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什么是种族批判理论?

种族批判理论是一种对种族和种族主义的特定思维方式,它源起于上世纪70年代的哈佛法学院,初步建立于90年代早期。它宣称自己的目的是质疑民权运动和民权法案在改善种族状况上起到的作用(在西方国家,尤其是美国),它真正的目的是彻底重组社会,文化,法律的大环境,并以此逆转它认为历史上存在过的种族不公。

为了简要地说明这一点,我将向诸位援引《种族批判理论:来自于种族批判理论家Delgado 与 Stefancic的引言》中的两句原文。这些原文以种族批判理论自身的文字,概括了种族批判理论的实质。

首先,种族批判理论是这样理解种族和种族主义的:种族是政治建构,白人建构了种族,以便于维护自身特权,同时排斥他人,种族主义是社会的常态,存在于所有的交互中,存在于所有的机构中,存在于所有的现象中,而且将永远持续下去(除非展开彻底的社会文化革命,让种族批判理论家掌握大权)。也就是说,在种族批判理论的预设中,种族主义无处不在,种族批判理论把这种预设当作教条,这一教条也就是人们知道的”系统化种族主义”。Delgado 和 Stefancic在书中如是说道,

种族批判理论家相信什么呢?也许他们并不都相信这本书的所有宗旨,但大都同意以下的几点主张:首先,种族主义是常态,而不是什么反常现象—它是惯例,是社会的平常运转方式,是有色人种的日常经历。其次,多数人会赞同,我们的制度是白人优先的制度,这个制度在物质层面和精神层面均起有着重要的功用。种族主义的第一特性,即普遍性,使得种族主义难以改变,难以面对。……种族主义的第二特性,有时又叫做”利益聚合性” 或 “物质决定性,则提供了一个更广泛的视角。种族主义既有利于白人精英(物质上),也有利于工薪阶层白人(心理上),因此,社会中的大部分人并无意消除种族主义。

如你所见,种族批判理论家相信人们普遍从种族主义中获利,因此普遍希望维持”系统化种族主义”,这也是为什么种族批判理论家会宣称几乎所有人都是种族主义者。那些尤其擅长在任何事物中发现”系统化种族主义”的人,就被称为”种族批判理论家”,这些人采用的是种族批判理论的第一条预设,用Robin DiAngelo的话来说,就是:”问题不在于’种族主义有没有发生?’ 而在于’种族主义在此情况下是如何体现的?’ “也就是说,他们先是预定了种族主义无处不在,然后再”批判”地寻找种族主义,直到找到为止。还有很重要的一点:判定种族主义是否发生的,不是客观的标准,而是主观的”生活经历”,有没有证据无关紧要。

其次,和很多人以为的不一样,种族批判理论并没有继承民权运动的遗产。种族批判理论反对西方社会的两大基石:自由主义和宪政民主,并且同时否认了宪法的平等原则和中立原则(这些原则是废奴运动和民权运动的支柱)。它还否定了合法推论和启蒙理性主义。既然它有着这些特点,那么根据定义,种族批判理论便是反理性的,反自由的,反平等的,反美国的一种理论。

“种族批判理论运动包话了各种致力于研究和改变种族,种族主义与权力之间的联系的学者和社会活动人士,该运动与传统的民权研究和种族研究所关注的议题类似,但与后者不同的是,本运动试图将这些议题放在更广括的视角下进行研究,这包括了经济,历史,环境,群体利益,个人利益,情感和潜意识。与传统的,注重改良主义和逐步进步的民权话语不同,种族批判理论质疑自由主义秩序的根本,包括了平等理论,合法推论,启蒙理性主义,和宪法的中立原则。”

种族批判理论认为,自由社会的基石,也就是自由主义原则,没有消除,而是掩盖和维持了岐视。正如Özlem Sensoy 和 Robin DiAngelo在她们的种族批判理论手册《人们真的平等吗?》中写道的,

“种族批判理论运动原先提倡过某种形式的自由人文主义(个人主义,自由,和平),但迅速转向了自由人文主义的对立面。自由人文主义的背后的思想是个人自由(认为人们可以独立地做出理性决定,决定自身的命运),在种族批判理论看来,这一思想掩盖了系统化的种族主义,让弱势群体接受现状。换句话说,它让人们错误地以为自己拥有比社会结构允许他们拥有的更多的自由和选择。”

可以看到,种族批判理论对我们社会有着根本不同的看法,我们中的多数人并没有意识到这一点,也不认同这种看法。种族批判理论先是预设了种族主义无所不在,再刻意地去寻找它。他们说,不这样做的人,以及不同意种族批判理论的人,就是种族主义的共犯。他们还否定了自由社会所赖以运行的自由主义原则,理性原则,法律原则和科学原则。因此,即便他们对种族和种族主义的看法有些是对的,他们也是各种意义上的激进派,很难相信这些人会诚实地描述现实,而有足够的理由相信这些人在种族问题上起到的恰恰是反面作用。

What Is Critical Race Theory?

