On Critical Race Theory: Why It Matters & Why You Should Care


What exactly is Critical Race Theory? This concise and accessible exploration of CRT demystifies this important framework for understanding and fighting racial injustice in the United States.

by Victor Ray

As our institutions and systems creak under the pressure of entrenched racism, renowned scholar Dr. Victor Ray explains how Critical Race Theory upholds truth amid misinformation to transcend backlash and uplift progress. On Critical Race Theory illustrates the centrality of race in American history and politics, and how the often mischaracterized intellectual movement became a political necessity.

Dr. Ray draws upon the radical thinking of giants such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ida B. Wells, and W.E.B. Du Bois to clearly trace the foundations of Critical Race Theory in the Black intellectual traditions of emancipation and the civil rights movement. From this foundation, Dr. Ray explores the many facets that CRT interrogates, from deeply embedded structural racism to the historical connection between Whiteness and property, ownership, and more.

Dr. Ray argues that multicultural democracy is a recent and relatively fragile innovation that is constantly under threat, in the face of the erosion of voting rights and attacks on political and academic speech at universities all over the country. He calls on readers to recall that it took the intervention of the National Guard to integrate schools as recently as 1960, that codifying racial subjugation has become the norm rather than the exception, and that populist demagoguery deployed racial insecurities to stir the January 6th insurrection and threaten the fabric of democracy.

In succinct and thoughtful essays, Dr. Ray presents, analyzes, and breaks down the scholarship and concepts which constitute this theory by showing that racial progress is by no means a straight line. Dr. Ray explores how the conversation on CRT has expanded into the contemporary popular consciousness, showing why Critical Race Theory matters and why we all should care.

Hardcover| 244 Pages | Penguin Random House| 2022

In stock (can be backordered)

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