5.7 | CRT or KHT?
V | CRITICAL RACE THEORY
There are vast differences between CRT and KHT, as vast as the differences between CT and Kingdom.
CRT and KHT both admit the problems of oppression and racism. But they approach the solution from radically different perspectives based on the worldviews they are attached to.
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CRT starts with the system. KHT starts with the heart.
CRT says that the fundamental issue facing us is the normalization of oppression. Everything about society, from its discourse to its laws, is oppressive for minority groups. The first and primary thing we must do is dismantle and remake the system in a more equitable way.
KHT admits the errors in the system. There are systems of oppression that always have and always will exist in society. Why? Because the primary players in society are humans. And the innermost part of humans – their heart – is the most wicked thing on the earth. There is no hope for a good person, much less a good society, without a radical heart change.
CRT is about reformation. KHT is about transformation.
CRT says the only way change can happen is the dismantling of the discourses and norms of society. Ibram X. Kendi advocates for an antiracist constitutional amendment to establish and fully fund the Department of Antiracism (DOA), to be
“comprised of formally trained experts on racism and no political appointees. The DOA would be responsible for preclearing all local, state and federal public policies to ensure they won’t yield racial inequity, monitor those policies, investigate private racist policies when racial inequity surfaces, and monitor public officials for expressions of racist ideas. The DOA would be empowered with disciplinary tools to wield over and against policymakers and public officials who do not voluntarily change their racist policy and ideas.” (1)
CRT says that if we can get the right people in place, we can reform society in such a way that prevents oppression.
KHT also believes that reformation must happen. We should write better laws. We should have moral and integrous leaders. We should build a better world. But these things don’t just happen. The only way to build a better world is through individualized and personal heart transformation. God must create in each one of us a clean heart. Our hearts of stone must be removed so that we can live a life that follows the model of Jesus. KHT is all about transformation. We don't deconstruct and dismantle and destroy society from the outside in. We change it from the inside out. And that requires us to change from the inside out.
CRT is built on critiquing, overthrowing and reforming what already exists. KHT is built on metamorphosis – an entire change into something completely new.
CRT is critical in both its name and its approach. It is meant to critique and reform something that already exists. CRT is focused on doing the same things we’ve always done but doing them in a different or seemingly better way. We should start society all over again. But this time, let’s try harder and, if we do our best, we can make progress. Those who aren’t inclusive will be censured. Those who haven’t treated people equitably will be discriminated against. Those who don’t celebrate diversity will be punished. They can’t change, and they won’t change, so they must be destroyed. We must also ensure that, regardless of effort or ability, everyone experiences a fair and equitable outcome in as many situations as possible.
KHT, in contrast, tells us to stop doing it our way. KHT implores us not to conform ourselves to the patterns, systems and cultures of the world but to allow God to transform us into a new person. If God wants to transform us into something completely different, what would the world look like? KHT says that all of us can take this journey. It’s not just for certain people or certain groups. We have all fallen short of God’s plan, but his grace covers that. There is hope for every one of us. We must lay down the music of our race. We must silence the music of our culture. We must silence the music of our politics. We must silence the music of America. We must commit ourselves to play the music of our conductor so that the noise of our humanity doesn’t get in the way of God’s Kingdom symphony.
KHT says that individuals must make their own choices and experience their own outcomes. We must ensure a society of equal opportunity, but equal outcomes are not up to us. Nor is equal outcome preferential. Equity is directly opposed to the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-28. The servants in that story were given different talents and produced difference outcomes based on their ability.
Scripture tells us that the way of life that is best is the way of love. Not division according to who is an oppressor and who isn't. Not enemies and enmity. Rather unity, grace, love, honor, transformation and reconciliation. God wants to reconcile all people to him and all people to each other. That’s the task of a Kingdom ambassador: reconciliation. Unity requires that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, more than ourselves and more than our group. Honor and reconciliation require that we love all people in the world the way that God loves them.
We shouldn’t continue to make society in the image of the oppressor. We also shouldn’t remake society in the image of the oppressed. We should allow God to remake us, and then watch how he changes the world through us.
CRT says we are oppressed. KHT says we are victorious.
CRT says that we must identify the way in which oppression dominates our daily life. Microaggressions, internalized dominance and hegemony make oppression impossible to escape for the oppressed. The oppressed person has very little power outside of being able to problematize and advocate for allies to join them in their “lifelong work.” The oppressors have always been powerful, and today they are still in power. What those who are oppressed must do is rise up together, eventually in strong enough numbers to overthrow, destroy and dismantle society. Until then, the only choice is to practice grievance and victimhood while hoping for change.
To think of ourselves as victimized, oppressed, or inferior automatically implies that someone is an oppressor or superior. When we call ourselves oppressed, we call someone else an oppressor. The moment we place ourselves in an inferior group, we place someone else in a superior group. This is what 10 out of the 12 spies sent out by Moses did when the Israelites saw the promised land. They saw the inhabitants of Canaan as much stronger than themselves, and they were too intimidated to receive what God had promised them. We too see ourselves as grasshoppers in our own sight; therefore, the “oppressor” must also see us the same way.
In KHT, being oppressed is not an option.
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?...Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. // Romans 8:31, 35-38
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” // John 16:33
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. // 2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV
But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. // 1 John 4:4-5
In the Kingdom, no one has the right to see themselves as oppressed. Romans tells us that overwhelming victory is ours. 2 Corinthians tells us that God always causes us to triumph. Jesus tells us to take heart in the midst of trouble, because he has already overcome the world. The Spirit of God that lives in us is greater than any we would experience in the world.
CRT is a lie. CRT says there is no winning for the oppressed. The oppressor is just too strong. Look at history. Oppressed people never win. It's hopeless. Why even try? Or just wait. According to recent census data, white people will be the minority in the United States by 2045. What’s another 20 or so years? Maybe that will finally fix the system.
What if, in this era in history, there could be another great awakening? Maybe this generation, this time in history, there can be people that honor and respect each other’s differences. What if we modeled the kind of unity that Jesus prayed for in John 17:
20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. 22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.
What if we modeled reconciliation in all its forms in a way the world has rarely seen? What could God do with these people? What can God do with us?
What could God do with disparate people with disparate experiences? Distinct and contrasting cultures, experiences, giftings and talents – all these musical instruments coming together, used to playing their own music.
He can turn cacophony into harmony and discord into a symphony.
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