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Critical Race Theory

Spin-off Movements

Critical race theory has spawned a number of successor movements that, while continuing to maintain relations with the original movement, pursue courses and directions of their own. Concerned about an unduly Afrocentric emphasis in critical race theory and inattention to groups falling outside the black/white binary of race, Latino scholars in the mid-l990s began caucusing separately during critical race theory meetings, then broke off to form their own multiracial organization, the conference on Latino/Critical studies. The group focuses on a number of issues—such as immigration law and policy, language and accent discrimination, and discrimination based on conquest or territorial status—to which the parent organization gives short shrift.

In similar fashion, a national organization of radical Asian-American scholars meets separately to develop a body of knowledge related specifically to the needs and problems of that population, including many of the above-named issues and, in addition, such issues as Orientalism and the notion of Asians as a model minority. For their part, gay and lesbians of color have been developing a sophisticated set of ideas and a body of scholarship devoted to sexual minorities. Critical race feminism examines issues pertaining to women within the various communities of color, including sweatshop labor, sexual abuse in minority communities, and global human rights, including resistance to genital mutilation and other practices directed against women.

A final spin-off movement is critical white studies, in which scholars apply the techniques and approaches of critical race theory—including social constructionism, historical revisionism, and close attention to myth and narrative—to whites. Scholars such as Ian Haney-López examine Supreme Court cases dealing with the legal definition of whiteness and the requirement—which endured until recently—that an applicant seeking to naturalize (acquire American citizenship) establish that he or she is white. Others examine the abovementioned "one-drop" rule and laws governing interracial marriage and adoption in an effort to learn how white preference figures in. Still others examine seemingly race-neutral laws, such as the income tax code, in search for provisions that favor whites and tacitly enact a system of white privilege, while a final group examines white-collar crime and leniency afforded sympathetic white defendants who have erred over ones who are less sympathetic, nonwhite, but who committed the same offense.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Cosine to Cyano groupCritical Race Theory - An Organization Forms, Spin-off Movements, Criticism, Methodology, Derrick Bell, Related Legal Movements