Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
Higher education is known to be an engine of political theories. Some of the theories catch fire, if you will, spreading from the academies to the avenues where political and educational ideologies merge to become a double-barrelled force of persuasion and policy.
Some for the good; others not so much.
The popular and recent “Critical Race Theory” (definition below) is one such theory in the worrisome category when one unpacks its core tenets (also below) not only in academia but also as it has bled out onto the streets torn up by riots (as opposed to legal protests), if not expressed in the same terms.
By contrast, consider what might be called “Critical Christ Truth,” an opposing viewpoint that offers truth not conjecture because its core tenet is freedom, and not just for one race, tribe, or tongue, but for all. And for all time. As put in John 8:36,
So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. (NASB)
Most notably here, it has nothing to do with immutable factors such as the color of one’s skin.
Indeed, there are no qualifications other than that the invited (read: everybody everwhere, you and me) take Jesus Christ up on His offer of salvation and not just for one era but forever. (Read here for more information.)
Skipping ahead to the point of this essay for a moment: if you haven’t yet, I encourage you to consider Christ–Who offers inclusivity not exclusivity, redemption not riot, peace not pandemonium–to satisfy your own solution for the fundamental cry of everyone’se heart to be included among the redeemed at peace.
Particularly now when the siren is sounding on what may well be the last stages of the United States, indeed perhaps even Western Civilization, as we have known it.*
For if you don’t find sure footing, if it’s not the hill called skin color on which you would succumb, it would be something else, if you think about it.
Because given the flaws and temptations of human nature there’s always going to be something to squabble, if not riot, over, especially if the ivy-tower types who presumably have the smarts to solve these things theorize that something is unsolvable (read on), in which case the angst is terminal.
But first, some definitions:
Critical: adjective meaning “Relating to criticism or careful analysis…Involving judgment as to the truth or merit of something”…Including scholarly commentary and interpretation” ( wordnik.com).
Theory: “a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact” (dicionary.com).
Truth: “the state of being the case: Fact” (merriam-webster.com). I would add “a condition of being” not subject to the constant state of flux known as mankind’s incessant search on its own for absolute meaning. In other words, the search for what is constant yesterday, today, and forever. However, as it is, we seem to be…
…always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:7)
Because if you think about this, too, had we been able to find the pot at the end of that existential rainbow we wouldn’t need to continually try to come up with a better theory.
Critical Race Theory (CRT): Long Version
In a previous post on the spreading CRT influence in some Christian churches, I included a definition of the popular theory. Here is an excerpt:
According to Encycolpaedia Britannica online:
Critical race theory (CRT), the view that race, instead of being biologically grounded and natural, is socially constructed and that race, as a socially constructed concept, functions as a means to maintain the interests of the white population that constructed it. According to CRT, racial inequality emerges from the social, economic, and legal differences that white people create between “races” to maintain elite white interest in labour markets and politics and as such create the circumstances that give rise to poverty and criminality in many minority communities. Though the intellectual origins of the movement go back much further, the CRT movement officially organized itself in July 1989…
From another article focusing on CRT in higher education,** here are its “five tenets” (tenet: “a principle, belief, or doctrine generally held to be true”). The end link is to the original article wherein the citations are embedded. A “short version/summary” of the tenets appears below the excerpt.
