In our last post, I addressed Dr. Carl Trueman’s claim that Critical Race Theory (CRT) assumes the premise that “life is a zero-sum game.” I further critiqued his understanding of CRT and racial “power” dynamics, digging into the ideological history of “Black Power” vs. “Liberal Integrationsim.”
Today we move onto his sixth claim and conclude this series. (I will note again that these posts are intended to be read in order; please see Part 1 for the general introduction to the series.)
And, last, (6) CRT claims to offer a “comprehensive explanation for all the evils we suffer.”
To my lights, the most appropriate answer to Dr. Trueman’s final claim here is simply, “Where?” Where does any CRT scholar claim this? In what way does CRT ideology even suggest this to Trueman? I simply have no idea.
My best guess is that Trueman is conflating a totalizing interpretation of, for example, traditional Marxism, or maybe even the Frankfurt School, with Critical Race Theory. This would be consistent with the error of most of his other claims, so probably a good guess. As stated before, his critiques, though weak and fundamentally unargued, might be better suited for some figures in the European critical tradition, including some of their White American Left offspring. If you recall from Part 3, CRT scholar Robert Williams offered a critique of Critical Legal Studies’ (CLS’s) Eurocentric reading of “rights” discourse that proved similarly illuminating for understanding Dr. Trueman’s failed critiques of CRT. Again, we read,
Though I’ve covered Critical Theory generally, I’ve begun a new series on Critical RACE Theory proper, over on The Front Porch! I’m attempting to approach the subject in a more historical manner that I hope will facilitate greater understanding of the subject.
As a layman, I find that learning a subject through its actual historical milieu helps me not only remember the right words, phrases, and concepts, but, more importantly, helps me understand them. And it is understanding which seems most lacking in evangelicalism when it comes to Critical Race Theory (CRT). As such, I hope over the next few posts, in the most conversational manner possible, to not only provide the nuts and bolts of this broad ideology as presented by its chief advocates, but to also, as it were, tell the story of CRT, before moving into any critical assessment.
So grateful they were kind enough to publish it! Please take a look and let me know your thoughts!
Part 1: “The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 1: A Survey of the ‘Traditional Civil Rights Discourse’”
Part 2: “The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 2: The Segregationist Discourse and Civil Rights Retrenchment”
Part 3: “The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 3: A Bridge: Dr. Derrick Bell”
Part 4: “The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 4: Alan Freeman and the Contribution of CLS“
Part 5: “The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 5: A Misalignment of Frames: Integrationism“
Part 6: “The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 6: A Misalignment of Frames: The ‘New Right’“
Part 7: “The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 7: A Race Intervention Into Critical Legal Studies“
Part 8: “The Christian and Critical Race Theory, Part 8: the Harvard Story and the Birth of ‘Critical Race Theory’“
Interlude: “The Christian and CRT, an Interlude: The Most Segregated Hour and Liberal Integrationism“
More to come!
Update: For my last words on Dr. Shenvi’s work, please see: “Critical Theory, Dr. Levinson, Dr. Shenvi, and Evangelicalism: Final Thoughts”
The following is in response to Dr. Neil Shenvi’s second post, “Is Critical Theory a Threat to Evangelicalism? – A Dialogue with Bradly Mason, Part 3.” Thank you again, brother.
I’m honestly disappointed to be mischaracterized so soon into this discussion. I simply did not criticize Dr. Shenvi’s supposed “core tenets” of CT by means of Horkheimer’s 80 y/o definition. I cited Sensoy and DiAngelo’s 2017 “Brief Overview of Critical Theory,” which contains no mention of Shenvi’s fourfold construction, but rather focuses on the socialization of knowledge, social constructivism, and social critique motivated by “the ideals of equality” (pp. 25-27). I cited Delgado and Stefancic’s 2017 answer to, “What is Critical Race Theory?,” noting again no mention of the fourfold construction, but instead the ordinariness of racialization, interest convergence, the social construction of race, differential racialization, intersection of identities and anti-essentialism, and the “unique voice of color.” And since Shenvi also suggested “Critical Social Justice” as a name which might represent his own construction, I cited Sensoy/DiAngelo’s 2017 definition, which, again, does not mention his fourfold construction.