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Critical Race Theory: Rodric Johnson's Understanding

Critical Race Theory examines race and racism's role in American society promoting critiquing and changing as a whole, stabbing at the underbelly of Americanism. CRT exposes racially aristocratic flaws at the foundations of the United States of America.

In the previous article, I provided the above definition of CRT, though not in such a concise manner. For a deeper exploration or treatment of CRT, the article link below provides perspective.

  • Critical Race Theory
    If you're offended easily. Skip past this. Not that I make a habit of offending people intentionally, but most readers will not enjoy what I am about to present after studying Critical Race Theory. This is the first in a number of articles to come!

As with that article, for those who easily take offense, this article will probably offend you. Read it anyway. It opens your eyes to a different perspective.
Studying Critical Race Theory has led me to the following understanding I wish to share with my peers and the world. I, however, must admit that those who suggest the ensuing view represent the strictest of the CRT theorist. So, hold on to your offense and know that not all CRT theorists concede to the subsequent viewpoint.

The word "Critical" in the theory provides the purpose of this ideology. Just as Freud and Marx suggest, as scientist and philosopher: Question the system. Push the limits of understanding.

— Rodric Anthony Johnson

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Blacks have been conditioned to believe whites only have privilege when in fact black people are far more powerful than we realize—so much so that people down through the years have sought to control our very presence and belief in self. [1]

— Barbara A. Fears

Defining Race

In This Article, Specifically.

Before delving into what I've concluded about CRT regarding myself I want to define (((RACE))) as I view it from my study of the theory entangled with my interpretation. Theorists define race as a construct of society benefiting those in power to create division so that things will continue as they exist. In the preceding article, I defined race as outlined here.

Lowercase “white” designates my distinction for Critical Race Theory's definition of color as it relates to American Culture.

Uppercase White refers to a person’s racial/ethnic identity in America, fluidic in nature, ambiguous. "White" as a race of people signifies a large cross-section of Americans with European ancestry.

Uppercase Black distinction refers to those of African heritages in America who identify by description or ancestral linkages. Black (African American) people overwhelming consist of descendants of American slaves enumerated such in the US Constitution.

Theorists define race as a construct of society benefiting those in power to create division so that things will continue as they exist.

Critical Race Theory opened my eyes to what I am, White!

According to it, my skin color isn't a party to my whiteness. The degree to which I support American Society determines my whiteness, not my race.

CRT Calls Me Lower-case White!

critical-race-theory-rodric-johnsons-understanding

White Man Trapped In A Black Man's Body

While serving as a missionary in South Africa, a very radical and politically charged citizen of that nation, also a Black native, told me I was a White man trapped in a Black man's body. Several times I've received that... insult?

I took it as such as a young 20-something. Told that I had no identity of my own because, I spoke the white man's language, wore the white man's clothes, worshipped the white man's god, and ate the white man's food, I crumpled when I realized my connections to Europe defined who I am. The only connection to Africa I had came from DNA! More than 20 years later, his sentiment may have merit.

#WhiteManTrappedInABlackMansBody

From the time the Puritans versus the American Aboriginals to the Confederates subdued through Union dominance flickered in my imagination, liberty offered through the Constitution burst forth as the shining beacon to the world!

How am I Lower-Case "White" Being Upper-Case Black?

Culturally, I've accepted the idea that America is the best country on the planet. This understanding of my heritage stems from things I've learned in schools, in Church, and in historical and religious studies.

From the time the Puritans versus the American Aboriginals to the Confederates subdued through Union dominance flickered in my imagination, liberty offered through the Constitution burst forth as the shining beacon to the world!

Cognitive dissonance plays a terrible tone in my soul that anything in America is reproachable. An italicized list of things determining my function of "white" American follows based on my understanding of CRT.

Function of white Americanism :

  • This is God's country!
  • Anything that happens in God's country does so because God wants it to occur!
  • This is the nation God raised up to produce the perfect circumstance for the [name the institution]!
  • Slavery, murder, rapine, and all be damned!
  • This country grew the best humans and carried the best blood of humanity!
  • This is my country!
  • I am American first!

