This article has been written by Nikita Desai. This article explains Critical Race Theory in the US through landmark judgments and stories while showcasing how race and racism’s roots are engraved deep into the historic subconsciousness of white supremacy, whose implications of racial inequality are felt even today. How the murder of George Floyd and the death of Breonna Taylor sparked the fire of the CRT to become prominent again is also discussed, along with the core principles, Power structure, Impact, and Negative Fuss of the CRT in the 21st century.

It has been published by Rachit Garg.


Have you ever faced discrimination and inequality (unfair treatment) based on Race? It is either when you are traveling or moving to a new country, among new people and communities who are far different from yours in everything from cultural beliefs to eating and lifestyle habits. Has this ever created fear in your hearts and minds about their perception and behavior towards you based on how different you look to them and made you wonder about the kind of world we are entering in? 

Imagine a scenario when ‘people of color’ walking to their home after work are verbally assaulted with racial slurs by a group of individuals, or a social media influencer belonging to a racial minority receives hate messages and threats just based on their ethnicity.

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Imagine a racial community faced with offensive symbols and messages sprayed on their home walls, worship place, etc. to create a sense of fear, or students facing a hostile environment in the school from peers to teachers just based on their racial backgrounds.

This is what racism and hate crimes in respect of racism feel like, and If the answer is yes or even if it’s a no, this article will still make it easier for you to understand what the fuss regarding this “Critical Race Theory (CRT)” is all about. 

According to the World Economic Forum, we can describe CRT as a way that enables us to give a sneak peek at the ‘racial bias’ that exists, not only in the United States but also in whole society in general, even in this 21st century; fire increasing and consuming the innocence of humanity. 

Race and racism 

Critical Race Theory (CRT) meaning

Critical Race Theory (CRT) can  be referred to as a way of studying by scholars, activities, law, and policymakers to understand and analyze:

  • The thought processes rooted inside society’s consciousness regarding racism and how that comes from historical events, practices, and teachings.
  • How do race and ethnicity impact our society? (creating a negative chain of events in the modern-day era of evolution).
  • How the laws, social movements, and media influence our thought processes, behavior, and ideas about race.
  • How have events like slavery and separation in the past been a leading factor for racial inequality today?
  • How do such ideas shape our laws, society, policies, institutions, and educational facilities?
  • It is a medium through which we can conclude how race impacts different aspects of our lives.
  • The scholars wanted to change the racial discrimination in American society arising out of the legal system. Instead, CRT  has spread to other aspects and areas of study (Gender and sexuality).
  • It also highlights how black people in North America were treated (less deserving of the privileges enjoyed by the Americans, which was unfair and unjust).
  • It also helps to understand, recognize, and address the systematic drawbacks faced by minorities (race) in the legal system and how such events still have an impact on our lives.
  • According to the “ANTI-CRT”  individuals, they refer to CRT as an attack of racism against the white community.

According to the legal defender, “Legal Defense Fund” (LDF), of the ‘National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Community,’ as explained by them, CRT is a lens through which racism can go beyond individual prejudice. It is not only about hate crimes against people because of their skin color but also how such discrimination is rooted in our laws, rules, and institutions that create and even maintain unfair treatment based on race.

All the events, like the elevated death rates of black people and the deprivation of opportunities like education, housing, and even police support, are connected to systemic racism. Therefore, through CRT, all these events and implications will let us know what happened in the past, what is happening in the present, and what is about to come in the future for racism if it is not controlled.

Relevance of the Critical Race Theory (CRT)

Originally, the CRT was developed to address and analyze the issue of racial injustice (unequal treatment of different races) present in American society through the legal System. 

However, in recent times, the whole aim and goal of the theory have changed, often leading to fights between believers and non-believers. CRT has made its roots in the following ‘Diversified Area’ as a spin-off movement in our institutional society.

  • The field of education- Many theorists use CRT as a way to understand how the school grading system and discipline have evolved. How policies and initiatives to curb racial segregation in education have impacted racial inequality and how controversies over the curriculum and the teaching of history in K-12 schools cause racial discrimination are also topics of discussion among scholars of education.
  • Women’s and gender studies- these teach about the area of intersectionality and how it impacts women of color.
  • The CRT and the ideologies have also been taken advantage of by “sociologists, health care professionals, Asian Americans, Latinx, LGBTQ, Muslim, and Native American scholars.”
  • In the context of “Hate Crime and Speech, Immigration Problems, and Voting Rights, the scholars have tried to address the issue of Racial Segregation and discrimination.”
  • CRT is now not only limited to the United States but has become widespread in other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, India, and many more. 

Critical Race Theory (CRT) in education

According to an American Bar Association article, Professor ‘Daniet Solorzano speaks about CRT in The field of Education. He signifies the interconnection of racism, the law, and education, and how racially unfair bias is still alive in education even after the Civil Rights Era.

Many instances and parameters of school desegregation and segregation support this parameter of structural racism, which is further discussed in the landmark judgments (Brown, Millikien, and Keyes Cases) of this article.

Derrick Bell’s view on racism in education

According to the Father of the CRT’- Derrick Bell believed in the fight for justice for the Black Community.

  • According to Bell, the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution failed to achieve racial equality all alone because of the threat it projected to white supremacy, which can be marked by the long-lasting fight to make the schools free of race Discrimination.
  • From this, the idea of ‘interest-convergence’ was born (discussed in detail further).
  • However, the fight against school segregation helped both whites and the black community. It further improved America’s international image by ending the racial caste system.

Limitations for achieving racial equality in education

  • Ignoring the experience of the history of the diversified community present in the USA still today while only portraying the perception of American stories.
  • The perception of students of color as weak somehow neglects their strengths, thus leading to unfair treatment.
  • The way the examination is conducted somehow does not show the full potential of the children.
  • The policies and practices of schools by way of punishment for students of color affect their learning abilities and then the results.
  • If the school does not receive proper funding from the investors because the area is “marked” due to the number of students from the black community, this in turn affects the quality of education one receives.
  • Another main reason racial equality cannot be achieved in school is that the practice of racial segregation is continuing in certain parts of the states and the country because of De-Facto segregation- based on circumstances.
  • All these issues are ignored from the point of view of CRT, which gives us a sneak peek into how even laws are not sufficient to correct this form of racial inequality.

The surge of popularity of Critical Race Theory (CRT)

The force of police brutality

Did you know what led CRT to gain popularity in the 21st century after sitting quietly behind closed doors of stigma and ignorance? Well, amidst the ongoing pandemic crisis of COVID-19 worldwide, another uproar and outrage, not only in the USA but globally, was brought about by the death of George Floyd, an African-American who was murdered at the hands of police officers in the year 2020.

The aftermath of floyd’s death

After the death of Floyd, many discussions and debates took place from the years 2020-  2022 regarding “Black history’s” importance and its connection with the CRT, which brought issues regarding race to the face of America.”

Due to this upsurge, around 14 states banned the teaching of black history in educational institutions, as many Americans saw this as an attack on them.

Task force creation

Following the death of George Floyd, to transform policing in the U.S., joint efforts from the task force called “NOBLE” (The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executive), and Congress established the anti-racism initiative, which went on for a year with the help of an educational institute. This initiative attempted to address racial discrimination within the law enforcement system and provided a ‘Master-Plan’ to implement in the future for fighting against racial discrimination.

Executive Order of 2020 or Trump truth ban

According to the power vested, then, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order on  “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” in 2020. This order wanted to promote unity in the Federal workforce. Well, how was unity to be achieved as per this order, you may ask?

Ban on structural racism

To achieve the goal of unity in the U.S. The order banned teachings or training on “diversified topics” (Anti-American and diverse), which are the very essence of the CRT. Following this, hundreds of such trainings were canceled. 

This was an attempt to erase the trace of “Structural Racism” from the United States, as seen by the Anti-Racial Segregation Squad.

