Dude and Dawg talk Critical Race Theory

Author's note: Dude is a lovable guy but he isn't always ON IT when it comes to social and political issues. Dawg spends way too much time online but loves to explain things. Their conversations can be goofy but some hard truths are dropped...

Dude: “Dawg”

Dawg: “Dude”

Dude: “So what is CRT?”

Dawg: “It’s a theory”

Dude: “So it’s a theory and not history?”

Dawg: “I mean… it’s in the name”

Dude: “What does the theory say?”

Dawg: “Wrong first question”

Dude: “Ok. What’s the first question?”

Dawg: “Where does it come from?”

Dude: shrugs “I don’t know…”

Dawg: “No sigh it’s… it’s the first question”

Dude: “Cool. So where does it come from?”

Dawg: “From Critical Theory.”

Dude: “And Critical Theory is…”

Dawg: “So, you know how for most of the liberal ideology nobody is really guilty but rather it’s “society”?”

Dude: “True dat”

Dawg: “Well, that’s mostly Critical Theory. Critical Theory posits that problems within society do not stem from individuals but from power structures. And because Critical Theory is Marxist…”

Dude: “Dawg?”

Dawg: “Dude?”

Dude: “Dawg, like, communist?”

Dawg: “Well it’s not really communism, it’s Marxism. Marxism is based on the struggle to reinvent society. It needs conflict to fuel revolutions and power changes, so everything according to Marxism is a fight between oppressed and oppressor, exploited and powerful people. Without that fight, people live comfortably, they’re not looking to change society so conventional power structures remain in place.”

Dude: “So it’s like communi-”

Dawg: “It’s NOT f*cking communism. It’s different. Communism is Marxism applied to the economy. Marxism pertains to society”

"Well I never imagined that CRT is actually communi-" "IT'S NOT COMMUNISM!"

Dude: “Alright, chill. So CRT is Marxist?”

Dawg: “As I was saying… Marxism is based on power struggle so in time philosophers started looking at how that power struggle is triggered in a society that isn’t collapsing at the economic level. Because it’s easy to start a revolution in a country where 1% holds all the land and 99% has trouble keeping what they need to eat, but it’s harder where people get by. Once the belly is full…

Dude: “Right, you have to take a d-”

Dawg: “No… Why are you like that? No, once the belly is full people become complacent. This isn’t great if you want to reshape society. So in the 30s in Germany they started looking into actual power structures. They started formulating this idea that power structures are built to match the image of those who hold power so that those without it wouldn’t be able to ever really be in power. Think of feminism: it says that society is controlled by men and that women are kept out of power structures.”

Dude: “WOAH, so feminism comes from Critical Theory?”

Dawg: “Not really, Critical Theory actually comes *after* a number of movements, it just that it properly codified in a single theory (though with many different sub-theories) their dynamics.”

Dude: “Cool, cool. I’m still not sure I understand what CRT is”

Dawg: “Right, so, Critical Theory posits that power structures are built by those in power and they keep those not in power out. But it doesn’t stop there, it actually says that describing all of that is not enough, you need to dismantle these structures”

Dude: “Dawg, I mean, they’re not TOTALLY wrong…”

Dawg: “Oh they’re absolutely right. I still maintain that Critical Theory is an awfully devastating Marxist idea that mainly brings sophistication to the fight against capitalism and the introduction of socialism, but this part of the theory is spot on: everywhere those in power build structures to keep it.”


It’s easy to start a revolution in a country where 1% holds all the land and 99% has trouble keeping what they need to eat, but it’s harder where people get by. So in the 30s in Germany they started looking into actual power structures

Dude: “Ok, so CRT is bad because…?”

Dawg: “That’s not the right question”

Dude: “Dawg, again?”

Dawg: “Well, I haven’t gotten to CRT yet… So, as you probably have figured out by now…”

Dude: blank stare

"And this CRT... is it here in the room with us now?"

