Critical Race Theory

Across the United States, several teachers and at least one coach have been fired for their opposition to Critical Race Theory (CRT). Parents have rebelled at the teaching of CRT in schools, and are being hotly opposed by educational administrators and the political left. Outside the classroom, CRT has dominated the discourse about race and gender in America. It is worthwhile to investigate it.

The Tenets of Critical Race Theory

Merriam Webster defines “race” as any one of the groups that humans are often divided into based on physical traits regarded as common among people of shared ancestry.[1] Some hold that race is a modern European construct intended to “scientifically” justify white supremacy by classifying and devaluing all non-whites. In reality, civilizations have divided people by differences in cultural and physical traits since the dawn of time. The Hindu Vedas sharply discriminate between Aryans and Dasyu, the indigenous people of the Indian subcontinent and perennial enemies of the Aryans, characterizing the Dasyu as “phallus worshipers,” “dark-skinned,” and “harsh spoken.” The Bible notes the Ethiopians as a “people tall and smooth skinned (Isaiah 18:7).” The Muslim writer Said al Andalusi (d. 1070) wrote:

“For those who live furthest to the north between the last of the seven climates and the limits of the inhabited world, the excessive distance of the sun in relation to the zenith line makes the air cold and the atmosphere thick. Their temperaments are therefore frigid, their humors raw, their bellies gross, their color pale, their hair long and lank. Thus they lack keenness of understanding and clarity of intelligence, and are overcome by ignorance and dullness, lack of discernment, and stupidity. Such are the Slavs, the Bulgars, and their neighbors. For those peoples on the other hand who live near and beyond the equinoctial line to the limit of the inhabited world in the south, the long presence of the sun at the zenith makes the air hot and the atmosphere thin. Because of this their temperaments become hot and their humors fiery, their color black and their hair wooly. They lack self-control and steadiness of mind and are overcome by fickleness, foolishness, and ignorance. Such are the blacks, who live at the extremity of the land of Ethiopia, the Nubians, the Zanj, and the like.”[2]

Clearly, “race” as defined above long predates European colonialism. It is found in various forms throughout the world and throughout history. This being true, the foundational assumption of Critical Race Theory (CRT), that “race” is a white, European construct, is found to be flawed. The text Critical Race Theory spells out CRT’s core tenets.[3]

  1. “Racism is ordinary, not aberrational. That is, it is the everyday experience of people of color in the United States.
  2. A system of white over color ascendancy serves important purposes, both psychic and material, for the dominant group. That is, white supremacy is systemic and benefits white people. Therefore, “color-blind” policies can tackle only the most egregious and demonstrable forms of discrimination.
  3. The “social construction” thesis holds that race and races are products of social thought and relations. Intersectionality and antiessentialism – opposition to the idea of racial difference as innate – are needed to address this.[4]
  4. A “unique voice of color” exists and “minority status…brings with it a presumed competence to speak about race and racism. This is not understood as essentialism but as the product of common experiences of oppression. In other words, this is standpoint theory.”[5]

Merriam-Webster defines racism as “a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race” and “the systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic, and political advantage of another.”[6]

Essentials of Communism

In London in 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote a pamphlet entitled the Communist Manifesto. The Communist Manifesto helped trigger the 1848 Revolutions in Europe and, along with its companion volume, Das Kapital (1867), inspired the communist takeover of Russia (1917), Eastern Europe (1945), North Korea (1945), China (1949), Cuba (1959), Vietnam (1975), and a host of other nations. The central idea of communism is that the world is divided into two groups, the bourgeoisie (the wealthy), who own the means of production (factories, businesses, etc.), and the proletariat (the poor), who do not own the means of production and so are forced to work for the bourgeoisie. According to Marx, these groups are in constant struggle, and have been since the dawn of time. Marx prophesies that the sweep of history will ensure that the proletariat ultimately wins. When that happens, according to Communist dogma, the world will be an egalitarian utopia in which each person produces and consumes in perfect equality. A Marxist slogan promised, “from each according to his ability, and to each according to his need.” Marxism is a metanarrative, an overarching explanation of the world, which describes the fundamental conflict in history as a class war. It sought to displace all other metanarratives, such as religion, in the lives of its adherents.[7]

