Framing Critical Race Theory

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Introducing a new series on Critical Race Theory: its merits, flaws, and how (or even if) Christians should engage.

It’s likely you’ve heard the term “Critical Race Theory,” or “CRT” for short, more than a few times in the last couple of months, to say the least. CRT has been brought to the front stage of American culture after a summer of racial turmoil, and because former President Trump issued an executive order banning federal contracts from including the framework in diversity and inclusion training in September 2020. Though the theory has been in existence since the 80s, and its intellectual forefathers in existence since the 70s, we now see an extraordinary amount of interest, and controversy, surrounding CRT.

White Evangelical Christians have been at the center of much of the controversy around CRT. Despite this continued interest, there seems to be a woeful lack of understanding around what CRT even means, and why it may be incompatible with the Christian faith. In consideration of its immense popularity and controversy that The Exchange is hosting a series on Critical Race Theory, similar to other conversations on the book “White Fragility” and on PhDs. We have invited several authors of varying backgrounds and views on CRT to discuss its merits, flaws, and to offer their thoughts on how Christians should engage with the popular school of thought.

However, before we hear from our contributors, it is helpful to at least try and delineate a framework for understanding Critical Race Theory as a whole. Since its beginning, CRT has grown far beyond its original conceit, and co-opted by movements which might expand, or simply not align with, its original tenets. CRT is vast, at times convoluted, and I cannot hope to fully explain it in a 1,000-word article today. Furthermore, it may be …

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