Critical Race Theory (CRT) originates from the United States (US ) it states racism is not a matter of individual bigotry but a systematic issue that maintains the dominance of white people. Which sounds a lot like institutional racism to me.
Critical Race Theory
Article by: Blair McPherson - former Director, Author and Blogger |
It’s in the news due to the US election campaign in Virginia where the eventual winner, the Republican candidate, campaigned on a claim that CRT was being taught in schools as a way of examining history and race relations in the US. The Republican candidate turned this into a controversy by claiming children were being taught that white people were the oppressors and people of colour the victims. There was no evidence to support this allegation that this was how history and race relations was being taught in schools which did not stop Fox News repeating the allegation as fact throughout the campaign.
I think the concept of institutional racism is more helpful in understanding our recent history and race relations. As a analyst of what goes on in organisation it helps identify where and how we should take action.
The concept of institutional racism came out of the Macpherson report into the murder of Stephen Lawrence’s murder and subsequent bungled police investigation. The Macpherson report identify that stereotypes, ignorance and lack of awareness contributed to the initial failure to properly investigate the murder of Stephen Lawrence. As the case involved a black youth the initial investigation assumed the murder was a gang killing in relation to turf war over drugs.
The report found that this lack of awareness and the tendency to adopt stereotypes was widespread within the force and this rather than overt racism explained the actions and behaviour of officers. This same lack of awareness and insensitivity led to policies and procedures that unintentionally discriminated against certain minority groups.
These polices and procedure governed recruitment, promotion , disciplinary action and training opportunities as well as the way investigations were undertaken. Of course this explanation does not rule out the existence of some racists/ bigots within the organisation but does challenge the idea that getting rid of a few bad apples would solve the problem.