In defense of critical race theory
An exclusive excerpt of Victor Ray's "On Critical Race Theory: Why it Matters & Why You Should Care"
By Victor Ray
It has been reported that Malcolm X once said that if you have no critics, you’ll likely have no success. If indeed having critics is the key to success, then critical race theorists have
every reason to be wildly optimistic. —Kimberlé Crenshaw
I was two years old the first time the cops were called on my family. At a parade in downtown Pittsburgh, my uncle Harold lifted me to his shoulders so I could see over the crowd. His behaving as loving uncles do led someone to jump to the conclusion that my dark-skinned uncle had abducted a light-skinned toddler. They told the police. Kidnappers aren’t known for taking stolen children to parades, or anywhere with large crowds. Nonetheless, the police questioned my uncle, letting us go when they were satisfied that we were family. Variations of this scene repeated throughout my life, from infancy to the present. When I was about ten, a white woman driving past our trailer called the police on my dad for playing with me in the yard, again criminalizing family joy. When we were teenagers, white clerks followed my brother around stores where I walked unbothered. Questioning (and threatening) stares still occasionally greet my mixed-race family as we go about normal tasks. Even now, when my family gets together, we are sometimes asked if, and how, we know each other.
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