Critical Race Theory



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The belief in democracy and equality is a racist one that obscures and further promotes white privilege


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, eaq.sagepub.com/content/39/1/68.full.pdf) // cjh

Taken holistically, CRT posits that beliefs in neutrality, democracy, objectivity,¶ and equality “are not just unattainable ideals, they are harmful fictions¶ that obscure the normative supremacy of whiteness in American law and¶ society” (Valdes et al., 2002, p. 3). Notwithstanding, White Americans continue¶ to believe in these ideals, because a racial reality is, perhaps, too difficult¶ to digest. For example, if I were to argue that what we study within the¶ politics of education is entirely racist, most scholars in the field—conservative¶ and liberal alike—would be greatly offended, finding such statements¶ preposterous and absurd. Although some would agree there might be certain¶ institutional practices (such as power) that limit the political participation of¶ nonmainstream groups, or perhaps a handful of truly racist individuals whose¶ values and beliefs create policies that negatively affect people of color, most¶ of us would believe that our knowledge base is not largely affected by racism.¶ To the contrary, most of us would tend to believe that what we study actually¶ highlights the processes by which people of color are marginalized on a¶ daily basis and how they can challenge and change the political spectrum¶ through voting, grassroots organizing, mass mobilization, and the election of¶ minority officials and representatives. In other words, the belief that the politics¶ of education actively supports a racist agenda does not fit our prevailing¶ and espoused beliefs about the nature of the field.¶ The role of CRT is to highlight the fact that such beliefs only serve to¶ maintain racism in place—relegating racism to overt/blatant and unmistakable¶ acts of hatred, as opposed to highlighting the ways in which our beliefs,¶ practices, knowledge, and apparatuses reproduce a system of racial hierarchy¶ and social inequality. Rarely do we question our own values and knowledge¶ base and how those beliefs emerge from—and help sustain—the notion of a¶ racially neutral and democratic social order that works for all people. In other¶ words, within the field, we have a tendency to think that social problems¶ (such as racism) will be resolved if more people get involved in the political¶ arena and “do something” about it. The belief in democracy and “justice for¶ all” is protected—as is the belief that the vehicles to ascertain social justice¶ are racially neutral. It is a cheery and simplistic take on how racism actually¶ functions in society, as well as a naïve understanding how it can be resolved¶ and remedied.


Surveillance policies disproportionately subjugate blacks and people of color – The impact is massive criminalization


Beckett and Sasson 2k (Katherine and Theodore, Beckett: Professor of Law, Societies & Justice Program

Department of Sociology, University of Washington/ Sasson: Professor of International and Global Studies at Middlebury College The Politics of Injustice: Crime and Punishment in America pg. 179-181 2000 Sage Publications, Inc., cayla_)


All Americans are experiencing stepped-up surveillance. Suspect populations, however, are kept under far tighter scrutiny. Black men, regardless of their involvement with the justice system, are routinely subjected to motor vehicle stops for the crime of DWB—Driving While Black. Members of minority groups are often stopped in airports, bus terminals, and other public places and questioned about drugs, a practice legitimated by typically ambiguous “drug courier profiles,” which open the door for unlimited police discretion. Since September 11, 2001, racial profiling of Arabs and people believed to have ties to the Middle East has become especially widespread. For individuals of all races who have been sentenced by a court, forms of surveillance range from regular probation, which might entail nothing more than a notification requirement concerning change of address, to electronic monitoring, day reporting, halfway house residency, and house arrest. Probationers and parolees suspected of substance abuse problems must submit to regular drug and alcohol testing. Sex offenders must register with local police, who in turn, in may jurisdictions, notify area residents and prospective employers. In the United States, on any given day, nearly 1 in 3 young black men is under one form or another of criminal justice supervision. In many U.S. cities, the proportion is even more dramatic. As noted in Chapter 1, in 1997, 50% of black males in Washington, DC, between 18 and 35 years old were in jail or prison, on probation or parole, out on bond, or wanted on an arrest warrant. In neighboring Baltimore, Maryland, in 1991, the comparable statistic was 56%. In high-poverty, racially segregated neighborhoods, the percentage is still higher. One unsurprising consequence of the expansion and intensification of community surveillance (e.g., probation and parole) is the burgeoning number of people sent to prison for violating the conditions of community release. In 1980, new court commitments were responsible for 82% of prison admissions; parole and probation violations were responsible for 17%. By 1997, the share of prison admissions from the courts had declined to 60%, and the share stemming from conditional release violations surged to 40%. Many of these violators are detected through drug tests. Although probation and parole were conceived, at least in part, as mechanisms for reintegrating offenders into community life, they now help to explain why U.S. prisons are bursting at their seams.

