来自 “纽约时报” 早在 1997 年的新闻部分，一篇文章表明有些东西永远不会改变，例如批判种族理论，而其他东西确实会改变，例如 “纽约时报”:
尼尔 A. 刘易斯
几年前，马里兰大学法学教授陶尼亚·洛弗尔·班克斯 (Taunya Lovell Banks) 乘火车前往巴尔的摩时，一名男子将自己暴露在她面前，然后撞上了下一辆车。
班克斯教授和售票员讨论了该怎么做，包括是否逮捕该男子。 售票员建议让他在下一站下车。 这让班克斯教授开始思考当时的情况。
她和那个男人都是黑人； 导体是白人。 如果她是白人，售票员会不会以不同的方式对待这件事？ 如果导体是黑人怎么办？ 这个人是不是因为作为一个黑人，社会对他的压力太大，提供的帮助太少而精神错乱？
一个普通的观察者可能会认为火车上发生的事情是一个相对简单的事件。 但班克斯教授是少数族裔学者中日益增长的学术运动的拥护者，称为批判种族理论，该运动认为人们对事件的看法绝大多数取决于他们的种族背景。 对于批判种族理论家来说，此类事件很少是直截了当的，或者在其他人看来是这样的。
Critical race theorists, who are on the faculty at almost every major law school and are producing an ever-growing body of scholarly work, have drawn from an idea made popular by postmodernist scholars of all races, that there is no objective reality. …
Originating in the nation’s law schools, critical race theory has spread far beyond those institutions to become a significant new front in the nation’s increasingly fractious culture wars. Supporters and opponents agree that it has a clear and obvious bearing on familiar issues like the legitimacy of ebonics and Afrocentric curriculums, the guilt or innocence of O. J. Simpson and the fairness of affirmative action — helping to explain how whites and blacks can find themselves quivering with exasperation at each other’s view on those issues.
Perhaps most significantly, critical race theory is providing an intellectual foundation for newly flourishing forms of black separateness. …
While they do not disapprove of integration that occurs naturally, critical race theorists reject the classic liberal view of integration as the ultimate goal. They deride the concept of a colorblind society.
”Critical race theory counters colorblindness by saying that race is not simply skin color, and it tries to reveal the ways that race is a category that has been structured out of law and culture and history,” said Prof. Kimberle Crenshaw of the University of California at Los Angeles Law School, an editor of the leading anthology on the subject.
”Most people think law is being neutral if it doesn’t say anything explicit about race,” she said. ”But it is not usually neutral. It is simply facilitating whatever power relationships were in existence when the law was put in place.”
One important battleground in critical race theory is the criminal justice system: Why, the theorists ask, are a disproportionate number of the men in America’s jails black? Many critical race theorists say it is because the system is infected with racism at every level, from prosecutors’ offices to judges’ chambers.
Some of the nontraditional proposals made by minority law professors startle, and even anger, some of their white colleagues. Prof. Paul Butler of the George Washington University Law School has gone so far as to suggest that blacks, usually a majority on urban juries, should exercise their power to acquit black defendants in nonviolent drug crimes.
Professor Butler, a former Federal prosecutor, has also suggested that black jurors should assess whether black Americans would be helped or harmed by acquitting black defendants accused of stealing the property of whites. He has portrayed his suggestions as a kind of black self-help, a direct way of adjusting the score after decades of racial oppression.
Critics of critical race theory, like Prof. Suzanna Sherry of the University of Minnesota law school, contend that it defies common sense and abandons intellectual principles in an effort to promote the political standing of blacks in society.
Professor Sherry, a co-author of ”Beyond All Reason” (Oxford University Press), a forthcoming book that challenges critical race theory, suggested in an interview that the movement was the result of increasing frustration among black intellectuals over the failure to eradicate racism.
”The problem with denying any objective reality,” she said, ”is that there is no way of mediating among the competing perceptions of reality except power. And what they ultimately want is more power for their perceptions.”
Many critical race theorists say an important tool for members of minorities in overcoming their disadvantages is to tell stories, some of them from individual experience and some of them parables. Storytelling, Professor Crenshaw said, aims at ”challenging versions of reality put forward by the dominant white culture.”
They call it “lived experience” these days, but I like “storytelling” better.
