The essence of critical race theory, as i see it, is that neutrality doesn’t erase racial disparity (e.g. on average, whites have more wealth than blacks), rather, it reinforces the current initial conditions (e.g. a black kid is more likely to be born into a family with less wealth than a white kid). So it opposes the “colorblind” approach, which empowers whites to deny the existence of racism, and embraces a “multicultural” approach, where we try to consciously empower groups that might otherwise be under represented.
One reason the “colorblind” approach is so flawed is that our brain makes use of categorical relationships without our knowledge or consent, called “similarity bias”. If you’re hiring someone for a job, you might see one applicant that went to the same college as you, and therefore give them more consideration than what they might have otherwise received because they are “like you”. Some of this influence can occur along racial boundaries without you realizing it.
So there’s a few hurdles, one is that, is racial disparity actual racism? Is it racist for black kids, on average, to be born into families that have less money, to parents that have less education, to attend schools that aren’t as good, to be fed food that isn’t as healthy, to breathe air that isn’t as clean, to drink water that isn’t as clean, and so on? If you sufficiently isolate just
one of these factors, it might not be so bad, like if you just talk about how clean the air is, you can find lots of poor white families who live near industrial zones and breathe shitty air. But when you acknowledge the whole picture, it seems like we can and should do a better job to make sure every person is given a fair shot to succeed. Is it racism if blacks don’t do as well? I guess, to me, we see unequal outcomes, blacks have less wealth; so either society gives them less advantage (external cause), or blacks are inherently inferior (internal cause). The disparity is a cold, hard fact, it exists without doubt, and it must be caused by at least one of those two factors.
Personally, i do see a some flaws with aspects of critical race theory, but the essence of it rings true. It is not my field of expertise, so i would defer to academia. However, if my daughter came home, distraught and crying, because of all this white guilt or what have you, i would certainly have a problem with that. We are not personally responsible for these problems, we are only personally responsible for our own actions. Do your best and let go of the guilt.