Sources & Extracts

Review this excerpt and then go back to the main thread.


Malik's ideas are influenced by a body of thought known as critical race theory. An important collection of articles in this vein appeared in 1993 entitled Words That Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech, and the First Amendment. A number of the points and arguments made by Vera and Malik are made by the authors.

In the introduction to Words That Wound, the authors list the following "defining elements" of critical race theory:

1. Critical race theory recognizes that racism is endemic to American life. Thus, the question for us is not so much whether or how racial discrimination can be eliminated while maintaining the integrity of other interests implicated in the status quo such as federalism, privacy, traditional values, or established property interests. Instead we ask how these traditional interests and values serve as vessels of racial subordination.
2. Critical race theory expresses skepticism toward dominant legal claims of neutrality, objectivity, color blindness, and meritocracy. . . .
3. Critical race theory challenges ahistoricism and insists on a contextual/historical analysis of the law. . . .
4. Critical race theory insists on recognition of the experiential knowledge of people of color and our communities of origin in analyzing law and society. . . .
5. Critical race theory is interdisciplinary and eclectic. It borrows from several traditions, including liberalism, law and society, feminism, Marxism, poststructuralism, critical legal theory, pragmatism, and nationalism. . . .
6. Critical race theory works toward the end of eliminating racial oppression as part of the broader goal of ending all forms of oppression. . . .

Reference: Words That Wound, Introduction, p. 6.