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Obama Taught Critical Race Theory - CRT

Updated on May 23, 2013

What is Critical Race Theory

What is Critical Race Theory (CRT)? It is a scary proposition that does a disservice to all races in America. The definition of CRT from is this: "Critical race theory is a reform movement within the legal profession, whose followers strongly believe that the legal system has dis-empowered racial minorities. Critical race theorists observe that even if the law is expressed in neutral language, it cannot be neutral. This theory states that the people who expressed the law had their own subjective perspectives that, once enshrined in law, have disadvantaged minorities and caused to continue racism."

I interpret this definition as stating that those who made the laws so many years ago were racist and made laws that were not fair to nonwhite citizens.

I have a problem with that definition because I have friends and family who are nonwhite citizens of this country and they have no trouble obeying the laws of the land. Is CRT stating that if you are Black, Hispanic, or any other nonwhite race then you are more inclined to steal, do illegal drugs, or drink and drive? I don't buy that at all - good people are good people regardless of their skin color and bad people are bad people also regardless of their skin color.

Obama Taught Critical Race Theory

Barack Obama was a Law Professor at University of Chicago for 12 years. During those 12 years, from 1994 to 2003, he taught a course titled "Current Issues in Racism and the Law." In this course he focused on the writings of Derrick Bell the very controversial Harvard Professor and author. Bell was integral in the Critical Race Theory branch of the previously established Critical Law Theory. Bell taught that whites are predisposed to look down on blacks and other minorities. He also believed that racism is embedded in American law. Mr. Bell is credited with making statements that the desegregation of American schools was a mistake and the government should have kept schools segregated and make improvements to both sides making them more equal. I do not understand how he would have thought that his idea of segregated schools would have in any way improved race relations in America.

Derrick Bell
Derrick Bell | Source

Obama's Beliefs and Teachings about CRT

Obama left a traceable legacy of his beliefs and teaching regarding CRT. According to the online version of the syllabus for his "Current Issues in Racism and the Law" course - Obama includes topics such as Discriminatory Sentencing and Criminal Legislation that Targets Minorities. He had his students writing about the fact that the state of Missouri has a law that punishes the use of Crack more severely than the use of Cocaine - he states that this law is discriminatory against Blacks and Minorities because Crack is often their drug of choice. I would venture to say that Crack is probably the drug of choice for any "poor" drug addict regardless of skin color or nationality.

Another controversial topic in Obama's course is the mention of Reparations for Blacks based on 300+ years of slavery. Does throwing money at today's minority Americans change how they view the horrors of slavery from a hundred plus years ago? I would highly doubt that one.

Professor Obama essentially constructed his own textbook based on the writings of some very controversial authors. He assigned reading from the works of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. He also had his students review the macabe 1919 catalog of lynch mob victims that showed pictures of these horror stories from the past.

In the political arena at that time - Mr. Obama declared his doubts about then President Clintons ability to reach across the aisle and work with Democrats and Republicans. According to the New York Times the following was said by Mr. Obama - “On the national level, bipartisanship usually means Democrats ignore the needs of the poor and abandon the idea that government can play a role in issues of poverty, race discrimination, sex discrimination or environmental protection." Doesn't sound like he was very interested in working with or for all Americans.

Why Does it Matter?

Why does it matter that President Obama once taught Critical Race Theory? It matters because Critical Race Theory focuses solely on minorities and how they are disenfranchised. Obama's teaching focused on how the law in particular, was created by obviously racist white people and therefore minorities cannot be expected to be law abiding citizens. This potentially leads to a dangerous mindset among minorities that they are "expected to break these racist laws."

Laws are made for everyone - if you break the law it is NOT because you are white, black, or yellow - it is because you are a criminal, a non law abiding citizen of this country - plain and simple. Why make something racist when it is clearly not. Let's not make it so darned complicated.


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    • kekesolis profile image

      kekesolis 5 years ago from California

      It wasn't any group that was forced here to do so for free and then abused and demoralized for generations after the fact. If you honestly think that such behaviors don't exist anymore or that it wouldn't be tolerated you live in a bubble. The tactics have changed the mentality hasn't. You are right treatment based on skin color does need to stop, but making right was has always been a wrong however needs to start.

    • Conservative Lady profile image

      Sheila 5 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      Thank you Ken - I am doing my part to make sure President Obama is vetted fully this time around!

