6 Best Books About Critical Race Theory Update 05/2022

To start, let’s talk about a few things. Then, we’ll talk about critical race theory books. Critical race theory (CRT) is very important, but we also need to get a better idea of what it is and is not. In the words of Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I don’t like it.” I think it doesn’t mean what you think it means. To make fun of CRTs, please check out this Twitter post. It makes fun of the bad things that happen to people when they use a CRT.

In fact, many people who are reading this already know that I’m a professor in the field of education. It’s important for me to make it clear, though, that I am not a critical race theory scholar. I think it’s important to stay in your own lane and let experts do the work for you. So when I saw my colleagues and other well-known scholars talking and tweeting about critical race theory, I paid attention to what they said and didn’t say. A lot of people (myself included) didn’t know enough about the subject.

What Critical Race Theory is Not

People seem to be confusing critical race theory with a lot of other things, based on the outrage and the laws that have been passed in the United States that don’t allow critical race theory in schools. A quick look at what critical race theory is not:

pedagogy that is culturally responsive/relevant/sustaining
anti-racism teaching is
accurate teaching of U.S. history, including the U.S.’s history of being racisteducating for social change
people from different backgrounds are more likely to be included or have a better chance of being included.
It would be good to make Juneteenth a federal holiday
Marxism
how to teach your kids to hate the US
being taught to students in grades K–12

What Critical Race Theory Is

Now that we’ve talked about what critical race theory is not, let’s talk about what it is about. It says that the American Bar Association says this. CRT is not a “training” for diversity and inclusion. It’s a way of looking at the role of race and racism in society that started in the law school and spread to other fields of study. It says that people of color are kept at the bottom of a racial caste system because of the way people think about race and how the government enforces racism. CRT understands that racism is not a thing of the past. Instead, it says that the legacy of slavery, segregation, and the giving of people of color second-class citizenship still reflects in the social fabric of this country.

That’s where critical race theory started. It was used to show that our legal system isn’t fair to everyone. In the past few years, it has spread to other fields, such as education. Of course, racism also has an effect on the education of people. People who study education, on the other hand, should use this kind of lens. Many of these scholars use the framework in their research and college teaching, but it doesn’t work well for K–12 teaching. There are a lot of teachers who work for equity and social justice. Other people use culturally responsive pedagogy. Critical race theory is being taught to very few children.

Critical Race Theory Books

Finally, we can talk about books! When you know what critical race theory is, you’ll know that there aren’t many critical race theory books for the average person. This is because you now know what CRT is. Research on critical race theory is mostly done through academic articles that are read by other people who work in the field.

Books like How to Be Antiracist are important, useful, and easy to read, but they don’t talk about CRT. You can read more about it in these books.

Critical Race Theory: An Introduction by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic

This is one of the best critical race theory books out there. This is the third edition. It has been around since 2001 and is now in its third edition. People can read and learn from this book as a primer on the subject. In the most recent edition, important events from the last decade, like Barack Obama’s presidency and the rise of Black Lives Matter, have been added to the text.

Racial Microaggressions: Using Critical Race Theory to Respond to Everyday Racism by Daniel G. Solórzano and Lindsay Pérez Huber

In this book, the authors use critical race theory as a way to think about how to fight daily microaggressions. It thinks about how people of color see the world through the lens of intersectionality, which recognizes that other identities affect how POC see the world. Everybody can use these tools to fight against racial microaggressions in their daily lives.

Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement Edited by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Neil Gotanda, Gary Peller, and Kendall Thomas

Essays by many people who helped start critical race theory are in this book of essays. It’s a great way to learn about what CRT is from people who are actually doing the work. Definitely, this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn more about it.

Critical Race Theory: A Primer by Khiara M. Bridges

Even though this book is mostly used in law classes, the simple writing makes it easy for the average person to read. Bridges looks at the good and bad parts of critical race theory. In addition, Bridges talks about CRT’s history, core concepts, and current issues.

Foundations of Critical Race Theory in Education Edited by Edward Taylor, David Gillborn, and Gloria Ladson-Billings

If you want to read critical race theory books about education, this collection of essays should be on your list of things to read. Is made up of both old writings and newer pieces. In addition, each chapter has questions and discussion points that help people think about what they’re learning.

The Derrick Bell Reader Edited by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic

Even though this book isn’t like other critical race theory books, it’s still a good addition to the texts that came before it. Bell is one of the founders of critical race theory, and he has written a lot about the subject because he thinks it’s important. Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, two well-known critical race theorists, edited and wrote the book’s introduction.

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