Principles of critical race theory

five principles of critical race theory

Critical race theory is a theoretical framework developed in the 1980s by legal scholars to help us understand how structural and racial disparities are endured in our legal systems and society. Legal scholars argued that structures are creating gaps and not the people themselves and a critical approach must be taken to examine these laws. After going to the principles of critical race theory, we first answer the question below.

Is critical race theory good or bad?

In recent years, there has been much discussion of critical race theory. It is a movement among academics that aims to deal with the racial injustices that still prevail in the world today. Others contend that it can cause division and further antagonism in American society while others see it as a useful tool for understanding racism. In order to decide whether critical race theory is good or bad, you will examine both sides of the debate in this article. Here are the five principles of critical race theory.


CRT posits that racism is ordinary, not aberrational, and is the everyday experience of most people of color in the United States. This makes it difficult to recognize, debate, and find solutions to the issue. It cannot be viewed as an isolated incident or something that only affects a small number of individuals because it is pervasive and deeply ingrained in our institutions and everyday lives.


The second principle of CRT, known as interest convergence, states that any changes made to the legal system to benefit people of color are ultimately for the benefit of the dominant white population. Derrick Bell’s (1992) allegory in The Space Traders chapter of his book Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Persistence of Racism illustrates this concept. The story tells of aliens visiting the US and offering to trade all African Americans for gold, a chemical to cleanse the environment, and a limitless energy source. This shows how the dominant group (whites) had the power to make this decision and ultimately chose to give away the marginalized group (African Americans) for their benefit.


The third principle of CRT states that all of the racial disparities that exist are a result of the social construct of the people in this society and not the biological, genetic, and cultural differences among them. By viewing race through a critical lens, we can better comprehend the systematic nature of oppression that communities of color experience and establish plans for building just societies.

4. Changing perspectives

The fourth principle of CRT states that splinter groups suffer from stereotypes that shift over time. For example, at one point in history, society saw little use for the black population and preferred Asians and Mexicans for agricultural work. However, this narrative changed when labor was needed for the relocation of war camps. Similarly, Muslims were once seen as harmless but odd neighbors who went to mosques and prayed five times a day, but a few years later, they were viewed as security threats. Individuals must be treated based on their competence and intentions, rather than on the common narrative we have created for a particular race.

5. Intersectionality and anti-essentialism

The fifth principle of CRT is based on the idea that each person cannot be identified in one single group, but that their identity overlaps and intersects. For example, a white feminist might also be Jewish, working class, or a single mother; an African American activist might be male, female, gay, or straight; and an Asian might be a monk or a fourth-generation workaholic Chinese CEO of a multinational organization. People are not defined by a fixed set of characteristics, but their identities are constantly evolving and shaped by their experiences. Therefore, they should not be treated based on common narratives about the racial or genetic group they are associated with.


In conclusion, the purpose of this whole notion being raised by anti-racism activists is simple; to end racism: People should be judged and treated based on their actions and character, rather than on stereotypes or preconceived notions about their identity or group membership. Every individual should be considered unique and be given the same rights and opportunities.

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