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Crossroads, Directions

And A New Critical Race Theory

Francisco Valdes

Publication Year: 2002

Its opponents call it part of "the lunatic fringe," a justification for "black separateness," "the most embarrassing trend in American publishing." "It" is Critical Race Theory.

But what is Critical Race Theory? How did it develop? Where does it stand now? Where should it go in the future? In this volume, thirty-one CRT scholars present their views on the ideas and methods of CRT, its role in academia and in the culture at large, and its past, present, and future.

Critical race theorists assert that both the procedures and the substance of American law are structured to maintain white privilege. The neutrality and objectivity of the law are not just unattainable ideals; they are harmful actions that obscure the law's role in protecting white supremacy. This notion—so obvious to some, so unthinkable to others—has stimulated and divided legal thinking in this country and, increasingly, abroad.

The essays in Crossroads, Directions, and a New Critical Race Theory—all original—address this notion in a variety of helpful and exciting ways. They use analysis, personal experience, historical narrative, and many other techniques to explain the importance of looking critically at how race permeates our national consciousness.

Published by: Temple University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

TRINA GRILLO, one of the founding sisters of Critical Race Theory, died in July 1996, a few days before what would have been her forty-eighth birthday, after a battle with Hodgkin's disease. Trina was a spiritual person. She was a brilliant analytical thinker with a keen legal mind, known best for her work about race and for her contributions to the field of mediation. Trina also understood that more informs our human wholeness than ...


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pp. vii-ix

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Foreword: Who Are We? And Why Are We Here? Doing Critical Race Theory in Hard Times

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pp. xi-xxi

WHEN HARLAN DALTON asked me to give the opening remarks at this conference, and I asked him what I should talk about, he said something like, "Just be your warm, wise self" My first reaction to Harlan's typically playful and generous response was ambivalence. It was the same feeling I had experienced when I first received the announcement of the conference in the mail. The flyer described the meeting as a tenth birthday celebration for ...

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INTRODUCTION: Battles Waged, Won, and Lost: Critical Race Theory at the Turn of the Millennium

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pp. 1-6

THE EMERGENCE of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the legal academy of the United States during the late 1980s has had a galvanizing effect not only within the narrow world of legal academia, but also on the public discourse on race more generally. In ...

PART I: Histories

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pp. 7-8

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CHAPTER ONE. The First Decade: Critical Reflections, or "A Foot in the Closing Door"

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pp. 9-31

... Gary Peller, Neil Gotanda, Kendall Thomas, and I framed the development of Critical Race Theory as a dialectical engagement with liberal race discourse and with critical legal studies. We described this engagement as constituting a distinctively progressive intervention within liberal race ...

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CHAPTER TWO. Historicizing Critical Race Theory's Cutting Edge: Key Movements That Performed the Theory

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pp. 32-70

IN THIS CHAPTER, we attempt to retrieve an obscured history that we believe was central to the development of Critical Race Theory-the history of student activism for diversity in higher education from the 1960s to the 1990S. To do so, we focus on one longitudinal ...

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CHAPTER THREE. Keeping It Real: On Anti-"Essentialism"

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pp. 71-84

Considering just African American women would begin with their resistance to slavery, proceed through their formative participation in and critique of the Black Civil Rights Movement, encompass groundbreaking initiatives such as the National Black Feminist ...

Part II: Crossroads

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pp. 85-86

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Section A: Race Critiquing "Race" and Its Uses: Critical Race Theory's Uncompleted Argument

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pp. 87-96

IN "THE UNCOMPLETED ARGUMENT," Anthony Appiah tells us that W.E.B. Du Bois "came gradually, though never completely, to assimilate the unbiological nature of the races."1 Du Bois, who "thought longer, more engagedly, and more publicly about race ...

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CHAPTER FOUR. The Poetics of Colorlined Space

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pp. 97-158

And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he ...

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CHAPTER FIVE. Un-Natural Things: Constructions of Race, Gender, and Disability

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pp. 159-186

A century ago, the Supreme Court of the United States explained that legislation "is powerless to eradicate racial instincts"; that the U.S. Constitution "could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color"; that if "one race be inferior to ...

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CHAPTER SIX. Race and the Immigration Laws: The Need for Critical Inquiry

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pp. 187-198

DURING ITS FIRST FULL DECADE, Critical Race Theory has failed to explore fully the relationship between race and immigration law. This material omission results in part from the longstanding assumption that race relations in the United States exclusively ...

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CHAPTER SEVEN. "Simple Logic": Race, the Identity Documents Rule, and the Story of a Nation Besieged and Betrayed

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pp. 199-220

... make it possible for individuals who are unknown to one another to imagine that they share a common bond. It is in this sense that Benedict Anderson writes that nations are imagined.1 However, national stories, including a story about the nation's ...

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CHAPTER EIGHT. Straight Out of the Closet: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation

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pp. 221-242

TYPICALLY, we define a perpetrator of discrimination as someone who acts intentionally to bring about some discriminatory result. This is a narrow and politically palatable conception. Those of us who unquestionably accept the racial, gender, and heterosexual ...

