How Critical Race Theory Works

Ibram X. Kendi on CBS This Morning in 2019. (CBS This Morning/via YouTube)
Doing their best to verify horseshoe theory, critical race theorists join the chorus of white supremacists who claim that white people are responsible for everything.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE C ritical race theory is a subdiscipline of a broader and older intellectual project called “critical theory.” The former can’t be understood properly without some acquaintance with the latter.

Critical theory, though preceded by a whole host of philosophical antecedents and related ideas, was really pioneered by a group of German Marxist thinkers known as the Frankfurt School. Made up of philosophers, academics, and social scientists, this movement included Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, and Erich Fromm, among others. Horkheimer first defined “critical theory” in a 1937 essay contrasting it with what he called “traditional theory,” which, by his lights, sought


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