You might find this theory and its tenets shocking and not at all how it’s advertised–as some kind of panacea for the arguably resurgent racial tension in the United States*** because it is seeded with anti-White/anti-America propaganda:
CRT’s framework is comprised of the following five tenets: […]
Counter-storytelling is a framework that legitimizes the racial and subordinate experiences of marginalized groups […] counter-stories are a resource that both expose and critique the dominant (male, White, heterosexual) ideology, which perpetuates racial stereotypes. Counter-stories are personal, composite stories or narratives of people of color. […]
The permanence of racism suggests that racism controls the political, social, and economic realms of U.S. society. In CRT, racism is seen as an inherent part of American civilization, privileging White individuals over people of color in most areas of life, including education. […]
In higher education, racism may be analyzed through a lens that examines the structural impact. When higher education ignores the existence of systematic racism, diversity action plans become ineffective […] Instead, these initiatives work to propel and reinforce structural and institutional racism […] Therefore, it is important to consider how well intended institutional processes and procedures can potentially promote racism when working toward improving an institution’s plan for diversity and inclusion. […]
The third tenet of CRT is Whiteness as property. Due to the embedded racism in American society, Whiteness can be considered a property interest. […] As a result, this notion operates on different levels. These include the right of possession, the right to use and enjoyment, the right to disposition, and the right of exclusion […] Historically, the idea of Whiteness as property has been perpetuated as an asset that only White individuals can possess. […] During enslavement, African men, women, and children were objectified as property. […] This historic system of ownership and the reverberations from it further reinforce and perpetuate the system of White supremacy because only White individuals can benefit from it.[…]
Interest convergence is the fourth tenet of CRT. This tenet acknowledges White individuals as being the primary beneficiaries of civil rights legislation. […] DeCuir and Dixson argued, “early civil rights legislation provided only basic rights to African Americans, rights that had been enjoyed by White individuals for centuries. These civil rights gains were in effect superficial ‘opportunities’ because they were basic
tenets of U.S. democracy” (p. 28). An example of this is affirmative action. Although under constant attack as a benefit for people of color, research shows that the major recipients have been White women […] because White women potentially support households where White men and children live, affirmative action ultimately benefits White individuals in general. Therefore, White individuals benefit from a structure that was initially implemented to offer equal opportunity to people of color. […]
The fifth tenet of CRT, critique of liberalism, stems from the ideas of colorblindness, the neutrality of the law, and equal opportunity for all. […] However, when analyzing the role of racism within U.S. society:
Whereby rights and opportunities were both conferred and withheld based almost exclusively on race, the idea that the law is indeed colorblind and neutral is insufficient (and many would argue disingenuous) to redress its deleterious effects. Furthermore, the notion of colorblindness fails to take
into consideration the persistence and permanence of racism and the construction of people of color as Other. […] Colorblindness is a mechanism that allows people to ignore racist policies that perpetuate social inequity continue reading …
Critical Race Theory: Short Version/Summary
Obvious conclusion: racism is not just present in but it is endemic to the White race in America, designed by Whites, and sustained by Whites–presumably in perpetuity.
Implied conclusion: if racism is endemic to all people with white skin, well, how can it be fixed as long as there are people with white skin?
All the academic word salad around the core tenets can’t obfuscate those key messages.
Do you see the danger here? Dare I say it? By such theories are the seeds of genocide sown.
Add to this that neither our Constitution plus several amendments designed to provide rights for all nor a bloody Civil War fought by both Blacks and Whites to end slavery in the United States plus “landmark legislation, court decisions, executive orders, and proclamations in the United States significantly affecting African Americans” ever since–43 and counting (source)–seem to make any difference to the current theorists and their political comrades-in-arms.
(Note: you’d think we’d have learned by the horrific causes and consequences of the Civil War alone what happens when skin color dominates discussions, overrides critical thinking, and inflames emotions. But apparently we haven’t yet.)
The Fundamental–and Potentially Deadly–Flaw of CRT
The flaw in the “logic” of CRT is known as post hoc ergo propter hoc and goes like this: if whiteness causes racism, and if racism is undesirable, then whiteness itself is undesirable.
In other words, as long as people who inherited white skin merely exist, by the flawed “logic” of CRT, there will be racism.
And that goes for all of the alledged “racist institutions” (a growing number, it seems, including now, science, math, and grammar rules) they have alledgedly designed with no input from any other race or culture, past or present.
So it’s hopeless. There seems no solution–and therein lies the danger as noted above.
And the damage this fallacy has caused since 1989 starting in the classrooms and now showing up on the streets of our inner cities as well as in certain political groups in D.C. is becoming painfully more and more apparent as the days go on.
And with such a message, why wouldn’t race relations only get worse?
A growing sense of unease, panic even, for some, intensifies among the potential victims of this theory even as politicians and academic theorists polish their prose.
Because words, as we all know, big or small, have power.
Particularly when such words are translated in the vile graffiti scrawled on buildings, police cars, lampposts and sidewalks and in the non-verbal language of looting, vandalizing, and physically assaulting the opposition.