The aftermath of executive order

  • The African American Policy Forum started a campaign called “Truth be Told” to showcase the negative effect of the ban on the CRT.
  • More than 120 Civil Rights Organizations signed the letter, expressing their dissatisfaction with the Executive order.
  • The Legal Defense Fund, National Urban League, and National Fair Housing Alliance Field initiated the “litigation case for the reason that such an order violated the freedom of speech, equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and due process.”

Federal Protection Against National Origin Discrimination (FPNOD)

According to the Civil Rights Division in 1957, the U.S. Department of Justice in the year 2000 issued a brochure, enrolling the federal laws restricting discrimination based on an individual’s birthplace, ancestry, culture or language.

According to this law, it would be illegal to deny a person of color equal opportunity just because they were not born in America. For that, they have also created the National Origin Working Group (NOWG) for the immigrants to learn about their legal rights.

Discrimination is prohibited such areas

  • Education
  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Lending
  • Public Accommodations
  • Law Enforcement /Police misconduct
  • Voting.

Restriction on discrimination by law enforcement or police misconduct.

Any law enforcement or police officer who does not comply with such restrictions for discrimination will be contrary to the laws of:

The reason for such restrictions on police officers

According to the law, any law enforcement agency or police department that receives funds from the U.S. Department of Justice falls within the ambit of this Code.

Incidents amount to police misconduct

  • The percentage of Latinos driving in a car and getting pulled out by the officers for certain traffic rule violations as compared to white-Americans is very high.
  • Actions such as racial profiling, excessive use of force against minorities, target killings, etc.
  • For example, an officer might get angry with the individual of Vietnamese origin because he was unable to speak English during the questioning. 

Where to file the complaint

The complaint regarding such can be filed by the aggrieved individual at:

Jurisdiction for trial

All such complaints are tried, and the litigation is done by the Special Litigation Section in cases where there is a pattern of practice (repeated incident) of such discrimination. 

Historical context and origins

To understand the CRT as it is now, we have to take a deeper dive back to the historical events and the origins of the CRT that led the CRT to become what it is today and how the historical events of the laws, policies, regulations, and rules shaped the theory of racism and gave it a pedestal for practical frontline action, then versus even now.

Many pioneers, supporters, and freedom fighters such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Mary Church Terrell, Joel Spingaran, Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt,Clarence M. Mitchell Jr., Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, Jackie Robinson, and many more became the face of justice for the black community in achieving fair and just treatment under American Law and society. 

The landmark litigation cases discussed herein are further elaborated in the separate  head of “Landmark judgments” in this article.

Origin of Critical Race Theory (CRT)

14th Amendment “Equal Protection Clause”

14th Amendment objective

  • To provide for and secure the civil rights of enslaved individuals (African Americans) who faced discrimination through generations in the United States.
  • To enable the same and equal rights (fair and just treatment) for both foreign citizens and domestic citizens (Acquire citizenship or natural citizenship of the USA).
  • To ensure non-discriminatory practices against people of color and minorities by implementing the laws.

Protection clause of equality

  • The 14th Amendment clause of ‘Equal Protection’ was inserted in the U.S. Constitution in the year 1868, and state governments are required to follow the same.
  • The scope of the same was expanded in the famous Slaughterhouse Case of 1873.
  • Legal action against the government can be taken based on  evidence of discriminatory practices and violations of their rights.
  • The burden of proving the discrimination by the state lies on the Victim.

The uproar of the black community

In 1908, due to the riots and mishaps, some 7 African Americans out of 60 members of white supremacy established the National Association for Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.). It is an institution that works in compliance with the democratic process to remove all and any barriers posed by black people to discrimination.

In 1909, the organization for Civil Rights was established, which is the nation’s most recognized and widely popular aspect. It safeguards the rights of the citizens as enacted under the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

In 1910, the first “National Office” of the NAACP in the city of New-york, was inaugurated. This office was headed by the “Moorfield Story” board of directors and the former president of “The American Bar Association’ (ABA). 

Through the Guinn Case, the NAACP came to be recognized as a defender of the black community.

The Oklahoma Voter Registration Act of 1910 was enacted (you have to pass a reading test to vote).

In 1912, the Black People (community) Public School was established and funded by Julis Rosenwald in the south. 

The lasting moments of struggle and growth

The Years 1913- 1949: This was a period of evolution for the NAACP. Various battles were fought against the discrimination and injustices faced because of the Civil Rights Act; various cases were litigated and won; various laws were established from landmark cases; and efforts were made to eradicate lynching. 

The NAACP continued to be a legislative hero and legal advocate for the rights of the black community throughout history, along with ending state-mandated segregation. During the Great Depression, the then-president established a Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) to secure job opportunities for people of color.

The Year 1920-  In the year 1920, in the town called Harmony of Mississippi, enslaved black people purchased the land from the slaveholders and began living there in peace and harmony. The story of CRT first started after the Civil War (1900-1939). This is also called the Segregation Era.

The Year 1938- The Court started realizing that the Separate but Equal Doctrine has been bearing fruit for a very long time now and there is a need to facilitate equality within the own boundaries of a state.

The Year 1950- Through the Brown Case, the moment for eradicating segregation laws and goals for integration laws took place for the very first time.

The Year 1954-1968- The second phase for ending racial segregation and exclusion began from this point in time, whereby civil rights movements and cases regarding the same became the issue of the highlight, however, subject to the limitations of temporary victories rather than the permanent solution.

The Year 1960-  The funded school was closed by the white school board. This decision was an ambush on the black community. 

The Year 1961-  Due to the closing of the school, the route of the NAACP was possible, whereby Windson Hudson, fighting for the rights of the black community in the Civil Rights Movement, joined hands with the lawyer Derrick Bell of LDF. 

The goals of Hudson and Bell differed for the rights of the black community in one aspect. Where Hudson wanted to revive the school (hence reviving segregation), on the other hand, Bell wanted to demolish the segregation (Bringing integration to school), meaning co-existing in the education field (white-black community).

The Year 1962- 1963- NAACP Field Secretary Medgar Evers and his wife became the targets of segregation violence and were later killed by racial separatists. This is just one story from many with respect to the crimes and violence that happened in the black community.

The Year 1964- The battle for integration and the end of segregation was won by the bell from the Hudson Case, due to which students from Harmony got enrolled in the school of whites.

In this same year, The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted by Congress. This resulted from the efforts made by the NAACP to include the laws of integration in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

However, all was not perfect because of this emergence. As this came to light, many white community members removed their children from the schools and started their own segregation schools. 

This was the moment of doubt for Bell (who died in 2011) regarding the emergence of the integration laws, and he later concluded from various civil rights cases that Racism is deeply engraved in American society and is more of a permanent issue. The taste of defeat from this legal change was harsh.

The creation of a change in the legal system for the abolishment of segregation in schools and another aspect of continuing daily life with dignity and respect were the only fields for segregation in the 1990s.

The Year 1965-  Voting Rights Act of 1965 and The Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 were enacted.

The Year 1968- The Fair Housing Act was enacted, which enables equal and fair treatment in the real estate industry without discrimination.

The Year 1969- Major backlash and drawbacks were faced by the black community as their legal battles won over the years were quickly altered with the advent of changing  the justices of the Supreme Court (Richard Nixon).

Historical events of Critical Race Theory (CRT) as a framework

The Year 1970- A Book Titled Race, Racism and Amercian Law enrolled, describing how the process of racial equality only occurs when the profits of the white community for the same are in alignment with their interests (Interest Convergence Theory).

According to Derik Bell, the success of the Civil Rights Movement was only possible because, for the politicians, it provided a mirror of their practical approach to global politics from colonialism.

The re-birth of the CRT because of Critical Legal Studies (CLS) 

The Decade of 1970s- in the history of America, as the CRT gained momentum, a group called “Critical Legal Studies” (white community scholars within the legal academic community) emerged. This group opposed the very idea of CRT.

