Intersectionality and the Christian Left

Oct 17, 2020 by

by Derryck Green, Juicy Ecumenism:

Recently I received an email from a concerned Christian regarding the inevitable adoption of antiracism training for his church’s leadership. With Christian humility, the sender sought assistance in addressing the destructive elements and consequences of embracing critical race theory (CRT) and intersectionality as a means to combat racism and to initiate reconciliation. In making what I thought was a clear and principled case, this Christian observed that this approach is antithetical to reconciliation. The authoritarian nature of CRT (intersectionality and antiracism) suppresses dialogue and fosters separation, which in practice undermines Christian reconciliation and the identity of the Church.

This isn’t the only email I’ve received concerning a church or its leadership self-approvingly incorporating the secular dogmas of antiracism or intersectionality as a sanctimonious advertisement of its stance against discrimination. The speed in which this is occurring communicates to Christians that the imago Dei and the Christian gospel are insufficient bedrocks upon which our identity is centered and in which interpersonal relationships are created, maintained or repaired in the Christian church. Intersectionality concedes to reinforcing a power totem built upon partiality, hate and vengeance, which fortifies a rigid power hierarchy to achieve “solidarity” and “justice”. The Bible clearly rejects this in favor of the righteous and equalizing power of love.

Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, authors of Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, define intersectionality as:

“…the examination of race, sex, class, national origin, and sexual orientation and how their combination plays out in various settings. These categories– and still others– can be separate disadvantaging factors… [that] operate at an intersection of recognized sites of oppression.”

Under this ideological framework, a woman potentially experiences discrimination because of her gender. But, if she’s a black woman, she may experience discrimination based on her gender and her race. If this black woman is a lesbian, she then theoretically experiences discrimination or “oppression” based on her gender, race, sexual identity or, all of the above. The intersection of identities expands the possibility of encountering multiple forms of discrimination or social oppression as these identities are associated with traditionally marginalized groups. Attempting to address discrimination without recognition of all intersecting identities is to be complicit in the persistence of discrimination.

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