Professor Ellen Berrey weighs in on the debate about Critical Race Theory

June 10, 2021 by Victoria Shi

Professor Ellen Berrey was recently featured in an article titled "What Is Critical Race Theory and Why Are Some People So Mad at It?" by Snopes. Over the past few months, Critical Race Theory (CRT) has become a topic that sparks heated debates among members of different political parties. In this article, Professor Berrey weighs in on the debate with her thoughts. She argues that because CRT can be generalized, this helps people better understand the disparities and dynamics across different systems. Professor Berrey, and others interviewed in this article, believe that it is important to understand these dynamics because doing so gives hope for change.

Professor Ellen Berrey is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, Mississauga and an affiliated scholar of the American Bar Foundation. Her research focuses on how law, organizational practice, and culture influence inequality. In her past projects, she has examined topics such as diversity discourse, affirmative action politics, employment discrimination litigation, corporate social responsibility, and urban gentrification.   

We've included an excerpt of the article below. You can read the full article here.

"Ellen Berrey, professor of sociology at the University of Toronto, told us that critical race theory helps understand these disparities because it can be generalized, meaning it can be applied across different systems to see what links them. She used the metaphor of blue-blocker sunglasses used for fishing, that filter out blue light so their wearers can more easily see fish.

“Where you point that lens, you should be able to see a set of dynamics more clearly and understand them better,” Berrey told us by phone.

“Critical race theory is strongest at explaining how broader systems interact — how do racism and classism get embedded and institutionalized in the health care system, or the legal system, or the educational system, or whatever word you wart to put in front of ‘system,'” Berrey added."