Good day to each of you reading this column on the critical race theory.
I bring forward a very hot topic in the United States education system with opposing views.
As a Christian, a parent, and with children and grandchildren, I will provide my thoughts and some biblical insight on this matter.
Critical Race Theory
Critical race theory (CRT) is a body of legal scholarship and an academic movement of US civil-rights scholars and activists who seek to examine the intersection of race and US law and to challenge mainstream American liberal approaches to racial justice. CRT examines social, cultural, and legal issues primarily as they relate to race and racism in the US. A tenet of CRT is that racism and disparate racial outcomes are the result of complex, changing, and often subtle social and institutional dynamics, rather than explicit and intentional prejudices of individuals.
CRT originated in the mid-1970s in the writings of several American legal scholars, including Derrick Bell, Alan Freeman, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Richard Delgado, Cheryl Harris, Charles R. Lawrence III, Mari Matsuda, and Patricia J. Williams. It emerged as a movement by the 1980s, reworking theories of critical legal studies (CLS) with more focus on race. CRT is grounded in critical theory and draws from thinkers such as Antonio Gramsci, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, and W. E. B. DuBois, as well as the Black Power, Chicano, and radical feminist movements from the 1960s and 1970s.
CRT scholars view race and white supremacy as an intersectional social construct that advances the interests of white people at the expense of persons of other races. In the field of legal studies, CRT emphasizes that formally colorblind laws can still have racially discriminatory outcomes.
A key CRT concept is an intersectionality, which emphasizes that race can intersect with other identities (such as gender and class) to produce complex combinations of power and advantage.
Academic critics of CRT argue that it relies on social constructionism, elevates storytelling over evidence and reason, rejects the concepts of truth and merit, and opposes liberalism.
Since 2020, conservative US lawmakers have sought to ban or restrict critical race theory instruction along with other anti-racism programs. Critics of these efforts say the lawmakers have poorly defined or misrepresented the tenets and importance of CRT and that the goal of the laws is to more broadly silence discussions of racism, equality, social justice, and the history of race.Read Full Wikipedia Article here:
As we begin our search on the critical race theory, let us be educated on this very subject before we move forward on the next article. From the Wikipedia definition, we have the very basis of when and who started this theory, why it was brought forth from an idea into a practice, what its format is and where this theory will be put into practice.
Please read the following blog from May 5, 2021, in Explainer on the critical race theory:
WHAT IS CRITICAL RACE THEORY?
Critical race theory (sometimes abbreviated to CRT) is an intellectual approach to looking at U.S. society with a belief that racism is at the core of its laws and institutions.
Critical race theorists base this thinking on a few important observations:
- Race is a social construct that doesn’t have anything to do with biological differences among people, including differences in intelligence or physical ability. This became definitively clear after the Human Genome Project.
- The U.S., and all of its laws and institutions, were founded and created based on the myth of white supremacy—the assumption that lighter skin and European ancestry meant that white people were better and deserved a higher social and economic position than people of color. Because racism is embedded within our systems and institutions, codified in law, and woven into American public policy, this racial inequality is replicated and maintained over time. Thus, systemic racism shows up in nearly every facet of life for people of color.
- CRT aspires to empower voices that have been marginalized. Embracing the lived experiences of people of color through research, storytelling, and counter-storytelling—placed in historical, social and political context— is critical to scholarship that examines race and racism in society.
WHERE DID CRITICAL RACE THEORY ORIGINATE?
Critical race theory traces the legacy of racism in America through slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, and even the Black Lives Matter movement of today. At its roots, CRT draws from the work of notable Black scholars and activists like Sojourner Truth, W.E.B. Dubois and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In its current form, CRT developed in the late 1970s, when “the civil rights movement of the 1960s had stalled, and many of its gains were being rolled back.”
Many, many scholars have contributed to the extensive body of work that makes up the academic movement, but people frequently name Kimberlé Crenshaw and Richard Delgado as founders and important contributors, as well as renowned legal scholar Derrick Bell.
WHY IS CRITICAL RACE THEORY RELEVANT TODAY?