CLS trying to prove legal connection with CRT

  • According to the scholar Khiara Bridges, as mentioned in one of the articles of the American Bar Association (ABA), CRT theorists who introduced CLS believed that the law supports and maintains an unfair Society.
  • The relationship between race and the law is intertwined. 
  • It claimed that American law and institutions formed the basis for inequality in society; they were maintaining an unjust social order, meaning they were trying to address the very idea that legal decisions are influenced by political forces and personal motives, including bias.
  • According to the CLS scholars, the law is something that can have different interpretations, and the decisions may be influenced by politics and the personal beliefs of the judges.
  • Conflicts continued among scholars as some believed it to be a tool for explaining how the legal system contributed to creating inequality and maintaining injustice and could also be used to fight for racial equality.
  • This was rather based on class discrimination instead of race discrimination.

 Failure of CLS

  • CLS failed to recognize the role of race (the struggle of the black community) and their legal rights in the legal system because of the whiteness of the CLS scholars (Kimberle Crenshaw, in a book titled Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement, 1955).
  • CLS was unable to fight against the political victories against the black community.

Contribution of political and legal events to the re-emergence of CRT

  • The Year 1988- The victory of George W. Bush in the 1988 elections only meant one thing: now more conservative judges and lawyers would be appointed in the court, leaving little to no chance of survival for the black community in enforcing their movement for equality in American society.
  • The Year 1988-1989- The orders of the Supreme Court were always against the black community in terms of employment opportunity cases as they raised concerns and doubts regarding the Civil Rights Laws.

NAACP struggle of reality

The Year 1977- The Executive Director of the NAACP introduced and established many programs still standing tall today, such as NAACP- ‘WIN’ and “ACT-SO.” The Bakke case (Challenge to White Supremacy in Higher Education) was won because of such programs.

However, the joy of this also did not last much because the court’s decision promoted the color-blind approach and posed new challenges for the Black Community. The importance of recognizing race and downright ignoring the historical injustices that occurred at the hands of the white community.

The Year 1980- The Hudson Case of the Bell led to the foundation of the idea of what we today know as the CRT.


The Year 1989- The concept of ‘Intersectionality’ was introduced, whereby the merger of ideas from CLS and CRT together contributed to understanding the injustice of anti-discrimination laws on individuals who belong to multiple marginalized groups.

The Civil Rights Movement was the major factor in putting forth this issue during this time. Even today, this is discussed in various aspects of public policy, sociology, history, and literature.

This theory was coined by Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, founder of the CRT, whereby the hardships of black women who face discrimination arise from the dual stance of gender and race and how feminist and anti-racist frameworks failed them at their very core.

According to this, different forms of oppression, discrimination, and privilege are complex and interconnected because, when we study CLS with CRT, we can find that both need to be related to each other in terms of social and power structure to understand race in a more prominent way.

For example, a black woman may face discrimination differently as compared to a black man (discrimination based on identities- gender and race).

The concept of intersectionality with CRT helps to understand how power operates in society and how it leads to racial inequality based on intersecting oppression (social inequality and identity racism).

The struggle and growth continued

The Year 1990- Marked the beginning of changes for the Board of Directors of the NAACP.

The Year 2006- According to the reports of the study conducted by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, they found out that 73% of black students were considered minorities in the schools.

The Year 2008- President Barack Obama also became a supporter of the Civil Rights Movement.

The Year 2021- Surrounding the controversy regarding race discussions, the Texas Governor signed a Bill that limits the teaching of CRT in schools (highlighting the nature of race study in the education Field). Many other states, including Oklahoma and Arizona, took a similar stance. This step further proved the claim made by Derick Bell in respect of racism in America (Systematic disadvantage).

Core principles of the Critical Race Theory (CRT)

There are five major ideas or core principles on which the CRT relies. This is also known as the ‘Tenets’ of CRT.

Purpose of core principles of CRT

According to the scholar Khiara Bridges, as mentioned in one of the articles of the American Bar Association (ABA), CRT is as important as breathing air for survival in this modern progressive industrial segregated realm of human society. 

The purpose of the CRT can be described as:

  • These principles challenge white supremacy and help us understand how racism is contributed to by the choices one makes while living in society, often disguised as acceptable norms.
  • This principle examines how race and racism affect our choices in society, and ignoring the CRT would erase the history of racial segregation.
  • Beneficial for civil rights lawyers in addressing the discrimination.
  • CRT is not only limited to African-Americans; the efforts of various scholars in achieving unified equality fall beyond different people of color.
  • In the legal curriculum, CRT gained popularity in the 1970s.
  • Different branches of CRT address different experiences of discrimination against different groups of people.

Racism is a standard

According to this tenet, racism has always renounced its place in and from house to house. It’s ordinary, present everywhere, and embedded in one’s culture. The culture itself promotes the notions of color-blindness and supremacy based on merit.

According to this principle, both these aspects are interconnected and intertwined, which later gives rise to creating boundaries to differentiate humans based on their color or race.

According to one article published in the ABA, racism is caused by racial inequality that exists in our legal system and institutions and is not just a random occurrence. They are simply trying to say that the law itself, which is meant for the protection of humanity, failed to achieve its very purpose.

For example, let us talk about a workplace that has individuals or employees from various racial groups (different countries, cultures, or colors). 

  • Now imagine a scenario where the head of this department wants to promote a certain employee.
  • Now, even if there is a more deserving employee or candidate for promotion, the head would recommend an individual from his/her cultural or color background.
  • This forms the prime evidence of unconscious bias (embedded in human psychology).

Serving two purposes

These cultural notions, which are connected, serve the purpose of churning out racial discrimination in the United States:

  • The creation of a mindset of white supremacy, whereby they choose to ignore the difficulty caused by them to people of color. They believe their hardship is superior to that of African-Americans or any other minority group.
  • The account of merit further helps in maintaining those differences by holding power and influence of white supremacy legitimate over the minority group. 

The ABA article further states that CRT knows about the systematic denial of racial segregation and promotion of racial discrimination and how these two notions are rejected by the believers of the CRT because these notions ignore the impact of the social and legal racism


According to the author, the aspect of color-blindness makes racism more prominent. This creates a door for supremacist groups to exploit the inferior group to continue the facet of racism in a never-ending loop. The need for control while remaining legitimate in society is what drives racism.

Even today, if we look at any news reporting of events such as murder, theft, school shooting, or robbery, we can conclude from the fact that racism is color motivated. The hatred created by color-blindness is far more destructive than one can imagine.


Wealth has always remained a controversial parameter in governing human behavior and the workings of society at large. It is a symbol of power and control. When this power and control are combined with supremacy, it creates a time-bomb of racial discrimination.

According to this principle, Meritocracy suppresses the guilty conscience for racial discrimination.

For example, imagine a situation where all the important decisions regarding the workings of the company are made by the CEO and top executives, who also receive the majority of the profits. From those profits, they somewhat give away as a form of charity while keeping the majority of it in their reserves. This is a form of racial discrimination based on merit. 

Interest convergence

This notion of principle was first proposed by Derik Bell in his article in 1980, “Brown vs. Board of Education and the Interest-Convergence Dilemma.  After this case,  Bell was of the view that the end of racial segregation was not because of the ethics of white supremacy but because of the interest it held for them.

Another work of Derik Bell, published in an article titled The Space Traders in 1992, helps us understand the story of interest convergence. This article narrated a fiction tale about aliens visiting the United States and how they offered valuable resources in exchange for black community individuals, and to reap the benefits of those resources, people in power decided to accept the trade.


Interest-convergence is a significant factor in the Critical Race Theory. According to this, those who are in the majority and hold  power control or influence the thought processes and beliefs of society, which ultimately leads to causing harm to oppressed or minority groups. (Commonly shaped because of the majority.)

From the interest convergence point of view, the end of racial discrimination through racial justice or racial progress is only possible where the profits of the white community lie with the minority community and not otherwise. The fruit of benefits or profit is anything for something of prime necessity.

Racism comes from society

The concept of race is not biological 

According to this principle, race is a “social construct” (created by society and not hereditary) that causes harm to people of color. 

According to one article published in the ABA, scholars believe that the concept of race is more about what people think and how they behave than any biological factor or reality. The following circumstances and events form evidence that the concept of race created by society has impacted the lives of humans in an unimaginable way. 

