JESUS loves the little children! All the children of the world!’ they used to sing in Sunday School.
Does he love them equally though?
Responding to Racism, a resource recommended by the Church of England for 85 primary schools and two secondary schools in the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, encourages pupils to see some groups of people as most definitely more guilty than others.
Children are to be taught about ‘what white privilege is and how they can become more aware of it’. This all-important lesson must be delivered regularly: ‘White privilege is [to be] explained and frequently revisited.’
Visual aids include a picture of a set of scales. The weighted-down (victim) side is labelled ‘People of Colour’, while the elevated (privileged) side is labelled ‘White people’.Then there’s a picture of ‘The Pyramid of White Supremacy’.The statement that ‘there are two sides to every story’sits at the base of the pyramid. It’s the first in a series of statements or concepts which culminate in ‘violence and mass murder’.
Recommended resources for teachers include White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. This book claims that ‘a positive white identity is an impossible goal. White identity is inherently racist; white people do not exist outside the system of white supremacy’ (p 149). White people can only really strive to be ‘less white’ (p 150).
Teachers are also directed to Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge, who maintains that the ‘vast majority’ of white people have ‘never known what it means to embrace a person of colour as a true equal, with thoughts and feelings that are as valid as their own’.
How, might one ask, can she possibly know? What about the many happy marriages which cross ethnic boundaries? What are the children of such marriages supposed to make of this divisive teaching?
In the zero-sum assumption that racial groups are inexorably in conflict, children with parents of different ethnicities can only end up conflicted and confused. Are they to view one parent as the oppressor and the other as the victim? How do they regard themselves? Oppressor or oppressed?
Responding to Racism presents this ugly and divisive teaching within a confused pastiche of contradictory ideas. Absurdly, the doctrinaire presentation of white privilege is placed alongside uplifting quotations from Scripture, and inspiring statements from civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King. Are the authors unaware that authors such as DiAngelo insist that the colour-blindness advocated by Martin Luther King is itself racist?
We need to understand that the Critical Race Theory being pushed on to school children in Suffolk is one facet of Critical Theory, an all-encompassing ideology which divides society between groups that possess privilege and groups that are oppressed.
Under cover of the deceptive phrase ‘Social Justice’, this dangerous ideology is being smuggled into Western institutions, including some sections of the Church. It lies behind cancel culture and all the current tensions stoked up by identity politics. It insists that some groups must have more access to rights and opportunities, and other groups must have less. In other words, it creates more discrimination.
Critical Theory is founded on the premise that there is no transcendent authority: no God, no absolute morality and no ultimate truth. All truth claims are questioned, and all boundaries blurred.
Racism is, sadly, an ugly reality. It is always sinful. Christians believe we are all made in God’s image, and we have the same first parents. So the Christian view is that we should treat people with equal dignity and respect.
But, as Kemi Badenoch observes, teaching children about ‘white privilege’ forces them to focus on what divides us rather than what unites us.
How tragic that children should be subjected to this toxic theory which erodes all confidence in our universal humanity. Teaching children to think of themselves and their parents either as victims or as irredeemably guilty will only sow division in classrooms and suspicion at home.
Church of England schools should, rather, focus on teaching children genuine respect for others, based on the biblical command to love God and love your neighbour. That is the true antidote to racism.
Dr Sharon James
This article first appeared on the TCW – Defending Freedom website and is used with permission.