In a perfect world, educational equity would ensure that all students have access to high-quality curriculum, instruction and funding. But we don’t live in a perfect world, so racial inequality manifests in a number of ways in American education. For example:
- The predominant curriculum centers the white narrative and tends to exclude the histories and lived experiences of people of color.
- Instruction often takes a deficits-based approach, characterizing students of color as being in need of remediation rather than appreciating their talents and giftedness.
- School discipline policies disproportionately impact students of color, often compromising their educational outcomes.
- School funding inequities persist; predominantly white districts receive $23 billion more in funding than districts serving students of color.
CRT provides a relevant, research-based framework through which education leaders and policymakers can think about the social construct of race and the impact of racism on students of color. This framework also provides educators the tools they need to transform current practices in teaching and learning and to examine the attitudes and biases—implicit or explicit—that they bring into their classrooms. This work allows educators to teach in ways that are truly anti-racist, culturally responsive and affirming.
CRT also allows for the creation of new policies, practices and curricula that help students think critically about the institutions that shape their lives, and to develop their own affirmative racial identities—which is important for all students.
WHY HAS IT BECOME SO POLITICIZED?
Resistance to critical race theory is not a new phenomenon. However, the term jumped into headlines and social media feeds in recent years when, in a Constitution Day speech at the National Archives, former president Donald Trump characterized education that takes a critical lens as “radical” and “ideological poison.” Trump went on to attack the “1619 Project” and announced an executive order establishing the short-lived “1776 Commission” to “promote patriotic education.” He also issued a subsequent executive order banning government contractors from conducting racial sensitivity and diversity training in the workplace.
The executive orders were a reaction to educational initiatives—like the “1619 Project” or the work of Howard Zinn—designed to examine professional development, pedagogy, teaching and learning through a critical lens, labeling any approach that acknowledges American racism, white supremacy, white privilege, intersectionality, microaggressions, and the like as dangerous, unpatriotic and, ironically, racist.
WHY IS CRITICAL RACE THEORY IMPORTANT IN K-12 EDUCATION?
Critical race theory itself is not being taught in K-12 schools (unless you’re talking about some very advanced students!). However, the research and scholarship that inform CRT have greatly shifted how many education experts view our school systems.
Critical race theory emerged in legal circles, but it has spread to other areas of scholarship and policymaking, including education. For instance, in our nation’s schools, we still have sizable and stubborn gaps in academic proficiency between white children and their Black, Latinx and Native American peers. CRT has been helpful to education leaders as they seek to disentangle the systems in our communities and schools that oppress students of color, and hinder their ability to thrive.
By starting from the well-established fact that academic proficiency is not related to the color of one’s skin, critical race theory pushes policymakers to look beyond the individual students and instead look at the system around them. Shifting our language from “achievement gap” to “education debt” or “opportunity gap” is one step on the journey. In what ways have our systems of education, health and housing blocked opportunity for Black and brown children? How do we eliminate those barriers?
WHY ARE SOME STATES OUTLAWING CRITICAL RACE THEORY IN SCHOOLS?
Even though CRT itself is not a topic in most K-12 curricula, some legislators and elected officials have referenced it in connection with any lesson or training that acknowledges racially oppressive practices as districts around the country have started to embrace the idea that Black, Latinx and Indigenous students will do better in school if the systems around them change.
This has led to some challenging new practices in our schools and classrooms, such as:
- Changing the way history is taught to acknowledge the oppression of millions of people based on race in our country.
- Exposing educators to training and professional development that highlight areas of implicit bias and help them develop skills for overcoming it.
- Developing new ways to deal with discipline so that Black and brown students are no longer disproportionately targeted.
- Rethinking how students are identified for advanced courses, accelerated programs, or elite colleges.
For school systems that have operated the same way for decades, these are big changes. There are some who would like to see less change, and believe that the steps above are forcing a new worldview on their kids—even calling it “indoctrination.” In Idaho, Florida, Arkansas and Tennessee, for instance, state governments are acting out of direct concern that critical race theory is at the root of these changes.
