Wokism (Part 3) - Critical Race Theory (Part A)


Wokism (Part 3) - Critical Race Theory (Part A) Critical Race Theory (CRT) 1. Definition A. Critical race theory n. – a group of concepts (such as the idea that race is a sociological rather than biological designation, and that racism pervades society and is fostered and perpetuated by the legal system) used for examining the relationship between race and the laws and legal institutions of a country and especially the United States (merriam-webster.com) B. “Critical race theory (CRT) is a cross-disciplinary examination – by social and civil-rights scholars and activists – of how laws, social and political movements, and media shape, and are shaped by, social conceptions of race and ethnicity. The word critical in the name is an academic reference to critical thinking, critical theory, and scholarly criticism, rather than criticizing or blaming people. “CRT is also used in sociology to explain social, political, and legal structures and power distribution as through a "lens" focusing on the concept of race, and experiences of racism. For example, the CRT conceptual framework examines racial bias in laws and legal institutions, such as highly disparate rates of incarceration among racial groups in the United States. A key CRT concept is intersectionality—the way in which different forms of inequality and identity are affected by interconnections of race, class, gender, and disability. Scholars of CRT view race as a social construct with no biological basis. One tenet of CRT is that racism and disparate racial outcomes are the result of complex, changing, and often subtle social and institutional dynamics, rather than explicit and intentional prejudices of individuals. CRT scholars argue that the social and legal construction of race advances the interests of white people at the expense of people of color, and that the liberal notion of U.S. law as "neutral" plays a significant role in maintaining a racially unjust social order, where formally color-blind laws continue to have racially discriminatory outcomes.” (Critical race theory, Wikipedia, 6-12-2023) C. “Scholars of CRT say that race is not "biologically grounded and natural"; rather, it is a socially constructed category used to oppress and exploit people of color; and that racism is not an aberration, but a normalized feature of American society. According to CRT, negative stereotypes assigned to members of minority groups benefit white people and increase racial oppression.” (Ibid) 2. Examples of CRT being promoted in public and private schools. A. The School District of Philadelphia i. “While we believe in, and will continue to cultivate, a system that addresses all forms of inequity, because of both historical and current events within our nation and city, it is imperative that we take a laser focus on acknowledging and dismantling systems of racial inequity. For us, this goes deeper and far beyond focusing on individual acts of prejudice and discrimination, but refers to uprooting policies, deconstructing processes, and eradicating practices that create systems of privilege and power for one racial group over another.” (The School District of Philadelphia’s Anti-Racism Declaration, www.philasd.org/antiracism, 3-31-2022) ii. “Some may ask, “why are we only talking about racism when there are other systems of oppression that need to be addressed?” To that I will answer, race is the social construction that set the foundation and built the infrastructure for the United States we know today. Racism is the root of all other forms of injustice and provides the nourishment needed for other systems of oppression to thrive. As such, in order to destroy the tree, we cannot simply pick at the leaves or chop away at the trunk, we must destroy the root.” (Ibid) B. Buffalo School District’s new 5th Grade curriculum centered on Black Lives Matter. i. “Discuss these principles and have students talk about how they connect to them. Black Villages is the disruption of Western nuclear family dynamics and a return to the “collective village” that takes care of each other.” (OFFICE OF CULTURALLY AND LINGUISTICALLY RESPONSIVE INITIATIVES, 5th Grade: Black Lives Matter Intergenerational, Black Families, and Black Villages, July 2020, https://www.buffaloschools.org/cms/lib/NY01913551/Centricity/Domain/9000/BLM%20lesson%20-%20Grade%205.pdf) ii. “Black Lives Matter declaration on Black Villages: We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable.” (Ibid) iii. This quote echoes a statement on the Black Lives Matter website before they removed it. a. “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.” (Black Lives Matter, What We Believe, https://web.archive.org/web/20200408020723/https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/) b. Here are other things that the Black Lives Matter organization espoused on their website before they removed it. (i) “We make space for transgender brothers and sisters to participate and lead.” (Ibid) (ii) “We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.” (Ibid) (iii) “We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).” (Ibid) C. The Shipley School i. The Shipley School is a private