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Approach to Viewing Race and Race Relations: Critical Race Theory

What is Critical Race Theory?

Critical race theory is an interdisciplinary approach to viewing race and race relations, and the conceptualization of race on which the theory operates is that race is a social construct created by a dominant cultural group. The main objective of this theory is to explore race from the contra-narrative point of view, prioritizing the experience of oppressed groups over the top-down narratives. Contra-narratives are an essential element of race theory because they help recontextualize reality and see it from another perspective that exposes prejudice and bias ingrained into everyday life, using the real-life experience of the oppressed people.

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The issue of master narratives

Critical race theory does not conform to the master narratives and, at times, rejects them outright, questioning the existing ideology. Unfortunately, master narratives have become so ingrained in the modern culture that many people do not even recognize the racism that runs through them. Even the emancipatory movements gained traction only when they benefited the dominant groups as well as the oppressed.

To expose the inherent prejudice and power imbalance that was built into the culture, the narratives must be deconstructed and viewed from the standpoint of the oppressed. The seemingly ‘normal’ things are questioned continuously and seen from a non-white angle with a historical perspective. The real experience of real people is prioritized over formally codified laws to look at what the world is, instead of what the dominant group wishes or pretends to be real.

The historically created and culturally upheld narratives first manifest themselves as unconscious internalized racism. It manifests in a non-conditional assumption that the white identity is superior to the non-white identities.

These subconscious biases then spill into conscious interactions, creating interpersonal racism. The members of the oppressed and dominant groups communicate in such a way that minimizes, excludes, or outright abuses the member of the oppressed group. Finally, as that becomes the social norm, it becomes reflected in the institutions, serving to perpetuate the culture of racial inequality that benefits the dominant group. Notably, race is often not singular, nor the only identity that a person may have. Different cultures with different conceptions of race may perceive a person to belong to different racial groups.

How it Allows “Seeing” Race Critically?

By acknowledging the critical race theory, one can take a critical approach to evaluate different social, political, economic, and legislative concepts regarding race that can be oppressive or contradictory. Moreover, this allows one to work towards mitigating the consequences of oppression based on race. For instance, through critical race theory, one can recognize other forms of subordination that are connected to race and racial oppression. Additionally, it allows examining and questioning the dominant ideology that guides society and using knowledge, the experience of people, and a transdisciplinary approach for making a change. In general, critical race theory is a necessary element of viewing the world critically and changing it for the better by emphasizing the experience of the minorities.

Racism and Other Forms of Oppression

As was mentioned, critical race theory allows viewing subordination as another form of oppression that is connected to one’s race. Notably, critical race theory was established after scholars noticed the inconsistencies in the way minorities were able to access different institutions and positions, including getting adequate healthcare or obtaining education and having a job in fields such as academia.

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Moreover, critical race theory employs analysis of intersectionalities, such as gender, or ethnicity, social status, and sexuality, as a means of examining oppression. A black liberal Muslim female housekeeper in Mississippi has to contend with a wholly different society than a gay liberal black male executive in San Francisco. Critical Race Theory recognizes the cultural hegemonies that rule over these identities as well, primarily through its offshoots, such as FemCrit. Race is also more complicated than black and white, which is explored in LatCrit or AsianCrit.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, March 19). Approach to Viewing Race and Race Relations: Critical Race Theory. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/critical-race-theory/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, March 19). Approach to Viewing Race and Race Relations: Critical Race Theory. https://studycorgi.com/critical-race-theory/

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StudyCorgi. "Approach to Viewing Race and Race Relations: Critical Race Theory." March 19, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/critical-race-theory/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Approach to Viewing Race and Race Relations: Critical Race Theory." March 19, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/critical-race-theory/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Approach to Viewing Race and Race Relations: Critical Race Theory'. 19 March.

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