What proceeds here in Part 2 is a continuation of a previous discussion on Critical Race Theory. Noted in the first article, it was the author’s purpose to levy three problems with the Critical Race Theory. Due to the nature and length of problem one, problem two and three shall be dealt with here. Problem two will consider Delgado and Stefancic’s discussion on “nationalism,” followed by a brief discussion of “white privilege” in problem three.
There is also the point Delgado and Stefancic make called Looking Inward. This notion is basically intended to ask minorities to do one of two things:
1.) Assimilate into the system and use it to benefit their own communities, and
2.) to pull themselves out of the system to a sort of nationalism, thus relying on their own ingenuities. Here’s a sample of the idea:
“Derrick Bell, for example, urged his fellow African Americans to forswear the struggle for school integration and aim for building the best possible black schools. Other CRT nationalists advocate gun ownership, on the grounds that historically the police in this country have not protected blacks against violence, indeed have often visited it upon them. Other nationalists urge the establishment of all-black inner-city schools, sometimes just for males, on the grounds that boys of color need strong role models and cannot easily find them in the public schools.”
Again, he says:
“Nationalists honor ethnic studies and history as vital disciplines and look with skepticism on members of their groups who date, marry, or form close friendships with whites or seek employment in white-dominated workplaces or industries.”
And yet again:
“A moderate position…holds that it is acceptable for minorities to seek places in professions such as law, medicine, and business, so long as they apply their skills for the benefit of minority communities.”
Here’s my problem: whether the moderate or nationalist position, how are these proponents not advocating a form of segregation? Growing up, I knew how evil discrimination was, which I still believe. I knew that if I were to learn a specific skill, I want to be sure that it benefits everyone, not just the enfranchised. Now, it seems under CRT that all that needs to done away. It is no longer enough that we achieved an end to segregation, only to go back to…segregation. I also remember being told that it was okay to date, marry, and form close friendships with non-whites. Why is that no longer seen as a good thing under CRT? Sure, we do live in a society where white people are most prevalent in specific fields, and that there are more whites in American society than non-whites. But, who is trying to minimize the black identity through interracial marriage and friendships, or the like? And why is it not racist for non-whites to argue for this, but it is racist for whites to say this? Here we find an unhelpful double-standard that seeks to undermine what progress we have made, which has the effect of stirring up more controversy than healing it.
The last problem that needs to be examined falls along the lines of societal transformation and white privilege. Deglado writes: “Unlike some academic disciplines, critical race theory contains an activist dimension. It tries not only to understand our social situation but to change it, setting out not only to ascertain how society organizes itself along racial lines and hierarchies but to transform them for the better.” And again: “‘White privilege’ refers to the myriad of social advantages, benefits, and courtesies that come along with being a member of the dominant race.” By its very nature, CRT is revolutionary in scope. The authors of the book even note the influence of CRT in the historical disciplines to revise history from a “comforting majoritarian interpretation,” to an interpretation that “squares more accurately with minorities’ experiences.” I thought that the victors write history, and even heard one of my professors mention that in a lecture once. He curiously said, however, that he wasn’t so sure that in rewriting history that the revisionists weren’t doing the same thing. For CRT to be successful, they have to deconstruct society on their terms and their ways. In a word, it would be challenging to undermine this movement as it has become more aggressive in recent years. In seeking to revise history, CR theorists coin terms like “white privilege.” As defined above, all whites have some amount of benefits to being white in society, which means these benefits are unequal. This inequality is why it doesn’t matter whether one is rich or poor; white privilege is white privilege. In this way, anything that gives whites credit for any good is irrelevant because it fits a narrative by which whites can make themselves feel good, hence privilege comes out when writing history in particular and dominating everything else.
My only question to this is thus: How does it look? Two equal people, one black and one white, being considered for a job and the white person getting the position? For Delgado, this is a clear example of white privilege, not counting the fact that there are usually other factors that go into a business’s hiring decisions. Presentation, dress, and interview skills matter when applying for a job, not mere qualification alone. It is ridiculous to suggest that it is a matter of racial preference, given that if it were a matter of racial preference, such a business would, and should, close under anti-discrimination laws. My fear with this is that the idea of white privilege will be, and in some cases already is, weaponized to disenfranchise white workers, teachers, political candidates, etc.
I’m not saying this as someone afraid of losing his “privilege” (I’d like to know where my privilege is coming from, given the economic stage of my family and me). But, as someone who fears this sort of thinking will put us in a situation similar to the observable racism of previous decades, only in reverse. At what point does the idea of two wrongs not making a right come into play? At what point can we admit that whites have done much on their end to mend their past racism in this country and that it still seems not to be enough?
This list of the problems found in Critical Race Theory is by no means exhaustive, but it should provide light into how twisted this ideology is. CRT is exceptionally prevalent in society and academia, and political and social conservatives need to take note of this regardless of the accusations and epithets that come their way. It bears mentioning that not every minority thinks this way, but it is true that many minorities, as well as whites, do. CRT is worthy of pushback because it could very well lead to the dismantling of society and ideals of this society that have been hard to cultivate, being they were won through war, sweat, blood, and tears. What is also worth mentioning is that this thinking is becoming a part of the language of Evangelical Christians. Many may be unaware of this language, using it without context. On the other hand, many do use this language aware of its context and meaning. It is gravely important now more than ever that Evangelical Christians be mindful of what’s in the public sphere in podcasts and conferences, but also in what they read in articles, blog posts, and books. CRT can be tricky to detect, which requires Evangelicals to be particularly careful, being wise as serpents and gentle as doves (Matt. 10:16). Especially true is that this way of thinking, and the concerns conjured up, are pervasive in society, particularly among young Evangelicals. It is gravely important that our leaders do not capitulate, but be as winsome yet firm as they possibly can. Navigating all this can be tricky, but it is crucial, nonetheless.
Citations & References
M. Dale HagwoodSee More Essays
Dale is a religion and philosophy graduate of Appalachian State University, and presently pursues a Master’s of Divinity at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He is a member of a congregation in the Presbyterian Church in America. For more blog posts, you can look at The Conservative Presbyterian on Facebook and Twitter.