school in Pennsylvania which costs over $40,000 per year for middle school tuition and over $44,000 per year for high school tuition. ii. Lila Corgan, a middle school English teacher and the middle school Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator at The Shipley School, wrote a blog on Decentering Whiteness at Home and in Your Family on the Shipley School website. iii. The blog post was later removed, but a copy of it can still be found on web.archive.org. iv. Here are some excerpts from the blog post. a. “As the parent of three children (ages 8, 7, and 3), I’ve been thinking a lot about how our family is dominated by and/or perpetuates the values of white culture, and how I might replace our center with multiracial values. By saying that whiteness is “at the center” of American society is to say that access to power, control of resources, and the ability to enforce cultural values and policies disproportionately belongs to white people.” (Lila Corgan, Decentering Whiteness at Home and in Your Family, http://web.archive.org/web/20221204014311/https://blogs.shipleyschool.org/decentering-whiteness-at-home-and-in-your-family) b. “Be Deliberate about Language: Pay attention to how your language may perpetuate “universal” standards of beauty, speech, behavior, dress, conflict resolution, etc. It’s quite common for a person to compliment two of my three children on their beautiful blue eyes. While I always appreciate the compliment, I am conscious of my third brown-eyed child - what message is she receiving about how she fits in with European standards of beauty? When in my own positive and negative interactions with children have I come from a white-centered approach?” (Ibid) D. The Oregon Department of Education i. In February 2021, the Oregon Department of Education promoted “A Pathway to Math Equity Micro-Course” which was offered by the “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction” organization (equitablemath.org). (source) ii. Here is what “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction” has to say about their program. iii. “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction is an integrated approach to mathematics that centers Black, Latinx, and Multilingual students in grades 6-8, addresses barriers to math equity, and aligns instruction to grade-level priority standards. The Pathway offers guidance and resources for educators to use now as they plan their curriculum, while also offering opportunities for ongoing self-reflection as they seek to develop an anti-racist math practice. The toolkit “strides” serve as multiple on-ramps for educators as they navigate the individual and collective journey from equity to anti-racism.” (A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction, https://equitablemath.org). iv. The program is comprised of “5 Strides on the Path to Math Equity.” v. Here are quotes from STRIDE 1: Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction. a. “This tool provides teachers an opportunity to examine their actions, beliefs, and values around teaching mathematics. The framework for deconstructing racism in mathematics offers essential characteristics of antiracist math educators and critical approaches to dismantling white supremacy in math classrooms by making visible the toxic characteristics of white supremacy culture (Jones and Okun 2001; dismantling Racism 2016) with respect to math. Building on the framework, teachers engage with critical praxis in order to shift their instructional beliefs and practices towards antiracist math education. By centering antiracism, we model how to be antiracist math educators with accountability.” (Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction, p. 2, https://equitablemath.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/11/1_STRIDE1.pdf) b. “White supremacy culture infiltrates math classrooms in everyday teacher actions. Coupled with the beliefs that underlie these actions, they perpetuate educational harm on Black, Latinx, and multilingual students, denying them full access to the world of mathematics. The table below identifies the ways in which white supremacy shows up in math classrooms. “DISMANTLING WHITE SUPREMACY CULTURE IN MATH CLASSROOMS “We see white supremacy culture show up in the mathematics classroom even as we carry out our professional responsibilities outlined in the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTP). Using CSTP as a framework, we see white supremacy culture in the mathematics classroom can show up when: “There is a greater focus on getting the "right" answer than understanding concepts and reasoning. “Independent practice is valued over teamwork or collaboration. “Contrived word problems are valued over the math in students' lived experiences. “Students are tracked (into courses/pathways and within the classroom). “Participation structures reinforce dominant ways of being.” (Ibid, p.8) c. “White supremacy culture shows up in math classrooms when... “There is a greater focus on getting the "right" answer than understanding concepts and reasoning. “Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict. Some math problems may have more than one right answer and