Obstacles to the Dialogue on Racism: systemic racism vs Systemic Racism

Obstacles to a fruitful dialogue on racism: defining systemic racism vs. Systemic Racism.

The first is the concept that there are structures and systems which perpetuate race inequalities. The second is a worldview which evolved out of the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School (something for you to research one day), which itself is the philosophical child of Marxism (e.g. roots in atheistic materialism).

The first describes inequalities of rights and economics as a component of reality. The second describes inequalities as the whole of reality. The first supposes that reform of those structures is possible. The second supposes the only course of action is revolution, generally violent (which is why I believe we’re seeing riots transcend the protests). The first can be transformed by the Gospel. The second is incompatible with the Christian worldview and undermines the purpose of Jesus’ atoning death on the cross.

In the first, enemies can become brothers. In the second, enemies are always vying to manifest their will-to-power, never to be reconciled. Conservatives have a tendency to dismiss the potential for the structures in the first category to operate implicitly. Liberals have a tendency to crusade against the second category as if there were a clear-identifiable figure (Republicans I guess?).

The Gospel is impotent if the second is true. As Christians we have to speak with an agreement on the first definition, otherwise we’re just talking past each other.


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