Supporting events and circumstances

Significance of the Dred Scott case
  • The decision in this case almost led to the arrival of the civil war.
  • The African-Americans or enslaved individuals, were denied citizenship in the U.S. and were classified as non-citizens.
  • They have been exempted from protection from the federal government or the courts of the U.S.
One Drop Rule from the Jim Crow Era

According to this “One Drop Rule” for the Jim Crow Era, this was the prime evidence for racial classification. This rule segregated even mixed-race individuals in the United States.

One Drop Rule- It states that the ancestors of  any black community individual of and in the United States (even one) fall within the ambient of people of color called Negros. This was codified in the US legal system and institutions.

Housing programs – redlining 

During the 1930s and 1940s, the black community was deprived and excluded from availing of better housing options and the plans for the same (systematic denial of services). The element of favoritism in the United States reached its peak with that of racial discrimination.

Redlining was a discriminatory exercise by the government of the United States whereby federal and private lenders or agencies would mark up the area in categories such as fit or unfit for residency. The area or locality with the maximum number of black community individuals was deemed non-desirable for the white community to live in.

They were also denied access to loans, insurance, or any other services that are essential for property ownership. These exercises increased the wealth gap in the United States.

War of Acts on black community

In the year 1935- the government passed two laws for securing the white community in the varied sectors whereby the inferior, people of color, or black communities were excluded (better jobs, medical care, pensions, and many more) from reaping the benefits of such laws.

  • The Social Security Act (1935)- This Act was for the benefit of the workers, the victims of industrial accidents, dependent and disabled individuals, insurance for unemployed individuals, and many more. This Act provided financial support to certain classes of individuals and families.

Under this, during the 1930s, people of color in agriculture and domestic help were excluded from receiving insurance.

  • The Wagner Act (1935)- This Act was enacted to maintain the labor-employee relationship to a certain standard by laying down guidelines or rules. This Act protected the unions and organizations and provided the workers with collective bargaining rules.

People of color faced racial discrimination and were excluded from securing better-paid financial work opportunities.

Story-telling and counter-story-telling

Story-telling is an art, and how one conveys their art has a significant impact on how the behavior, beliefs, and thought process of an individual can be measured, understood, and even changed. The ways of story-telling or counterstory-telling always keep one on the captivating edge, and CRT understands the very importance of this because, without both, the truth lies dormant behind the glorious history of the white supremacy of what they are trying for the world to believe in and perceive as they are off. 

Many supremacist groups believe that inequality is a product of culture within the minority community and the lack of proper laws; however, many anti-supremacists argue that how one views inequality lies in the position they hold in society. 

Taking  consideration of the valuable life experiences of individuals in the black community in everyday life will let us know about the impact of the race factor.

Without knowing the story of struggle and hardships faced by the black community or people of color at the hands of white supremacy, one would erase their existence in the face of “racial discrimination” and deprive them of achieving the goal of a dignified life.

White community supremacy from legislation

According to the author, it would be correct to say that the policies and initiatives adopted by the government during the civil rights movement to improve and secure the ‘community of the black, also had a lasting positive benefit for the community of the whites,’ and none of them reframed those advantages. 

Many scholars argue that such programs of the government were done to achieve their political agenda, and the prime motive was not equality.

The lawsuits such as the Brown Case, Millikien Case, and Washington Case, as discussed under the head “historical landmark judgment” of this article, help to understand how the legislation was always intended to profit the white community while simultaneously misleading the world into believing that the U.S. Government indeed wants to achieve “racial equality.”

Analysing power structures and racial inequality through Critical Race Theory (CRT)

Racial inequality

According to the U.S. Department of Treasury (DT), racial inequality can be described as a factor through which there occurs an uneven distribution of opportunities for resources, power, and economics across race in a society. The impact of these factors is felt throughout America by different individuals belonging to different categories of race.

Roots of racial inequality

  • The roots of racial inequality date back to the historic events and instances in the United States, which are well articulated in this article.
  • It is a product of the ‘favoritism policy’ (white community  at the expense of black community).
  • Aspects such as mistreatment, slavery, segregation laws, discrimination (jobs, housing, education) of Native Americans, Non-White Americans, African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and many more provides the glimpses of how racial inequality have affected this community as compared to the white community in America. 

Different forms of racial inequality

Various forms of racial inequalities occur through these power structures (core-principles) including in education, wealth, and healthcare, even prisoner’s healthcare.

Let us discuss some of the racial inequality through the lens of CRT 


  • Jan 22, 2022- During the Virtual Davos Agenda (which addresses disparities in various sectors of society by the world leaders of various countries) held by The World Economic Forum, the Secretary of the Department of Treasury raised her concern regarding the racial inequality in certain opportunities of the strategy rolled out by Biden’s administration, Modern Supply Side Economics, to combat the ineffectiveness of the same.
  • The strategy- promotion of  economic growth by focusing on the adequate quantity and quality of skilled workers, the necessity of research investment, and safeguarding environmental sustainability. The main purpose of the strategy is to promote growth and solve the problem of racial inequality in the United States.
  • However, as per the secretary, these strategies failed to provide equal opportunities in certain sectors, such as jobs, infrastructure, or housing, to “people of color” among White Americans. According to this, the failure of some sectors to achieve equality undermines the boom for equality in other sectors. 
  • For a country’s economic productivity to be on a positive graph, the productivity and equality of these individuals (different racial backgrounds)  are also necessary. This same view is also held by the deputy secretary of the Treasury Department.  

Poverty, housing, and wealth 

  • Despite various racially discriminatory laws being abandoned today, such as maps created by banks to discriminate against neighborhoods and deny them loans and credits for housing, the aftereffects of such laws, policies, and practices still call for racial inequality in the United States today. 
  • Regardless of race, this neighborhood still faces racial segregation, low homeownership rates, low house values, and high rents.
  • The denial of housing sector facilities and equal opportunities led to poverty rising in the United States, impacting not only people of color but all Americans.
  • According to the article Racial Inequalities in the United States, There are vast differences between the different groups of communities, such as Black, Hispanic Americans, and non-Hispanic Americans, before COVID-19 and after the pandemic in the rates of poverty and wealth gap (relatively higher) (negative impact).


  • In the year 2010- white kindergarten students showcased better linguistic skills as compared to black or Hispanic students.
  • The year 2019- In the field of higher-education, the rates of acquiring a graduation degree by white students were inclined as compared to black, Hispanic, and American-Indian students. 


  • Due to a lack of better educational opportunities, unemployment rates skyrocketed for people of color.
  • The year 2019
  • 6.1% high rate for Black, American Indian, or Alaska Native.
  • 3.3% lower rates for whites and Asians.
  • 4.3% Higher rates for Hispanic Communities.
  • Even the wage rates were recorded as lower for groups and communities of Black and Hispanic people as compared to whites in the year 2020.


  • ‘People of color’ face higher rates of child abuse, lead exposure, obesity, and chronic illness as compared to white individuals.
  • The rates of death of such community individuals were even higher as compared to whites during the pandemic of COVID-19 due to the limited availability of healthcare facilities and resources.

Criticisms and controversies related to Critical Race Theory (CRT)

Critical Race Theory has faced much criticism from legal experts as well as from various other experts across the political spectrum. Understanding why CRT is being attacked even in the 21st century will help us gain better knowledge about the historical struggle the black community has faced at the hands of so-called white supremacy.

Scholars from both sides (external and internal) of racism have often indulged themselves in debates and raised their concerns while analyzing racism and how race, law, and society are for sure interconnected and interrelated to promote and encourage, consciously or subconsciously, the instances and factors related to race discrimination.

Let us understand what the critics have to say about CRT.