In practice, each nation with a communist government was a brutal dictatorship in which a communist elite ruled, economies wilted, liberties ended, and legions died. Communist dictators Stalin (USSR) and Mao (China) surpassed even the Fascists in the rivers of blood that flowed from their hands. In the late 1980s, truth defeated communist Russia and Eastern Europe. Except for China, Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea, Communist states have fallen. Socialism, as in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the German Socialist Workers Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – NSDAP, AKA Nazi) has historically been communism under a different name.[8]

Critical Race Theory and Communism

Traditional communism has been discredited, at least in the minds of the thinking and historically informed, but the idea of perpetual struggle has not. Critical Race Theory (CRT) posits that warfare is never ending but that the struggle is between races, sexes (including sexual identity), and ethnic groups rather than between economic classes. In America, CRT believers argue that white Americans, especially heterosexual males, are the oppressing class and have oppressed everyone else. White heterosexual women are the least oppressed and multiracial gender fluid individuals the most oppressed.[9] Logically, CRT should teach that groups higher in the hierarchy (such as heterosexual Asian males) could oppress groups who are lower on the hierarchy (such as homosexual black females), but it does not. In CRT, whites are the only wicked ones and everyone else, regardless of their social and economic status, is good.

In Critical Race Theory, vices and virtues are fixed – there is no way for a white heterosexual male to not be racist, sexist, and oppressive – no matter what he thinks, says, or does. The “oppressor’s” identity is his original sin, and there is no repentance. Conversely, the “victim’s” identity is his or her original virtue. Repentance is not only unnecessary, but also wrong, since “victims” have been forced into their situation by the actions of their “oppressors.” Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his famous 1963 speech, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” CRT vehemently opposes this idea, proponents arguing that race and sexuality are important determinants of virtue or vice. An “oppressor” who works hard, plays by the rules, lives an honest life, and raises his family remains vile. A “victim” who fails school, breaks the law, or harms others remains lauded, or perhaps ignored.[10]

As Marxism promoted revolution to achieve equity, so CRT promotes revolution to achieve equity. America was founded on principles of equal opportunity, but the left wants equal outcomes (equity). It is not enough for a school or employer to accept the best qualified applicant; they must select students and employees from “victim” groups rather than “oppressor” groups whenever possible. Wealth must be taken from “oppressors” and given to “victims.”[11] “Oppressors” must be prevented from speaking in public places or on social media while “victims” must be lauded for saying anything acceptable to the CRT power players. Just as in communist states, an omnipresent bureaucracy is required to enforce acceptable thoughts, words, and actions.

Like its Marxist mother, critical race theory is a metanarrative, an overarching explanation of the world, which describes the fundamental conflict in history as a race, sex, and sexual identity war. It seeks to displace all other metanarratives, such as religion, in the lives of its adherents. People who are not “of color” are not even qualified to discuss race and racism because they do not share the “unique voice of color” as noted above.

Flaws in Critical Race Theory

Critical Race Theory (CRT) has many flaws. First, people identify themselves by more than race and sex. For many, religion is far more fundamental to their identity than race or sex is. For 2,000 years, and in every land on the globe, devoted Christians have owed their allegiance to Christ alone. For 1,400 years, some Muslims have chosen Islam over their Arab, Persian, Turk, or other ethnicity. The Hindutva (Hindu nationalist movement) makes nationality and religion, not sex, paramount. In addition to religion, people identify themselves by region, occupation, and age, to name just a few. Marxists actively suppress all identification outside party and economic class, and CRT disciples actively suppress all identification other than race and sex.[12] Marxism foundered on the rocks of religion, as has every other philosophy which claims ultimate human allegiance. CRT will do the same.

