Critical Race Theory Updates

I have continued to read Critical Race Theory books.  Nothing I have read changes my basic conclusions that have been summarized in essays on my Official Facebook Page.  The book by Richard Delgado, An Introduction to Critical Race Theory, is a helpful book from a key proponent that gives a good outline of the movement.  Also, I have been reading Dr. Derek Bell whose books are a foundation for the movement.  

One of the interesting things is the variety and disagreement in the movement.  Delgado points to two different sub-schools, one the materialist and the other the idealist.  Strangely though all are relativists in the issue of truth or epistemology, they yet assert their views as true constantly.  Both sub-schools see systemic racism as pervasive but somewhat hidden from view, especially from whites who think they are not prejudiced.  The materialist-oriented CRT proponent wants to make progress in the material conditions of the black community.  To do that, he wants to deal with laws that are not flexible enough to promote blacks or are too rigid in over punishing black lawbreakers for crimes that are not that significant.  (That is changing)  He wants to see affirmative action to increase the numbers of blacks admitted to top universities and hired in various fields.   Income redistribution is a key for them.  There is a neo-Marxist orientation in some.  Capitalism itself is at fault.  It will necessarily lead to income disparities and competition that will leave out poor blacks.  Others are not as Marxist but want to foster percentages of representation in various fields.  They also reject some of the measures for qualification.  The materialists believe that it is a waste of time to try to change white people by all kinds of exercises and classroom indoctrination on white privilege, shaming whites, and focusing on microaggressions, real or perceived in white responses to blacks.  Money is power and these folks want the money.  Other marginalized groups are included, some Hispanics and Native Americans, of course.  But other minorities such as more white-looking Hispanics, Asians, and Jews don’t fit the white privilege disparities.  This is a problem for the theory.  Nigerian Americans’ success is a case in point. 

The idealists want to change the hearts of white people, to understand what white privilege has done.  They want all whites to share in the guilt of white history, to feel shame, and thus lean over backward to treat blacks with compassion and deference.  This change of mindset will be a key to change society. When children grow up under CRT as applied to them, they will become white adults who will no longer exercise such privilege.  They will become anti-racists.

Some CRT people do not think they will gain their goals but that the struggle itself gives meaning. This was the case with the later writings of Derek Bell. What pessimism compared to the Gospel. 

There are myriad problems that time and space do not permit me to deal with.  However, the legal materialist CRT folks want to adjust law and the economy to favor the disadvantaged.  They give examples as to how the law as it is now applied, as an objective standard, hurts disfavored minorities, especially blacks.  Yet they do not give us an objective one law standard that all could see is fair to all.  As in the Torah, there was one law for the native Israelite and the stranger and no favoritism.  In some CRT theories, there is an argument for favoritism and flexibility for judges to apply different subjective standards. On the other hand, CRT folks do give good examples as to how sentencing has been more severe for blacks than for whites.  I am in favor of looking at standards and adjusting them where they are shown to be deficient, but the quest for one objective standard in law that applies to all must not be forsaken, or we will find a terrible deterioration in human relationships with all sides thinking that they are being unfairly treated.  Justice will then be seen as arbitrary. CRT people seek to tell stories of people that show unfairness, but such stories cannot be the standard for making law since all believe that the law was unfair to them since it cannot fairly cover all cases.  Objective measures and statistics are important plus a good analysis of those statistics. 

One CRT example is how educational testing unfairly affects disadvantaged people.  However, this is a case for having better more objective tests that make sense.  Ultimately somewhere tests will have to be taken to qualify.  Engineers and scientists will have to prove capability.  We cannot simply fill quotas for engineers, chemists, and brain surgeons.  Can you imagine the buildings that would collapse?  The better idea is extra help for the disadvantaged populations that they may do better.  In addition, the neo-Marxist solutions in distribution will shrink the economy and lead to greater overall poverty.  This has been shown again and again. Not all CRT folks go neo-Marxist, but many do.  Others just want a more level playing field.  However, the CRT legal and educational recommendations remove objectivity (some say objectivity is a white value) and replace it with complexities whereby fairness is impossible to evaluate.  As this affects courts, the idea of clear standards is being lost.  We see it today in how justice is applied to conservatives and liberals.  I would say that with regard to hiring, that it should be the goal to favor qualified disadvantaged groups, but how can we enforce that?!  It is subtle and employers can give defenses. Sometimes criteria of achievement in tests and personal history are used that are irrelevant to performing the job well, though they may show diligence. 

