A Gospel Centered Warning about Critical Race Theory (CRT)
The following is a presentation, and the text from that presentation, of a Family Home Evening lesson I put together for my kids to keep them informed on Critical Race Theory (CRT), which they are likely to come across in their schooling and other avenues of life. In part 1 of this presentation, I review vocabulary definitions and ideology statements from proponents of CRT. In part 2, I contrast CRT with the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as found in the scriptures and the words of the prophets. Based on my reading and understanding of the words of Jesus and His prophets, CRT is incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But please, read on, seek for the enlightenment of God’s Spirit, and decide for yourself.
PART 1: Critical Race Theory (CRT) Vocabulary and Ideology Defined
What is CRT?
- “The word critical in its name is an academic term that refers to critical thinking…rather than criticizing or blaming.”
- “CRT is also used in sociology to explain social, political, and legal structures and power distribution through the lens of race.”
- “CRT scholars argue that the social and legal construction of race advances the interests of White people at the expense of people of color.”
- Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_race_theory
The CRT Definition of Race
- Race = “Classification of human beings created by White people originally from Europe which assigns human worth and social status using the White racial identity as the archetype of humanity for the purpose of creating and maintaining privilege, power, and systems of oppression.” https://www.brandeis.edu/diversity/resources/definitions.html
- “Critical race theorists hold that racism is inherent in the law and legal institutions of the United States insofar as they function to create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites, especially African Americans.” https://www.britannica.com/topic/critical-race-theory
The CRT Definition of White Privilege
- It is “the unearned social, financial, cultural, and psychological advantages that individuals receive based solely on their membership in a dominant identity group. These advantages confer social advantage over non-dominant groups, but about which its members are “meant” to remain oblivious. Akin to an invisible, weightless knapsack of special provisions readily available to dominant group members.”
- McIntosh, P. (1988). White privilege and male privilege: A personal account of coming to see correspondences through work in women’s studies. Working Paper 189. Center for Research on Women, Wellesley College. Also see https://www.brandeis.edu/diversity/resources/definitions.html
Equity in CRT is about Forced Equal Outcome, Not Equal Opportunity
- “The notion of being fair and impartial as an individual engages with an organization or system, particularly systems of grievance. “Equity” is often conflated with the term “Equality” (meaning sameness). In fact, true equity implies that an individual may need to experience or receive something different (not equal) in order to maintain fairness and access.”
- Morton, B. and Fasching-Varner, K. (2015). “Equity.” Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice. Vol. 1. (Ed. S. Thompson). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 303-4. Also see https://www.brandeis.edu/diversity/resources/definitions.html
Systemic, Structural, and Institutional Racism
- If racial group outcomes are not equal, CRT says there is systemic racism.
- Structural Racism = “Normalized dynamics (historical, cultural, internalized, interpersonal, institutional) that produce inequitable outcomes over time and in an ongoing way”
- Institutional Racism = “The unfair policies and discriminatory practices of institutions (schools, workplaces, systems of health, etc.) that routinely produce inequitable outcomes for oppressed people and advantages for privileged people.” Lawrence, K., & Keleher, T. (Eds.). Proceedings from Race and Public Policy Conference 2004. Chronic disparity: Strong and pervasive evidence of racial inequalities. (p.1-6). Berkeley: CA. Also see https://www.brandeis.edu/diversity/resources/definitions.html
CRT and Anti-Racism
- Anti-racism is an ideology similar to CRT. For example, recent best-selling books like How to Be an Antiracist
- Anti-racism is not against racism as I define racism (malice toward someone because of their race)
- Anti-racism is reverse racism where white people are oppressed, and black people are granted privileges
- A vocal anti-racist has said “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.” https://www.newsweek.com/true-equality-reject-misguided-notions-equity-opinion-1588288
- “[Major] anti-racism efforts include Black Lives Matter organizing” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-racism
The CRT Definition of Social Justice
- Social Justice is not a generic term for justice in society, blind justice, or other traditional meanings of justice. In CRT, it means forced, equal outcomes for groups.
- “The goal of social justice is full and equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs. Social justice includes a vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable.” Bell, L. (2013). Theoretical foundations. In M. Adams, W.J. Blumenfeld, C. Castañeda,, H.W. Hackman, M.L. Petrs, & X. Zúñiga. (Eds.), Readings for diversity and social justice. New York: Routledge. Also see https://www.brandeis.edu/diversity/resources/definitions.html
- For CRT proponents, Social Justice justifies practices like granting university admission to minorities with low test scores while rejecting whites or Asians with higher scores.