Dawg: “…or not, whatever. Critical *Race* Theory is Critical Theory applied to how race influences power structures. This is a very US-centric theory that was born in the 70s. In essence, from even before the US was founded, everything was built around the supremacy of white people for the advancement of their race and causes. Slavery was used to build a society with free labor and all power structures were created to keep the white man in power and other races out of it.”

Dude: “Dawg, I mean, the Founding Fathers had slaves…”

Dawg: “True, and this is the insidious part of CRT: the basic assumption isn’t that far from the truth. The US was born out of a time in history when white men held black slaves and it’s fairly easy to understand how power structures started out being influenced by all of this”

Dude: “You always tell me you hate CRT, you’re saying it’s good now”

Dawg: “Oh I do hate it but not because of this. See, the Founding Fathers had slaves, sure, but the Constitution they wrote actually works toward doing away with slavery. Think of the Slave Trade Clause”

Dude: “Like Santa Clause but darker?”

Dawg: “…”

Dude: “What?”

Dawg: “Dude, this stuff is important because thanks to things like the 1619 Project it’s tearing society apart. When the Constitution was signed, they couldn’t simply abolish slavery, it wouldn’t have worked. There wouldn’t have been a Constitution if in the span of a day all slaveholders had been made criminals. So they had to settle for a compromise: according to this clause the government could not limit the “importation of persons”-”

Dude: “Dawg, you are literally telling me the Constitution was protecting slavery”

Dawg: “Dude, if you let me finish… The clause prohibits limitations until the year 1808. THAT was the compromise. They had already built in a way to dismantle slavery. And you want to know *how serious* politicians were about this? In 1807 US Congress passed a statute prohibiting slaves import starting first thing on January 1st 1808. Get it? They made sure to enact the ban even before the end of the compromise clause”

"See, it says that right there: 1776, not 1619"

Dude: “That’s awesome dawg but I feel like I’m getting further away from UNDERSTANDING WHAT CRT IS, MAN”

Dawg: “You’re right, I digressed a bit but that was to make you understand that CRT is very good at describing influence on power structures but it’s very dishonest when it comes to interpretation. Because CRT says that even today all of that still applies. Even today, in 2021, all power structures are influenced by white supremacy and slavery. That’s the entire point of the 1619 Project by the way: to paint America as a huge remnant of slavery that needs to be rebuilt from scratch


In 1807 US Congress passed a statute prohibiting slaves import starting first thing on January 1st 1808. They made sure to enact the ban even before the end of the compromise clause. The Constitution already contained the seed of anti-slavery and anti-racism

Dude: “Ok, so CRT says that the white man wants to keep power so the white man writes bills, rules, and conventions so that the white man never loses power?”

Dawg: “That’s uh… that’s what it is, I’m impressed. Yes, CRT says that racism is inherent in institutions and that they function to create and maintain inequalities between white people and minorities in all fields (economy, politics, etc.) So anyway, the point is that while all of that used to be kinda true in some areas, that’s not how society works today. And as I showed you, even the Constitution already contained the seed of anti-slavery and anti-racism. But before I go on let me show you the basic tenets of Critical Race Theory:

  • Race is social, not biological. There are no biological differences between races, the concept of race has been created by those in power to “otherize” people they consider inferior

  • There are no individual groups (black people, gay people, etc.) but rather, because of “intersectionality”, groups intersect, so oppressions pile up: a black woman experiences misogyny and racism, for example

  • Only members of a group can really speak to the issues that affect that group (white men shouldn’t talk about how to solve racism or misogyny, for example)

  • Racism in the US is not an exception, it’s the norm. That’s why black people get incarcerated more, etc.

Dude: “I mean…”

Dawg: “I know, I know, black people do get incarcerated more than white people. The problem is that CRT doesn’t follow a scientific method, it follows a confirmation method.”

Dude: “Dawg, you need to break that down for me”

Dawg: “Of course. It all started with Aristotle…”

Dude: “Yeah, I think I eat there sometimes”

Dawg: “…you mean Chipotle?”