    • Conservative Lady profile image

      Sheila 5 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      kekesolis - The logic you are presenting is basically any group that contributed to the wealth of this country should gain from reparations - where would it end? Why should the citizens of today be penalized for the actions of those citizens from many many years ago when not a single one of us today was involved or would tolerate those actions from that time? Why should you or I be penalized or profit based on our skin color? This ridiculousness of treatment (good or bad) based on skin color needs to stop. Let's make that change starting with you and I.

    • Ken Burgess profile image

      Ken Burgess 5 years ago from Florida

      Conservative Lady you have written some great articles, and I hope in the coming weeks more people get a chance to read what you have written.

    • kekesolis profile image

      kekesolis 5 years ago from California

      Then why would our government see fit to pay Japanese-Americans $20,000 for WWII concentration camps and yet those that were brought here on slave ships, forced to work for free, helped build the wealth of this country, regained their freedom only to be subject to years upon years of persecution, (Ku Klux Klan, Black Wall Street, The Wilmington Massacre) economic, business, and loss of life and yet still get nothing. Still seem unfeasible? ... I was never one to pay attention to the cause of reparations but after this, they definitely have my attention.

    • Conservative Lady profile image

      Sheila 5 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      Racism on any side or at any level should not be tolerated. I think reparations are not only unfeasible but unjust as those of us who would be paying them were not a part of that horrific slavery time and those who received the funds were not either...

    • Conservative Lady profile image

      Sheila 5 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      Hi GOL - I appreciate the comments. I too think this would have been an enjoyable course and definitely one with spirited discussions.

    • Conservative Lady profile image

      Sheila 5 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      Thank you Helen, I hadn't heard about CRT until a few days ago and decided I wanted to leardn more about it - what better way to learn than to research and write about it.

    • Conservative Lady profile image

      Sheila 5 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      kekesolis - you and I are essentially stating the same things - I don't buy that there are excuses for criminal behaviors either.

    • profile image

      oceansider 5 years ago

      Hi Conservative Lady,

      Your article about Critical race theory is very interesting.....I had not heard of this before, that Obama had taught this.....I want to read more about this.....thank you for talking about this topic.

      Take care,


    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 5 years ago from Philippines

      I appreciate the careful research you have done in this piece, and it was well written, too. However, I don't think CRT is divisive. Taken in the context of a University where there will be so many different classes taught and professors with a rainbow of points of view, it would seem to me to be an interesting class that I would have loved to attend.

      Although I am not American (I'm Filipino) I have a white American brother in law, lovely nieces and nephews who are white Americans and strong conservative republicans. I also have a wonderful white American nephew-in-law and grand nephew . The American nephew-in-law is a Democrat.

      CRT as you describe it sounds to me like an important new frontier of American history, incorporating it into the area of legal history. I don't know about reparations, however. Still, you can appreciate a class and not agree with everything taught in it.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Racism on whatever side of the table one finds oneself on is diabolical and will never lead to anything good. I would need to read more about CRT to make a more educated comment about this topic.

      I know that discriminatory practices are not one sided. Any race that is treated unfairly can call out 'rascist' practices are occurring. I agree with the comment above that says there are those who are lazy and want something for nothing in every race. but if we start giving out reparations monies to any then all who were suppressed and treated badly should receive them our Native Americans being among the first. Where would the line be drawn? Who would make that judgment call?

    • kekesolis profile image

      kekesolis 5 years ago from California

      Critical race theory does not suggest that minorities should not be expected to be law abiding citizens. If that were the case, considering all of the non-white nationalities that are now present in the United States doesn't that make the Caucasian the minority? Should we now use this as the excuse for the crimes that they too are committing?

      As far as reparations, and as far as I know, it is not about changing the view of slavery. It's about acknowledging the African-American contribution to the wealth of this country and not only while enslaved.

      The Wilmington Massacre and Black Wall Street are prime examples of post slavery persecution where wealth, property, and lives were destroyed. All of this done without apology, reimbursement, or the fair share owed to the ancestors of these families.

      Instead those who don't understand the rationale for reparations for African-Americans chalk it up to the belief that blacks are lazy and want something for nothing. Which is quite the contrary. There may be people like this, but the last time I checked they were in every race.

    • Conservative Lady profile image

      Sheila 5 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      Lynn - you are right - if Obama let's go of the retoric he loses much of his base. Thank you

    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 5 years ago

      Obama doesn't want to improve relations and his retoric backs that up. The founding fathers knew it was wrong, however, they focused on setting up a country that was free, and had faith that future generations would make the changes necessary to free all peoples.


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