Vestiges of nationalistic pride escape, weeping when the National Anthem plays, I receive an almost religious experience when I recite the Pledge of Allegiance. In every text of my religious beliefs I find the words, "America is the chosen land" betwixt every verse.

Iroquois Nation

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Examples of my whiteness

As a missionary representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, American culture superseded even the teachings of Jesus when talking to other missionaries in my cohort. Comparing countries, an activity international missionaries should avoid, my answer to any criticism of The United States rang, "In which country was the Gospel restored? America!"

Members of the Church agree that God used the United States of America as the place to restore the truths of the Gospel based on the enumerated legal right to worship unobstructed by state mandates of religion. Misapplying, I added more importance to America than my religion suggests.

"You Yanks did not give your Black people rights when they were fighting for rights in WW2," missionaries from other nations serving with me would say!
"In which country was the Gospel restored," came my retort? "America!"
"Slavery was in your nation's Constitution," they'd fault!
"In which country was the Gospel restored? America!"

I said such things to the people of my Church because the headquarters is in the United States. America! Where is the UN? America!

No matter what the accusation, I'd give some glorious first the USA achieved on paper and cry, "We said it first, so we are the best!" America!

This behavior suggests I am a white American because I love the current system created from the racially charged past of White people with great God-inspired ideas but fragile application skills.

Critical Race Theory theorists suggest that my love for this system where the very Constitution considered my ancestors sub-human, legally three-fifths of a person, a technicality of indoctrination, labeling me a part of the "white" racist foundation of the nation.

CRT tosses out the ideologies of America because they cradle within them racist ideas of the superiority of whiteness and white philosophies of Western Society. America is the Mayflower, not the Iroquois Nation. America is Confederate rebels, not Black Wall Street's economic success in Oklahoma years ago. America is the rally to support, not the duty to challenge.

Black "Wall Street"

critical-race-theory-rodric-johnsons-understanding

This behavior suggests I am a white American because I love the current system created from the racially charged past of White people with great God-inspired ideas but fragile application skills.

America is all of that

It is the best, better, good, bad, worse, and worst! Love for the USA buds in my chest. National pride flutters in my soul but is tempered by the truth that America has an ugly undercarriage I'd rather dismiss or vaguely remember. I am white, though I am Black.

Do I Agree With This Understanding of Critical Race Theory?

CRT, as I understand it, makes incredible points. When the framers of the Constitution put ink to parchment, their cry for liberty may not have included any group other than those of colonial birth. It makes sense.

Poetically critical of Americanism, not the legal system per se, but the cultural constructs Barbara A. Fears relates,

Whites appointed themselves as the determiner of place and behavior of these othered black bodies. This self-appointing act created a normative white gaze whereby blacks are viewed through a lens of presumed white cultural superiority, which is nothing more than a socio-political construct for hegemonic profit and pleasure.

Instances of white entitlement to control blackness abound on social media platforms and in broadcast news. White people have called the police on blacks for sitting in a coffee shop, sleeping in a university common room, mowing a neighbor’s lawn, moving into their own apartment, barbecuing in a park, and leaving an Airbnb without saying hello to some random strangers.

These examples of microaggressions exemplify white privilege to control black presence and behavior in so-called “white spaces.” [1]

I'm sympathetic to Critical Race Theory theorists' complaints against my nation. Barbara A. Fears submitted the anecdotal experiences of millions in the United States, including mine, who testify of the existence of white privilege, or cultural preferentialism in America for those who appear and behave as societal constructs of what Western culture considers white!

Does the American culture have flaws? Yes!

Do I agree with CRT? I do at levels but with explanatory needs. When it comes to philosophical constructs and theories based on human reasoning, caveats impregnate any acceptances--provisional explanations.

Right now I am white--not White, the race. Lowe-case white: the cultural constant that equals, with all its depravity and holiness, Western Society defines culturally most Americans of every race.

