We didn’t get here overnight, so we won’t change overnight, this is an ongoing process. Choosing to fight against prejudice and bias actively and continually within and around us, will allow healing, restoration, and reconciliation through Christ. The commitment of repentance begins in admitting racism fully, turning away from it completely, then walking toward a path of forgiveness to reconciliation.
While we are climbing out of the pit of racism, we are being dragged back into it—exchanging one form of racism for another. It's now time for all of us to acknowledge and address it.
The following are excerpts from an article that appeared in Education Week “What Is Critical Race Theory, and Why Is It Under Attack?” by Stephen Sawchuk
Just what is critical race theory anyway. Critical race theory is an academic concept that is more than 40 years old. The core idea is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies.
The basic tenets of critical race theory, or CRT, emerged out of a framework for legal analysis in the late 1970s and early 1980s created by legal scholars Derrick Bell, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Richard Delgado, among others.
A good example is when, in the 1930s, government officials literally drew lines around areas deemed poor financial risks, often explicitly due to the racial composition of inhabitants. Banks subsequently refused to offer mortgages to Black people in those areas.
Today, those same patterns of discrimination live on through facially race-blind policies, like single-family zoning that prevents the building of affordable housing in advantaged, majority-white neighborhoods and, thus, stymies racial desegregation efforts.
CRT also has ties to other intellectual currents, including the work of sociologists and literary theorists who studied links between political power, social organization, and language. And its ideas have since informed other fields, like the humanities, the social sciences, and teacher education.
This academic understanding of critical race theory differs from representation in recent popular books and, especially, from its portrayal by critics—often, though not exclusively, conservative Republicans. Critics charge that the theory leads to negative dynamics, such as a focus on group identity over universal, shared traits; divides people into “oppressed” and “oppressor” groups; and urges intolerance.
Thus, there is a good deal of confusion over what CRT means, as well as its relationship to other terms, like “anti-racism” and “social justice,” with which it is often conflated. To an extent, the term “critical race theory” is now cited as the basis of all diversity and inclusion efforts regardless of how much it’s actually informed those programs.
One conservative organization, the Heritage Foundation, recently attributed a whole host of issues to CRT, including the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, LGBTQ clubs in schools, diversity training in federal agencies and organizations, California’s recent ethnic studies model curriculum, the free-speech debate on college campuses, and alternatives to exclusionary discipline—such as the Promise program in Broward County, Fla., that some parents blame for the Parkland school shootings. “When followed to its logical conclusion, CRT is destructive and rejects the fundamental ideas on which our constitutional republic is based,” the organization claimed.
Fundamentally, though, the disagreement springs from different conceptions of racism. CRT puts an emphasis on outcomes, not merely on individuals’ own beliefs, and it calls on these outcomes to be examined and rectified. Among lawyers, teachers, policymakers, and the general public, there are many disagreements about how precisely to do those things, and to what extent race should be explicitly appealed to or referred to in the process.
All these different ideas grow out of longstanding, tenacious intellectual debates. Critical race theory emerged out of postmodernist thought, which tends to be skeptical of the idea of universal values, objective knowledge, individual merit, Enlightenment rationalism, and liberalism—tenets that conservatives tend to hold dear.
That said, Christians should avoid overreactions to CRT proponents' actions.
In an article on ChristiansHeadlines.com, Dr. Robert "Bob" Petterson writes about the dangers of Christians overreacting to CRT (“The Danger of Christians Overreacting to Critical Race Theory.”) Although Dr. Petterson opposes much of CRT he cautions Christians to not overreact and thus deny the awful history of slavery, and racism in this country. While I disagree with much his view of CRT I do agree with his assertion that there is danger in Christians' overreaction to it, because in overreacting many of my white, and to be honest some of my African American brothers and sisters, are in denial of the fact that racism still exists in the United States of America.
The following is from “The Danger of Christians Overreacting to Critical Race Theory.” by Dr. Robert “Bob” Petterson
It’s true that our country has experienced childhood wounds—especially when it comes to slavery, segregation and discrimination against Indigenous peoples, immigrants, women and other minorities. It’s important to acknowledge, however, that Christians are just as capable of engaging in unhealthy approaches to the traumas of our national childhood as non- Christians.
In an extreme overreaction to CRT, bills have been passed by some state legislatures allowing parents to remove library books they find offensive. Parents in many places have demanded the removal of history books that accurately present the history of racism in America. They have removed books about Black heroes like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks.
This is an extreme overreaction. Keeping history from our children is as bad as handing them over to the CRT mob. Our Savior said, “Know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [John 8:32] There is no freedom in ignorance, half-truths or revisionist history—whether it’s from the left or the right.
In short, Christians should not react in a carnal way. Our ways and weapons are not those of the world. We do not charge into school board meetings like Hitler’s brown shirts, nor do we burn books as did the Nazis. We reason with schools in a Christ like manner. If we can’t convince them to do what is best, then we find alternate ways to educate our children.
Paul gives us a three-fold solution to move on from the bad things of the past in a healthy way. If you look closely at his words, you’ll see that what worked for him will work for solving our racial inequities.
In Philippians 3:7-10, Paul remembers the past, rejoices in his progress and looks to a brighter future:
“7But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” --Philippians 3:7-10 NIV
Paul acknowledged the past.
We, too, should remember our own past racial inequities and learn not to make the same mistakes again. The Bible doesn’t call us to sanctified amnesia. CRT is right to call us to not paper over our dysfunctional past as a nation. Our children need to know the brutal truth about slavery, segregation and that racism exists and has repercussions today.
Paul rejoiced in his progress.
Paul recognizes and celebrates that he has made great progress in his spiritual growth. He’s not where he wants to be, but he’s further along than he used to be.
Paul looked to a better future.
Paul is clear that he’s not there yet. He has spent years pursuing Christ and yet he says, “I want to know Christ…” There’s always more to be gained this side of heaven.
As individuals and society as a whole, we need to hold three things equally: we have a racist past, we have come a long way in overcoming it, and we still have a way to go before everyone can sing, “We have overcome.”
Racism, elitism, genderism, tribalism—anything that divides people, especially Christians, displeases Jesus. Our identity isn’t in our race, gender or social status. It’s in Christ alone!