Second, targeting any single group as oppressors and everyone else as victims is dependent on time and location, constantly changing, and always inaccurate. If CRT had existed in the early 1500s, theorists would have opposed Inca supremacy, Aztec supremacy, Iroquois supremacy, Ottoman supremacy, Mughal supremacy, and Ming Chinese supremacy. In 1921, when predominantly white European colonial powers ruled half the globe, CRT theorists might have been troubled by European supremacy. Even during their periods of greatest power, however, each of these “supreme” groups had limited ability to oppress others. In 1500, the seemingly all-powerful Aztecs and Incas were within a generation of their final destruction. The Mughals, Ottomans, and Ming had absolute dominion over their subjects and terrified neighboring nations. Yet the Mughals couldn’t stop the founding and growth of the Sikh faith, nor could they stop European encroachments. By 1600, the Ottomans and Ming began a long, slow decline. All three were gone within three centuries. In picking enemies, or “oppressors” in the modern parlance, we tend to select those whose power is waning, whose time we believe is past.

In 2021, by sheer numbers, Han Chinese males would be considered supreme.[13]  Communist China certainly is the most bellicose group, rattling her sabers under President for Life Xi Jinping from Hong Kong and Taiwan to Xinjiang and Tibet. As the power of nations with a majority white (European) population has receded in the last three decades, the power of nations with Asian populations has grown. China, Japan, and India boast three of the four largest economies and three of the five top militaries in the world. The narrative that whites are preeminent is increasingly false worldwide, and debatable even in the US.

Third, the CRT metanarrative can’t explain “victim” groups and individuals who are materially thriving, and “oppressor” groups and individuals who are not. Asians and Hispanics in America have a longer life expectancy than non-Hispanic whites.[14] As the “model minority,” Asians have excelled in academics, median household income, and other areas in which others, including some whites, have faltered. Many poor whites exist, suggesting that the “oppressive” class isn’t uniformly oppressive. Many individual blacks, Hispanics, and other members of minority groups in the US have overwhelming material success. One study found that, far from being oppressed, homosexual couples had higher incomes and levels of education than heterosexual couples.[15] Groups and individuals that don’t fit the CRT worldview demonstrate that many factors, both group (such as race and sex) and individual (such as intelligence, industry, virtue or vice), influence material prosperity. The material success of new groups, whether the Irish in the 1840s or the Asians in the 1980s, indicates that in America, individual factors are the most important in determining material success. Far from being hopelessly racist and sexist, despite all its flaws, the United States has the fairest system in the world.

Fourth, CRT fails to acknowledge responsibility and enable growth. Every culture on earth for 6,000 years of recorded human history has understood that people are responsible for what they do or fail to do. Hammurabi’s Code (1750 BC) specifies individual penalties for crimes of omission or commission, as does Islamic Law, the Hindu Manusmrti, Greek and Roman law, and subsequent codes. As there is no virtue or vice in the size of one’s bank account, there is no virtue or vice in the color of one’s skin, nor in one’s sex (or preferred sex).  Insofar as CRT makes perceived victimization a virtue, it impairs people’s desire and ability to change their perceptions to overcome victimization and to recognize when it is not actually there.

Fifth, CRT collapses because the universe is essentialist, even if proponents of CRT do not think so. Oak trees and polar bears have characteristics that make them what they are. Volcanos and tidal waves are predictable because the universe is orderly and understandable. Humans are characterized by certain essential characteristics, such as our integumentary, neurologic, circulatory, respiratory, musculoskeletal, and reproductive systems. Sex is binary, with an XX chromosome structure in women and an XY chromosome structure in men. CRT believers may not like that essence is prior to existence, that each person and thing is composed of immutable characteristics, but it is true nonetheless. It bears saying, contrary to the opinions of men like Said al-Andalusi, that no credible evidence exists for any racially determined difference in intelligence, virtue, or other key traits.

Sixth, CRT misidentifies the problems with humanity and their solutions. Man is morally wicked to his core. There is none righteous, no, not one. No one seeks after God. Racism, sexism, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, contention, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, reveling, are other manifestations of evil in the world. One commentator opined that “man does not have a skin problem but a sin problem.” No amount of education, evolution, or law enforcement will remove the filth in the heart of man. God alone, through the work of Jesus Christ, can do it, for those who are willing.