Black men, for example, may tell stories about police brutality that are at odds with the official version of how common such behavior is. By putting forward an anecdotal version of reality, Professor Crenshaw said, the men assert the primacy of personal experience — and no matter what society tells them, they trust their own personal experiences.
After all, they are men who get in trouble with the cops a lot. If you can’t trust criminals, who can you trust?
Some critical race scholars also construct elaborate fables to illustrate their points. Their books typically eschew evidence to make a point, relying instead on fictionalized tales or dialogue.
But for Professor Sherry, ”storytelling doesn’t bear the slightest pressure once you start to examine it.” Such storytelling, she said, starts with conclusions, ”and when you start with conclusions, it’s all too easy to make arguments that won’t withstand any scrutiny.”
Her co-author and colleague at the University of Minnesota, Daniel A. Farber, who, like Professor Sherry, is white, said another problem with storytelling, especially personal narratives like the one by Professor Banks, is that when someone challenges a story, ”you’re not just criticizing someone’s scholarship, but you’re attacking their life, something that goes to the heart of their identity.” Dr. Farber added, ”That can make a dialogue very difficult.”
In defense of storytelling, Prof. Alex M. Johnson Jr. of the University of Virginia has written that minority scholars have a distinct ”voice of color,” which ”rejects narrow evidentiary concepts of relevance and credibility.”
Some theorists go so far as to say that what really happened in a particular incident may be no more important than what people feel or say happened. For example, some argue that even though Tawana Brawley, then a teen-ager, made up her account that a gang of white men, one with a badge, raped and defiled her in New York in 1987, her story is still valid because it offers truths about the oppression of black women.
In her book ”The Alchemy of Race and Rights” (Harvard, 1991), Prof. Patricia Williams of the Columbia University Law School appeared to suggest that it made little difference whether Ms. Brawley had made up her account. The teen-ager, Professor Williams wrote, was the victim of an unspeakable crime ”no matter who did it to her — and even if she did it to herself.”
”Her condition was clearly the expression of some crime against her, some tremendous violence, some great violation that challenges comprehension,” Professor Williams said.
No, Tawana Brawley was out late with her boyfriend and was going to get punished for it by her parents, so she made up a story about how six white policemen had raped her, which Al Sharpton took and ran with.
”Tawana’s terrible story has every black woman’s worst fears and experiences wrapped into it.”
Critics of Professor Williams’s comments, however, note that a New York State grand jury investigated Ms. Brawley’s story and concluded that she had made it up. Professor Williams, Professor Sherry wrote, seems ”unable to distinguish between Brawley’s fantasized rape and another woman’s real one.”
In a recent interview, Professor Williams said she had been misinterpreted. She meant, she said, that the debate about whether Ms. Brawley was telling the truth obscured that she was a troubled minor.
”Her needs were not dealt with, as they should have been with any child,” Professor Williams said. Further, Ms. Brawley was transformed into a stereotype of ”black women as hard women who can never really suffer any violation,” she added.
Professor Cook, of Georgetown, the author of a book about race and religion called ”The Least of These” (Routledge, 1997), put it a different way. Even if Ms. Brawley made up her story, he said, it was meaningful because it accurately represented black women’s collective fear of racial and sexual mistreatment, a fear reinforced by centuries of domination and subjugation.
Then what about the stories told by Susan Smith in South Carolina and Charles Stuart in Boston, whites who falsely blamed black men for horrific crimes they had committed themselves? Don’t they tell the story, say, of white fear of black crime?
Professor Cook said that the Stuart and Smith events were far less valid than Ms. Brawley’s because hers represents a story from an oppressed class.
Prof. Jeffrey A. Rosen of the George Washington University Law School wrote recently in The New Republic, where he is the legal affairs editor, that miscarriages of justice in the O. J. Simpson criminal trial were the ultimate real-world expression of critical race theory.
”Surely the most striking example of the influence of the critical race theorists on the American legal system is the O. J. Simpson case, in which Johnnie L. Cochran dramatically enacted each of the most controversial postulates of the movement before a transfixed and racially divided nation,” Professor Rosen wrote. ”Indeed, Cochran’s strategy in the courtroom might be best described as applied critical race theory.”
He added that Mr. Cochran ”set out, through storytelling and the manipulation of racial iconography, to create a narrative that transformed O. J. from a coddled celebrity into the civil rights martyr of a racist police force.”