The SBC Waltzing into the Ballroom of Marxism: Why CRT and IN Are Not Neutral Analytical Tools

By now, most know that the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Birmingham, Georgia, in June 2019, passed Resolution 9 that promoted using critical race theory (CRT) and intersectionality (IN) as analytical tools. The premise to legitimize their use was to use them as analytical tools and thereby separate them from their Marxian origin, influence, and usage. To wit, being used as merely analytical tools, we could neutralize or possibly even Christianize them for good. The problem with the premise is that the leading critical race theorists refer to them as analytical tools, and Marxists refer to Marxism as an analytical tool. That is to say, seeing them as analytical tools does not ipso facto sanctify them.

Consider that in the introduction to the book Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement, Kimberl à Crenshaw says, The organizers coined the term “Critical Race Theory” to make it clear that our work locates itself in [the] intersection of critical theory and race, racism and the law[1] (italics added).

Now, dependence on Critical Theory (CT) requires us to define it. The term CT was coined, systematized, and developed by neo-Marxist Max Horkheimer, although fellow Marxist Theodore Adorno also contributed to its development. CT is the central mechanism for promoting Marxism throughout the world, which includes America’s legal, academic, and social spheres and endeavors. Critical theory is the lens through which neo-Marxists view the world to change it into a Marxist utopia.

To promote Marxism, CT problematizes everything in the system it seeks to destroy and replaces it with Marxism. It views everything through the paradigm of oppressor vs. oppressed. An integral part of CT is that some group is oppressed and needs to be liberated from its oppressor. Marxism is the liberator. In America, the oppressors are Christian-influenced capitalism and constitutional liberty, including religion and individual rights.[2] Additionally, the majorities are the oppressors, and the minorities are the oppressed. Most notably, whites are the oppressors, and blacks are the oppressed. Marxists and their sympathizers use Marxian-based CRT/IN as analytical tools to deconstruct and deemphasize the individual by emphasizing group identities and then align minority groups against majority groups in the quest to present America as thoroughly evil and needing to be replaced with Marxism.

Since America and its effects mentioned are oppressive (according to neo-Marxism), Marxism must deconstruct and replace them. As with CRT and IN, Marxism is an analytical tool that only focuses on and exaggerates the problems with the system it seeks to destroy and replace with a Marxian utopia. Max Horkheimer admits they have no historical example of this utopia,[3] and neo-Marxist Herbert Marcuse admits they have no blueprint to show its structure or how it will be built.[4] This is analogous to a contractor who tries to sell you a house. But, first, he requires the destruction of the house you live in even though he cannot show you a house he has built that worked compared to other houses, and he cannot show you a blueprint of the home he says you need to buy. That is the idiocy of Marxism. When anyone compares an existing system with a utopic vision, the existing system always pales in wonder. But when you compare America to any historical attempt of Marxists to build a utopia, Marxism proves to be a disaster.

Think about how the term critical permeates our current culture, education, social theory, and interactions. It is essential to realize that it does not mean to think analytically or use your brain, but it does promote Marxism and leads people to think like a Marxist. Thinking critically means employing critical theory, which is to think like a Marxist. Thus, most often, when you see the term critical used adjectively, it means to think about that subject using CT, which is to view it as a Marxist. For example, critical legal theory, critical social justice, critical race theory, critical education, critical work, critical scholars, critical Marxists, critical scholarship, critical conversation, critical studies, critical knowledge, critical approach, critical traditions, critical social citizenship, critical agents, critical comprehension, critical citizens, critical engagement, critical leadership, critical dialogue, critical agency, critical integration, critical awareness, critical pedagogy, critical thinking, critical consciousness, critical spirit, critical powers, critical creativity, critical aim, critical reflection, critical analysis, critical investigation, critical meeting, critical science, critical awareness, critical approach to studying education, and critical multi-educational studies.

The reality is you cannot adopt CRT in any way without bringing in neo-Marxism’s critical theory since CRT is based on and employs CT, which presupposes there are oppressed people in the structure to be liberated from their oppressors. So now, with an understanding of the background of CRT in Marxism, note how critical race and intersectionality theorists refer to CRT/IN and Marxism as analytical tools.

Kimberl à Crenshaw coined and defined intersectionality, and she is the mother of critical race theory along with the father, Derrick Bell. Speaking of intersectionality, she said, “Rooted in Black Feminism and Critical Race Theory, intersectionality is a method and a disposition, a heuristic and analytic tool”[5] (italics added). Crenshaw also says, “Critical race theorists seek to fashion a set of tools for thinking about race that avoids the traps of racial thinking”[6] (italics added). Critical social theorists and sociologists Patricia Hill Collins and Sirma Bilge say, “Intersectionality as an analytic tool gives people better access to the complexity of the world and of themselves”[7] (italics added).