Dude: finger gun “That’s the one”

Dawg: “Ok, let’s skip that part altogether. The way we analyze issues and form solutions is tied to the scientific method. Basically, we do this:

  • Observe a problem (black men are disproportionally incarcerated)

  • Make a hypothesis (white racist men target black men)

  • Test and analyze (collect data on how many white men are arresting black men, compare crimes committed, etc.)

  • Report a conclusion (black men are/are not targeted by white men)

Dude: “Alright, I get it. I’m missing my iPhone, I think my bro Crazzy Lazy Jim stole it, I see he has a

new phone, I now need a new phone so I put him in a headlock and take it back. The conclusion is that I have a phone now”

Dawg: sigh “It’s not… Actually… that is exactly how CRT proponents reason. Because they NEED their conclusion to match the problem they observe, so what they do is they skip the testing portion entirely like you did so that they can conclude racism is always the reason for any issue

Dude: “Why do they need that tho?”

Dawg: “Imagine your job is to talk about poverty and at some point, society manages to eliminate poverty…

Dude: “I don’t have a job anymore”

Dawg: “That’s right”

Dude: “No I mean I currently don’t have a job”

Dawg: pinches nose “…ok …but let’s pretend you do. Now suddenly you’re out of a job”

Dude: “Dawg, like, I just told you-”

Dawg: “THAT’S NOT THE POINT. The point is that if your job relies on a grievance, you have to keep that grievance alive as long as possible or you’re out of a job. So even if power structures are increasingly less white (Yale law minority students are now over-represented by more than 30%), a case needs to be made that actually white supremacy still rules. In fact, one of the tenets of Critical Race Theory is that advancements for people of color are only allowed when white men can benefit from them too. So basically whenever black people get more rights, that’s proof that white people control society even more

Dude: “Come on Dawg, now you’re making sh*t up”

Dawg: “I’m most certainly not. It’s called “interest convergence”, look it up”


One of the tenets of Critical Race Theory is that advancements for people of color are only allowed when white men can benefit from them too. So whenever black people get more rights, that’s proof that white people control society even more

Dude: “Pass, Dawg. And they teach this at school?”

Dawg: “That’s the tricky part. Critical Race Theory is a legal theory being taught in advanced law courses at college but at the same time is, well, a theory, that activists apply to everyday life. That means we have educators who subscribe to CRT and use that to influence teachings. You don’t study the theory of colors in kindergarten for example but colors are used in almost every single activity in kindergarten because the theory of colors informs teachings. But many liberals think saying “CRT is not being taught in schools” because there isn’t a CRT class is smart…”

Dude: “Word. But Dawg, slavery is real, white men killed black people in the South, black people couldn’t even drink from the same fountains, children need to learn that”

Dawg: “Of course, that’s history, CRT has nothing to do with history. CRT is a reading of history to expose additional dynamics and to explain inequities, it’s not history. You can and should teach the history of slavery but you don’t have to tell white children they are privileged and their black friends are oppressed. But activists believe that there is no such thing as “passive anti-racism”, so they want white children to understand that simply by being white they are inherently racist and they need to act on it. There are even children's books and textbooks for teachers for that.”

"Hey, it's a-me, Marxio!"

Dude: “So CRT is in schools because teachers follow that theory to manipulate black and brown students into believing that white people want to control them and that everything around them is driven by racism. And even if things seem better, it’s because there is even more control by white men. And the only way to fight it is to make white children believe that they are inherently racist so that they feel bad and try to become less white. And they use books with CRT-driven messages to do that”

Dawg: “Dude, when you get it you get it, that’s spot on”

Dude: “You know what? Nobody knows this stuff because you can’t read about it”

Dawg: “Dude, there’s a Wikipedia page for every single thing I told you. And there are Twitter accounts that share videos of educators who use CRT to teach. You don’t have to believe me, you can just read it yourself”

Dude: “For real?”

Dawg: “For real dude, look them up



Dude: “Dawg?”

Dawg: “Dude?”

Dude: “Now I’m hungry for Chipotle…”


Mr. Tate is a contributing writer at Flappr.net, you can follow him on Twitter at @mrtate

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