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Section B: Narrativity: Celebrating Racialized Legal Narratives

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pp. 243-250

WRITING AN INTRODUCTION for a group of articles dealing with narrative gives me a chance to offer public tribute to the many storytellers who have imprinted my memory with the accounts of their experiences. Like countless others, I have been ...

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CHAPTER NINE. The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

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pp. 251-257

When I promised Jean Stefancic that I would come to the Critical Race Theory Conference at Yale and be part of her panel, it had seemed like a great idea. It would be a historic event, everyone would be there, nothing could be more important, it ...

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CHAPTER TEN. Construction Project: Color Me Queer Color Me Family = Camilo's Story

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pp. 258-273

OUR SON, CAMILO, was eight years old. He arrived home one day from his after-school program, his large brown eyes swollen and filled with tears. He broke into sobs, fighting for air. His shoulders heaved, and he wept as if his heart would at any moment ...

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CHAPTER ELEVEN. On Being Homeless: One Aboriginal Woman's "Conquest" of Canadian Universities, 1989-98

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pp. 274-287

I USE THE NOTION of "homelessness" with hesitation. I acknowledge that I exercise much privilege in my life (income, education, profession, and so on). I have a physical home. My quest, since I started teaching nine years ago at Dalhousie Law School in ...

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CHAPTER TWELVE. Dinner and Self-Determination

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pp. 288-302

PRESIDENT BANDWERE: I am pleased to meet you, after hearing the reports of your enthusiastic reception in speaking to our students and faculty at our National Law School. And I appreciate that your trip here from the United States was made possible ...

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Section C: Globalization Critical Race Theory in Global Context

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pp. 303-309

THE LONG ABSENCE of "critical" schools of thought in legal academia has paved the way for Critical Race Theory in this country. It is now clear that critical perspectives on racial and gender subordination-perspectives that reflected the experiences of subordinated ...

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CHAPTER THIRTEEN. Global Markets, Racial Spaces, and the Role of Critical Race Theory in the Struggle for Community Control of Investments: An Institutional Class Analysis

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pp. 310-336

IN THIS CHAPTER, I examine the role of law in the production of racial spaces. An initial comment about the term "racial spaces" is a good place to start. Viewed through the lens of neo-liberal economic theory, the term "racial spaces" is a meaningless formulation, because in neo-liberal economics ...

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CHAPTER FOURTEEN. Global Feminism at the Local Level: The Criminalization of Female Genital Surgeries

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pp. 337-344

THIS CHAPTER on the local impact of a set of domestic laws targeting African-born resident and citizen women is part of a set of essays that use Critical Race Theory to analyze transnational law. In particular, this essay uses a child of CRT, Critical Race Feminism ...

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CHAPTER FIFTEEN. Breaking Cycles of Inequality: Critical Theory, Human Rights, and Family In/justice

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pp. 370-390

at its core, is committed to humanitarian conceptions of personhood.1 These conceptions transcend the limitations of current equality doctrine.2 The human-rights norms that further these conceptions were first articulated comprehensively in the Universal ...

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CHAPTER SIXTEEN. Critical Race Theory and Post-Colonial Development: Radically Monitoring the World Bank and the IMF

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pp. 366-376

IN THIS CHAPTER, I explore how Critical Race Theory might help us monitor the development policies of multilateral institutions, particularly those of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) (collectively known as the Bretton ...

PART III: Directions

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pp. 377-378

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CHAPTER SEVENTEEN. Critical Coalitions: Theory and Praxis

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pp. 379-392

WHY ARE PROGRESSIVE law professors so often absent from the in-the-trenches legal struggles of communities of color-where trial courts, community halls, city councils, churches, corporate-accountability campaigns, government bureaucracies, and state ...

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CHAPTER EIGHTEEN. Beyond, and Not Beyond, Black and White: Deconstruction Has a Politics

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pp. 393-398

A PRESIDENT'S CONVERSATION on race is going on right now, accompanied by a new McCarthyism that excludes a radical critique of American racism. No one affiliated with Critical Race Theory sits on the President's Commission, and that is not an accident. ...

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CHAPTER NINETEEN. Outsider Scholars, Critical Race Theory, and "OutCrit" Perspectivity: Postsubordination Vision as Jurisprudential Method

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pp. 399-410

THIS CHAPTER considers the relationship of Critical Race Theoryl to the concept and potential of postsubordination vision as jurisprudential method. But as presented later, postsubordination is both a means and an end. It also comprises both method and ...

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AFTERWORD: The Handmaid's Truth

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pp. 411-412

MANY YEARS AFTER having read the book, I remain fascinated by the similarities between the dangers faced by those of us writing in the Critical Race Theory mode and those faced by the heroine of Margaret Atwood's ...

About the Contributors

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pp. 413-414

E-ISBN-13: 9781439907795
Print-ISBN-13: 9781566399302

Publication Year: 2002