As Christians, we rightly believe the Scripture does this. Again, Collins and Bilge say, “Social justice may be intersectionality’s most contentious core idea, but it is one that expands the circle of intersectionality to include people who use intersectionality as an analytic tool for social justice.”[8] (italics added) You can find other critical race theorists who refer to them as analytical tools. for example, the article entitled Women’s Rights and Economic Change, says, “This paper looks at the use of intersectionality in promoting women’s  rights. Intersectionality is a tool for analysis.”[9]

Gloria Ladson-Billings and William Tate wrote a paper, which was later published “in the fall of 1995, Teachers College Record (TCR).”[10] It was entitled, Toward a Critical Race Theory of Education.”[11] It was “the first article in the field of education to take a CRT perspective . . . Ladson-Billings and Tate began their article by stating three propositions that ground their discussion of CRT as an ‘analytical tool for understanding school inequity’[12] (italics added). It made “race the axis of understanding inequity and injustice.”[13]

In the paper Billings and Tate say, “In this article we attempt to theorize race and use it as an analytic tool for understanding school inequity”[14] (italics added). In the section on “Race and Property” they say, “The intersection of race and property creates an analytic tool through which we can understand social (and, consequently, school) inequity”[15] (italics added).

Additionally, socialists, critical theorists of all types, and others opposed to capitalism, classic forms of education that teach students how to live in our society successfully, individual rights, private property, and Christianity may not belong to the Marxist, communist, or socialist party. Still, they use Marxism as an analytical tool. They like the goals of communism, such as equal outcomes, wealth redistribution, and more government intervention and control over production and distribution.[16] Men like Michael Whitman Apple and Henry Giroux use “Marxian analysis” to evaluate what is wrong with America (specifically in education) and bring about a change to Marxism.[17] Both are key figures in bringing Marxism into our public education system along with others like Paulo Freire.

Isaac Gottesman tells us that Apple’s mother was an active member of the Communist Party,[18] a student of critical theory,[19] and Apple himself came to lean heavily on neo-Marxists and especially Antonio Gramsci in his pedagogy.[20] In his dissertation about the Frankfurt School associate neo-Marxist Herbert Marcuse, Apple comments in a footnote, saying, “Scholars in education still shy away from using some of the very fruitful analytic tools and concepts developed by Marx. It is possible to separate fruitful ideas from dogma; the use of the former does not commit one to the latter necessarily. As one of the many types of theorizing which serve to critique each other as they investigate educational concerns, [sic] Marxian theories can be helpful conceptualizing tools.”[212] (italics added)This statement in defense of using Marxian analytical tools without having to commit to Marxism was a precursor to his full adoption of neo-Marxism.

Gottesman says,”Once Apple completed his doctorate in 1970, at the age of 27, his scholarship soon shifted from phenomenology to a deep consideration of the analytical and conceptual tools of the critical Marxist tradition.”[22] And of course, as quotes like these demonstrate, there is no shortage of Marxists, socialists, and Marxian sympathizers who enthusiastically promote CT as the way to view society.

Gustavo Gutierrez, a Latin American Liberation Theologian, said, “Marxism presents the best analysis of the oppression-liberation conflict in terms of class struggle. So the liberation theologian must be committed to Marxism at least as an ‘analytical tool,’ at most to socialist revolution as such”[23] (italics added).

Therefore, referring to these concepts as analytical tools does nothing to neutralize or separate them from CRT/IN and Marxism. On the contrary, they work synergistically with other CRT/IN and Marxist ideas like the oppressor vs. oppressed dynamic, promoting all whites as oppressors and all blacks as oppressed, focusing on groups more than individuals, and viewing socialism and Marxism as the needed replacement of America, capitalism, and religion, especially Christianity.

The question, therefore, is, how can the Southern Baptist Convention and other Christians use CRT as an analytical tool “when the organizers coined the term ‘Critical Race Theory; to make it clear that our work locates itself in the intersection of critical theory [Marxism] and race, racism, and the law.”‘[24] Thus, in no uncertain terms, we must repudiate Resolution 9 and remove all aspects of CT and CRT from the SBC.

