Owen Strachan : Christianity and wokeness

Christianity and Wokeness - Introduction


Comments from Strachan’s book:
“Yet everyday, we hear the imperatives: “White” people should “be less white,” according to material presented in a training session for Coca-Cola employees, as just one head-spinning example.”
It is a very strange comment. Strachan does not explain what was meant with the above statement. But he does go on at great length about how “we” are getting bombarded with anti-racism, “social justice” teaching sessions, etc, etc.
Since Strachan does not explain what is so bad about being less white, so I went and looked for myself. Below are screenshots shared by a “whistle-blower”.
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Not only don’t I think that any of the above is “head-spinning”, I think that it is excellent life advice. Especially for Christians! Is our journey to sanctification not a daily effort to be more humble? To be less of the things that are listed? If we agree that racism is a sin, and I sincerely hope that we do, shouldn’t we try and understand what racism means, ESPECIALLY from the victims of racism.
“I use this term (wokeness) to describe the collective ideas and activism of Critical Race Theory, intersectionality and people who identify as “woke” more generally.
I have written this text, in short, to bring Christians (....) up to speed on wokeness, and then to give an answer to this system. Though I critique the movement strongly, readers should note that the very act of framing and engaging its thought itself is an act of respect per the conventions of scholarship. Wokeness, Critical Race Theory and intersectionality are complex ideologies that require careful handling and studied contemplation.”
Noble words indeed. But immediately contradicted by lumping together wokeness, Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality into one concept, to be referenced interchangeably as any of these three terms.
Let’s work through these three ideas one by one:
Critical Race Theory is an academic field of study. It originated in the 1970’s in the writings of legal scholars like Derrick Bell, Alan Freeman, Richard Delgado and several others. It influenced Critical Legal studies, adding a race perspective. CRT is grounded in Critical Theory.
Wokeness is a term in African-American Vernacular English, dating back to the 1930’s, referring to the need to be aware of the social and political issues affecting African Americans. In the 2010’s it gained new prominence and broadened its meaning to encompass other issues like sexism.
To treat an academic discipline in the legal field, as if it is the same thing as a popular, millennial meme with an amorphous meaning, is NOT an “act of respect”. Lets move to intersectionality.
Intersectionality is a concept from the field of feminism, originating from critical race studies, and originally focused on the struggles of black women and how they had to deal with being black, being female, and often being poor. Intersectionality, in the fourth wave of feminism covers topics, or sections, that include race, gender, sex, sexuality, class, ability, nationality, citizenship, religion and body type.
Intersectional analysis therefor analyses a holistic view of a person, as they are affected by the above sections of his life, and how they overlap, rather than analysing those sections each individually. As the saying goes, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Treating such different ideas: two fields of academic research, and a meme as if they are interchangeable makes a mockery of Strachan’s own idea of “academic respect”. As I will explore in the next delivery of this series, this lack of rigour in his thinking leads Strachan to run headlong into a brick wall in the first chapter of his book.
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