Critical race theory is a field of intellectual inquiry that demonstrates the legal codification of racism in America (American Bar Association, 2021).
The development of critical race theory (CRT) by legal scholars such as Derrick Bell and Kimberlé Crenshaw was largely a response to the slow legal progress and setbacks faced by African Americans from the end of the Civil War, in 1865, through the end of the civil rights era, in 1968. To understand critical race theory, you need to first understand the history of African American rights in the U.S.
CRT is a lens for examining and analyzing laws, social structures, cultures, policies, history, and politics in a way that takes race and race relations into account. Just as one might consider how men and women have been treated differently throughout history, so too have people of different races. CRT looks at how past laws have affected people of different races to make sure the laws we pass today will be fair and just for all.