Mazzuca: Three simple questions
Critical race theory is an academic concept that emerged in the late 1970s. It contends that race is a social construct, that racism isn’t a matter of individual bias or prejudice, but rather is a practice that’s embedded in legal systems and policies.
According to its authors, Derrick Bell, Kimberlé Crenshaw and Richard Delgado, CRT examines the role of race and racism in society, the social construction of race and the institutionalized racism they believe perpetuates a racial caste system relegating people of color to the bottom tiers of society. They also contend that the legacy of slavery, segregation and the imposition of second-class citizenship on Black Americans and other people of color continues to permeate the social fabric of the nation.
A litmus test
William Barr, the former attorney general of the United States, said this about Critical Race Theory, “It’s nothing more than the materialist philosophy of Marxism, substituting racial antagonism for class antagonism.” But rather than taking Barr’s word for it, this commentary will examine the two primary tenets of CRT by asking the three questions social theorist Thomas Sowell uses when evaluating progressive or liberal ideas.
- Compared to what?
- At what cost?
- What hard evidence do you have?
Last January, the American Bar Association published “A Lesson in Critical Race Theory,” citing its primary tenets — the first being that race is not biologically real, but rather it’s a social construct and the product of societal thought not connected to biological reality, purporting that even science refutes the idea of biological racial differences.
But where’s the hard evidence? According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, differences in races can be found in the mineral content of bone structure, the distribution of subcutaneous fat, water and protein composition in fat-free body mass, body dimensions and proportions, the length of the limbs relative to the trunk, hormones such androstenedione. There’s also the data that shows a greater proclivity for Blacks to contract one of the sickle cell diseases. So, to say race is not biologically real does not comport with reality.
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Meanwhile, CRT’s second major tenet — “the acknowledgment that racism is a normal feature of society and is embedded within systems and institutions, like the legal system, that replicate racial inequality. This dismisses the idea that racist incidents are aberrations, but instead are manifestations of structural and systemic racism” — needs a clear definition of structural or systemic racism if we’re to accurately evaluate it.
And the most comprehensive definition I’ve ever come across states that “systemic or structural racism is a form of racism that’s embedded in laws, regulations and customs within a society or an organization; and can lead to discrimination in criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power, education, and other matters.”
But again, we’re compelled to ask, where’s the hard evidence? CRT’s contention that racism is a “normal feature of society and is embedded within systems and institutions, like the legal system,” flies in the face of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Collectively, those pieces of legislation address every legal aspect of the systemic racism that once existed in this country. Did that legislation eliminate racism as a social phenomenon? Of course not, but that leads us to another of Dr. Sowell’s questions: Compared to what? Racism has existed from time immemorial and there’s no place on Earth that I am aware of where it either hasn’t or doesn’t exist.
And while that does not justify its practice, that’s the reality; and common sense obliges us to accept that what’s in a person’s heart cannot be legislated, which begs two more questions.
First, what do organizations such as Black Lives Matter want that isn’t already incorporated into the laws of this nation? And secondly, since the law is very clear on these matters, what was the purpose of last summer’s Black Lives Matter riots that left at least 25 people dead?
President Biden said systemic racism is a stain on America’s soul. He should have said racism is a stain on the soul of humankind and the most abhorrent activity humans have ever engaged in. Perhaps too, he should have commented about the “soft racism of low expectations” that America’s school districts practice when they lower standards in the name of anti-racism, or the soft racism of left-wing voter policies that tell Blacks they aren’t capable of obtaining appropriate identification.
The book of racism has been written over the course of centuries, and no one denies that some of those pages are ours. But systemic racism? C’mon man, it just doesn’t pass the litmus test.
Quote of the day: “Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color” — Unknown
Follow Butch Mazzuca on his blog at ButchMazzuca.com.