Structural violence is perpetuated by the racist views underlying the 1ac. This is the equivalent on ongoing nuclear war and genocide.


Mumia ’98 (Abu-Jamal Column Written 9/19/98 http://www.mumia.nl/TCCDMAJ/quietdv.htm)

It has often been observed that America is a truly violent nation, as shown by the thousands of cases of social and communal violence that occurs daily in the nation. Every year, some 20,000 people are killed by others, and additional 20,000 folks kill themselves. Add to this the nonlethal violence that Americans daily inflict on each other, and we begin to see the tracings of a nation immersed in a fever of violence. But, as remarkable, and harrowing as this level and degree of violence is, it is, by far, not the most violent feature of living in the midst of the American empire. We live, equally immersed, and to a deeper degree, in a nation that condones and ignores wide-ranging "structural" violence, of a kind that destroys human life with a breathtaking ruthlessness. Former Massachusetts prison official and writer, Dr. James Gilligan observes; "By `structural violence' I mean the increased rates of death and disability suffered by those who occupy the bottom rungs of society, as contrasted by those who are above them. Those excess deaths (or at least a demonstrably large proportion of them) are a function of the class structure; and that structure is itself a product of society's collective human choices, concerning how to distribute the collective wealth of the society. These are not acts of God. I am contrasting `structural' with `behavioral violence' by which I mean the non-natural deaths and injuries that are caused by specific behavioral actions of individuals against individuals, such as the deaths we attribute to homicide, suicide, soldiers in warfare, capital punishment, and so on." -- (Gilligan, J., MD, Violence: Reflections On a National Epidemic (New York: Vintage, 1996), 192.) This form of violence, not covered by any of the majoritarian, corporate, ruling-class protected media, is invisible to us and because of its invisibility, all the more insidious. How dangerous is it -- really? Gilligan notes: "[E]very fifteen years, on the average, as many people die because of relative poverty as would be killed in a nuclear war that caused 232 million deaths; and every single year, two to three times as many people die from poverty throughout the world as were killed by the Nazi genocide of the Jews over a six-year period. This is, in effect, the equivalent of an ongoing, unending, in fact accelerating, thermonuclear war, or genocide on the weak and poor every year of every decade, throughout the world." [Gilligan, p. 196] Worse still, in a thoroughly capitalist society, much of that violence became internalized, turned back on the Self, because, in a society based on the priority of wealth, those who own nothing are taught to loathe themselves, as if something is inherently wrong with themselves, instead of the social order that promotes this self-loathing. This intense self-hatred was often manifested in familial violence as when the husband beats the wife, the wife smacks the son, and the kids fight each other. This vicious, circular, and invisible violence, unacknowledged by the corporate media, uncriticized in substandard educational systems, and un- understood by the very folks who suffer in its grips, feeds on the spectacular and more common forms of violence that the system makes damn sure -- that we can recognize and must react to it. This fatal and systematic violence may be called The War on the Poor. It is found in every country, submerged beneath the sands of history, buried, yet ever present, as omnipotent as death. In the struggles over the commons in Europe, when the peasants struggled and lost their battles for their communal lands (a precursor to similar struggles throughout Africa and the Americas), this violence was sanctified, by church and crown, as the "Divine Right of Kings" to the spoils of class battle. Scholars Frances Fox-Piven and Richard A Cloward wrote, in The New Class War (Pantheon, 1982/1985): "They did not lose because landowners were immune to burning and preaching and rioting. They lost because the usurpations of owners were regularly defended by the legal authority and the armed force of the state. It was the state that imposed increased taxes or enforced the payment of increased rents, and evicted or jailed those who could not pay the resulting debts. It was the state that made lawful the appropriation by landowners of the forests, streams, and commons, and imposed terrifying penalties on those who persisted in claiming the old rights to these resources. It was the state that freed serfs or emancipated sharecroppers only to leave them landless." The "Law", then, was a tool of the powerful to protect their interests, then, as now. It was a weapon against the poor and impoverished, then, as now. It punished retail violence, while turning a blind eye to the wholesale violence daily done by their class masters. The law was, and is, a tool of state power, utilized to protect the status quo, no matter how oppressive that status was, or is. Systems are essentially ways of doing things that have concretized into tradition, and custom, without regard to the rightness of those ways. No system that causes this kind of harm to people should be allowed to remain, based solely upon its time in existence. Systems must serve life, or be discarded as a threat and a danger to life. Such systems must pass away, so that their great and terrible violence passes away with them.

