As a therapist, I see people who often come to my office who self-identify as “broken.” They may come in making poor eye contact, telling me a story of how they were victimized, or perhaps made some choices they regret. Sometimes they have experienced a long string of disappointing or tragic events that now has sapped their energy and depressed their mood. Many think that other people are doing better than they are doing because of how they feel. This is a very human experience to compare ourselves mentally to someone we think is better off than we are and thinking that we are somehow deficient because we are not prospering like we imagine they are. Therapists who use a strengths perspective, drawing techniques from positive psychology, ask questions like, “When is the problem not happening?” or “Tell me about a time when you coped well with the problem? What was different about that time?”
These kinds of questions often catch people by surprise because the question presupposes that the person has strengths. That is also a deeply human thing – to have resources and abilities that are sometimes overlooked. It has been my experience as a therapist that many people find confidence and motivation once they begin to perceive themselves as capable of making changes in their life, something that seems impossible when constantly comparing to people you think are better off.
A similar thing is true when it comes to communities. For many years, it was standard practice for white communities to view their culture as superior, and to try to assimilate people of color into it. They viewed other cultures and other racial groups as inferior, and even if they would not use that same language overtly today, this deficit model still is alive and active today. A Biblical worldview (which happens to be well-articulated through the language of CRT) sees communities of color through a strenghths-based perspective as communities with intrinsic worth – worth which they can articulate and categorize as you will see in today’s episode.
So today we will explore this topic using the book Christianity and Critical Race Theory: A Faithful and Constructive Conversation by Robert Chao Romero and Jeff M. Liou.
Let’s go now and listen, to this conversation.