What is Critical Race Theory?

An Historical Look at the Social Justice Movement in American Society

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith

Critical Race Theory
Critical Race Theory
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Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a term that is much bandied about on social media and in the press today, but the average citizen is likely to be unsure about what it is. After all, the term is non-specific in meaning, the very definition of a specious term. We know it’s got something to do with race (in America), it’s a theory (OK, an academic concept), and it’s critical, so it’s a make-or-break thing. But, put those parts together, and it’s meant to convey… nothing of any substance. So, to go beyond pundit-spout, we must look at the roots of the movement. Which the mainstream media does not (will not) cover.

The History of Marxism

The Marxist Left structured its political program based on the theory of class conflict. Karl Marx thought that the basic characteristic of his day’s industrial societies was an imbalance of power between the few capitalist have-alls (the 1% in today’s terms) and the many workers. His solution to that imbalance was revolution: the workers would at some point gain consciousness of their situation, secure the mechanisms of production, overthrow the capitalists, and thrive in a new socialist society.

Since then, many societies have enacted Marxist-themed revolutions. Each and every one concluded in sheer disaster. Socialist/communist governments in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Cuba, and elsewhere ended up killing nearly 100 million of their own (expendable or non-cooperative) citizens. Theory generated from the comfort of a London library was one thing, but in practice, Marx’s ideas brought about utter societal destruction.

Fast-Forward to the Mid-1960s

Marxist intellectuals in the West had finally begun to acknowledge these catastrophes. They wanted to close their eyes to Soviet butcheries and ultimately realized that worker’s revolutions could never happen in classic Marxist fashion in Western Europe or in the US, where there were already predominant middle classes and the standards of living were constantly improving. Americans had never really developed a sense of class consciousness or class division in the same sense as those in the Old World. Americans were brought up to believe in the American dream, the concept that they could rise above their beginnings via education, working hard, and practicing good citizenship.

With this realization, Marxists simply adjusted their revolutionary theory to work with the social and racial unrest happening in the 1960s. They discarded Marx’s economic theory of capitalists and workers and substituted the term race for class and initiated a revolutionary conglomerate of the abused based upon racial and ethnic categories, a move where they acted as the cancel culture on themselves! But, Americans preferred the concept of improving the country rather than overthrowing it. The Marxists needed a new strategy.

Critical Race Theory is Born

It was conceived in the 1990s, constructed upon the intellectual skeleton of “identity-based” Marxism. For many years it remained in universities and obscure academic journals. But insidiously, over the past decade, it has solidified into the default ideology in many of our public institutions. It’s been instilled in government agencies, public (and some private) schools, and human resources departments. You’ve probably seen it in the guise of diversity training programs, public policy guidelines, and school curricula. The accepted over-reach is mind-boggling. Writing for Imprimis, Christopher F. Rufo gives some examples:1

  • In the name of equity, UCLA Law Professor and critical race theorist Cheryl Harris has proposed suspending private property rights, seizing land and wealth and redistributing them along racial lines.
  • Critical race guru Ibram X. Kendi, who directs the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, has proposed the creation of a federal Department of Antiracism. This department would be independent of (i.e., unaccountable to) the elected branches of government, and would have the power to nullify, veto, or abolish any law at any level of government and curtail the speech of political leaders and others who are deemed insufficiently “antiracist.” This is the cancel culture at its finest.
  • The Department of Homeland Security was telling white employees they were committing “microinequities” and had been “socialized into oppressor roles.”
  • The Treasury Department held a training session telling staff members that “virtually all white people contribute to racism” and that they must convert “everyone in the federal government” to the ideology of “antiracism.”
  • The Sandia National Laboratories, which designs America’s nuclear arsenal, sent white male executives to a three-day reeducation camp, where they were told that “white male culture” was analogous to the “KKK,” “white supremacists,” and “mass killings.” The executives were then forced to renounce their “white male privilege” and write letters of apology to fictitious women and people of color.
  • In Cupertino, California, an elementary school forced first-graders to deconstruct their racial and sexual identities, and rank themselves according to their “power and privilege.”
  • In Springfield, Missouri, a middle school forced teachers to locate themselves on an “oppression matrix,” based on the idea that straight, white, English-speaking, Christian males are members of the oppressor class and must atone for their privilege and “covert white supremacy.”
  • In Philadelphia, an elementary school forced fifth-graders to celebrate “Black communism” and simulate a Black Power rally to free 1960s radical Angela Davis from prison, where she had once been held on charges of murder.
  • In Seattle, the school district told white teachers that they are guilty of “spirit murder” against black children and must “bankrupt [their] privilege in acknowledgment of [their] thieved inheritance.”

“The climate crisis is a crisis born of injustice. A crisis born at the pursuit of profit… The trampling of indigenous rights is a cause of climate change. The trampling of racial justice is a cause of climate change.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez


Some of the terms employed by its supporters to describe critical race theory are “equity,” “social justice,” “diversity and inclusion,” and “culturally responsive teaching.” Equity sounds benign. It’s easily confused with the American principle of equality. And really, who among us would object to more home equity? That’s got to be a good thing, right? But the distinction is important. Equality, the principle proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, defended in the Civil War, and codified into law with the 14th and 15th Amendments, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965—is explicitly rejected by critical race theorists. To them, equality represents “mere non-discrimination” and provides “camouflage” for white supremacy, patriarchy, and oppression.

