Critical Race Theory

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Link of Omission

Whiteness flourishes in totalizing epistemologies and silence

Calderon 6—(Dolores, University of Utah assistant professor in the Department of Education, Culture, and Society and the Ethnic Studies Program “One-Dimensionality and Whiteness” USA Policy Futures in Education, Volume 4, Number 1, 2006 , cayla_)

Whiteness represents what I call a flat epistemology [2] in which the organization of knowledge is hierarchical, unidirectional, and reductive. A flattened epistemology is totalizing, assuming a singular way of knowing that precludes critical interventions and it is not derived from an organic community. Rather, a flattened epistemology is one-dimensional because it is predetermined and disseminated in order to reproduce whiteness. Marcuse’s (1991) analysis in One-Dimensional Man provides a framework with which to further define this flat epistemology. The flat epistemic nature of whiteness is attributed to the unidirectional mode of capitalist relations, which always progress towards the reproduction of capital and disallow critical engagement of the system. Marcuse (1991) explains that modern society’s technological rationalism operates as an apparatus that ‘imposes its economic and political requirements for defense and expansion on the labor time and free time, on the material and intellectual culture. By virtue of the way it has organized its technological base, contemporary industrial society tends to be totalitarian’ (1991, pp. 2-3). These increasing economic and political requirements demand a flattened culture which flows singularly from the Establishment. In essence, the totalitarian or flattened rationalism is ideologically produced in the onedimensional epistemology of whiteness. Individuals come to understand themselves, for the most part, only in relation to the universal or totalitarian notion of whiteness. Whiteness appears to be commonsensical, universal and value-neutral. George Lipsizt (1998) points out that ‘whiteness is everywhere in U.S. culture, but it is very hard to see’ (Lipsitz, 1998, p. 1). Whiteness represents the normative practices and discourses upon which everything is measured, but this measurement is not an explicit act. Rather, it remains an unseen, or invisible measure. ‘As the unmarked category against which difference is constructed, whiteness never has to speak its name, never has to acknowledge its role as an organizing principle in social and cultural relations’ (1998, p. 1). Whiteness silently pervades all sectors of life, both public and private.

Refusing to acknowledge race as a defining factor in society protects the white supremacy – Silence is a ‘link’

Lopez, 2003 (Gerardo [Professor of Political Science], "The (Racially Neutral) Politics of Education: A Critical Race Theory Perspective", Educational Administration Quarterly Vol. 39, No. 1 (February 2003) 68-94, 6/28, // cjh

Our understanding of events, as told by Schattschneider and others, suggests¶ that the incident was not in any way a race riot. Such negation not only¶ suggests the riot had nothing to do with racism but altogether disregards the¶ pent-up frustration and rage of the African American community. The reason¶ for this mislabeling, in my opinion, has to do with a constricted understanding¶ of what constitutes a race riot. For Schattschneider (1960), the event in¶ question failed to meet this definition because “most of the shops looted and¶ 80 Educational Administration Quarterly¶ Downloaded from at UNIV CALIFORNIA BERKELEY LIB on June 26, 2015¶ the property destroyed by the Negro mob belonged to Negroes” (p. 2). For¶ Mayor La Guardia and Congressman Powell, the event was not a race riot¶ because there was no “physical violence between Blacks and Whites”¶ (Capeci, 1977). In essence, a race riot, according to these definitions, can¶ only occur if there are objective facts or discernable evidence of violence¶ between two groups. Anything short of direct contact or aggression fails to be¶ included in this definition.¶ By refusing to label the 1943 incident a race riot, individuals not only strip¶ the event of its racial underpinnings but render its social and political significance¶ meaningless. The riot becomes a mere conflict, where chaos and¶ destruction ruled for a short period of time. In effect, such reasoning leads us¶ to believe that the public boiling-over of African Americans had little to do¶ with racism or the reality of being Black in a White society. Instead, it¶ becomes an unfortunate and isolated incident that simply got out of hand.¶ Moreover, because individuals failed to identify racism as a key element¶ of the riot, White power and privilege were protected and reified. Because¶ Blacks were not “rioting” against a White power structure, there was no need¶ to fundamentally change the social and living conditions for African Americans¶ in Harlem. Although the riots did open the possibility for increased¶ political representation for Black Americans, there was little fundamental¶ change in social and economic power relations between Blacks and Whites.¶ As such, the overall event and public protest did little to substantially alter the¶ gross social and economic inequities in New York City during this particular¶ period in history.¶ How could Schattschneider—along with other key political figures,¶ researchers, and scholars—not see racism as an underlying cause of this riot?¶ Why was this incident not labeled a race riot, despite the fact that the collective¶ anger of African Americans was targeted mainly at symbols of White¶ power such as the New York Police Department? How could Schattschneider¶ use an example that describes blatant racial conflict without highlighting¶ issues of White supremacy and social power? Answers to these questions¶ rest, in part, on the fact that racism and its effects are rarely discussed or¶ acknowledged in society (Omi & Winant, 1986; Tatum, 1997; West, 1993a).¶ There is a problematic silence that surrounds issues of racism—a silence that¶ is difficult to broach. In fact, most people would rather not discuss racism¶ whatsoever because the topic itself is uncomfortable and unpleasant¶ (Anzaldúa, 1990; Tatum, 1997; West, 1993a, 1993b).¶ As a result of this disquieting silence, most individuals fail to identify its¶ magnitude and breadth and limit its scope to superficial manifestations like¶ prejudice, discrimination, and blatant intolerance (Delgado & Stefancic,¶ 1995, 2001; Matsuda, 1996; Tatum, 1997). In fact, most people view racism¶ as the enactment of overt racial acts—for example, name calling, burning¶ crosses, hate crimes, and so forth—while ignoring the deeper, often invisible,¶ and more insidious forms of racism that occur on a daily basis (Parker, 1998;¶ Scheurich & Young, 1997; Tyson, 1998).¶ In addition, when discussions of racism do occur, people overwhelmingly¶ focus on explicit acts, believing that racism is perpetrated by “bad people”¶ who dislike others because of something as arbitrary and innocuous as their¶ skin color. Although this type of blatant racism certainly does occur, such a¶ belief incorrectly assumes that it is only found at this surface level and does¶ not penetrate our institutions, organizations, or ways of thinking (Bell,¶ 1995b; Delgado, 1995a; Omi & Winant, 1986; Parker, Deyhle, & Villenas,¶ 1999; Scheurich & Young, 1997; Tatum, 1997; Williams, 1995a, 1995b).¶ This limited perspective, therefore, only protects White privilege by highlighting¶ racism’s blatant and conspicuous aspects, while ignoring or¶ downplaying its hidden and structural facets (Harris, 1995; Scheurich &¶ Young, 1997; Tyson, 1998).¶ Needless to say, most individuals do not discuss the topic of racism at all¶ (Fine, Powell, Weis, & Mun Wong, 1997; Frankenberg, 1993; Sleeter, 1996).¶ They ignore it because they believe the topic is too unpleasant (Anzaldúa,¶ 1990), because they feel that racism is a thing of the past (Bell, 1995b),¶ because they do not see themselves as “raced” individuals (Fine et al., 1997;¶ Frankenberg, 1993; Haney López, 1995a, 1995b), or because they feel that¶ the race problem is not theirs to solve (Tatum, 1997). Others feel that because¶ they, as individuals, do not hold racist beliefs, then the topic is somewhat¶ external and impertinent in their daily lives (Frankenberg, 1993). In all of¶ these cases, such beliefs—individually and collectively—domesticate and¶ minimize the role of race and racism in the larger social order

