The Florida Board of Education banned the teaching of Critical Race Theory. I don’t know that it should be banned–that seems a little drastic–but I think it’s prudent for Critical Race Theory to not be taught.
Critical Race Theory argues that systems are racist and tries to show this. Some argue that it is not evidence-based.
It’s those two points–not the assertion that racism is not a problem or doesn’t exist–that are the issue for me.
As a Christian (and a philosopher), I take the individual to be central–not structures. There are racist people, not racist structures. It is true that there have been–and are–many racist individuals in positions of power and this has caused racist laws and institutions. All of us are fallen, and we each individually need to seek God’s grace.
The work to be done with regard to continuing racism is thus a matter of individuals. That makes it, probably, a much more difficult problem to solve. Doing this work is honorable and Godly.
The evidence I have seen on, for example, unconscious bias, shows that individuals may be more or less racially biased. However, learning this about oneself is the first step to undoing racism.
People on both the Left and the Right have different perspectives on Critical Race Theory. On the Left, there is a worry about denying racism exists and that is very problematic. On the Right–especially the far Right–there is a denial that racism exists and even white supremacy.
The fact of the matter is that we need to have healthier dialogues about race and racism. People on the Right do have a point when they say no child should be taught that they are inherently a victim or an oppressor. That simply isn’t healthy for child development.
We can have healthy discussions about race a racism by going back a bit. In my past, at least, we were taught in college that all human beings are of equal worth and that some of them have been and are unjustly treated because of the color of their skin. The goal for people such as myself–Caucasian people–was to be inclusive, bring people of color up, offer true friendship, and be sensitive to all of this. We tried different foods, experience different dance, and were exposed to different clothes.
God loves each individual, regardless of race. Racism is a problem, but perhaps Critical Race Theory is not the healthiest way to tackle it. Besides, the assumption in much of race discourse these days is fatalist: It suggests that racism is an inescapable part of life and that all white people are doomed as oppressors.
It’s not and they aren’t.
The discourse on racism has become toxic. We can fight white supremacy without Critical Race Theory by seeking true connections across racial lines and being positive and inclusive of people of color.
The work to undo racism is a just and Godly task. It requires patience from all of us. It requires real friendship and love. That may seem like a hard task, but in the end, it is worth it.
Star Trek image with the quote: It’s impossible to fear diversity and to enter the future at the same time.