Academic and political criticism and controversies 

  • Critics believe that the CRT only focuses on the experiences of people of color while neglecting the story point of the white community.
  • They question the very idea of the Truth that the CRT portrays (experiences) of the black community, which can be proved in reality.
  • According to Delgado and Stefanic, in their book Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, they state that the notion of truth regarding racism is formed by powerful people in society in the fields of politics and social sciences.
  • Failing of liberation.
  • Many critics also state that the problem lies with the theorists as well because they downgrade the traditional idea of fairness and equality in law, and with only a minute of the problem, they tend to associate it with “structural and institutionalized racism” and hope that this will achieve different positive results.
  • In the year 2010, police brutality topics were at their peak because of the several incidents of ‘police shootings’ that took place against the black community in the United States. This not only called for local protests and demonstrations, but it became widespread worldwide.
  • In the year 2013, all such incidents led to the formation of the “Black Lives Matter” Movement (safeguards against the discrimination of African-Americans in the United States in all aspects).
  • However, this movement was far from achieving the progress it was intended to purport to because of the falsified statements of violent attacks on police and property and other harmful statements the movement received from the very own President of the United States (Trump’s Administration).
  • The negative and hateful comments received by the President from such actions further made them ready for the counter-attack on the CRT. 
  • The EO, as earlier discussed, was one such example of how the Government then decided to deal with the topic of Racism (Critical Race Theory). This Supports the very notion, as described by Derik Bell, that Racism is deeply rooted in American Society.
  • Other controversies related to CRT can be seen in various historic events and cases, as discussed further, and can also be seen in the murders of Geoge Floyd and Beonna Taylor, due to which many schools started teaching about aspects of CRT.
  • Apart from these, there are many more instances, stories, and cases against the black community, which unfortunately the pages of this article will be unable to do justice to.
  • According to the presidency of the Trump Administration, they saw CRT as a villain for:
  • A theory that is spreading false history, ideas, culture, and beliefs against the white community by the Anti-American community.
  • They also claimed that CRT is for the very purpose of brainwashing citizens and children by adding the curriculum to the public schools. However, it was not all that it appeared to be, as claimed by many Anti-racist communities.
  • To hide the truth about communities, many states in the United States banned the teachings of CRT in schools and institutions.
  • So what we can say is that referring to a ban on CRT means a ban on the core principles of CRT, as earlier discussed. 
  • It also refers to the very fact that people of color are still subjected to racism in the U.S. The white community subconsciously holds the racists acts and beliefs, and the advantage they hold is ‘white privilege.’

Internal criticism and controversies 

Internal criticism is that whereby the proponents of CRT themselves question the very authenticity of the CRT.

  • Earlier, the criticism of the scholars was of over-simplifying the experiences of people of color by excluding the topics of diversified factors that have now taken hold all over the world with the widespread agenda of serving justice for the inferior community (neglect of factors of women of color, LGBTQ, etc.).
  • We also talk about the concept of intersectionality that emerged due to the hardship of “women of color” amongst people of color. According to the scholars, to understand the concept of discrimination, understanding the concepts of gender and race equality was also a necessity.
  • The multi-dimensional factor within intersectionality was also one reason that scholars were questioning the CRT. It means how the experiences of race, gender, and class are interconnected (race-sexuality) and how they shape the very Idea of racism. Today, this theory is very well accepted by scholars and the community.
  • Another was regarding the neglect of other inferior community groups (Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans) in the struggles of racism in the United States apart from the black community.

External criticism and controversies

External criticism is that in which outsiders, apart from the proponents of the CRT, give their views and reviews about how and what the CRT is all about. Let us view some:

  • According to the article CRT: Histories In and Out, the author describes one of the incidents that occurred during the conference in the year 1997 at the Yale Law School, whereby Judge Richard criticized the capabilities of the CRT scholars and accused their theories of being inaccurate, extreme, and irrational. According to the judge, their theories called bullying the opposite of racism and sexism.
  • The critics who are conservative by nature often distort the very idea and core principle of the CRT. They view CRT as a means through which the possibility of forthcoming legal change and racial equality can never be achieved.
  • Also, these critics often target the founding theorists such as Derrick Bell, Richard Delgado, Patricia Williams, and many more to prove their points, as observed by the author. 
  • The best way to understand  CRT is to understand change with time and people. Progression by keeping the histories in mind and not repeating the same instances can go a long way in achieving racial equality.

Landmark judgements 

Recent judgements 

George Floyd case (Police racial discrimination) 

Significance of the case

  • In the State of Minnesota v. Derek Michael Chauvin (2021), the video footage of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police called for an end to police racial discrimination.
  • The case addressed various issues regarding the act of police brutality against the African American Community.
  • According to President Biden, this was one of the rarest cases in how fast justice for the black community was served.

Facts of the case

  • In May 2020, Derek Chauvin, a police officer in Minneapolis on duty, received a call regarding the use of a counterfeit currency bill at a public store.
  • Due to this reason, three other officers, along with the main accused officer, approached and arrested Geoge Floyd (African American).
  • Various videos were circulated that became prime evidence of the use of police brutality against George Floyd.
  • The video footage went viral and showcased how the accused officer pinned Floyd to the ground and placed his knee on the victim’s neck.
  • George Floyd was unable to breathe during this time and repeatedly conveyed the same to the police officer. However, the police ignored the pleas of the victim and the bystanders as well.
  • George Floyd was left unconscious after a while and was later declared dead in hospital.
  • Various protests and debates took place in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, not only in the U.S. but worldwide, on how race and racism are dealt with in such a progressive country.
  • The officer was charged with second-degree intentional murder, manslaughter, and third-degree murder of George Floyd.

Issues involved in the case

  • The issue was police brutality against minority groups based on racial bias, and the plea was for transforming and reforming the police enforcement laws.
  • Excessive use of force: whether the officer used extra and unnecessary force while keeping the knee on the neck.
  • Cause-effect: whether the death was caused directly by the police officer or other circumstantial factors were at play for the death.
  • Police responsibility: Whether there was an act of police misconduct or not.

Judgment of the Court

  • In April 2021, the judgment was delivered by the court, which found the officer guilty of murder.
  • The officer was awarded  22 and half years in prison, and other officers received several years according to their association with crime.
  • Second-degree intentional murder: The murder was a result of the heat of the moment and was not pre-planned. The element of bad intention is missing.
  • Third-degree murder: here, too, the intention of killing a person is missing. However, the act of doing something dangerous without  consideration for human life amounts to murder.
  • Second-degree manslaughter: Causing the death of someone accidentally because of dangerous actions.

Breonna Taylor’s case (Black lives matter) 

Significance of the case

  • In Kelly Goodlett vs. United States of America (2022), the concept of racial profiling and structural racism spread like wildfire in the criminal justice system, both at national and  international levels, and led to the movement “Black Lives Matter.”

Racial profiling: using race as a factor by law enforcement agencies to decide, who is fit enough to receive any charges against them.

Example of racial profiling: Imagine two civilians, one belonging to white supremacy and the other to a minority group. Both are driving the car at the same speed. However, police officers only pull over cars with minority groups on suspicion of keeping something illegal.

Structural racism: Racism is due to policies, practices, laws, rules, and societies. As discussed earlier, race is not biologically inherent but arises because of the core principles described under the CRT.

  • This case became a symbol and a beacon for the need to change police practices and racial discrimination.
  • The case led to protests, demonstrations, and peace rallies to obtain justice for Breonna.

Facts of the case

  • Breonna Taylor, aged 26 (African-American), worked in a department of medical profession in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) formed a unit of Place-Based Investigations (PBI) for narcotics investigations in 2019.
  • Kelly Goodlett worked as a  detective for LMPD for eight years and was a member of the PBI Unit.
  • On the fateful day of March 2020- the police officers were investigating an alleged drug trafficking Tip in respect of Taylor’s ex-boyfriend.
  • While doing so, they made a forced entry without knocking knock-on Taylor’s apartment, despite her not being the prime suspect of the alleged drug-related offenses.
  • No-knock warrant: Such warrants allow, law enforcement agencies and officers to make an entry without announcing they are forthcoming on someone’s premises.
  • According to the information, both partners were on the bed while they thought the police were the intruders, and on account of this, Taylor’s boyfriend charged and fired on the police officers.
  • In response to the shot, the police retaliated and fired multiple rounds (22 in total) into the apartment of Breonna Taylor, thereby killing Taylor.
  • As per the report, Breonna Taylor succumbed to her injuries to the chest.

