Introducing Critical Race Theory

Critical Race Theory (CRT) is, at bottom, the radical civil rights tradition critically transformed to address a post-Civil Rights legal era rooted in the liberal ideology of “color-blindness” and “equal treatment,” which have together preserved and legitimated the continuation of racially subordinated circumstances.

Broadly speaking, two visions of civil rights law emerged out of the Civil Rights Movement (CRM). On the one hand, White progressives, along with the developing Black middle-class, centered their continued civil rights vision on the analytics of prejudice, discrimination, and segregation. That is, the social problem of racism was understood to be personal prejudice and bias due to irrationally allowing physical and ancestral difference to justify partiality; discrimination was thought to be the specific, individuatable, and intentional actions resulting from personal prejudice—in particular, allowing race to figure into decision-making; and, last, segregation was thought to be the social, legal, and political manifestation of prejudice and discrimination.

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From Big Brown Army: “Understanding Critical Race Theory with Bradly Mason”

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I hope no one missed this fantastic discussion with DeCruz on the Big Brown Army podcast! I particularly enjoyed the question and answer format, hitting several of the most popular questions/objections leveled at Critical Race Theory, and antiracism more broadly. Also, he didn’t misspell my name in the title!

Please listen, if you haven’t already, and let us know what you think!

Link to audio: “Understanding Critical Race Theory with Bradly Mason

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From Southside Rabbi: “CRT Series Part Two: ‘Fault Lines’ and Social Holiness with Bradly Mason”

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I had the tremendous honor of joining Ameen and KB on the Southside Rabbi podcast! We discussed Critical Race Theory, Voddie Baucham’s book Fault Lines, racist policing, social doctrine and social responsibility, and so much more! It couldn’t have been more fun.

Please have a listen and let me know what you think!

Link to audio: “CRT Series Part Two: ‘Fault Lines’ and Social Holiness with Bradly Mason

Link to YouTube video: “CRT Series Part Two: ‘Fault Lines’ and Social Holiness with Bradly Mason

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The Spirituality of the Church vs. the Prophetic Mission of the Church in the American Reformed and Presbyterian Tradition

Examples of systemic racism abound. Beginning in Colonial America, laws were passed explicitly to benefit the newly created category “white” at the expense of the newly created “negro and mulatto,” and such laws were carried on into the new republic. The ensuing Antebellum system of race-based chattel slavery is an obvious example of systemic or institutionalized racism—I would hope this is immediately clear. But we could go on from there to provide hundreds of examples from the abandonment of post-emancipation Reconstruction, to share cropping and penal slavery, Jim Crow laws, “ghettoizing” in the North, race-steering, redlining by the Federal Housing Administration, the racialized application of the GI Bill, the “legal” theft of land from Black farmers, the post-Civil Rights criminalization campaign, the “Southern Strategy,” the “Law and Order” movement, the war on drugs, mass incarceration, employment and wage discrimination, the ongoing retrenchment of civil rights legal reforms, and on and on and on. To find these examples simply requires us to care enough to look.

So, how about the Church?

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From the Substance Podcast: “Bradly Mason on Telling the Truth About CRT”

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I had a fantastic discussion with Philip, Trevor, and Vincent over at The Substance podcast. We talked some truth about Critical Race Theory, the ongoing culture war, a little Voddie Baucham, and the many misrepresentations and characterizations of antiracism plaguing the Church.

I hope you will check it out and let us know what you think. So far we’ve heard a lot of great feedback!

Audio Link: “Bradly Mason on Telling the Truth About CRT

YouTube Link: Bradly Mason on Telling the Truth About CRT

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A Christian Chop Session on Critical Race Theory: Part 3

Contextual Note to Our Readers: This is our third chop session on Critical Race Theory. For session one, see HERE or HERE. For session two, see HERE or HERE.

Prelude: Why Chop Session Three is on Robin DiAngelo

Conjunto: We ended our first chop session promising to discuss some of our favorite CRT works in the next chop session. But since publishing that piece, many have voiced their surprise about our not mentioning Ibram X. Kendi or Robin DiAngelo in a session answering the question, “What is CRT?” Because this series es para el pueblo—“for the people”—we’ve decided to change course and use chop sessions two and three to explain why Kendi and DiAngelo did not appear in our first post, and why, apart from those sessions, they’re unlikely to appear in the rest of the series.

This chop session is on DiAngelo. The previous one was on Kendi. Enjoy!

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From Becoming Bridge Builders, with Keith Haney: “A Deep Dive Into Critical Race Theory”

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I had a great conversation with Keith Haney on his Becoming Bridge Builders podcast! We discussed Critical Race Theory, what it is and is not, whether it is “Marxist,” how it differs from popular conceptions, and how we can engage against the perennial public distortions of culture warriors. Please have a listen and let us know what you think!

Link to audio: “A Deep Dive Into Critical Race Theory

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“Systemic Racism,” in the Key of CRT

Systemic racism” can be a difficult concept to grasp, largely because “racism” is commonly understood as an exclusively individual and intentional affair. Thus, most Americans begin with an idea of racism as personal prejudice toward those of different skin color and then are left imagining how this intentional prejudice can somehow become a property of systems, institutions, or social structures. In the end, many are left believing systemic racism is a grand conspiracy of racist individuals, or an ethos which pervades a society, or a set of explicit laws and basic assumptions hidden somewhere deep in the books.

Others, alternatively, tend to think of systemic racism as any policy, whether state or private, which leads to or preserves racial disparity. This is a contender, to my lights, as the racial distribution of harm and/or advantage should certainly be recognized as a measure of a policy’s success. But is, for example, every fee hike or price increase a racist act?

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From Story Power Podcast, With Jen Kinney: “Demystifying Critical Race Theory with Brad Mason”

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I had the great pleasure of discussing Critical Race Theory, its historical development, our current period of racial retrenchment, the ongoing anti-CRT “culture war,” and much more with Jen Kinney over at the Story Power Podcast!

Please have a listen and let us know what you think!

Link: “Demystifying Critical Race Theory with Brad Mason

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From Patheological: “Common Places: A Conversation with Brad Mason”

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In my latest discussion with Dr. Todd Littleton on Patheological, we take a deeper dive into the social construction of race thesis, exploring its many implications. We discuss how the social construction thesis necessitates many of the other commonplaces of Critical Race Theory, including differential racialization, intersectionality, and the embedded nature of racism in American society.

Let us know what you think! We’d appreciate any feedback, including critique, to help us cover the topics and questions most on listeners’ minds.

Link to audio: “Common Places: A Conversation with Brad Mason

And if you need to catch up:

Link to Part 1: “The Dangers of Mediating Ideas: A Conversation with Bradly Mason

Link to Part 2: “When the Law Does Not Deliver: A Conversation with Bradly Mason

Link to Part 3: “Can Two Walk Together? More with Bradly Mason on CRT

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