Critical Race Theory

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Critical Race Theory (CRT) distinguishes itself from other forms of critical theorizing by unapologetically focusing on race. Herein is a brief and selective history of the founding of CRT, a description of major contributions to the field, and a discussion of its application in U. S. education research over the last 20 years. In addition, there is an explication of its connections to literacy research that examines its application and use in analysis, methods, pedagogy, and theory. A review of extant literature reveals that CRT literacy research can help to demystify and reveal the blockages that disrupt literacy progress by: (a) unveiling the construction of race as biological and the privileging of whiteness, (b) challenging institutional and systemic racism within policies and laws that use citizenship/immigration status to deny access and opportunity for literacy; (c) addressing unspoken racist assumptions that underpin demands for standardized literacy testing (emphasis on individual merit and the insistence of the dominant culture‘s language); (d) critiquing the use of coded language that supports “colorblind” rhetorical stances toward race (cultural imperialism, economic and social oppression, ethnic and cultural devaluation, and social and political marginalization); and (e) providing an examination of the laws and policies as well as traditions and customs that determine citizenship status, class, and racial categories of inclusion/exclusion. Moreover, there is an examination of CRT literacy research in progress and a discussion of problems and difficulties. The entry concludes with a description of multiple pathways available for future directions of CRT literacy scholarship.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLiteracies and Language Education
EditorsBrian V. Street, Stephen May
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-02321-2
StatePublished - Jul 19 2016

Publication series

NameEncyclopedia of Language and Education


  • anti-essentialism
  • counternarratives
  • interest convergence
  • intersectionality
  • race
  • racism


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