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Critical Race Theory, An Introduction

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  1,210 ratings  ·  142 reviews
For well over a decade, critical race theory--the school of thought that holds that race lies at the very nexus of American life--has roiled the legal academy. In recent years, however, the fundamental principles of the movement have influenced other academic disciplines, from sociology and politics to ethnic studies and history.

And yet, while the critical race theory move
Hardcover, 1st Edition, 188 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by New York University Press (first published June 1995)
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May 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
A thorough yet concise introduction to critical race theory that I would recommend to those interested in its principles. Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic write about the main tenets of critical race theory such as that white supremacy exists and that law and legal structures perpetuate it, as well as that racial justice is achievable by transforming the relationship between law and racial power. Additional themes include the importance of intersectionality, the role of storytelling and counte ...more
A highly readable introductory text to a highly questionable school of thought.

There is much about the diagnostic side of critical race theory (which strives to identify and highlight subtle forms of racism) which seems merited. However, CRT's probing can veer into apparent conspiracy theorizing and paranoia, and CRT's proposed solutions are fraught with potential hazards.

Much of whether some of CRT's ideas are helpful or hazardous would appear to depend on how much weight is poured into them. I
Oct 09, 2012 marked it as to-read
This book was banned in Arizona.
The authors of this introduction to Critical Race Theory (CRT) define the it as “a collection of activists and scholars engaged in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power. The movement considers many of the same issues that conventional civil rights and ethnic studies discourses take up but places them in a broader perspective that includes economics, history, setting, group and self-interest, and emotions and the unconscious. Unlike traditional civil rights disc ...more
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a decent primer on critical race theory that covers some of the major tenets of the field with some questions for readers and students. I don't think the book offers much in the way of an argument or a thesis, but it does point to some other readings where one might dig in further. ...more
Andrew Shaffer
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
The book is written with a legal audience in mind, geared towards filling a gap in legal education by providing background and examples of how critical race theory (CRT) came to be and what it has accomplished. It is a good introduction to CRT, although the language used was sometimes problematic, as the authors referred to Native Americans as “Indians” (a term which, aside from being inaccurate, can cause confusion concerning which ‘Indians’ are being discussed – misnamed Native Americans or In ...more
Mar 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I have to lean five stars because of the premise of the book. It has "an introduction" in the title. So depending on your personal intention, journey, experience, and education, your personal mileage may vary, but if you're looking for a CRT table of contents with some abstracts on theories, general timelines of key developments, foundational terminologies, and a list of more sources, this is a great launchpad. I wish there were similarly short-introductory books for more unfamiliar subjects.

Dan Waugh
Feb 01, 2021 rated it liked it
This certainly won't rise to the level of an actual review, but here are a few thoughts.
First, the book is a helpful introduction to the topic. I've hear CRT thrown around a lot recently, often in a dismissive tone (i.e. "oh, that's just CRT. You can't buy into that as a Christian!"). I didn't have a firm grasp on what CRT entailed, and feared those who dismissed it didn't either. So, this book was helpful.

But, second, the book feels dated. It was written twenty years ago as an intro, and so a
Morgan Dhu
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it

An Internet acquaintance posted a link to an online course on Critical Race Theory offered by Adrienne Keene at Brown University, and while I'm not in a position to formally enroll in, or even audit, a course, I thought that it might be both interesting and useful to read as many of the assigned books and articles as I could access.

One of the core texts is Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic (foreword by Angela Harris), which I was able to download via a
Robert Owen
Jun 01, 2015 added it
Shelves: race
“Critical Race Theory” is basically a handbook of useful terms and concepts that does not make arguments so much as it outlines the contours of Critical Race Theory (“CRT”) orthodoxy for the benefit of those who are new to the discipline. As such the book does not attempt to make a compelling case for the rightness of CRT positions on various topics – it simply takes the rightness of those positions for granted and sets about to codify them. I have, therefore, left the book unrated for the same ...more
Andrew Gardner
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Very straightforward and unapologetic. Many topics and theses within CRT are difficult to accept at first glance, but they aren't made easier to accept by dissembling or circumlocution. The authors are very straightforward in their presentation of the facts and the theoretical frameworks of CRT that try to explain those facts. There are undeniable truths here, hard though they may be to accept when they are first encountered. ...more
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's spring break and still I find myself not able to completely stop doing school work. At least it's reading school work though. I enjoyed this short book and found lots of things to think about. I think my favorite part was the glossary of terms in the back. I learned some new terms and definitions for different social justice things. ...more
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it

This was a great introduction to critical race theory, or CRT. I found it to be incredibly relevant to the recent surge of the Black Lives Matter movement, from which I have learned a lot and through which I have hopefully changed for the better. It is well-written, brief and straightforward enough to keep the interest of a layperson. Many times I had to stop to process just how much the concepts discussed by CRT scholars resonated with my own life experiences. Being designed for a college co
Elora Orazio
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a straightforward introduction to Critical Race Theory. I highly recommend that everyone read it at some point. I read the second edition and couldn't help but wonder how the examples and some concepts would be different were this book to be written in the age of Trump. National discourse has shifted and a racialized underbelly of America has been revealed to those privileged enough to have not seen it during former administrations.