Academic legal discourse creates whiteness as objective reality – Reject the affirmative as a colorblind policy that reifies existing legal structures. Our alternative shifts perspective by inserting narratives of oppressed individuals into legal discourse


Chang 93 – (Robert S. Seattle University Professor of Law and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality “Toward an Asian American Legal Scholarship: Critical Race Theory, Post-Structuralism, and Narrative Space” California Law Review, Vol. 81, No. 5 (Oct., 1993), pp. 1241+1243-1323 http://www.jstor.org/stable/3480919 , cayla_)

Mainstream academic legal discourse begins from the premise that objective knowledge exists and is accessible. I call this the rational/ empirical position. My own theoretical bias tells me that this is a false premise, but I start here to show how the case for personal narrative would appear within the context of mainstream academic discourse.180 Different disempowered groups have developed a similar methodology that tries to reveal bias in supposedly neutral standards. Feminist legal scholars ask "[t]he woman question." They ask "about the gender implications of a social practice or rule: have women been left out of consideration? If so, in what way; how might that omission be corrected? What difference would it make to do so?"181 Race scholars ask the race question, and so on. The use of the objective voice is one of the social practices that has come under the scrutiny of those asking this type of question. The objective voice is obtained by abstracting from the individual in order to universalize the perspective of the author so that not only does the author, as an abstracted entity, speak as Everyman, the author also presumes to speak for everyone. A favorite device is the use of what one commentator calls the "constitutive we."'s2 This "constitutive we" appears in the work of many philosophical and legal theorists. For example, John Rawls uses "we" in a subtle way that includes "us" as fellow inquirers into the questions he poses."83 But who does he think "we" is?184 Too often, the individual used as the model for the universal is a man, and more specifically, a white man. Thus, one goal of personal narrative is to discredit this "we." For example, I might use personal narrative to show that the "we" is a lie because it does not include "me." The stories of outsiders become important because they tell the story from different perspectives, perspectives that may have been excluded when formulating the objective, universal "we." It is important to remember that at this stage, personal narrative is not being offered to replace what had previously been thought of as objective: to impose my subjectivity upon everyone else only repeats the sin.'85 Rather, personal narrative is being offered to show that objectivity may actually be a disguise for white male subjectivity, which takes away the subjectivity of the disempowered. 86 One attempt to restore these lost subjectivities relies on a version of standpoint epistemology. An objectivist or liberal epistemology takes as the proper standpoint that of the "neutral, disinterested observer, a so-called Archimedean standpoint somewhere outside the reality that is being observed."'87 In contrast, standpoint epistemologies identify a certain group as victim and then "privileges that status by claiming that it gives access to understanding about oppression that others cannot have."'88 In the context of feminism, "[t]he feminist standpoint epistemologies argue that because men are in the master's position vis-i-vis women, women's social experience-conceptualized through the lenses of feminist theory--can provide the grounds for a less distorted understanding of the world around us."'189 This same point can and has been made about other oppressed groups.'90 One question that arises is why the viewpoint of the oppressed should be privileged. One theorist argues that the standpoint of the oppressed is epistemologically advantageous for the following reasons: It provides the basis for a view of reality that is more impartial than that of the ruling class and also more comprehensive. It is more impartial because it comes closer to representing the interests of society as a whole; whereas the standpoint of the ruling class reflects the interests only of one section of the population, the standpoint of the oppressed represents the interests of the totality in that historical period. Moreover, whereas the condition of the oppressed groups is visible only dimly to the ruling class, the oppressed are able to see more clearly the ruled as well as the rulers and the relation between them. Thus, the standpoint of the oppressed includes and is able to explain the standpoint of the ruling class.191 But the claim that the standpoint of the oppressed is more impartial is unconvincing. It seems that the standpoint of the oppressed would be partial; it would not necessarily provide less distorted views but differently distorted views. The claim of representing society as a whole also seems problematic because the viewpoints of the oppressed and oppressors are quite distinct and complex.192 It still might make sense to include the standpoint of the oppressed, however, not because it has any special access to the truth, but because what is taken as truth is incomplete or distorted without the views of the oppressed.'93 There is the further problem of identifying the standpoint of the oppressed. If oppression or subjugation provides the grounding for having a less distorted view, then it would seem that the prime candidate would be the standpoint of lesbians of color.194 Even if, for the sake of simplicity, we decide that the relevant category is that of women, we are still left with the problem of identifying this standpoint. One commentator warns that we cannot discover this standpoint "directly in women's naive and unreflective world view,""' because this world view, usually labelled as false consciousness, has been shaped by the dominant male perspective so that it cannot be trusted. Even with standpoint epistemology, then, not all stories of oppression are created equal. This is problematic "because of the unwillingness, central to feminism, to dismiss some women as simply deluded while granting other women the ability to see the truth."196
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