As its name should make abundantly clear, Critical Race Theory (CRT) is the child of Critical Theory (CT), or, to be more precise, its grandchild. Critical Theory is the immediate forebearer of Critical Legal Theory (CLT), and CLT begat CRT. As we discuss in this Backgrounder, however, there are strong thematic components linking CT, CLT, and CRT. Among these are:
The Marxist analysis of society made up of categories of oppressors and oppressed;
An unhealthy dollop of Nietzschean relativism, which means that language does not accord to an objective reality, but is the mere instrument of power dynamics;
The idea that the oppressed impede revolution when they adhere to the cultural beliefs of their oppressors—and must be put through re-education sessions;
The concomitant need to dismantle all societal norms through relentless criticism; and
The replacement of all systems of power and even the descriptions of those systems with a worldview that describes only oppressors and the oppressed.
Far from being merely esoteric academic exercises, these philosophies have real-life consequences.