Seventh, CRT ends in death. In history, Marxism has seen no real end to class conflict, because even after the “wicked” capitalists are destroyed and communism’s “proletarian utopia” arises, someone or some group always rises up and oppresses others. The new bourgeoisie has to be destroyed again by the new proletariat. CRT does not even envision a conclusion to conflict, as power dynamics endlessly shift between racial and sexual groups within and between societies. Since those labeled as “oppressors” in CRT can do nothing to lose their stigma, emotions harden, and compromise becomes impossible. As long as these conditions prevail, the only possible outcome is death, of individuals and of the nation.

Two incidents show how CRT affects the day-to-day world. At the George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, ground zero of the racial controversy in America, citizens try to engage protestors to make their neighborhood livable for everyone. Protestors chant, “No justice, no peace,” and ask “how do we get rid of all the evangelicals,” who were bringing food to both sides, and sharing Jesus. Marcia Howard, a protest leader, sees churches as part of a “segregated system.” Howard continues, “the powers that be” are the problem, “the whole entire country, systemic racism, white supremacy.” When asked what should replace the current system, she says “that’s what you have to figure out…how do you replace disenfranchisement?”[16]

Like individual protest leaders, CRT makes demands but offers no solutions. Compromise is impossible as CRT believers adopt the patina of righteous indignation. Minneapolis city council leader Andrea Jenkins, a black trans woman, was held hostage in her car near George Floyd Square by members of Black Lives Matter (BLM). They only released her when she signed every one of their demands.[17] Ms Jenkins was treated shamefully by these BLM protestors even though she is a highly intersectional “person of color” and ally of their cause. Non- “people of color” can’t even join the conversation.

Conclusion

Marxism lived 70 years in Russia, during which time tens of millions suffered and died. It remains in China and a few other nations, but even there the communist idea is weak. Cuba is liberalizing, as is Vietnam. The communist Sandinistas of Nicaragua of the 1980s have become the autocrats of 2021. Venezuela, a neo-socialist nation, begs for bread.

CRT will ultimately die because it is inconsistent with the reality of human life, but it will poison people every day that it lives. As with socialism, communism, and all other lies, CRT will divide communities and nations. Banning the teaching of CRT is not sufficient to win the ideological battle over this pernicious lie, since ideas can only be defeated by better ideas.

America will continue advancing with its earnest efforts to make opportunity equal for all. As long as individual humans differ in their character, their industry, and their courage, we know that equity, equal outcomes, is both impossible and undesirable. America will improve, make a new set of mistakes, and improve again. Conservatives believe in individual rights, individual responsibility, limited government, and the rule of law. These core principles grow out of wisdom passed down from our fathers and mothers, and from every culture through the ages. These eternal truths are the best route to justice for all people of all races, and are the right ideas to combat CRT. We must speak kindly and boldly and walk our talk. Ultimately, conservative ideas, and the people who hold them and live them. will win. Those who now promote CRT will grow old and pass into the sunset. As in every generation, the children of today’s CRT devotees will wonder how their parents, these protestors, could have been so foolish. Truth will remain.

But the ultimate battle is not political, but spiritual. Transforming the heart of man is the only way to remove evil, including racism, sexism, and other falsehoods, from our midst. Christians must think, speak, and act so as to introduce all men and women to the Risen Christ. Only then will love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control replace the wickedness in our lives and in our society. The content of our character will always prevail over the color of our skin.

[1] Merriam Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/race.

[2] Said al Andalusi as quoted in Bernard Lewis, Race and Slavery in the Middle East, An Historical Inquiry, (Oxford: University Press, 1990), 47-48.

[3] Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic in Critical Race Theory as quoted in Helen Pluckrose, James Lindsay, Cynical Theories, How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity – and Why This Harms Everybody, (Durham NC: Pitchstone Publishing, 2020), 119.

[4] Essentialism is defined as follows: a belief that things have a set of characteristics which make them what they are, and that the task of science and philosophy is their discovery and expression; the doctrine that essence is prior to existence.