The law serves to protect and benefit white privilege while ignoring racial difference

Lopez, 2003 (Gerardo [Professor of Political Science], "The (Racially Neutral) Politics of Education: A Critical Race Theory Perspective", Educational Administration Quarterly Vol. 39, No. 1 (February 2003) 68-94, 6/28, // cjh

Unfortunately, racism is as powerful today as it was in the past; it has¶ merely assumed a normality, and thus an invisibility, in our daily lives. In¶ other words, “Time has made past racial practices and assumptions invisible¶ to modern eyes” (Lazos Vargas, in press). We often fail to recognize racism¶ because we do not see it beyond its most blatant manifestations (Delgado &¶ Stefancic, 2001). By necessitating tangible documentation of its existence,¶ legal and juridical apparatuses have, in effect, dealt with racism’s most obvious¶ forms but have perpetuated its existence at deeper and more invisible¶ levels.¶ In addition, racism has now been turned on its head, as allegations of¶ reverse racism and calls for equal protection are increasingly used by Whites¶ to prove discrimination or racial harm against them (Delgado & Stefancic,¶ 2001). This is particularly true in affirmative action cases (Hopwood v. Texas,¶ 1996; Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 1978), where Whites¶ have sued their organizations using the same legal statutes designed to protect¶ African Americans and other marginalized groups (Parker, in press; Taylor,¶ 1999). Indeed, racism has taken on a new twist, as Whites reclaim their¶ positionality and power in society by using the courts as their vehicle. The¶ staying power of case law only institutionalizes the current power relationships¶ between Whites and non-Whites while protecting the material and¶ symbolic property interest of White individuals (Harris, 1995).¶ In response to these growing concerns, a new area of legal scholarship¶ known as CRT has emerged to analyze the pervasiveness of racism in society¶ (Crenshaw et al., 1995; Delgado, 1995a; Delgado & Stefancic, 2001;¶ Matsuda, 1996; Matsuda et al., 1993; Valdes et al., 2002; Williams, 1995b).¶ As an outgrowth of the Civil Rights movement and the Critical Legal Studies¶ movement, CRT’s premise is to critically interrogate how the law reproduces,¶ reifies, and normalizes racism in society. Rather than subscribe to the belief¶ that racism is an abnormal or unusual concept, critical race theorists begin¶ with the premise that racism is a normal and endemic component of our¶ social fabric (see also Banks, 1993; Collins, 1991; Gordon, 1990; LadsonBillings¶ & Tate, 1995; Scheurich & Young, 1997; Tatum, 1997; Tyson,¶ 1998). CRT scholars suggest that the reason why society fails to see racism is¶ because it is such a common/everyday experience that it is often taken for¶ granted. In other words, racism is part of our everyday reality. It is part of our¶ social fabric and embedded in our organizations, practices, and structures¶ (Scheurich & Young, 1997; Tyson, 1998)—it is the usual way “society does¶ business” (Delgado & Stefancic, 2001, p. 7).

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