Criticizing Critical Race Theory—and Its Critics

A new book seems oddly outraged that CRT skeptics take its arguments seriously.

Last year I joined a group of Christian leaders, Black and white, on a tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture located in Washington, DC.

Even though I’ve read quite a bit about slavery and Jim Crow, I was still physically and emotionally disturbed by the visual depictions of the systemic and violent ways in which people of color were treated for centuries of American history. There is no sugarcoating this history. It was (and is) an offense against God, with ripple effects that continue to shape our national life.

In the past decade, conversations on racism have become more heated, reaching a fever pitch in 2020 with the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

One outcome of the resulting ferment of protest and denunciation was renewed attention to critical race theory (popularly known as CRT), a controversial legal theory once confined to the academic world and now increasingly mainstreamed and popularized in public life, including many of our leading institutions.

Books like White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo or How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi rose to the top of bestseller lists in 2020 and after. Corporations, government entities, and even churches began implementing steps drawn from these and other popular works. Evangelical publishers churned out books in this spirit as well.

Some Christian leaders have defended the use of CRT as a helpful analytical tool. Others have criticized it as a totalizing worldview opposed to biblical Christianity. This debate has divided many Christians, exhausted many pastors, split many organizations, and convulsed our politics.

Seeking to bring sanity and clarity to this ongoing conversation is …

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