If you’ve spent any time watching the news or scrolling through social media in the last few months, you have most definitely heard the phrase “Critical Race Theory”— or as it is often referred to, CRT. What might be less clear to you is what the big fuss is about. On the flip side, there are probably even more of you, primarily in the Millennial demographic, who have quickly accepted and adopted the new way of defining racism as explained by CRT. Our generation’s natural bent towards compassion and justice has meant that many of the causes under the modern “Social Justice” banner have become chief tenants in our worldview and purpose. Through my own deep dive into CRT and other critical theories, I have concluded that CRT, and the ideology it is born from, must be addressed by the Body of Christ. Our very existence could be at stake. But in the process, we must refuse to ignore the hurting hearts of millions of Americans who have sought healing in the arms of CRT.
The word “racism” brings many different images to the mind. For me, I think of slavery, the KKK, Jim Crow laws, segregation. I also think of comments made by friends towards those of other races, the heartbreaking stories of some of my closest friends and their interactions with prejudice, and of the way so many people today have drawn lines in the sand around race vs. people’s character. But these examples of racism would only be considered one of the smaller planets in today’s solar system of CRT, with bigger planets of systemic racism, micro-aggressions, internalized racism, and white privilege swirling in the gravitational pull of the “whiteness” of the sun. “Whiteness” is the enemy.
Now, before we go any further, I want to make a few things clear. Racism does still exist! But it is obvious to me and many of those who have studied CRT at a scholarly level that it is impossible to address the present racial issues that exist with the use of CRT. Additionally, I think it is so important that while we must make decisions based on empirical data (data derived from reliable measurement or observation), ignoring the hearts of individuals in the process is equally counter to the values of Christianity. Regardless of the empirical data, the news, social media, and culture have crafted a message of fear targeted at minorities in America. “You are not safe here! You are not wanted! And you are hated because of your very nature!” This messaging has been so effective, that it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We must combat these lies that have been spread to attack the very identity of minorities while also staying grounded in the empirical data we have on racial issues.
CRT takes a word that we are all familiar with and redefines it with abstractions (for my fellow nerds, the metaphysical is heavily relied on when talking about CRT, but it too must be affirmed by reality as interpreted by empirical data). Many dictionaries have literally changed the definition of racism or added to it in order to affirm this theory. The original meaning of the word racism is “discrimination or prejudice based on race.” CRT has redefined the word racism with such complexity and ambiguity that many experts on the philosophy of CRT have been unable to write a definition that accurately represents the scope of the theory in less than 1.5 pages. I will give my best go in a few sentences, but please understand that I do not claim to be an expert on the topic at all—only a concerned believer who has done enough research to realize what is at stake.
Critical Race Theory: the belief that racism is something embedded in Western culture, structures (like the nuclear family, education, religion, etc.), and “whiteness.” It manifests as a power struggle between the oppressed (black Americans) and the oppressor (white people). CRT reasons that white people are inherently racist because they subconsciously enjoy benefitting from the “systems” and that the only way to stop being racist, or to even improve on it, is for you to become an “anti-racist”.
When your definition of racism is aligned with the actual definition of racism, then being an “anti-racist” sounds moral and important. However, insert the new CRT defined racism, and we are looking at something quite different. Fellow of the Hoover Institute, Victor Davis Hanson describes the “anti-racist” movement as the new racist movement. Why? Because anti-racism demands the destruction of all “whiteness”— in other words, to be anti-racist is actually to be anti-white (judging someone on their race rather than their character). It is important to note that certainly there are individuals who believe in anti-racism and CRT who hold less radical views on it, but the extremist view remains unchallenged in our culture, largely because that was the intention of their creators.
Using the traditional definition of racism, it is easy to reason that holding prejudice against another person on the basis of their race or skin color is racism, regardless of the race or color of the person we are talking about. Only when using CRT do we lose language to describe the hatred of white people based on their race— this definition says racism towards white people is impossible because they are the oppressor. My position on this issue is not to make white people out to be victims (viewing yourself or others as victims is almost never helpful in my experience), but to state an important universal truth: holding negative perspectives on someone based on their race, gender, ethnicity, etc. is wrong and goes against the basic teachings of the Bible. That truth applies to ANY race or ethnicity.
The “dangerous” side of the anti-racism movement is its refusal to use empirical evidence, reason, or logic in assessing the real issues people of color face. CRT and its social arm, anti-racism, asserts that the very nature of empirical data is racist. That means science, religion, mathematics, and even our very language are “racist” because they are structures of whiteness and white supremacy. Any person or worldview that requires an abandonment of common sense, reason, and the use of factual evidence while demanding a complete surrender to “feeling” must be rejected as a whole, or else it will lead us into a nihilistic world of chaos. Not surprisingly, nihilism (a belief system that rejects reality having any significance or meaning—all is nothing) has increasingly grown in popularity in recent years, and the anxiety and turmoil it brings are evident in Millennials and Gen-Z.
Hope is a powerful emotion, and when based on tangible evidence of the good to come, it can exponentially increase the efforts to bring about its desired result. Basically, hope works like Miracle Grow to positive outcomes. In contrast, the Bible tells us that hope deferred makes the heart sick. My generation was taught that racism was an ugly chapter in American history, but that the work of MLK, Rosa Parks, and so many more had made real progress. We saw this reflected in the culture around us. When we saw or experienced racism we knew it was evil and outside of what our culture deemed as acceptable. But then the script was flipped. MLK accomplished nothing. Rosa Parks accomplished nothing. Mamie Till’s bravery to show the world her son’s broken and beaten body was in vain. Now, all hope is lost. There will never be true equality because there will always be white people. And even after they are gone, there will still be white structures.
CRT doesn’t give any hope to overcoming racism because it claims racism is innate to white people and built into the very fabric of society. A future where CRT is used as the guide to a less “racist” world looks like the execution of white genocide and the elimination of all structure that exists in society (the family, government, laws, education, knowledge, etc). Obviously, this is a negative for white and white-looking people, but it is also incredibly damaging to people of color. Hope deferred has brought with it pain and misery for the people of color who desperately wish to see equality. It has hurt and made sick the hearts of millions of Americans. We can do better, and as believers, we must offer better.
I will not attempt to sum up the current racial climate, but will simply state; CRT is not the solution to any problem that may exist. As believers, we cannot justify hating anyone based on their race or culture—black, white, or anything in between. As believers, we cannot ignore the pain of those whose hearts are sick with the pain of deferred hope. As believers, we cannot allow a postmodern theory developed by Marxists to be a part of our theology or our congregations. As believers, we cannot be quick to associate justice as defined by Jesus as the same “social justice” we are being pedaled. As believers, we must be comfortable grappling with the middle and the grey—humbly asking Holy Spirit to give us discernment and to help us walk in both love and truth with wisdom.
Many of you might find yourself feeling frustrated as many Christian leaders are aligning themselves with CRT. I know I have felt this way. But if we take the time to really understand and learn about CRT on a deeper level, we start to see how this wolf in sheep’s clothing has gotten as far as it has. You have an opportunity to be someone who slows down the warp-speed argument and explains the truth from a place of love, compassion, and empathy. Whether or not the individuals perpetuating CRT have these intentions or not, it is clear that the enemy is using it to spread real racism towards every race and to bring division. Stay vigilant in the fight for truth, but don’t let him win the battle for hearts along the way.
Written by Justice Enlow – Tennessee Director of Government Affairs – Restore7 / Restore Government
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Restore 7