wat0n wrote:You don't need to do away with neutrality of the law to close socioeconomic gaps.
Eh, kind of. What CRT describes is the difference between the idealism of racism and the realism of racism. The racist ideal can be largely stamped out of laws, and largely has in the USA, without addressing the real outcome.
Take for example a law banning basketball within the city limits. This is not explicitly a racist law, and applies to all races equally. Culturally, African Americans may play more basketball, but even then, there is nothing inherent in their racial identity that makes basketball some sort of racial thing. This is not a racist law, consequently, despite perhaps disproportionately affecting a specific group, but it has real outcomes. This is one form of how racism is perpetuated despite legal neutrality, according to CRT, albeit a sort of obvious example.
Let's take a different example, one more subtle. Rather than banning basketball, I decide I want to support ice hockey by giving youth ice hockey leagues a small subsidy. Again, there is nothing inherently racist about this - black folks are perfectly capable of playing ice hockey, just like white folks. However, there are real barriers at play here: ice hockey is a much more expensive sport to play, with significant infrastructure costs for the community as well as upfront costs for individuals who want to play in the form of skates, sticks, and so on. If I pass a law giving a financial grant to ice hockey stadiums, this money, by default, will go to more affluent communities where there is more of a demand for ice hockey because such communities and individuals residing in them can afford these costs. Again, none of this is intrinsically racist - affluence is not race. Nonetheless, because of historical idealistic racist laws, such as redlining, or other laws that contributed to community segregation and the wealth gap, this neutral, non-racist law does exclude, according to CRT folks, black people and perpetuate gaps in racial equality.
As such, neutrality in the law which ignores outcomes, such as a law providing subsidies to youth ice hockey leagues, nonetheless perpetuate racist outcomes, unless the law comes with disproportionately higher spending in less affluent communities to address that gap by building ice rinks or providing free equipment. A 'neutral law' which does not proactively address gaps is, in effect, not neutral. That's CRT in a nutshell.
In education, this is why CRT proponents are often against measures like standardized testing. Of course testing itself isn't racist; yet the increased resources available to non-black and more affluent communities (which, unfortunately in the US, these terms are often synonymous) for private tutoring, extra study time, more quality study time, better libraries, etc etc that are left over from eras where laws were less neutral still remains. Unless laws supporting standardized testing include portions to address existing achievement gaps, they ultimately perpetuate those gaps and these non-racist legislators, enacting race-neutral laws, are still nonetheless perpetuating the ripple effects of yesterday's racist policies down the generations.