Summary: An introduction to the concepts, critique and future of Critical Race Theory.
Opposition to Critical Race Theory has moved into the forefront of the critique of modern racial justice movement. It was specifically mentioned in the Dallas Statement on Social Justice as one of the aspects of the social justice movement that is incompatible with the gospel. But I suspect that many that are most critical of Critical Race Theory have little familiarity with it.
The first problem is that it is a framework more than a specifically defined approach. The Wikipedia post isn’t a bad summary. Wikipedia cites UCLA School of Public Affairs definition:
CRT recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society. The individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture. This is the analytical lens that CRT uses in examining existing power structures. CRT identifies that these power structures are based on white privilege and white supremacy, which perpetuates the marginalization of people of color.
But then Wikipedia cites Critical Race Theory: An Introduction and gives twelve themes such as: A critique of liberalism, storytelling focus, revisionist interpretations of civil rights law, intersectionality, bias toward white supremacy, etc to flesh out that simple description from UCLA School of Public Affairs.
Honestly, while I did find Critical Race Theory: An introduction very helpful, I do wish there were a simpler and clearer definition. But what was clear is that universal arguments against Critical Race Theory probably do not understand it fully, or at least are over generalizing.
I actually think that Al Mohler’s argument against critical race theory as a whole, but affirming aspects of it in his discussion about the Dallas Statement was helpful, although I did not agree with Mohler’s overall approach. As I read Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, I can certainly see aspects that I disagree with. But I also see a number of areas that I find very helpful in approach and that support Christian concepts of sin and theology.
The most helpful is the concept of intersectionality. This is often mischaracterized by opponents as trying to add up victimhood points. But as I understand it, intersectionality is simply the concept that different types of oppression work differently, and that when you layer oppressions together, the result is different in kind not just quantity. The classic origin is the intersection of race and gender. Black women working in an office or factory are discriminated against because they are black women. But traditional solutions that address their race or their gender separately may not be effective because the racial solution may be targeted toward Black men and the gender solution may be targeted toward White women and therefore neither address the particular concerns of Black women.