The Lure of Disempowerment: Reclaiming Agency in the Age of CRT seeks to remedy a ubiquitous problem we see in anti-racist activism in the academy and academy-adjacent spaces: disempowerment. This is the tendency to embrace victimhood and label opposing or even altered views as violent and inherently racist. We believe that an anecdote about the experience one of us had when engaging anti-racist academics is indicative of this disempowerment within circles of anti-racist activism. Therefore, we use that experience as a springboard into describing, explaining, and remedying the aforementioned fragility.
Prologue The Awakening Around Race in Our Contemporary Moment (Matthew Abraham)
Introduction Indignity and Degradation: The Lure of Disempowerment (Erec Smith)
Chapter 1 Critical Social Justice vs. Empowerment Theory (Erec Smith)
Chapter 2 Intrapersonal Empowerment (Erec Smith)
Chapter 3 Interactional Empowerment (Erec Smith)
Chapter 4 Behavioral Empowerment (Erec Smith)
Conclusion Empowerment, Classical Liberalism, and the End of Racism (Erec Smith) 89 Epilogue Who’s Afraid of Erec Smith? (Matthew Abraham)
First, I would like to thank my co-author, Matthew Abraham, for being brave enough to take on this endeavor with me. His intelligence and viewpoint provide significant motivation for this work. Like me, he believes that academia and social justice groups in general are moving in a divisive and detrimental direction, and he is as motivated as I am to reverse this trend. Many thanks to those at Kendall Hunt (Lindsey Wynne, Michele Bahr, and Deepthi Mohan) for believing in this book and being patient and accommodating throughout the process. Thanks, also, to my colleagues at York College of Pennsylvania for their tolerance and civility amidst the disciplinary drama that has ensued as a result of my criticism of anti-racist endeavors in the field of rhetoric and composition. I want to express appreciation to the organizations and communities of like-minded scholars, writers, parents, and students who want to see a better methodology for diversity, equity, and inclusion than the divisive and often irrational trainings and pedagogies currently done in the name of anti-racism. I would like to thank Erin Strine for her unending support as I researched, wrote, and spoke for the benefits of empowerment theory and against the detriments of contemporary anti-racist pedagogy and activism. I also want to thank Erin for providing a quiet and welcoming place to write and research. I would like to thank proponents of CRT and CRT-inspired methodologies; your incivility and hyper-emotionality gave me the drive necessary to write a book critiquing such methodologies in a relatively short time with a relatively full schedule. Lastly, I would like to thank my mother for being my biggest cheerleader even though she has to use a dictionary to understand my work.