Assistant Minister for Women Amanda Stoker (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

Amanda Stoker, the assistant attorney-general, doesn’t like the term “anti-racism”. She hates it so much she got the Australian Human Rights Commission to scrap a tender enhancing a much-needed anti-racism campaign, according to a report in Guardian Australia.

Why did the senator take issue with “anti-racism”, which on its surface sounds like an objectively good thing? It’s because, according to a spokesperson, anti-racism is closely related to critical race theory, a once-obscure set of academic ideas that has somehow become a bogeyman for culture war conservatives the world over.

What is critical race theory?

Firstly, it’s not really all that scary. It refers to a set of ideas created by influential legal scholars such as Kimberlé Crenshaw and Richard Delgado, who were trying to grapple with the endurance of structural racism in a post-civil rights world in which black people were granted formal equality and many white Americans believed the problem of racism was fixed.