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What We're Reading: Critical Race Theory Edition

Wednesday, August 4, 2021
by Alice Y. Hom, Director Equity and Social Justice, Northern California Grantmakers 

“The challenge is that we're not in a debate about CRT. This debate and the messaging about it, is itself a tactic. It's a loud debate because it has to be loud to distract us from what the other side is really doing, and that is to destroy our democracy.”  - Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw 

The term Critical Race Theory (CRT) is being proposed as an area of study intended to harm white children. The language, Ibram X Kendi reminds us... “echoes the rhetoric used to demonize desegregation after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, in 1954.” Hearing it from legislators and parents has been disconcerting.  

I’m someone who went into a graduate program in history and wrote a dissertation on hidden and oftentimes, erased stories on resilience and activism by queer women of color. I’m attuned to what gets taught, why some topics aren’t, and the process determining who decides; it’s a systemic, not individual issue. Backlashes to racial justice aren’t new and we’ve faced them in the past. One way to face them now is to learn more, understand how it might impact your work, and be prepared to counter false narratives and messages about critical race theory.  

Get Involved

More than 860 funders and others in philanthropy joined the webinar featuring some of the leading voices in the current battles against the attacks on Critical Race Theory and racial justice broadly. Presenters included Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, one of the earlier architects of CRTand co-founder of African American Policy Forum, Dennis Chin of Race Forward, and Eric Ward of Western States Center, each adding layers of how funders can also engage at grassroots local and regional levels. 

1. ABFE and PRE Funder Briefing

The webinar,  Emergency Funder Briefing: The Dangers of Ignoring the Disinformation Campaign Against Critical Race Theory discusses where the argument lies and contains resources on how to talk about critical race theory. 

Watch > 

What I’m Reading 

1. There Is No Debate Over Critical Race Theory 

by Ibram X. Kendi, The Atlantic

2. Critical Race Theory is not Anti-Asian

by Mari Matsuda, Reappropriate


What I’m Listening To 

1. Backlash Against Critical Race Theory Gains Steam Amid Reckoning on Racism

hosted by Mina Kim, KQED

Listen > 
2. Race at Work, a two-part series on Critical Race Theory 
  • The Guardian’s Julia Carrie Wong: Understanding Critical Race Theory, Part 1 Listen > 
  • UCLA Law’s Laura E. Gómez: Understanding Critical Race Theory, Part 2 Listen >  
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