Critical race theorists and their sycophants like to project the image of themselves as benign social justice warriors, seeking only to improve the condition of society. Nothing is further than the truth. Like Antifa thugs and the more radical arm of BLM, they are Marxists who are determined “by any means necessary” to shift all the power to their control. Unfortunately, the media is only too happy to be complicit and corporate America pays them more homage than they do to consumers. That is capitalism turned on its head. Perhaps it is working after all.

Further Reading

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.


  1. Christopher F. Rufo, Imprimis, Critical Race Theory: What It Is and How to Fight It, https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/critical-race-theory-fight/

Sorry Bernie, Socialism Doesn’t Work

America’s Democrat Fascination with Socialism

by Kelly R. Smith

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Hungry Venezuelans queue up for food scraps after socialist government collapse.
Hungry Venezuelans queue up for food scraps after socialist government collapse.

This article was updated on 10/09/20.

Bernie Sanders was a strong contender for the Democrat party nomination during the last presidential election. In fact, there is much (well-deserved) speculation that he only got edged out by Hillary Clinton and the DNC’s dirty tricks.

Bernie’s issue with middle America was that he is a Democratic Socialist. Most folks in flyover country don’t want free stuff; they want jobs. Of course the youth want free college and forgiveness of student loans but for those of us that actually have to foot the bills, that is not such a promising prospect. In what world does it make sense to fund someone else’s children’s higher education? K-12 is one thing; that is good for society at large, but college? No.

Bernie Sanders is not alone in his desire to control every aspect of our lives and sweep the Constitution away like so much rubbish. Upstart first-term congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (aka AOC) is busy making waves. Her antics and lack of knowledge about all things economic and otherwise are beginning to rankle even her fellow Democrats. The first term is supposed to be about learning from established colleagues but she will have none of it.

Her outlandish ideas are exemplified by her proposed “Green New Deal” which aims to allow the government to regulate bovine flatulence (cow farts), eliminating air travel (although she doesn’t mind using it herself), and a government-enforced retrofit to her green standards of all buildings across the country. That’s right; the property owner doesn’t get a say. This, people, is what Democratic Socialism has in store for you.

What is Socialism?

Socialism is defined as a range of economic and social systems that are characterized by social ownership and worker’s self-management of the various means of production as well as the political theories and the movements that are associated with them.

Social ownership is a broad term. It may refer to forms of public, collective, or cooperative ownership, or to citizen ownership of equity There are a number of varieties of Socialism and there exists no single definition encapsulating all of them, however, social ownership is the common thread woven throughout its various forms. The problem is human nature. Why should I work hard if most of the resulting gains are to be distributed to those less disposed to do so? The incentive is removed; society stagnates. Entrepreneurs and visionaries fade away. All that’s left is a glut of worker-bots and government central planners.

Socialism vs Capitalism

Welcome to Venezuela

A recent Foxnews report tells us that, “a new nationwide survey shows that in the past year nearly 75 percent of the population lost an average of 19 pounds for lack of food.”

This in a country that should be enjoying riches from its oil reserves. But looking deeper there are two issues. First, and most problematic, is that Venezuela has a fondness for socialism rather than a free market.

Yes, free stuff works fine when the oil is flowing but basing your economy on just one commodity is dangerous, nay, it is suicidal. The problem with their oil, as abundant as it is, is that it is extremely sour crude. This simply means that the sulfur content is so high that hardly any refineries will process it. It just costs too much to refine and the extracted sulfur itself is dangerous and difficult to dispose of.

It’s Simple Economics

It is no secret that the market today is flush with sweeter crude due to shale sands, fracking, and other technologies. So why import and refine Venezuelan crude at higher prices? The issue will only get worse since President Trump approved the Keystone Pipeline. There is no prospect for any improvement for the common Venezuelan citizen. People will starve and medical care will stay on its downward spiral.

So there you have it. Socialism, a reclusive and closed country, a reluctance to develop agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism; it is simply a recipe for disaster. The common people suffer. We see it not only in Venezuela but also in countries such as North Korea. Socialism has only worked in one place as far as I know. That would be the Panama Canal Zone before President Carter gave it away. Ironically, it was a federal agency run by that bastion of free enterprise, the USA. So yes Bernie, you were wrong from the get-go.

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” — Winston Churchill

But the problem is that Bernie is a Utopian. He sincerely believes socialism is the way to “govern” society. Here’s his take in his own words:

Bernie wants to mold America after the (former) Soviet Union and the impoverished Cuba. Both are failed states, which is a fact that he will not acknowledge. Democratic Socialism in America would be no different.

How Socialism Destroys Societies

By its very nature socialism destroys society; no intent is needed. This has been proven over and over. Unfortunately, zealots such as Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and AOC always say they can make it work. The fact is that it is all a mad thirst for power and riches. The previous attempts just didn’t do it the way Karl Marx envisioned it. But, history has proven that…

  • It destroys economic growth. It penalizes success and rewards failure. When the government confiscates money from successful people and redistributes it to the less successful, the successful have no incentive to build businesses and create jobs. Why should they? Just look at Greece today. Once socialism bottomed them out, rather than rethink their economic system, they simply turned to the European Union to keep them afloat. An entire country asking for redistribution from the EU. That might be called macro-socialism.
  • Free speech goes out the door. Just look at the extreme speech codes in Canada. Speak out against the government in China and you are going to jail. Socialist governments can’t abide honest, informed debate about its merits between citizens (or, comrades if you will) who are free to choose or reject it. So they stifle it with regulation.

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Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.

About the author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.


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