We All Fall Short
The second principle of crt is the theory of Intersectionality. That is white people, only when incentivized, will support the advancement of black people. This stems from the idea that white people benefit from racism and may lose status or access if opportunities become more equitable. This same dynamic exists in our society between men and women.
In the sermon, Voddie reads from Richard Delgado's book Critical Race Theory. Regarding this principle Delgado is quoted, "White's are incapable of righteous actions on race". Knowing his audience, Voddie repeated the word righteous. He goes on to say that this principle condemns the entire white population as incurably racist.
It's difficult to see a black man highlight the racism experienced by white people while discounting racism experienced by those who look like him. Still, and for different reasons, I have to disagree with this principle. Voddie seems to believe the principle goes too far but I don’t think it goes far enough. In fact all people, regardless of race, will only support the advancement of others when it benefits themselves - which is what capitalism is.
It’s no secret that crt has been a hot topic in the evangelical church but it can’t be for this principle. We Christians know that outside of the sacrificial love of Christ, we are all, including white men, incurably incapable of any righteous actions.
Deep Breath - Let’s Talk Nuclear Family
The next two principles of crt are grouped together - anti-liberalism and knowledge is socially constructed. Not much of a description is given for either other than explaining that it’s these principles that challenge western Christian values and objective truth. Some of the things challenged by these two principles that were mentioned in the clip are the scientific method, self reliance, and the traditional nuclear family.
Voddie references a chart titled Aspects & Assumptions of Whiteness & White Culture in the United States, that attributes values like hard work and rugged individualism to whiteness. He also used Richard Delgado as a reference when attributing the scientific method and science and reasoning to white people. I wouldn’t have a problem with Voddie doing this if he then refuted these claims by pointing out the unsung black heros in the field of science; or if he highlighted the fact that black people created thriving and self-sustaining communities like the one destroyed by white terrorism in Tulsa Oklahoma. Instead I’m afraid Voddie leaves his audience with the assumption that one race values these principles while the other doesn’t.
Black people value fatherhood. I have to say this because of the assumption I see amongst many conservative brothers and sisters. The thinking seems to be that a racial hierarchy doesn’t exist in our country, but if one does it’s only because of the failure of black fathers. There are studies that suggest that black fathers are doing as well as any, though their presence in their child’s life may look different. Factors like the racial wealth gap or the prison industrial complex have served as obstacles that have made the formation of BIPOC nuclear families difficult to say the least.
There’s no need to question the benefits of the nuclear family. The point I hope to make is that this kind of family structure is just not possible for some and is far less achievable than we tend to consider. Families not consisting of a married mother and father and 2.5 children, seem to face a sort of animosity when needing assistance. Welfare queen, a derogatory term usually used for single black mothers, was popularized by Ronald Regan, a hero in the evangelical world. Why is the church not a refuge for these families? Under what circumstance can a church ever refuse to feed, cloth, and care for anyone in need of help?
My fear is that we’re actively looking for reasons not to live a sacrificial life that properly reflects Christ. Instead we look for convenient excuses when responding to calls for help or of injustice. If this were not the case, then what’s the point of Voddie’s sermon? Is crt inaccurately pointing out problems or is it appropriately diagnosing them?
I think there's two thoughts Voddie wants his audience to leave with. One - institutional racism can't be proven and so probably doesn't exist. Two - claims of institutional racism is crt which undermines traditional western Christian values. For reasons I’ve already covered, I disagree with both points. Instead, I think evangelicals tend to use crt as a reason not to help their neighbors. Both the priest and the Levite chose to pass on the other side when they had the opportunity to help the man attacked by thieves. I think crt has become a convenient route offered by satan for sleeping Christians hoping to avoid discussions on race. Voddie mentioned near the end of the clip that no one is trying to have a bible study focusing on this topic - HBEO says hi Voddie!
As far as crt goes - I do not see a need to advocate for it. All the good things I see in the theory really just borrows from Christianity. No man is righteous, and humans by nature are sinful and need to keep watch over their hearts. What I think I disagree with (could be just misunderstanding) is how crt seems to center whiteness when suggesting solutions. While repentance is good and needed, black people are not without hope if our nation never gets there.
It’s clear that many evangelicals and conservatives are staunchly against crt. The motivation behind this is sketchy to me. I heard it said in a conversation denouncing crt that, America is the only nation to fight a civil war to end slavery. This does sound nice but the slavery present in America was also present in Europe and South America, neither needed a civil war to end it. So what does it say about us that we did? What does it say that just earlier this year there were many who stormed the White House carrying flags that symbolize the side of the civil war that wanted to keep slavery intact? Can we admit that the idea of white superiority is still very much present in our world and realize that as Christians it’s our duty to stand against it?
Critical Race Theory would have no oxygen to survive if the church would just be the Church. If the church would just rebuke accusations or Marxism and defend people who earnestly seek justice and opportunity for BIPOC people, then no other organization, theory, curriculum, or practice would have to.
I could be wrong, Voddie is definitely a smarter man than me. If I am wrong, show me how. Let’s understand one another, and may that help us understand God in a greater way!
Charles Kolstad - A father, husband, brother, and son. Following Christ for 7 years and serving where I can. I love all, but black people & afrocentricity have special places in my heart.