I agree, racism plays its part in American history, and understand why CRT theorists suggest it as one of our foundational principles; but, and that is a big but, I differ with extremist CRT theorists in the application of the theory. As Janel George expresses, "the same policies, structures, and scholarship that can function to disenfranchise and oppress so many also holds the potential to emancipate and empower many." [2]

Proud To Be An American

Despite knowing all of the terrible things in the nation's past, and systems in the state governments, if not the federal, stacked against my people in the United States, I love America. I pledge allegiance to the republic for which it stands. As long as it represents one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all, I must admit my loyalty--under God, as in knowing from whence the rights of the people come, not forcing a religion upon the citizens. Let them worship who or what they will.

Relevant Sources

  • Unchained, but Unchanged: In Need of a Revolution
    Despite the passage of time since slavery, the civil rights movement, and our nation priding itself on being postracial, why do blacks continue to be treated as “other” in America and how can they respond?
  • A Lesson on Critical Race Theory [2]
    Coined by legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, Critical Race Theory is the practice of interrogating race and racism in society that emerged in the legal academy and spread to other fields of scholarship.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Rodric Anthony Johnson

Comments

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on August 03, 2021:

We can have differing opinions about things and still be on the same side. That is what makes our liberties in this nation great! America celebrates our freedom to challenge the status quo. We can speak our minds, respectfully I hope.CRT, as I will discuss in the next article, challenges our right to speak ignorantly, using hate speech. To give you a preview, no speech should be prevented. I can say what I want. I can also suffer the consequences of saying it socially. If someone calls me the n-word, I might not say anything. I will not associate with that person. I would fight for that person's right to say it, though. freedom for all means freedom for those who disagree with what we may think is right. It's all protected and should be.

A B Williams from Central Florida on August 03, 2021:

I agree with much of what you are saying, with the exception of Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Barack Obama and your so-called History 'teacher'/football coach, could be the same person and yet.... a majority of Americans elected Obama to be the leader of this amazing Country, which he despises....twice!!

That cannot be denied.

Donald Trump adores this Country as we, you and I, do and always did what was in her best interest and in our best interest. That too, cannot be denied!

But, if things are allowed to continue, with this revisionist history we are in the midst of, in America, Obama will be remembered as a Saint. Trump will be vilified.

And now we have Biden, don't get me started! Lord help us!

All that being said, you are a gifted writer!

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on August 02, 2021:

A B, I did not vote for former President Obama, but I believe his presidency showed the true shape of America racially. I believe former President Trump showed it at its worst, and I voted for him the second time! I do not believe CRT needs to be taught in schools at all! True history needs to be taught in school.

When I was in high school I had a history teacher who was also one of my football coaches. He taught me that America was illegitimate as a country, and I believed him! I did not have someone at home to teach me otherwise.

I believed him when he taught me that colonists did not want to pay taxes, so they revolted trying to form an illegal nation. He compared us to criminals that the British sent to Australia. I rebelled by only using British English up until college.

I have been conditioned to say The Pledge and to sing the National Anthem. I hold them sacred, as I mention in the article, almost religious. If I were not a Christian I could see myself as an American religionist with the Constitution as my Bible!

I find value in CRT, however. I can see that my actions do not fit with my religion. I will write more about it in a later installment. I am against CRT in grade school or high school. It can be offered in college, but should never be forced on Americans. I don't agree with it becoming a part of the curricula in school districts in the States. I do believe every American should take and opportunity to read about it. I agree with some of the points it makes, but NONE of its application.

I have been talking about how Blacks in America are not African for years, but iterations of European culture! I did not know that type of speech is called a version of CRT. I don't want to change my culture to become more something else than American. If anything, CRT makes me want to change to be more Christian, more Christ-like.

I love my country. I don't want it villanized and dismantled because of what happened in the past. We need to change as a society, but not by force.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on August 02, 2021:

Ken, I agree with you! I wish we could all travel to different lands to see how similar we are and respect the differences. Serving as a missionary in the Eastern and Western Capes in South Africa changed my perspective on poverty and joy. I plan to write about it one day.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on August 02, 2021:

Bill, thanks for the grade. I find myself wanting to impress you! It is your teacher's spirit. I always want to be the teacher's pet.

I understand it is a hot topic and my kind is not welcome to the discussion table, my kind as in "white people" per the article. This is just the second in a number that I am not sure of yet. I wrote over 5000 words! I had to break it up because it kept getting bigger!