This includes the view that all children should be taught on traditional lines the ideas and methods regarded as essential to the prevalent culture, and the view that categories of people, such as women and men, or heterosexuals and gay people, or members of ethnic groups, have intrinsically different and characteristic natures or dispositions. https://www.bing.com/search?q=essentialism&cvid=797c1d4bd44c46e6a938514a44fcfc0f&aqs=edge.0.0l7.4359j0j4&FORM=ANAB01&PC=U531.

[5] Standpoint theory is a theory that knowledge stems from social position; that where you stand determines what you know. Its roots are in feminist thought. Standpoint theory denies that science, or anything else, is objectively true, or that if anything is objectively true, since humans are not objective, we cannot find it. https://www.britannica.com/topic/standpoint-theory.

[6] Merriam Webster, Racism, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/racism.

[7] Karl Marx derided religion as the “opiate of the masses,” keeping the majority subjugated while they hope for a better world in the hereafter.

[8] Some readers will object that Nazism was right wing, not left wing. They argue that the means of production remained in private hands in Germany, and that the Nazis persecuted left wing groups. While industrialists such as Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach retained nominal control of their businesses, the German government (the Third Reich) exercised de facto control. Furthermore, Germany implemented permanent wage and price controls in 1936, which was decidedly not a capitalist thing to do. The Reich increasingly had a planned economy similar to communist states. Finally, the Reich eliminated all groups, right and left, in its drive for power. The Nazi moves against the Communist Party and Social Democrats mean nothing more than their moves against the conservative German National People’s Party and Centre Party.  Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany were equally despotic.

[9] In reality, everyone is a mix of sex, age, race, occupation, location, religion, and a host of other factors. We are all “intersectional.” In CRT, however, being a victim of oppression is a virtue, and having more “victim” intersectionalities is a greater virtue. A black man who is a transsexual woman ranks high on the intersectionality virtue scale.

[10] As a tragic example, when a white male police officer in Columbus Ohio shot and killed a black girl who was attempting a stab another black girl, the would-be stabber was beatified in the news and the police officer was threatened. NBA star LeBron James posted on Twitter, “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY,” the basketball player wrote with an hourglass emoji over a photo of one of the white policemen at the scene of the teen’s shooting.” Since it appears that the officer was forced to take one life to save another, the left has ignored the incident.

“Ohio shooting: Columbus Police Kill Black Teenage Girl,” British Broadcasting Company, 22 April 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56825871.

[11] Christopher F. Rufo, “Critical Race Theory: What it is and How to Fight it,” Imprimis, Hillsdale College, March 2021, Volume 50, number 3

[12] Including sexual identity.

[13] People considered “white” in modern usage are usually those of European origin. The population of Europe is 750 million.  If Europe is 90% white and 50% male, then Europe contains 337 million white males. North America contains the other large concentration of European-origin people in the world, totaling 371 million.  If North America is 70% white and 50% male, then North America contains 130 million white males. Adding Latin America, which has 660 million inhabitants, and assuming that its populace is 50% white and 50% male, Latin America has 165 million white males.  Combining these regions and adding about 10 million white males for other regions such as Australia and Africa, there are roughly 642 million white males in the world. By contrast, China has 1.4 billion people, of which 92% are of the Han ethnicity, and so has roughly 644 million Han males. Taiwan adds 11 million Han males, and the Han diaspora another 22 million, for a total of 677 million Han males.

[14] Average US Life Expectancy Statistics by Gender, Ethnicity, State. https://www.simplyinsurance.com/average-us-life-expectancy-statistics/#section-4.

[15] Danielle Kurtzleben, Gay Couples More Educated, Higher-Income Than Heterosexual Couples, https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/03/01/gay-couples-more-educated-higher-income-than-heterosexual-couples#:~:text=A%20new%20study%20shows%20that%20gay%20couples%20earn,to%20make%20slightly%20less%20than%20their%20heterosexual%20counterparts.

[16] Sharon Dierberger, Neighborhood Barriers, World Magazine, 5 Jun 2021, Volume 36, number 11.

[17] Danielle Wallace, Minneapolis protesters hold city council VP ‘hostage’ by blocking vehicle, demanding riot charges dropped, https://www.foxnews.com/us/minneapolis-councilmember-hostage-protesters-george-floyd-square.

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