Issues involved in the case

  • Whether the use of force by the police officers was justified or not.
  • Whether the no-knock warrant issued by the police officers was justified or not.
  • The concepts of ‘racial profiling’ and ‘structural racism’ became the highlights of the issue and called for police law reforms.

Judgment of the Court

  • According to the information, the U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky, at Louisville did not charge the four police officers directly for the death of Breonna Taylor. 
  • The Court charged the officers based on violations of the federal civil rights of those citizens (Title 18 USC Sec. 242).
  • Two officers were charged with-  producing a fake affidavit for the search warrant grant application.
  • The third officer was charged with open fire (attempting to kill) at Taylor’s apartment (using willful excessive force).
  • The fourth officer was charged with conspiracy for obtaining fake search warrants and later covering them.  

National Urban League case (Trump truth ban)

Significance of the case

  • In National Urban League v. Trump (2020), the  Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping passed by President Trump’s administration harmed freedomm of speech, racial relations, gender equality, and federal contract aspects for the black community.
  • This Order censored certain topics of CRT and workplace training that address or promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • The Order created a vague idea and confusion about what was allowed to be practiced and what was not. 
  • Because of this order, many stopped teaching topics related to CRT in the education field and also suspended workplace training of such activities  based on the fear of losing their funding or the consequences of non-compliance with the executive order.

Facts of the case

  • In 2020, President Trump issued an executive order that banned speech, activities, and workplace training (discussion on inequality, CRT, etc.) that addresses or promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Sept 22, 2020- The order effect came and applied to federal agencies, U.S. Military Institutions, Grant Recipients, and Contractors.
  • Oct 29, 2020- In Response to that, NAACP-LDF on behalf of NUL and NFHAF (As earlier discussed),  filed a Class Action Federal Lawsuit against the ban through such order on the President, The Secretary of Labor, and the Department of Labor.
  • The lawsuit was filed under  28 USC Sec. 1131 (jurisdiction to try cases), Declatory Judgement Act (28 USC Sec. 2201), and Writs Act (28 USC Sec.1651).
  • The Reason for Lawsuit- It violated the following fundamental rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
  • On January 7, 2021- the U.S. Department of Labor dropped the practice of the Trump Truth Ban  following the nationwide injunction issued (The Court ordered the government to stop enforcing the EO)  in the case of Santa Cruz Lesbian and Gay Center v. Trump.
  • New rules and guidelines were issued by the DOL, and they even stopped taking calls on the hotline, which was formed to inform people about the complaints. 

Issues involved in the case

  • Whether the EO violates the First Amendment- Free Speech and Fifth Amendment- Due Process and Equal Protection of Law of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution or not.

Judgement of the Court

  • However, the case was not litigated in Court due to the change in effect of the change of the presidency of Trump with that of Biden.
  • On January 21, 2021- The EO- 13950 laid out by the Trump Administration was canceled by the Biden Administration.
  • To safeguard the freedom of speech and expression and enable fair and equal opportunities for all communities, steps were taken by the Biden Government.

Historic landmark judgments

Plessy case (Separate but equal doctrine)

Significance of the Case

  • In Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the separate but equal doctrine (allowing separate institutions with equal quality) was established and developed by the Court to justify that racial segregation and discrimination are valid in the U.S.A. This happened for more than six decades.
  • Institutions like public accommodations and spaces fell under the preview of this doctrine, including school Segregation.
  • According to this doctrine, as long as there are separate spaces of equal quality, it provides for the white and black races until the law is legally valid in constitutionality.
  • This Doctrine became a symbol of racial inequality and created problems during the Civil Rights Movement.
  • NAACP Margold report led to the reversal of the separate-but-equal doctrine after the Brown Case.

Facts of the case

  • Plessy was a mixed-race individual who often appeared to be white.
  • During one of his days in 1892, he violated the Louisiana Separate Cars Act of 1890 (separate but equal train accommodations for black and white communities) established during that era by the Louisiana State Legislature by boarding the train and getting arrested for the same.
  • By that time, the 13th and 14th Amendments of the Constitution were enacted, and Plessy filed a lawsuit based on the fact that such treatment violated his (and the black community’s) rights under the Amendments.
  • Many debates took place around this time as the case proceeded, as they argued that the amendment provided equal treatment but did not eradicate discrimination or inequality.

Issues involved in the case

  • Whether the Separate Car Act of 1890 violated the Newly Amendment of the Constitution or not.

Judgment of the Court

  • At this point in time, the U.S. Supreme Court favored the State of Louisiana Acts of racial segregation and stated that they did not violate such laws and clauses of the 14th and 13th Amendments.
  • This made racial discrimination and segregation valid in the Country.

Guinn Case (Grandfather clause was made illegal)

Significance of the Case

  • In Guinn v. States (1910), NAACP was seen as a legal Advocate because they secured a victory against a discriminatory Oklahoma Voting law that regulated the right to vote using the Grandfather Clause. (Changes of the law, policy, and regulations are only applicable to the new venture and not to a prior venture after the passing of such legislation.)
  • This Law banned African-Americans from a fair, just, and legal democratic right and discriminated against them by denying them the right to vote. 

Facts of the case

  • The Okalama Voter Registration Act of 1910 was enacted in the State of Oklahoma, USA.
  • According to this law, eligibility for voting is dependent upon the passing of the literacy test.
  • However, an exception was involved in such a law, whereby some individuals (whose ancestors were eligible to vote before the year 1866) were exempt from giving the test. 
  • Such an exception was based on the grandfather clause, and the irony of this law was that African Americans were not allowed to vote because it only applied to the White Community to be eligible for the literacy test.

Issues involved in the case

  • The issue was regarding the validity of such a test and the clause as it discriminates against African Americans.

Judgment of the Court

  • The Court took a stance on the 15th Amendment made in 1890 and stated that it violated such an amendment of the Constitution.
  • According to the 15th Amendment- discrimination for voting Rights based on race, color, or the grandfather clause was prohibited therein.
  • The court ruled that such a clause was made to create discrimination and was therefore illegal.

Brown Case (Freedom of choice establishment)

Significance of the Case

  • The Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) case brought an important awakening to racial inequality faced by African Americans in society and proved to be a radical point that led to the end of institutionalized racism in the American Education System.
  • The Court had a united decision and overturned the Plessy Case decision and banned segregation in public schools.
  • This case came to be recognized as a historic moment in the fight against race discrimination in American society for the black community or any community belonging to a group of minorities.
  • This case also led to the end of the practice of race discrimination in the cases attached to such practices by the Government for Public parks, beaches, golf courses, transportation, and any other public facilities.
  • After almost a decade after this decision in this case, the CRA of 1964 was enacted, and even the Freedom of Choice plans were initiated, under which the children were given the choice to choose the school in which they wished to attend.
  • However, according to the father of CRT- this case failed to provide a proper plan and legal remedy for school integration and school segregation even after the Civil Rights Era.

Facts of the case

  • This story started with a girl child, 8 years old, living in Topeka, Kansas, who used to travel for hours to attend the black school rather than the white school, which existed nearby her town because of the law of segregation.
  • With the efforts of the NAACP community, the parents, even after being encouraged to start sending their children to the all-white schools, were afraid to do so. 
  • Due to this reason, the NAACP filed a class-action lawsuit (on behalf of such cases) along with the parents of black children in the community against the schools.
  • Before the landmark decision as such, racial segregation existed in a total of 21 states (separate but equal schools), whereby everything was of inferior quality as compared to what white community children used to receive in the schools.

Issues involved in the case

  • Whether the “racial segregation” policies of the public schools are unconstitutional or not.

Judgment of the Court

  • The Court decided that the segregation of children based on race, attendance, or admission to such schools is invalid and unconstitutional.
  • As analyzed from the verdict of the judge, it is concluded that the court was not in favor of racial segregation being conducted in the education system as it creates a sense of unworthiness in the black community children, attending such schools.

