After Race: Racism after Multiculturalism

By Antonia Darder; Rodolfo D. Torres | Go to book overview

5
What’s So Critical
about Critical Race Theory?
A Conceptual Interrogation

Racism as it operates socially, in no way assumes an explicit theory
of “race.” (Taguieff 2001, 197)

Over the last half-century considerable attention has been paid to issues related to “race” and “race relations” in the social sciences, humanities, and legal studies. The debates intensified first with the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954 and then again with the civil rights movements of the 1960s. The current debates are beginning to intensify once more as critical race theorists1 not only retain the idea of “race” but further entrench it as a central category of analysis. Hence, the early “race” paradigm has become the new orthodoxy, retaining symbolic and political utility for many. This is evident in even more progressive articulations of “race” such as The Miner’s Canary, a highly acclaimed book by Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres (2002) that enlists race as a political space within the context of what they term “a political race project.”

Before continuing any further, we wish to acknowledge and commend such efforts to make sense of the problematics associated with “race” within U.S. society. However, we seek to raise different questions regarding the foundational theories that shape these arguments and, more importantly, to question the analytical limitations of “race” with respect to the formation of a critical social science and execution of progressive social policies.

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