Wondering about “critical race theory?”
From George Mason:
What you need to know about Critical Race Theory, by Andres Redondo
Critical Race Theory (CRT)– is the child of Critical Legal Theory (CLT), which is an offshoot of Critical Theory (CT), which is the Marxist offspring of Post Modernist philosophy.
Critical Theory (CT) can be traced back to 1937 to the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany, known commonly as the Frankfurt School. It is considered one of the first examples of Western Marxist thought. The idea is to attack western institutions and norms exclusively in order to tear them down. A key name you will hear associated with this school is Max Horkheimer, who argued against western traditions that man could not be objective and there are no universal truths (basically, repackaged thought from 19th-century German philosopher Georg Friedrich Hegel). Horkheimer, along with other German scholars such as Antonio Gramsci and Herbert Marcuse escaped from Germany and came to the United States, peddling their ideas at Columbia University (and you can see how this thought has taken over academia).
Now, what was the purpose of the Critical Theory? They wanted to tear down the norms of western institutions because their belief was that these institutions, such as family, capitalism, and God, were the result of the ruling class inculcating its values on the working class. And as the working class had adopted the values of the ruling class, they were not rising up and had accepted the very values that were oppressing them. During the Civil Rights era and anti-Vietnam war movements, leftists began making the case that these people were outcasts and outsiders who were exploited because they were people of color.
At this point, Critical Theory gave way to Critical Legal Theory, which argued that the law has inherent social biases, and is necessarily intertwined with social issues. In other words, the law supports those who create the laws (to wit, privileged, wealthy white men). The law provides a cultural hegemony with its statutes and jurisprudence that supports the powerful at the expense of marginalized peoples. The law, in effect, is used as an instrument of oppression.
Now, of course, the law and jurisprudence have been used to great effect to harm marginalized peoples, but it was primarily the intentional misapplication of the law and not the actual statutes themselves, or there were statutes that clearly violated both the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution which have been repealed over time. So CLT is NOT a project about correcting abuses in the system but overthrowing the system with relativist, postmodern, Marxist thought that is antithetical to western values that actually promote family, man and woman, liberty, the individual, and the notion that objective truths can be known (or at least, closely approximated).
CLT is where the notion of identity groups started, as espoused by Herbert Marcuse, such as people of color, women, and LGBTQ individuals. The idea is to show that purportedly neutral laws and institutions actually mask power and control, contributing to the domination of women, nonwhites, and the poor. And from here, the next step is CRT, where all aspects of American life are looked at through the lens of race. The project is to utterly dismantle American institutions and norms since the law systematically privileges white people. It is NOT calling for the original goals of the Civil Rights movement, which simply sought equality for all regardless of color, consistent with the promises of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.