Browder Case (Rosa park bus-seat segregation)

Significance of the Case

  • In Browder vs. Gayle (1956), in association with other such cases, challenged the legality of the  racial segregation taking place on the buses and struck down segregation on city buses (public transportation) in Montgomery, Alabama.
  • This case is relatively associated with the bus boycott event in 1955 (which lasted 1 year) in the Civil Rights Movement, as Rosa Parks, an African American woman, refused to give her seat to a white American passenger.

Facts of the case

  • During the ongoing discrimination in the United States, African Americans were ordered to be seated at the back of the bus.
  • During this time, Rosa Parks violated the norms and challenged the discrimination faced by the black community.
  • This led to the bus boycott events by civil rights activists including whom Martin Luther King Jr. was also associated with. 
  • The lawsuit was filed by the Women’s Political Council (WPC) against the seating norms.
  • Along with Rosa Parks, various activists joined the battle against discrimination.
  • This case was fought by the LDF, which marked an important milestone in their success. 

Issues involved in the case

  • Whether the bus seating arrangement (segregation) violated the 14th Amendment of the Constitution that guarantees equal protection or not.

Judgment of the Court

  • The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama ruled in favor of racial segregation being unconstitutional.
  • The Court stated that based solely on their race, it violated the rights provided by the Constitution.

New Kent County case (Ban on freedom of choice plan)

Significance of the case

  • In Green vs. New Kent County (1968), the Court was able to clarify the moto behind the freedom of choice plans that were active in the southern parts of states to discard the practice of racial segregation after the decade of the historic decision being made in the Brown Case (Supra).
  • This plan was disguised as an effort to curb the segregation practice but, in fact, was promoting the practice of segregation in reality and was not in compliance with the decision of the Court as ruled in the Brown Case.
  • The practice of integration (one school) and abolishment of the dual school (one for whites and the other for blacks) ended segregation in public schools for education with immediate effect. 
  • The case led to the development of School Desegregation Guidelines for Local and State Education Associations for racial desegregation.
  • The Court became more active, and the schools were under the radar if there was a presence of racial segregation, and steps for bringing integration along with compliance with the equal protection clause were made mandatory. 

Facts of the case

  • This is the story in Virginia, where the New Kent County school adopted the “Freedom of Choice Plan.”
  • According to this plan, students were given the choice of attending the school of whites or the school of blacks for African American students.
  • This plan was in itself contradictory because, despite racial anti-segregation rules, the practice of segregation was going unnoticed. (Intent of motive) because of the limited resources available for black students to attend the schools of whites.

Issues involved in the case

  • Whether the Freedom of Choice plan’s purpose is to promote desegregation or not.

Judgment of the Court

  • The U.S. Supreme Court held that this plan was ineffective in curbing the practice of racial segregation in public schools and went against what was settled in the Brown Case (Supra).
  • According to the Court, true desegregation occurs when there is an actual stop to the dual school system with the adoption of such plans.
  • The Court further stated that to abolish the dual practice of the school, the burden lies on the school authorities, as they have to take an active step to stop this practice.

Griggs Case (Disparate impact theory)

Significance of the Case

  • In Griggs vs. Duke Power Co. (1971), employment discrimination was concluded based on Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
  • This was set as a legal standard, applicable even today, for protection from employment discrimination.
  • The burden of proving the activeness of discriminating practice lies on the employer, as they are required to prove that the hiring requirements must be related to the capabilities and necessity for better working of the company.
  • The Disparate Impact theory refers to the practice of employment or education policies that have an indirect negative factor or intent on the minority group, instead of direct discriminative intent.

Facts of the case

  • Duke Power Company is dealing with an electrical power plant in North Carolina.
  • As per the working policy of the Dukes, they discriminated against African American employees in their company based on their education qualifications, income, and effective job opportunity (depriving them) as compared to the white community.
  • For a better position in the company, the black community is required to pass a test and also have proper educational qualifications.
  • However, due to the denial of education opportunities, the black community remained deprived of the same.

Issues involved in the case

  • Whether the requirement of qualifications for better job roles within the company violated Title VII of the CRA of 1964 or not.

Judgment of the Court

  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Duke’s company and stated that their recruitment policy for the transfer of a job role is considered void.
  • This is because such a policy is not necessary for marking individuals for their capabilities.
  • According to the Court, such policy is indeed violative of Section VII of the CRA of 1964 because it discriminates against the minority group by depriving them of a better role.

Davis case (Intentional discrimination for employment opportunity)

Significance of the Case

  • In Washington v. Davis (1976), the Standard for Discriminatory Purpose was established.
  • The disparate impact theory established in the Griggs case was rejected in this case because of the fear of the negative consequences affecting the laws and policies of even taxes, welfare, public services, minimum wages, licensing,  and many more.
  • The black community victim failed to prove intentional discrimination, and further, this policy created additional challenges to establishing a claim regarding intentional discrimination in employment practices.

Facts of the case

  • To be considered for the employment opportunity, a written civil service exam was mandatory for the applicants from the Washington, DC, Police Department.
  • The challenge was to the employment practices (selection criteria) as such because of the elevated failure rates they posed for African American Applicants.
  • One such individual sued on the grounds that it violated the Equal Protection Clause and that its impact was discriminatory.

Issues involved in the case

  • The issue was regarding what constitutes unconstitutional race discrimination for employment under the Constitution.
  • Whether such practices for selection criteria violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution or not.

Judgment of the Court

  • The U.S. Supreme Court stated that proof of discriminatory impact arising out of laws or policies is not sufficient evidence to establish that it has led to a violation of the protection clause.
  • Only if the law or policy is enacted with the intent to create a discriminatory factor (impact), then it can be said that the Equal Protection Clause was violated. And not otherwise.
  • Therefore, the element of intention for discrimination forms prima facie evidence.
  • The Court stated that such a policy was to be in place to derive a qualified individual for a police officer’s job and not to Fail Black Community individuals.

Bakke Case (Race-quotas policy)

Significance of the case

  • In Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978), the admissions were based on race quota criteria for higher education in the universities that questioned the laws of such admission policies.
  • The question of such policies’ validity was decided for the first time, which came to be known as landmark judgments in other cases and created an impact on the legal framework for race-based admissions.
  • The rule decided in Davis’s case was followed in this case.

Facts of the case

  • Bakke, an applicant belonging to the white community, applied for admission to  Medical School at UC Davis.
  • However, because of the race-based admissions policies, despite scoring higher in the test scores, Bakke’s application was rejected twice.
  • During such policy governance, 16 out of 100 seats were reserved for minority groups (Blacks, Native Americans, Hispanics, and Asians.)
  • Aggrieved by this, a lawsuit was filed.

Issues involved in the case

  • Whether the race-based admission policy violated the equal protection clause or not.
  • And whether the use of such policy for admission is constitutional or not.

Judgment of the Court

  • The judgment of the U.S. Supreme Court is divided into two decisions.
  • The court decided that such policy usage was unconstitutional because it indeed violated the protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. (Supported by 6-3 vote.)
  • On the other hand, the court also gave a verdict that such can, however, be considered a factor for admissions decisions because these can promote diversity, and hence such practice was also deemed to be constitutional by such a method. (supported by 5-4 votes).
  • In short, the race quotas were struck down, and the use of the race factor for admission policy was upheld by the Court.

Croson case  (Racial classification in hiring process)

Significance of the case

  • The case of City of Richmond vs. Croson (1989) led to the affirmation of the legality of the programs and laws that use race as a factor in the hiring process.
  • The standard and guidelines for measuring the programs (ordinance) were formed because of the decision in the case. 
  • This caused difficulties in addressing past racial discrimination, and forming new laws where race (racial classification) can be used as a factor for helping out the minority group.
  • This case was seen as a setback for the African American Community. 

Facts of the case

  • In the City of Richmond, Virginia, the population of African-Americans was 50% during the ‘80s, and discrimination against them was even higher.
  • The city had an ordinance law (to rectify their practice of discrimination) related to the minority group of contractors seeking employment opportunities.
  • According to the ordinance, 30% of the construction contract’s work should be provided to the minority group by the prime contractors.
  • However, certain ordinance requirements were not met by the Croson company.