Even if people haven’t taken time to unpack the blatant and implied summary of CRT, it is felt when the fruit of it–the rage–contorts faces, hardens hearts, and blinds eyes, literally and figuratively.
And because certain politically ambitious mayors and governors permit the criminality, soon, its victims logically conclude, what’s to stop the rage from bleeding over from inner cities into surrounding neighborhoods? From getting even worse? That is to say, more so than it already has where the crimes are not stopped by the people hired to stop them?
Fortunately, thoughtful push-back is growing.
And hopefully in time, as we also watch in amazement and some horror when growng numbers of White “penetents” grovel before the ragers hoping to somehow signal enough virtue–and told how–by kneeling, prostrating themselves on the asphalt, chanting their sins, etc., in order to stave off the violence everybody senses–and sees–is metastasizing.
But, of course, it’s never enough, because unrequited rage, like the grave, is never satisfied.
The ragers will never be at peace because there is no way to solve the anger based on the fallacy of CRT. One can only expect more trouble, more racism.
And a spirit of vegeance rides shotgun.
So no wonder there is a hard-driving feeling of desperation on the streets, for that is where such anger always ends up once the populace at large gets wind of the utter hopelessness of the theory.
(Side note: that is also where political power mongers promote and wield the fury and the flames to their best advantage. But that’s another topic.)
As a nation, we’ve certainly been there before–different skin color but same rage.
Let’s just hope and pray today’s trouble doesn’t cause another Civil War.
But the real focus of this essay is a better, in this case, truth (versus theory), a more satisfying truth, and an everlasting truth.
One that is not subject to time or tribe, era or ethnicity, region or race.
Critical Christ Truth: Only Version
Best expressed by Jesus Christ, Himself:
“I am the way and the truth and the life…”(John 14:6, NIV)
And for everyone everywhere (you and me too) who turn from the world’s tin altars, wooden idols, dead-end theories, and circular arguments to faith in Jesus Christ, here’s the best news of all, also in His own words:
Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.… (Matthew 11:28-29)
I mean, who doesn’t need some rest–and hope–amid today’s fearful din in academia, on the streets, in the mind, and in the spirit, that seems to only intensify?
And again, why wouldn’t the din intensify, if, as the smart people theorize, it’s unsolvable?
But this is where the good news of the Good News comes in–outside of time, terror, and tribulation. And it points to Jesus Christ.
Of course, believing in Him and His message of salvation takes faith. After all, He no longer walks the earth performing miracles, healings, and deliverances by His physical hand.
But there are ways to acquire faith: first, by reading the Bible, where faith is built up (the Gospel of John is a good place to begin). Reviewing the many Old Testament prophecies concerning Jesus that have already been fulfilled (some 356) is another good place to spend some time.
But perhaps the best way is by praying/asking for faith. “Ask and you shall receive,” as Jesus said. Here is an expanded “how to” have faith in Jesus Christ and why.
But if you think about this, too, it also takes a lot of faith to believe that any utopic solutions advertised by mankind will last, even if they do for a little while, a few decades or centuries in the long spanse of history, because you know how it goes: someone, or some ideology or theory, claws and grapples for prominance on top of the sandpile and soon, another climbs up and knocks ’em down.
And here we go again.
Unfortunately, the way of the world also indicates the sandpile may be bloodied before it’s all over…
A Critical Choice
If you haven’t yet, may I suggest considering Jesus Christ–or re-considering Him–as the answer to what ails mind, heart, and spirit especially in this summer of rage and riot.
Because for all its flash and shine, the best the world has to offer by way of education and power, idols and ideologies, have yet to solve the core heart quests for truth, redemption, and lasting peace.
Thousands of years of recorded history prove this, as do tens of thousands of hearts daily losing hope.
And because there is a greater Source of hope.
Put another way,
…those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)…
…even in these unprecedented wearying, “faintful” (if that’s a word) times.
And soon–the way things look.
Today would be good.
*Here is an interesting discussion of this possibility.
**(Hiraldo, Payne (2010) “The Role of Critical Race Theory in Higher Education,” The Vermont Connection: Vol. 31 , Article 7.
***Here is commentary on why racial tension seems to have resurged, with a vengeance, particularly considering the rise of socialism as a viable Democrat Party platform for the first time in our history. See what you think.