I’ve been asked a million times for a short introduction to Critical Race Theory that hits the high points in a quick, straightforward way. Most people will have heard of Critical Race Theory by now, but in case you haven’t, it’s a particular way of thinking about race and racism that developed first at Harvard Law School from the late 1970s through the early 1990s. Its stated objective is to question whether the Civil Rights Movement and Civil Rights Acts legislation improved the racial situation in Western nations, especially the United States. Its true objective is to re-organize the social, cultural, and legal playing field in a way that claims to reverse “historical injustices” around the issue of race, allegedly without reproducing them.

To keep this short and simple, I’ll provide you with two quotes from the book Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (third edition) by Critical Race Theorists Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic. These quotes summarize everything that Critical Race Theory is really about in its own words.

First, Critical Race Theory views race and racism this way: race is a political construction that was invented by white people to give themselves power while excluding all other races from it, and racism is the ordinary state of affairs in society, present in all interactions, institutions, and phenomena, and effectively permanent in society (short of a full sociocultural revolution that puts them in charge). That is, Critical Race Theory assumes that racism is present in everything under a doctrine known as “systemic racism.” Quoting from Delgado and Stefancic,

What do critical race theorists believe? Probably not every member would subscribe to every tenet set out in this book, but many would agree on the following propositions. First, that racism is ordinary, not aberrational—“normal science,” the usual way society does business, the common, everyday experience of most people of color in this country. Second, most would agree that our system of white-over-color ascendancy serves important purposes, both psychic and material. The first feature, ordinariness, means that racism is difficult to cure or address. … The second feature, sometimes called “interest convergence” or material determinism, adds a further dimension. Because racism advances the interests of both white elites (materially) and working-class people (psychically), large segments of society have little incentive to eradicate it.

As you can see, Critical Race Theorists believe that people who they claim benefit from “systemic racism,” which they declare to be the ordinary state of affairs in society, want to maintain it, which is why Critical Race Theorists say virtually everyone is racist. People who are especially skilled at finding the “systemic racism” in everything are called “Critical Race Theorists.” They proceed according to a simplified version of this first assumption of Critical Race Theory, which can be expressed in the words of Robin DiAngelo this way: “The question is not ‘Did racism take place?’ but ‘How did racism manifest in that situation?’” That is, they assume racism is present in everything and look for it “Critically” until they find it. Importantly, this is assessed subjectively according to the “lived experience” of racism and does not depend upon there being any evidence of racism.

Second, Critical Race Theory does not continue the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, as many incorrectly believe. It is against liberalism and the liberal order upon which Western societies are founded, and it rejects both equality and neutral principles of constitutional law (these were the backbone of both the abolitionist movement that ended slavery and the Civil Rights Movement). It also rejects legal reasoning and Enlightenment rationalism. This makes Critical Race Theory unreasonable, illiberal, against equality, and anti-American, by definition.

The critical race theory (CRT) movement is a collection of activists and scholars engaged in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power. The movement considers many of the same issues that conventional civil rights and ethnic studies discourses take up but places them in a broader perspective that includes economics, history, setting, group and self-interest, and emotions and the unconscious. Unlike traditional civil rights discourse, which stresses incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law.

Critical Race Theory believes these bedrock liberal principles upon which free societies are built are ways that discrimination can be hidden and maintained rather than overcome. As stated by Özlem Sensoy and Robin DiAngelo in their Critical Theory education manual Is Everyone Really Equal?,

[Critical] movements initially advocated for a type of liberal humanism (individualism, freedom, and peace) but quickly turned to a rejection of liberal humanism. The ideal of individual autonomy that underlies liberal humanism (the idea that people are free to make independent rational decisions that determine their own fate) was viewed as a mechanism for keeping the marginalized in their place by obscuring larger structural systems of inequality. In other words, it fooled people into believing that they had more freedom and choice than societal structures actually allow.

As you can see, Critical Race Theory presents a radically different view of our society and of us than most of us recognize or accept. They begin with the assumption of racism and look to find it. They say everyone who doesn’t do this is complicit in the problem, including just for disagreeing with Critical Race Theory. And they reject the fundamental liberal, reasonable, legal, and scientific principles upon which liberal societies operate. That is, even though they touch on real truths about race and racism in our world, they are radicals in every sense of the word, and there’s almost no reason to believe they describe reality as it is and much reason to believe they get the issue almost exactly backwards.

newdiscourses.com/2021/01/what

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