The idealists are the ones primarily affecting our educational system, corporate training, government training, and even the military.  The idea is to get whites to confess to corporate white privilege which benefits them and to confess the corporate sins of the U. S.  They are then made to feel shame and guilt.  Then they are to find redemption in works righteousness. Myriad examples are brought forth on how people hire according to their favoritism for people like themselves; how little whites understand blacks and say offensive things even when they mean no harm and show such a lack of understanding.  Yes, we can learn to appreciate cultural differences better.  However, the list of microaggressions and offenses almost becomes a catalog. The legalism involved will cause whites to separate believing they are walking on eggshells.  Alas, this is now coming into our schools.  We are now seeing this affect the election in Virginia and the reaction against CRT in the Louden County public school system.  Though they deny teaching CRT, they are being dishonest.  The concern is what will teachers of low wisdom and intelligence do in applying the CRT in which they are being instructed?   One six-year-old came home and told her mother in Louden County, “Am I evil because I am white?”  Some people in corporations, government, the military, and schools will go along with this, but many after being put through the wringer will quietly be resentful and will be less anti-racist than before.  

CRT idealists who are trying to change the culture do not understand how to change hearts.  It comes from relational bonding.  Building interracial teams together in mutual understanding and love at all levels changes the hearts, but CRT teaching places a barrier to the natural sharing that would develop.  CRT’s catalog of offenses and ways to gain parity in society is complex and could be a barrier to understanding.  One example is microaggressions.  Yes, they exist.  But the examples are so numerous that a white will come away saying it is hopeless. Plus. the offended see wrong intent and heart where it does not exist. Wounded people also misinterpret with prejudice.  CRT ties people into a pretzel of legalism and a secular works righteousness as the way of redemption from white sin. It is anti-Gospel in this. 

This leads us to the contrast to a biblical solution.  First, the Bible teaches that we have to have a change of heart, “All have sinned.”  We must all have the change, black and white.   This change of heart begins by being born again and then entering discipleship where we learn to love.  Attachment love in a community of people who are committed to one another and correct one another in love is the key to growing into the likeness of Yeshua.  The problem with the churches is a discipleship deficit.  CRT seeks to see people change on the basis of a left-brain process of providing information and then calling for a decision of the will to change and be anti-racist.  This is not how heart change happens.  They also seek to see people change through shame, but this never works. Change is a heart matter.  The Bible says we are to love one another but it also says we are to love our enemies. This is a work of the Spirit. 

So, there are two principles for black/white relationships that begin with the Gospel.  First, those in Messiah must love one another and then love their enemies.  This love means seeking the best for them and desiring their destiny fulfillment.  The second is that love covers a multitude of sins (microaggressions).  If every little perceived aggression is pursued there will be no time for anything.  Significant sin is to be confronted, but not every little thing.  When believers have built interracial communities, they then become positive change agents in society.  Love does take time to listen and understand the other but does not separate into conclaves as some CRT people recommend for blacks in a kind of black power way. 

The Bible shows that God’s heart is, first of all, with the disadvantaged.  Therefore,  the believer will seek standards of merit for hiring, promotion, and schooling that are fairer to the disadvantaged but still require sufficient proof of merit.  Then they will work with minorities to see them educated and trained to qualify.  The boss who is a believer will favor the one from a disadvantaged group over one from an advantaged group if they are both really qualified.  Why?  Because God is always wanting to lift the disadvantaged.  The believer will see standards in law that are objective to all but do not unfairly treat the disadvantaged worse than others.  He will seek to see educational opportunities and school choices to lift the disadvantaged,  He will foster a large policing presence to cut down murder and crime, but one well trained to gain the trust of the minority community. 

The Gospel is understood as a call to discipleship from the beginning.  When we love we seek to understand.  I really have profound doubt in CRT making a positive difference.  It is because their secular approach cannot change the heart.  Enforced outcomes will produce resentment.  I actually think it will foster race division, not unity and reconciliation.  The Gospel is the way to heart change, and when the way of Yeshua permeates the society those who are advantaged will be committed in love to lift the disadvantaged.  The answer is in the power and love of God.