Meuwissen, K. (2011, November 3). Critical pedagogy: Oppression, problem-posing, and the social institution of schooling.
Powerpoint lecture presented in Dewey Hall room 1-305 on the University of Rochester campus.
Pyle, J. J. (1999). Race, equality and the rule of law: Critical race theory's attack on the promises of liberalism. Boston College
Law Review, 40 (3), 787-827.
Solorzano D. G. & Yosso T. J. (2001). Critical race and LatCrit theory and method: Counter-storytelling Chicana and Chicano
graduate school experiences. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 14 (4), 471-495.
Yosso, T. (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race Ethnicity and
Education, 8(1), 69-91.
Yosso, T. J. (2006). Why use critical race theory and counterstorytelling to analyze the chicana/o educational pipeline? In Critical
Race Counterstories Along the Chicana/Chicano Educational Pipleine (pp. 1-21). New York: Routledge.

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