Critical Race Theory is a great launching point, b
Younès Kamel
May 11, 2021 rated it it was ok
This is a decent introduction to a dangerous and disingenuous school of thinking. In this book it is explicitly said that critical race theory, unlike other forms of scholarship, is entangled with activism. It is a school of thought seeking to change the racial status quo trough critical analysis. It does not ask whether society needs change, but HOW it should be changed. I am now convinced that CRT is a manifestation of confirmation bias. Look for racism everywhere until you finally find it. Be ...more
Feb 26, 2021 added it
Does a v good job at doing what it sets out to do. Knew almost nothing abt CRT and now I know a little more!
Mark Alexis
Mar 25, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Why is it that the Woke aimed to reduce six works of Dr. Seuss, known primarily as the author and illustrator of an enormous number of wonderfully whimsical and educational children's books, to toxic contraband due to alleged racism within these stories, written three quarters of a century ago?

After all, the man was a noted Democrat and staunch supporter of FDR's efforts to bring the United States into World War II. A mere two years ago, graphic novelist Art Spiegelman declared to the BBC that D
Mar 31, 2021 rated it liked it
Personally, I found this helpful for understanding some of the reasoning, the goals and the terms (interest convergence, intersectionality, (anti-)essentialism, legal storytelling, etc). I read this, not because I am a fan of CRT, but because the thinkers in my circles often misrepresent CRT and attack a strawman version of it; so I intended to deal with the thing itself by reading this.

This book is limited in scope (only an introduction), so there were certain ideas that I felt weren't very we
Katy Jean Vance
Mar 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Rodrigo Bottura, librarians, educators, Americans
Recommended to Katy Jean by: Dr. Sandra Hughes-Hassell
This could be a fairly quick read in the sense that it is just over 100 pages; however, it requires the reader (particularly the white reader) to stop and reflect on the meaning of the text, and its implications for the lives we lead and the communities in which we live. It's written in easily accesible language, which belies its intense subject matter.

It's a powerful and important text. Everyone should read it, preferably coupled with Dr. Beverly Tatum's "Why are all the Black kids sitting tog
Allison Sees
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A very accessible introduction.
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
CRT is the dominant model for understanding issue of race and power and in this brief book the authors, but CRT experts, give a readable overview. They include the major themes, and some of the criticism of CRT. Although much of CRT comes out of legal scholarship, they provide some down to earth examples to help make the model understandable to the non-legal scholar. For someone trying to get a handle on just what CRT is, this is a good place to start.
Hannah Jez
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Although an introduction to CRT, it was extremely elementary and slightly outdated. But it's exceptionally accessible and a good read for those who are just getting into critical studies and theories. ...more
Evan Milner
This is a useful introduction to Critical Race Theory, written by two key figures in the field. While it is clearly aimed at an undergraduate readership (complete with activities and discussion questions) it does a decent job of situating CRT among competing or adjacent fields and making the reader aware of the key ideas and debates that comprise it.

The book starts out by outlining the basic tenets and themes of critical race theory that are shared by most scholars in the field: 1) that racism i
Oren Mizrahi
Dec 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Books like this force me to question my rating criteria deeply. Is a book good because I agree with the ideas? Is it good if the ideas are well-analyzed, and if the author is being honest with the audience and with themselves? Is a book good simply by virtue of the impact it has had.

I've struggled with these questions for a number of books, but this one seems the most challenging. Let's address each of these individually:

1. Do I agree with the ideas?
No. For the most part I do not. I think Delgad
Bob O'bannon
Jul 01, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a brief, mild and accessible introduction to critical race theory (CRT), which is defined in the book as a collection of activists and scholars who study and seek to transform the “relationship among race, racism and power” (p.3). According to CRT, racism is so embedded in our society that even if every white person in the country were able to completely ignore the race of other people, racism would still be a problem (p.20, 145). So how should this reality be addressed?

The book seems to
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, I certainly understand the CRT ideology better. However, that means I see how hopeless this ideology truly is. While I commend the author compiling everything into a succinct and accessible fashion, maintaining a sense of brevity while allowing for lengthy explanation, the issues with CRT begin to make themselves aware.

For example, CRT believes racism is a normal thing. Think, for example, in Christianity how the curse of sin permeates every facet of existence. To CRT, racism is that sort
Joel Wentz
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent, surprisingly-readable overview and introduction to the basic concepts and writings that have emerged in recent decades under the umbrella of "critical race theory." Delgado and Stefancic have provided a valuable and approachable resource here for those who are completely unfamiliar with this academic field. Though the writers are obviously proponents of CTR, this book is not occupied with polemics, apologetic or arguments for the legitimacy of CTR itself (that is presumed) but rath ...more
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great introduction to formal critical race theory (I had no idea CRT began as legal theory!). Critical Race Theory is a lens to view policy, law, interpersonal relationships, and everything touched by racism (AKA everything in America). This book is a really great primer on racism in the US, both formally through the legal system and informally through interpersonal actions.

This is great to read f you’re looking to learn about critical race theory and any critical theory for the first time -- e
Michael Wojcik
Feb 15, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A helpful primer on CRT. Stating its basis in legal studies, a book like this is helpful to situate the origins of CRT as well as how it disseminated over the last few decades.

Some interesting observations:

The picture of CRT here seems to be extremely contextualized—rather than dealing with sweeping legislation on a federal level as observed with some modern/progressive CRT advocates, it appears to specifically acknowledge immediate cultural contexts and use legal decisions to articulate points
Adam Shields
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short Thoughts: Critical Race Theory is not really one things, but a general framework. That frameworks is describe in this book as having 12 components. So it is not particularly easy to describe what it it. The approach of the book is to walk through the history, the components of what has made up Critical Race Theory. There is also a discussion of the critiques of CRT and a discussion of the possible future changes and challenges of CRT.

There are certainly aspects of CRT that I cannot agree
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