Critical Race Theory (CRT) has become a focal point of discussion in recent years, sparking debates about its role in addressing systemic racism. While some perceive it as divisive, others recognize its potential as a valuable tool for understanding and combating racial inequality. In this blog post, we will explore the broader benefits of CRT, demonstrating that it extends beyond Black communities and is a unifying force for individuals of diverse backgrounds. Our exploration will delve into the concept of interest convergence, a key idea proposed by Derrick Bell, a revered law professor and influential figure in the CRT movement.
CRT Allies from Different Communities
One of the most compelling aspects of CRT is its capacity to bring together individuals from various racial and ethnic backgrounds in the shared struggle against systemic racism. Although CRT initially emerged in response to the specific experiences of Black Americans, its principles transcend these boundaries. Many individuals from different minority groups ardently support CRT because they acknowledge the common experiences of discrimination and inequality. By acknowledging the shared struggles faced by various minority communities, CRT fosters solidarity and mutual support. Allyship and collaboration with different communities is crucial in achieving the overall aims of more cohesion and inclusivity in our communities.
For instance, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Indigenous peoples have all encountered various forms of racial discrimination. By examining how these experiences interconnect, these communities bolster the collective movement for racial justice. In essence, the benefits of CRT extend beyond Black communities, embracing anyone who has confronted racial adversity. By debunking the idea that CRT principles are divisive and instead focusing on the foundation of historical truth and critical thinking, we propose that it actually benefits broader society in many ways which includes majority groups.
What is Interest Convergence?
To grasp the full scope of CRT's benefits, we must delve into the concept of interest convergence. This theory asserts that substantial progress in civil rights often materializes when the interests of marginalized groups align with those in positions of power or privilege, leading to mutually advantageous outcomes.
Derrick Bell, a luminary in the field of CRT, introduced the concept of interest convergence. He argued that Black individuals achieve civil rights victories when their interests align with the interests of white communities. A prime example of interest convergence unfolds in the historic case of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. This case marked a watershed moment in American history by declaring racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. According to Bell, the outcome in the Brown v. Board of Education case occurred because it advanced white interests too. Specifically, desegregation bolstered the nation's global image during the Cold War, portraying the United States as a democracy champion.
Subsequently, when interests diverged, the enforcement of civil rights saw curtailment. Later cases permitted segregation to persist for decades. Bell also highlighted later affirmative-action victories as instances of renewed interest convergence.
Whether we agree with this theory or not, it is logical when you understand politics is often led by the interests of specific groups in power, it is rational to see how the advancement of race coincided with the financial benefits of select groups. Another example would be the feminist movement and how it was funded by organizations who had financial interests in getting more women to work and pay taxes. There was a mutually beneficial outcome, which in hindsight may not have actually improved the status of women as intended. Now we see a whole new war against women increasing in terms of violence and gender ideology. It begs the question: will organizations with these agendas ever have interests that converge? Another topic for another day.
Does CRT benefit non-blacks?
Do as the Romans when in Rome they say. Why is that?
When you visit a place with a different culture, different belief systems, different histories, different social rules, it is your duty to learn about the other folks so that you can better adapt to their environment and be accepted as a friend and not someone hostile to them. You can apply the same logic to immigrants moving to a new country that they should learn about and become a part of. As well as the reverse, majority ethnicity groups that have stolen lands, colonized countries and infiltrated unique cultural groups over the years, who now recognize the wrong of their ancestors' ways, have a duty to learn about the people that were negatively affected. Why wouldn’t you want to know about your neighbour? Why wouldn’t you want to build stronger relationships in your community so that fear of the other guy and bias towards any specific group didn’t run your lives?
For example, President Biden committed to put $5.8 billion into historically Black colleges and universities. Whether or not we agree with how he used it or the specific effects of the policies (good or bad), it serves as an example of the interests of more than one group coming together. It also appears he didn't wait around for Congress to act when he took matters into his own hands with an executive order to make cops more accountable, clean up police departments, and fix up the justice system. Now whether or not this turns out to be another example of politicians using causes for their own benefit in the long run we won’t know for some time. But what we do know is that there are benefits for everyone when oppressed, marginalized or minority groups are granted equal opportunities to thrive. They work harder, make more money, commit less crime and are active in their communities. Understanding and empowering others is a no brainer.
How does CRT establish inclusion?
Critical Race Theory transcends racial boundaries and benefits not only Black individuals but also those from diverse backgrounds. CRT's power lies in its ability to unite communities in confronting systemic racism. Recognizing shared experiences of discrimination and embracing the concept of interest convergence, we can collaboratively build a more equitable society.
Embracing CRT does not entail sacrificing one's ego, position, or comfort. Instead, it entails recognizing the advantages of a more inclusive and just society and collaborating to realize this vision. Ultimately, the benefits of CRT outweigh any perceived losses, paving the path to a more equitable future for all, regardless of racial background. When we think in terms of we instead of me we can move mountains. Reach out now so we can help you lift the first stone.