America, we do have a race problem...and it’s not what you might think it is.
Last year, I thoroughly covered my understanding about past injustices stemming the country’s slavery and post-slavery days. I stated my support for the non-violent efforts that led to the success of the Civil Rights movement. I shared my perspective as a Caucasian man happily married for nearly twenty-six years to a wonderful African-American woman, and my pride in being the father of three mixed-race children.
I have watched over the last year as the United States has grappled with renewed racial tensions, too many times leading to violence, destruction, and spilled blood. I have seen all kinds of viewpoints, ranging from measured and calm to violent extremism, and everything in-between. I have seen and heard racist rhetoric from surprising sources, some nationally and some closer to home.
I have looked into Critical Race Theory and read or listened to the words of people calling themselves “anti-racists.” And I have seen some disturbing trends with one thing in common: racism is passing itself off as anti-racism.
It’s easy to see.
What am I talking about? We’ll start with anti-Caucasian (or anti-white) sentiment. And while there has been anti-white sentiment in various social circles for decades, it was mostly harmless, just people’s opinions. But then the 2020 race riots happened and anti-white rhetoric jumped to new highs (or lows, depending on your point of view). Books like White Fragility and How To Be An Anti-Racist became best sellers nationwide. People took renewed interest in Critical Race Theory, which not only makes some questionable assumptions, but by its very design does not allow reasoned discussion about its contents. If you question Critical Race Theory’s validity or usefulness, that very action is assumed to be based in racism.
Here’s the problem with that: Critical Race Theory is just that — a theory. Let’s look at the definition of theory, according to the Cambridge Dictionary: “a formal statement of the rules on which a subject of study is based or of ideas that are suggested to explain a fact or event or, more generally, an opinion or explanation.” Theories are ideas. They can be proven, disproven, or even revised later when more data is acquired. No theory is perfect or foolproof. And no theories are beyond question, even if they are designed to be that way. A theory that refuses to be examined is a theory that its authors are trying to protect, acting as if that theory is not strong enough to stand up to scrutiny or debate. That is dishonest intellectualism at its worst.
Too many of the recent “anti-racism” sentiments have been combative, one-sided, and now have evolved a perspective that White People must be trained (or re-educated, a concept disturbingly reminiscent of certain communist regimes throughout the last century) to think or be less of themselves. This is perceived to to somehow balance the scales for past racism, whether theirs or their ancestors or other White people and their ancestors.
Coca-Cola recently received a public backlash for a whistleblower exposing slides from a training session for its employees called “Confronting Racism, with Robin D’Angelo (the author of White Fragility).” The training suggested the white employees should be “less white, less arrogant, less certain, less defensive, less ignorant and more humble.” The training also included “Research shows that by age 3 to 4, children understand that it is better to be white” with no citation to back it up.
Here’s a simple way to debunk this: replace “white” with any other race or ethnicity. It instantly becomes racist as can be. Just because Caucasians are the focus does not negate the racism. Whether of European or any other light-pigmented descent, focusing on Caucasians as a race makes this racist. It is painting with the broadest strokes using colossal assumptions...and it’s wrong.
Anyone can be a racist. There is no “reverse discrimination” or “reverse racism,” there is only racism. Thinking of any race as superior or inferior is racist and wrong. Trying to make anyone of any race think they are superior or inferior to any other race is racist and wrong.
Coca-Cola issued a statement to clarify their position on this training: “Our Better Together global learning curriculum is part of a learning plan to help build an inclusive workplace. It is comprised of a number of short vignettes, each a few minutes long. The training includes access to LinkedIn Learning on a variety of topics, including on diversity, equity and inclusion.”
This disturbed me more than Coca-Cola giving racist training to its employees. LinkedIn is partnering with racists to spread racist ideology to Corporate America and anyone who wants to view it. All in the name of diversity, inclusion, and “combating racism.”
At this point, let me make something crystal clear. There are some tried and true ways to experience diversity, inclusion, and to ultimately defeat racism and prejudice:
When people do the things I just stated above, they don’t ignore someone’s skin color or heritage. They accept and embrace those elements. It becomes part of their world and who they are. No one loses anything — and everyone wins!
These simple truths may sound naive, but they work. I have lived them for over half my life. I don’t see my children as half-black and half-white, I see them as an amazing blend of me and my wife, everything including ethnicity, race, culture and so much more. I didn’t fall in love with my wife because of the color of her skin, but I think she looks amazing. I accept and love all of who she is.
So yes, the United States of America does have a race problem:
Even so, we have the opportunity to change things.
We can choose:
That’s not limited to one race or ethnicity.
We can all do better, every one of us.
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian. Happily interracially married since 1995 and the proud father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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