Episode 122: Christianity & Critical Race Theory – “Let’s Talk About White Privilege.”

Over the past few episodes, our team has been discussing the article by Dr. Kelly Hamren called “Social Justice, Critical Race Theory, Marxism, and Biblical Ethics.” This episode, sadly, is our last conversation based on this article where we talk about one final argument some people give for rejecting the Black Lives Matter movement. This argument goes as follows:

“The concept of “white privilege” is unjust because it blames white people today for atrocities, such as slavery and segregation, that were set up generations ago and they had no hand in creating. It also suggests that white people today should feel guilty for racism even if they are not racists themselves.”

Sound like a conversation you might have had before? It certainly sounds like some familiar talking points for me… so what would our multiethnic group of Christian antiracism educators and friends have to say? You are about to find out!

Social Justice, Critical Race Theory, Marxism, and Biblical EthicsLooking at Marxism and Critical Race Theory in light of the problem of racism in America.

Cheerios commercial featuring mixed-race child

The Expanse TV Series


LISTENING GUIDE QUESTIONS (with approximate minute markers):

(10) When you hear the phrase “white privilege,” what feelings do you have?

(11) What examples of white privilege have you observed?  When have you seen white people being given “the benefit of the doubt” that other groups of people may not get as often?

(16) How might white people maintain their privilege when they are no longer the numeric majority in the USA?  What justice issues does Michelle mention to make her point about this?

(17) What is meritocracy?  If you don’t know, Google it or look it up in a dictionary.  Share what definitions you discover.

(21) How do white people use Black conservatives like Candace Owns to reinforce their prejudices?

(23) During reconstruction, white northerners and white southerners felt a strong urge to “forgive each other.”  Who does Pastor Reggie say was left out of this “forgiveness conversation?”  Where do you see this happening in modern times?  How is this different from how the Jews remember the Exodus?

(26) How are racism and money connected in the past and today?  How does Eric say money and racism may be linked for some white people?

(31) How does the 1776 Project want to change the historical narrative around slavery in its attempt to tell a “patriotic” history of the United States?

(36) What kinds of government assistance is give out in the United States which disproportionately helps white Americans?  In reflecting on this, what do you feel emotionally?  Have you learned about the laws written over the years explicitly benefiting white people?  Why do you think most white people are unaware of this part of American legal history?

(40) What does Michelle say is the difference between white people and whiteness?  How is this distinction helpful in discussing issues of racism?

(42) Many of the examples of privilege Michelle mentions are mentioned  in the now “classic” article on antiracism education called White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack By Peggy McIntosh.  If you have not read this article, click on the link above.  It would be well-worth discussing this article with a small group.

(46) “White people … read themselves as Jews and not Romans.”  What makes it comfortable for people to read themselves into the story as the “good guys?”  How might we grow when we read the story and identify with the “bad guys?”  How did it affect Susie to do this?  How did it affect Michelle?  How might it affect you?

(51) “White privilege is being able to cast yourself in a role where you are not the bad guy, where you are not the bad woman, and no one challenges you on casting yourself this way.”  How do you respond to this insight?  “Not having white privilege is desiring to cast yourself as the good guy, the good gal, and nobody allows you to own that story because they are challenging you on your right to be a good person.”  How does this statement strike you?

(53) Representation.  Why do you think this matters for people of color?  What did Michelle and Susie say about how representation affects their imaginations?  How did it affect them emotionally recently watching Hamilton?  Why do you think this happened?  How similar or dis-similar is their experience from yours when you watch TV, movies or go to the theater?

(59) “I want to point out the white privilege to learn about racism from a book or a podcast, and then turn it off and forget about it.”  When Libby said this, what does it make you think about?