Much nonsense is spewed about Critical Race Theory (CRT) by both its putative defenders and opponents. We should not be surprised by this, as it is a sophisticated academic theory, and few politicians, media talking heads, or average people, could speak deeply about any academic theory, sophisticated or not. Properly understood, CRT is a theory about how socially constructed racial identities are intertwined throughout all our legal and social structures to create and reinforce a system of white supremacy. This description, of course, barely scratches the surface of CRT. But an important element of CRT is that – inadvertently or not – it works to support and maintain abusive structures of power rather than undermine and dismantle them.
CRT is problematic enough even in the academy, but even worse when it escapes into the wild, where it is intellectually weaker but politically more powerful. This should not be surprising. It is not even ironic. High-level academic theories are rarely, if ever, politically or socially powerful, but when watered down to a catchy idea that can be grasped by practical people, it readily enslaves their minds.