What Does Critical Race Theory Mean for Me?

I intend for this article to take some difficult concepts of Critical Theory (CT), [1] Critical Race Theory (CRT),[2] and Intersectionality (IN) [3] under the rubric of Cultural Marxism (CM) and to briefly make them a little more understandable. [4] We must seek to understand these deadly concepts because they have moved from secular academia and the identity politics of Democrats to evangelicalism and the SBC.[5]

Here are a couple of emphases and outcomes of these ideas. CM says the world is made up of oppressors and the oppressed. CRT says all white people are privileged white supremacists and oppressors because they are the majority and white. Blacks being the minority are the oppressed. The whites need to repent of privilege and racism and change. But they cannot since they are the majority who created widespread racism and because they will always be white. Blacks do not need to repent because, being a minority, they cannot be racist.

According to CT, this same prescription applies to various sets of social groups where there are a majority and a minority. Heterosexuals (the majority) are the oppressors of homosexuals, the minority. Cisgenders (people who gender identify with their birth gender) are the majority, and therefore the oppressors of transgender people, the minority.

Intersectionality teaches that a person can experience multilevel discrimination. Consequently, a black woman could experience discrimination on two levels (being a woman and black), whereas a black lesbian experiences it on three levels (add being in the minority of being a lesbian). The more levels of discrimination one experiences, the more authoritative and believable their understanding, claims, and opinions become.

In contrast, white people (especially white men) are privileged, and therefore their truth claims have little or no merit and authority. That is to say, Truth claims by the oppressors are suspect, whereas truth claims made by the oppressed are credible until proven wrong, which intersectionality makes almost impossible since only the oppressed understand and the privileged cannot understand the real truth.

Biblically, all are privileged in some way over other people. Privilege does not equal or make a person an oppressor. Abraham was wealthy (Gen 24:35), Israel was privileged by being God’s chosen nation (Rom 3:1-2), and Paul was privileged as a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37-38; 22:28). Everyone experiences privilege in comparison to someone else. Privilege is not a sin, and therefore does not require repentance; it only requires thankfulness and good stewardship (Matt 25:14-30).

Biblically, anyone can be racist or commit any other sin that other humans can commit and be forgiven and given a new life (John 3:1-4; Rom 10:9-19). Racism is not determined by one’s past, group size, or skin color, but by their heart reflected in their actions (Matt 15:18-20). For example, murder or adultery are sinful desires of the heart even if there is no physical murder or adultery (Mark 7:21; Matt 5:27-32).

[1] Critical Theory, Cultural Marxism, CRT and other associated ideas such as intersectionality all flow out of the Frankfurt School. “A theory is critical to the extent that it seeks human “emancipation from slavery”, acts as a “liberating influence” (Horkheimer 1972, 246). . .such theories aim to explain and transform all the circumstances that enslave human beings.”https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/critical-theory/ accessed 2/21/20
[2] Critical Race Theory is “the view that race, instead of being biologically grounded and natural, is socially constructed and that race, as a socially constructed concept, functions as a means to maintain the interests of the white population that constructed it.” https://www.britannica.com/topic/critical-race-theory accessed 6/18/19.
[3] Intersectionality is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.” Consequently, minorities can suffer from varying degrees of discrimination. https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/intersectionality accessed 6/18/19.
[4] CM proposes a clash between the oppressed (minorities) and the oppressor (majority). The “majority groups are privileged and oppressive and minority groups are typically underprivileged and oppressed.” Dr. E.S. Williams, a member of Charles Spurgeon’s London Metropolitan a video titled “The Stain of Albert Mohler.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIlnLU-vt_g accessed 2/4/20
[5] I will explain these concepts in greater detail in the preaching series I started on February 2, 2020, In Defense of God’s Order and the Gospel, and in a forthcoming article. It will contrast each major component of CM with the Scripture.

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Ronnie W. Rogers