The only thing that gives me partiality towards CRT is my religion. That article is on the way soon.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on August 02, 2021:

Thanks, Pamela. I had to forgive them, you are right! hope to become friends with them in some way. I will pray on it.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 02, 2021:

Rodric, I pray we reach a day where no one stares at anyone because they are a different race. I just wish we all had respect for each other. I always say, we all bleed red. We are all made the same on the inside, so why do people like those men stare with a mean expression on their faces. They are no better than you! I am glad you forgave them because that is what is good for you. Take care, Rodric.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on August 02, 2021:

Pamela Oglesby, the problem with critical race theory is that it is right about things. It is divisive, but it is correct. I don't want it to be. I like living my so-called "white" life. I don't know another life to live. I know that because my speech is a certain way, I am accepted by other white people. I have met White people who accept me no matter what.

In Church, yesterday, two white people stared at me with an ugly look on their faces because of my facial hair I hope. I want to hope that because I don't want to believe that they stared at me for being Black. I'm not culturally black, but I am still Black.

Both men stared at me unabashedly not caring if I knew about it. I decided to forgive them, but apparently, it affected me to the point where I'm writing about it. I wanted to talk to both men. I make it a point of going to those people who stare as soon as the meeting's over, not to confront but to get to know them if they will talk to me. I have a walker and could not get to either fast enough. I have no idea who these men are and my vision is still adjusting to my glasses. I might not recognize them next week.

I know one brother is an older gentleman and the other is a young man about 19 or so. I think the young man was more fascinated than anything. The older gentleman could have just been a mean man.

The fact that I think about race at all hurts in this regard. It is not something new. I've been told I am a credit to my race, which hurts and felt good at the same time. Critical race theory suggests that my country wants me to assimilate, which I have done, and forget my race, be color blind. As long as some White people are also "white people" as per my article, I am a color first. I don't necessarily see a problem with that. It's a free country.

I did not feel like I stood out in South Africa even when I did things like tell them I was better because I am American. I am Black like the majority of the people there. I blended into the population. I learned before the end that people are people no matter the country. I also learned White people can feel isolated like I have when living in a population of people of a different race.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 02, 2021:

Very hot topic! I'm impressed you are willing to write about it. Excellent points made, delivered in an excellent manner. You get an A+ for your efforts from this old teacher.

Ken Burgess from Florida on August 02, 2021:

Good read, one of the best things for all people, regardless of skin tone, or sex, is travel to foreign lands.

It is only when immersed in foreign cultures, that one can truly see the strengths and weaknesses of one's own society, as well as better understand one's place in it, and where it stands in the world.

Sadly far too few Americans experience this, and their perspectives and understanding is limited by the lack of such.

A B Williams from Central Florida on August 02, 2021:

I agree with Pamela on this.

We had come so far in race relations, until Barack Obama was elected into office (twice) and then pretended that we had not come far enough.

It has been downhill ever since!

I do not follow a writer/author based on their color, but rather on their talent, their unique writing ability. I do not love or follow an Actor based on how they look, but rather on how they take on a role and convince me that they are that character. I don't get behind and support a certain politician because of their skin tone....but rather by their character, their work ethic, their love for this Country, their strict adherence to the U.S. Constitution. I don't choose my friends based on their appearance, but rather by their personality, their sense of humor, how they treat others, etc.

CRT is a road too far and is leading us into an area we will not be able to return from. It helps no one, it doesn't accomplish a single thing, it only further divides this Country and it is dangerous.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 02, 2021:

This is a good article about your perspective on Critical Race Theory, Rodric. I do not think Critical Race Theory is a good thing. Slavery was horrible, no doubt. We learn from mistakes or maybe our ignorance, then we don't repeat that behavior

Tearing down statues is not a healing measure as they are a reminder of a time we do not want to return to ever again.

I have also heard we aren't suppose to say things like 'him' or 'her' anymore. I don't know if that is true, but I wonder why?

Thanks for making me think this morning, Rodric. We all continue to learn each day. When I think of you I do not think about black or white, I think that you are a good author.

We are becoming more diverse as a country, with Latinos, orientals and Muslims too. I belong to a women's club with several black and white friends. We work together for the common good,

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