And about that, they might be right. They needn’t worry that grade-schoolers will start reading legal texts and academic monographs, but the critical race theory movement certainly has played a huge role in the broader reexamination of our society through the lens of race and racial oppression. And schools are a big part of that.
As a Christian, I find the above article and the definition lacking or bringing forth anything concerning the ways of our Heavenly Father.
Christians of all colors agree that God created man and woman and that in the garden of Eden there is not one mention of slavery or the word slavery.
In the Bible, when were we first introduced to slavery and who was enslaved?
You may be asking why is this relevant? Let’s explore this and then the picture will be much clearer.
According to the Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance, the word slave is found only one time in the Old Testament in Jeremiah 2:14 and the word slaves is found one time in the New Testament in Revelation 18:13.
As for implications on the word slave, turn to Genesis 37:28 (NIV) So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.
Here is the first Biblical passage where Joseph’s brothers did not kill Joseph, but sold him as a slave for they didn’t expect him to survive.
Now turn to Exodus 1:8-11 (NIV) Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. “Look”, he said to his people, “the Israelites have become much too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewd with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”
So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.
If one is looking for racism and slavery together, look no further than Pharaoh—His fear of Israelites becoming as numerous as the stars, organizing and possibly threatening Egypt turned to slavery so he could stop their growth and oppress their spirit.
Pharaoh utilized slave masters over the Israelites to make them work faster and make their lives miserable.
Please turn to Exodus 21:2 (NIV) “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But, in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything.
Here is the footnote for the verse above from the NIV—The Hebrews, though freed from slavery, had slaves (or servants) themselves. A person could become a slave because of poverty, debt, or even crime. But Hebrew slaves were treated as humans, not property, and were allowed to work their way to freedom. The Bible acknowledges the existence of slavery but never encourages it.
As we follow the Bible, no where does God condone slavery nor to have any person enslaved to another person. Man, in his great wisdom has gotten the idea of slavery of people from a different nation for his reasons. Those reasons may be for a debt owed, services being paid back, or massive amounts of work needed to be fulfilled and not enough persons to work.
Man’s idea was to bring slavery into the world and placed on to those who were enslaved due to poverty, debt or crime. The Bible nor the Biblical laws condone slavery, but they do recognize the existence of slavery.
When you read Leviticus 25:39-54 (NIV) look at verse 44, “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
Here is the footnote for the verse above from the NIV— why did God allow the Israelites to purchase slaves? Under Hebrew laws, slaves were treated differently from slaves in other nations. They were seen as human beings with dignity, and not as animals. Hebrew slaves, for example, took part in religious festivals and rested on the Sabbath. Now where does the Bible condone slavery, but it recognizes its existence. God’s laws offered many guidelines for treating slaves properly.
When speaking about God’s guidelines for treatment of slaves, turn to Deuteronomy 15:12-15 (NIV) If a fellow Hebrew, a man or woman, sells himself to you and serves you six years, in the seventh year you must let him go free. And when you release him, do not send him away empty-handed. Supply him liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to him as the Lord your God has blessed you. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today.
Here is the footnote for the verse above from the NIV—The Israelites were to release their servants after six years, sending them away with enough food so that they would be amply supplied until their needs could be met by some other means. This humanitarian act recognized that God created each person with dignity and worth. It also reminded the Israelites that they, too, had once been slaves in Egypt, and that their present freedom was a gift from God. We do not have servants such as these today, but God’s instructions still apply to us. We must still be sure to treat our employees with respect and economic fairness.
As I close, this is the Biblical aspect that I wish to introduce to you reading this subject. Acknowledgment is given that slavery was introduced to man by a foreign nation to enslave those for fear of being destroyed.
Israelites were enslaved by Egypt who were worshipping foreign gods, but God had other ideas. This is the first example of a nation of people (Israelites) entrapped in racism and slavery.
God has provided the example and the solution for those placed in slavery and for those who over the slaves.
The Bible always provides answers to all questions, but we, as Christians must search the scriptures and ask God for wisdom and discernment.
Let’s look at slavery in a different light in the next column.
Until then, may God bless you, and may you bless God in all that you say and do.