some may not have a solution at all, depending on the content and the context. And when the focus is only on getting the right answer, the complexity of the mathematical concepts and reasoning may be underdeveloped, missing opportunities for deep learning.” (Ibid, p. 67) d. “White supremacy culture shows up in math classrooms when... “Independent practice is valued over teamwork or collaboration. “While there is some value in students being able to complete work independently, when this is the only or most common avenue for learning or practicing, it reinforces individualism and the notion that I’m the only one. This does not give value to collectivism and community understanding, and fosters conditions for competition and individual success, which perpetuates the idea that if a student is failing it is because they are not trying hard enough or that they don’t care.” (Ibid, p.63) e. “White supremacy culture shows up in math classrooms when... “Contrived word problems are valued over the math in students' lived experiences. “Often the emphasis is placed on learning math in the “real world,” as if our classrooms are not a part of the real world. This reinforces notions of either/or thinking because math is only seen as useful when it is in a particular context. However, this can result in using mathematics to uphold capitalist and imperialist ways of being and understandings of the world.” (Ibid, p. 60) f. “White supremacy culture shows up in math classrooms when... “Participation structures reinforce dominant ways of being. “Classrooms are often microcosms of the world around us and reinforce dominant (or white) ways of being. For example, small groups of students receive the teacher’s attention throughout instruction and a few students are typically called on to participate in class discussions, reinforcing notions of perfectionism. The patterns of students who fall into those categories often mirror societal norms. Another common participation structure is pairing students as helper and helpee. This reinforces paternalism and other power structures that identify students as either being good or bad at math (also either/or thinking). Also, requiring students to raise their hand before speaking can reinforce paternalism and powerhoarding, in addition to breaking the process of thinking, learning, and communicating.” (Ibid, p. 77) g. “White supremacy culture shows up in math classrooms when... “Control of classrooms is valued over students' agency over their learning. “Unique to mathematics is the idea that new learning comes from the teacher. Even when learning is connected to previous knowledge and experiences, the idea is often that teachers provide the learning and are in charge of disseminating new information. This reinforces the ideas of paternalism and powerhoarding. When students bring a different approach to doing math, teachers often get defensive and see it as a challenge to the power structures in the classroom.” (Ibid, p.74) h. “White supremacy culture shows up in math classrooms when... “‘Good’ math teaching is considered an antidote for mathematical inequity for Black, Latinx, multilingual students. "Best practices" for math pedagogy often exclude the unique needs of Black, Latinx and multilingual or migrant students. This reinforces either/or thinking by reinforcing stereotypes about the type of mathematical education that certain groups of students receive. It allows the defensiveness of Western mathematics to prevail, without addressing underlying causes of why certain groups of students are “underperforming,” a characterization that should also be interrogated. It also presupposes that “good” math teaching is about a Eurocentric type of mathematics, devoid of cultural ways of being.” (Ibid, p. 32) i. “White supremacy culture shows up in math classrooms when... “Grading practices center what students don't understand rather than what they do understand. “Grades are traditionally indicative of what students can’t do rather than what they can do, reinforcing perfectionism. In addition, math teachers also focus grades on what is more easily measurable, rather than the knowledge that we want students to have, reinforcing quantity over quality and often evaluating procedural or skills-based knowledge rather than conceptual knowledge.” (Ibid, p. 53) E. Richfield High School in Minnesota i. “Teachers and staff at Richfield High School apparently begin all of their meetings by committing to dismantling ‘processes that benefit whiteness.’ “That’s according to Principal Stacy Theien-Collins, who spoke to the school board at a Monday meeting. “‘We’re going to start like we start all of our high school meetings, which is with our Richfield High School vision of equity,’ said Theien-Collins. “She said this ‘vision of equity’ was developed last school year and is used ‘in all programs, all decisions, [and] all policies.’ “It states: ‘At Richfield High School we believe in providing a rigorous and equitable education reflecting the strengths and experiences of our community. We believe students learn best when they feel safe and affirmed in who they are. Therefore, we commit to dismantling policies and processes that benefit whiteness and other systems of privilege.’” (AlphaNews, School staff begin meetings by committing to dismantling ‘whiteness’, https://alphanews.org/school-staff-begin-meetings-by-committing-to-dismantling-whiteness/, 10-8-2021) ii. Theien-Collins can be seen on video making this statement at the link above. 