PART 2: Contrasting CRT with Teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
CRT: Racial identity groups are of primary importance
Gospel: Eternal identity as child of God is 1st priority
- God created all humans after his own image and likeness: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Gen 1:27)
- Church President Russel M. Nelson said: “Make sure you understand…your true identity.” “No identifier should displace, replace or take priority over these three enduring designations: ‘child of God,’ ‘child of the covenant’ and ‘disciple of Jesus Christ.’” “Next would come my honored titles as a husband and father.” “Other labels such as a medical doctor, surgeon, researcher, professor, lieutenant, captain, Ph.D., American and so forth — would fall somewhere down the list.” https://www.thechurchnews.com/leaders-and-ministry/2022-05-15/worldwide-devotional-for-young-adults-president-nelson-sister-nelson-254027
CRT: Past racism is only remedied with future racism
Gospel: Jesus taught a higher law: turn the other cheek
- Matt 5: 38-39 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
- Matt 5: 43-44 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”
CRT: Racism can only be whites again blacks
Gospel: God is no respecter of people’s race
- Acts 10: 34-35 “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”
- God “hath made of one blood all nations of men” (Acts 17:26)
- President Russell M. Nelson has taught: “The Creator of us all calls on each of us to abandon attitudes of prejudice against any group of God’s children. Any of us who has prejudice toward another race needs to repent!” https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/president-nelson-shares-social-post-encouraging-understanding-and-civility
- And when we understand “the true Fatherhood of God, … that understanding inspires us with passionate desire to build bridges of cooperation instead of walls of segregation.” https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/all-are-equal-prophet-proclaims-at-be-one-celebration?lang=eng
CRT: Social Justice by Groups. Individual Injustice Okay.
Gospel: You Can’t Be Right by Doing Wrong
- President Thomas S. Monson taught: “May I provide a simple formula by which you can measure the choices which confront you. It’s easy to remember, sometimes difficult to apply: You can’t be right by doing wrong; you can’t be wrong by doing right.” https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/thomas-s-monson/decisions-determine-destiny/
- “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” Article of Faith 2
- This means you will be judged individually, on your own actions, and not the actions of other people or groups.
CRT: Social Justice May Mean Individual Injustice
Gospel: The Bible Says Justice Should be Blind
- Deuteronomy 1:16-17 “And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment.”
- “Not respect persons” is from a Hebrew term for “not acknowledge faces.” In other words, justice should be blind and only weigh relevant facts in making decisions
CRT: America is and always has been systemically racist
Gospel: Founders inspired by God to protect rights of all
- D&C 101: 77, 80 “According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles; …And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.”
CRT: Anti-racism to promote blacks, oppress whites
Gospel: Teachings of Jesus bless the whole human race
- The Prophet Joseph Smith explained that a person “filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his [or her] family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.” Source: Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 426
- The Church has not been perfect at achieving that vision of blessing the whole human race, but remember…“The Church disavows the theories advanced in the past …that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.” Source: Race and the Priesthood essay, https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/race-and-the-priesthood
CRT: Equity/Equality of Outcome, By Force
Gospel: God Always Honors Mankind’s Agency to Choose
- Satan tried to force an equal outcome for all people. “Satan …came before me (God), saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it.” (Moses 4:1)
- “Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, …I caused that he should be cast down.” (Moses 4:3)
- “Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.” (2 Nephi 2:16)
- With agency, we are “free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil” (2 Nephi 2:27).
CRT: Races are inherently oppressed or oppressors
Gospel: All alike to God. Blessings for all believers.
- “All are alike unto God …he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female.” (2 Nephi 26:33)
- “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.” Matt 24:13-14
- “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:15-16
In Conclusion: Come Unto Christ and Be One
- “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him” (Moroni 10:32)
- Jesus said: “I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.” (D&C 38:27)
- “Differences in culture, language, gender, race, and nationality fade into insignificance as the faithful enter the covenant path and come unto our beloved Redeemer.” President Russell M. Nelson, “Be One” Celebration https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/all-are-equal-prophet-proclaims-at-be-one-celebration?lang=eng
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