Issues involved in the case

  • The issue was whether such a law violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment or not.

Judgment of the Court

  • The Court stated that the ordinance that allowed and reserved seats for minority groups to grab the opportunity for government contracting work was invalid and void.
  • According to the Court, this indeed violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.  
  • According to the Court, the reason for using such programs based on race was not strong enough to do so in compliance with the rules as laid out when cases of racial classification occur. 
  • According to the Court, the use of such ordinance or law is only permitted for racial classification when it is necessary and just. 
  • The order went in favor of the Croson Company.

Shelby case (Voting rights discrimination)

Significance of the case

  • This case was Shelby County vs. Holder (2013), specifically for the state and the local government, which have a history of racial discrimination in voting.
  • The strikedown of the Section 5 requirement helped in the fair voting process in the states and local government bodies of the United States.
  • However, many believed that such removal weakened the Voting Rights Act and furthered the concern that race discrimination (white supremacy over the black community) could see a takeover shortly. 

Facts of the case

  • Shelby County is a place in Alabama, and the place challenged the validity of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which should be per Section 4 of the VRA of 1965.
  • Section 5 states that if there are changes to be made in the voting rules and laws by the state and the local government that have been in place since 1964, then such changes with the new voting laws and rules have to meet a requirement.
  • Requirement- obtaining judgment/order from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia or attorney general (within 60 days).
  • As per this requirement, new laws can be enacted. In the absence of such compliance, the laws can be rejected and not enforced by the attorney.
  • The Decision regarding this has to be made by three judges, and the appeals will lie with the Supreme Court.
  • Shelby County opinionated that such a process was outdated and unfairly targeted towards certain states for meeting the personal political voting agenda. 

Issues involved in the case

  • The issue was regarding the requirement process of Section 5, whether such a process is valid and constitutional or not.

Judgment of the Court

  • According to the U.S. Supreme Court, the judgment/order-obtaining process applied to certain states and jurisdictions using outdated information to determine who would fall under such categories.
  • According to the Court, such information was not reliable enough to reach a decision, and the section was declared invalid and unconstitutional.

Impact of Critical Race Theory (CRT)

Critical Race Theory (CRT) was created with a motto to fight injustice for  people of color, to establish how laws, policies, and institutions shape the very idea of race and racism. 

This constant war between the left-wing and Right-wing of the CRT has led to many ideas about what the CRT is and what it is not.

The opposers of CRT are trying to distort the true nature of CRT and try to associate it with negative perceptions such as black-supremacist racism, false history, or an extreme version of wokeness. This attempt is based on the fear of not letting the minds of the white children be corrupted by how American History has treated the community of blacks and other “people of color.

However, CRT has all-together various Implications in various fields in the modern century. Let us have a look at some of those.

Impact of CRT on education and educational policies

  • The impact of CRT in education helps us to acknowledge racial inequalities, diverse teaching methods, and curriculum. However, this has also been attacked by the Left-winged communities.
  • CRT helps us understand the difference in education between different races that has existed over time. This also provides us with a way on how the laws and educational policies can be changed for the betterment of the students, society, and teachers likewise.
  • Classrooms and teachings now include diverse history knowledge by including various teaching styles and methods. Every cultural history is taught to make society relate more to its lineage.
  • The importance of adding different perspectives and voices to the curriculum provides a sense of empowerment in one’s educational system.
  • Information about the moments of Black History and Woman’s History enables one to acknowledge the fight for justice their ancestors have been fighting against America’s Power of white supremacy, and inclusive materials to celebrate the diverse range of experiences are also added to help understand this in a better way.
  • As we saw earlier, some states and countries are trying to ban the teachings of CRT (Banning of books from libraries as well),  despite a positive response from President Biden’s Administration. Some believe CRT to be a weapon of destruction for American history, while others believe it to be a tool to understand race and racism.

Impact of CRT on law, education, sociology, and social justice system

  • CRT brought awareness and a need to fight for a fair society against racism. (Bring positive change.)
  • The proponents of CRT or the founding fathers of CRT have provided us with deep knowledge, incidents, and instances of racial inequality, all with their unique and diversified challenges, experiences, and perspectives, while also providing a way to challenge structural Racism.
  • According to the believers of the CRT, they want big transformative changes in the legal system and institutions rather than small-scale changes that won’t be able to fix the problem of racism.
  • From today’s point of view, many believe that social improvement regarding racism has been seen in America in different fields such as business, education, politics, and labor. However, there are still some gray areas that need to be addressed regarding the hidden form of racism occurring in everyday life.
  • CRT also helps us understand how race is connected with some spectrums such as gender, ethnicity, social class, and sexuality. In Simple terms, it acknowledges the presence of “Intersectionality”- a term coined by Derrick Bell.
  • According to the author, CRT is facing backlash from the opposing party because they will lose their power over society if the need for CRT hunger continues. Despite this, the communities are still fighting against oppression, which is necessary. 
  • CRT values the stories (real-life experiences of individuals who faced racism). According to CRT, only understanding the objective truth does not help one understand the concept of race, racism, or CRT itself.


Critical Race Theory is not only a subject, principle, or history to understand how racism is deeply engraved in our society by us through whatever means it is, but it is also an emotion that is to be understood and experienced in the true sense to truly empathize with the community of black and people of color, who leave behind the very doors of their home to achieve something better than what Mother Earth and nature have provided us with and come to the point where they have to fight for their basic human rights.

Just because of the color of our skin, our texture, and our perceived looks, it  does not make us any less human. Discrimination in any form is inhumane and raises the very question of the probability of what people in power and people without power can do in and for society.

The ban on teaching CRT is also not a permanent solution. To truly project a positive outcome, one must truly look towards the inward experiences and constantly ask one-self- What would I have done If the finger of discrimination was pointing towards me? Would I have not fought back? Would I not have questioned the very system that was made with the intent to protect us? Or would I have left things just the way they are?

Color of skin does not define who we are as individuals, but our character does! And not knowing the Implications of such a decision will have far greater negative consequences than what we are facing today, even after entering the 21st century. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

What is CRT and how is it related to education in the United States?

The Theory of Critical Race, also known as CRT, is a framework to examine and analyze how race and racism are deeply rooted in our social structure and institutions. In Niche fields like Education, histories and cultural instances and events help us understand and gain knowledge regarding racial inequalities of the past and present and how such affects our laws, educational policies, practices, and the very outcomes from those applications.

Why is the CRT in the debate over the controversy?

The controversy related to the CRT is because of the left-wing and right-wing interpretations and political implications of racial discrimination happening right now worldwide and not just in America among people of color. According to the critics, CRT promotes and encourages division and group identity, while supporters believe it to be a tool to understand structural racism.

Who created CRT and why do the lawmakers want to ban it?

The framework of the CRT was created during the Civil Rights Movement for reasons of racial discrimination in society and institutions based on colorblindness. The CRT movement wants to establish that racism is still going on in our laws, policies, and society.

What are the other factors in the CRT instead of race?

While CRT speaks about and analyzes race and racism, other social aspects of intersectionality, such as gender, class, and sexuality, are also discussed and analyzed through CRT. (recognizes the implications of oppression and privilege.)

Are there any laws that have banned the teaching of CRT?

No, but in fact, after the executive order passed by the Trump Administration in the year 2020, many states proposed and even implemented the ban on teaching CRT in schools, which attracted debates and protests about academic freedom and censorship.

How does CRT relate to social activism and social justice movements apart from legal aspects? 

The CRT has provided a framework to understand how race is connected with power structure and a source for Racial Social Inequalities. CRT has been used to support Advocacy efforts that seek racial justice, equity in education, criminal justice reform, and other social issues.

Can the CRT evolve with time?

The answer to this is yes; the framework of CRT is ever-evolving and keeps on changing with time because of its dynamic nature. Adopting new research, debates, and insights on understanding the current situation of racism in people’s consciousness helps critics and even activists refine the concepts and approaches towards CRT, without which the system would fail to achieve its goal of safeguarding the human community.


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