3. Critical race theory can be summarized by the following statement: “all white people are racists.” 4. There is only one “race” of human beings. A. Race n. – I. A group of persons, animals, or plants, connected by common descent or origin. 1. a. The offspring or posterity of a person; a set of children or descendants. B. God has made all people from “one blood” (Act 17:26). C. Every human being is descended from the first man and woman, Adam and Eve. D. Therefore, all human beings are of the same race: the human race. 5. Variations in characteristics within the human family are a fact, not a social construct. A. Ethiopians have dark skin (Jer 13:23). i. Ethiopian n. – A native of Ethiopia; a negro, blackamoor. ii. This is an immutable physical characteristic, not a social construct. B. Some cultures have gained a justified bad reputation based on observable bad behavior and character flaws (Tit 1:12). i. Stereotypes that arise about such cultures who exhibit immoral behavior are not the product of “racism,” but the product of observation. ii. It is not wrong to affirm the truth of such stereotypes (Tit 1:13). iii. It is wrong, however, to judge an individual based on a stereotype when that individual does not exhibit the stereotypical behavior. 6. “Racial” distinctions have no bearing on a person’s relationship with God. A. Salvation is by grace, not race (Act 15:7-11). B. In the church of Jesus Christ, ethnicity or national identity is immaterial (Col 3:11). i. Barbarian n. – 1. A foreigner, one whose language and customs differ from the speaker’s. ii. Scythian n. – 1. A person belonging to the race by which Scythia was inhabited; = Scyth. iii. Scythian adj. – 1. Pertaining to Scythia, an ancient region extending over a large part of European and Asiatic Russia, or to the nomadic people by whom it was inhabited. iv. Nationality, ethnicity, “race,” or skin color matters not in Christ. v. The only thing that matters is that: a. a man is a new creature in Christ through regeneration (Gal 6:15) b. he exercises faith that works by love (Gal 5:6) c. he keeps God’s commandments (1Co 7:19) C. The Ethiopian eunuch was treated no differently than any other man by Philip the evangelist (Act 8:26-39). i. He rode with him in a chariot. ii. He taught him. iii. He baptized him. D. There was a black man named Niger in the Bible (Act 13:1). i. His name was Simeon, but his nickname was Niger which means “black.” ii. Niger – (black). Niger is the additional, or distinctive, name given to the Simeon, who was one of the teachers and prophets, in the church at Antioch. Act 13:1. (Smith’s Bible Dictionary) iii. Niger – Surname of Simeon, second of the five teachers and prophets of the Antioch church (Act 13:1). ("black".) Probably an African proselyte, because he is associated with Lucius of Cyrene in Africa. His Hebrew name, Simeon, shows his Hebrew extraction. (Fausset’s Bible Dictionary) iv. Niger n. – 1. Neger, Negro. (OED) v. Negro n. – 1. An individual (esp. a male) belonging to the African race of mankind, which is distinguished by a black skin, black tightly-curled hair, and a nose flatter and lips thicker and more protruding than is common amongst white Europeans. (OED) vi. The example of Niger destroys the “Black Hebrew Israelite” heresy which teaches that Jesus and the Jewish people were black. vii. If the Jews were black, why would Jewish Christians give a black man the nickname of “Niger” which means “black?” viii. Niger was not put “in the back of the bus” in the church, but he was rather a prophet and a teacher (Act 13:1), and was one of the men that ordained Paul and sent him on his first evangelistic trip (Act 13:2-3). E. The other Ethiopian eunuch in the Bible was a good man who was used by God to save the prophet Jeremiah (Jer 38:7-13). F. Christianity knows nothing of “racism.” 7. The Bible does not forbid “interracial marriage.” A. The Old Testament forbade the Jews from marrying the Canaanites, not because of their “race,” but because of their wicked religion and moral depravity (Deut 7:1-5; Lev 18:27-28). B. Moses married an Ethiopian woman, and his brother and sister spoke against him for it (Num 12:1). i. They questioned Moses’ authority as a man of God because of his “interracial marriage” (Num 12:2). ii. The Lord was angry with them and chided them for speaking against Moses (Num 12:3-9). iii. The Lord judged Miriam with leprosy (Num 12:10). a. One has to wonder if the Lord made her “white as snow” in an ironic judgment because she thought lighter skinned people were superior to dark skinned people? b. Regardless, this was a severe punishment. iv. Moses was a better man than his siblings and therefore besought the Lord to heal Miriam (Num 12:11-15). C. The Bible nowhere forbids two people of different ethnicities or skin colors from marrying each other for those reasons alone.
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