Remember If you dance with CRT/IN, they always end up leading to a Marxist Ball. There is no fellowship with light and darkness (Baal and Christ “what harmony has Christ with Belial (2 Cor 6:15)?


[1] Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement, edited by Kimberl à Crenshaw et. al. (New York: New Press, 1995), xxvii.
[2] See the book, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalis by Max Webber, with which the neo-Marxists are well familiar.
[3] Max Horkheimer, Critical Theory: Selected Essays, Translated by Matthew J. Connell et. al. (New York: Continuum, 2002), 220-21, 241.
[4] Marcuse’s communist utopia or an example of one does not exist, Herbert Marcuse, Repressive Tolerance from A Critique of Pure Tolerance, para. 26, https://www.marcuse.org/herbert/publications/1960s/1965-repressive-tolerance-fulltext.html, accessed 7/26/21.
[5] Devon W. Carbado, Kimberl à Crenshaw, Vickie M. Mays, & Barbara Tomlinson, INTERSECTIONALITY: Mapping the Movements of a Theory.Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race 10 (2013) 1, accessed 2/3/22.
[6] Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement, edited by Kimberl à Crenshaw et al. (New York: New Press, 1995), xxxii.
[7] Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity and Why This Harms Everybody (Durham, NC: Pitchstone, 2020), 127.
[8] Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity and Why This Harms Everybody (Durham, NC: Pitchstone, 2020), 130.
[9] A. Symington, Intersectionality: A Tool for Gender and Economic Justice, 2004, awid.org, accessed 3/7/22.
[10] Isaac Gottesman, The Critical Turn in Education: From Marxist Critique to Poststructuralist Feminism to Critical Theories of Race (New York: Routledge, 2016), 125.
[11] Gloria Ladson-Billings and William F. Tate IV, Toward a Critical Race Theory of Education, Teachers College Record 97 (1995), Https://learn.redlands.edu/theme/keypath/courses/MALT610A/Section03/doc/Toward_a_Critical_Race_Theory_of_Education.pdf , accessed 3/15/22.
[12] Isaac Gottesman, The Critical Turn in Education: From Marxist Critique to Poststructuralist Feminism to Critical Theories of Race (New York: Routledge, 2016), 125.
[13] Isaac Gottesman, The Critical Turn in Education: From Marxist Critique to Poststructuralist Feminism to Critical Theories of Race (New York: Routledge, 2016), 125.
[14] Gloria Ladson-Billings and William F. Tate IV, Toward a Critical Race Theory of Education, Teachers College Record 97 (1995) 48, Https://learn.redlands.edu/theme/keypath/courses/MALT610A/Section03/doc/Toward_a_Critical_Race_Theory_of_Education.pdf accessed 3/15/22.
[15] Gloria Ladson-Billings and William F. Tate IV, Toward a Critical Race Theory of Education, Teachers College Record 97 (1995) 48, Https://learn.redlands.edu/theme/keypath/courses/MALT610A/Section03/doc/Toward_a_Critical_Race_Theory_of_Education.pdf accessed 3/15/22.
[16] Democratic socialism contends for a socialist owned economy in which the economy and politics are collectively operated. They claim to be against Marxism or communism. But in the end, this is basically the utopia of communism.
[17] Isaac Gottesman, The Critical Turn in Education: From Marxist Critique to Poststructuralist Feminism to Critical Theories of Race (New York: Routledge, 2016), 45, 54.
[18] Isaac Gottesman, The Critical Turn in Education: From Marxist Critique to Poststructuralist Feminism to Critical Theories of Race (New York: Routledge, 2016), 53.
[19] Isaac Gottesman, The Critical Turn in Education: From Marxist Critique to Poststructuralist Feminism to Critical Theories of Race (New York: Routledge, 2016), 53.
[20] Isaac Gottesman, The Critical Turn in Education: From Marxist Critique to Poststructuralist Feminism to Critical Theories of Race (New York: Routledge, 2016), 52, 57.
[21] Isaac Gottesman, The Critical Turn in Education: From Marxist Critique to Poststructuralist Feminism to Critical Theories of Race (New York: Routledge, 2016), 54.
[23] Isaac Gottesman, The Critical Turn in Education: From Marxist Critique to Poststructuralist Feminism to Critical Theories of Race (New York: Routledge, 2016), 54.
[23] Quote posted on https://www.travismcneely.com/crt-series following episode 5, accessed 2/14/22. See also https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvh8n3F7bBs accessed 2/14/22.
[24] Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement, edited by Kimberl à Crenshaw et al. (New York: New Press, 1995), xxvii.