OA502: Why Critical Race Theory is Indispensable

This is a continuation of Episode 501’s exploration of a rather arcane bit of legal jurisprudence that has somehow become the target du jour of the right wing, from Matt Gaetz to Newsmax to… well, Matt Gaetz again. That’s right, it’s an explanation of what critical race theory actually is, and whether it should be banned. (Hint: no)

In this episode, you’ll learn more about the definitely NOT Marxist postmodern critique of language and legal textbooks, including an in-depth discussion of a case you probably have never heard of — Johnson & Graham’s Lessee v. M’Intosh, 21 U.S. 543 (1823). And if you have heard of the case, then a) you’re probably a lawyer or law student, and b) you should thank a critical legal studies theorist!

We’ll also get in depth with two of the founders of the CRT movement, Mari Matsuda and Kimberle Crenshaw. Learn what their unique contributions to legal scholarship were and are, and decide for yourself whether this is too dangerous for grad students to even read.

Finally, we’ll delve back into the one-man astroturf unit that is Christopher F. Rufo and learn how he’s deliberately misleading everyone about what CRT is in order to stoke a moral panic. This is an episode you don’t want to miss & might want to share even with your Uncle Frank!

Finally, we do an Andrew Was Wrong on Arrow’s Theorem as math professors rise up and storm our studio.


  1. We first discussed CRT in Episode 501; go check that out if you haven’t yet.
  2. Andrew definitively stated that he was not a CRT theorist & believed there are right answers in the law in Episode 477 critiquing originalism.
  3. Florida’s latest law is HB 233 on “intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity,” which kind of contradicts the whole banning CRT thing.
  4. Check out Richard Delgado & Jean Stefancic’s “Rodrigo’s Reappraisal” (2021).
  5. You can read Johnson & Graham’s Lessee v. M’Intosh, 21 U.S. 543 (1823) for yourself.
  6. The Rufo timeline we mentioned was published in the Wall Street Journal, and you can check out the text of Trump’s executive order here. You can also read his garbage article in the NY Post… you know what? I’m not going to link that. He’s terrible.
  7. You should definitely read Mari Matsuda’s Public Response to Racist Speech: Considering the Victim’s Story (1989) and Kimberle Crenshaw’s Mapping the Margins:  Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color from the 1991 Stanford Law Review.
  8. Finally, I would also recommend reading Aya Gruber’s “Against Carceral Feminism” (2021).


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