Critical race theory (often referred to by its acronym CRT) emerged during the early 1980s as scholars of color in legal studies began to examine the intransigence of racism within the landscape of the United States following the civil rights movement and the role of the law in maintaining unequal race relations. CRT serves as a counter to discussions that focus on diversity without specifically examining race and power. This entry briefly describes the origins of critical race theory, its central tenets, its major branches, and examples of research in education.


Critical race theory grew out of critical legal studies, a field that critiques how law in capitalist societies is used to maintain unjust power relations while masking injustices. A small group of legal scholars (mainly ...

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