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About a year ago, I ran across this blog post on apologetics. It posited six premises of Critical Theory and quotes to illustrate them. I was inspired to do a series of sermons based on these premises. I used various quotes archived on the blog post to do a critique of Critical Theory from an Orthodox Christian point of view.

Unfortunately, the audio recordings were not the best and they took a lot of effort to get them to the point where they are now. So, I apologize that these are not up to a standard I would like to have, but I do think these sermons are interesting and important enough to archive publicly here:

Premise #1: Individual identity is inseparable from group identity as ‘oppressed’ or ‘oppressor’

Premise #2: Oppressor groups subjugate oppressed groups through the exercise of hegemonic power

Here are the quotes I used in this homily:

“Whiteness rests upon a foundational premise: the definition of whites as the norm or standard for human, and people of color as a deviation from that norm.” – Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility, 2018, p. 25.

“Power is typically equated with domination and control over people or things. Social institutions depend on this version of power to reproduce hierarchies of race, class, and gender.” – Margaret Andersen, “Social Change and the Politics of Empowerment”, Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology, p. 450

Premise #3: Our fundamental moral duty is freeing groups from oppression

Here is the quote I used in this homily:

“Prior to celebrating diversity, we must first eliminate intolerance. No matter what form it takes or who does it, we must all take action to stop intolerance when it happens. Working towards a celebration of diversity implies working for social justice – the elimination of all forms of social oppression… Social injustice takes many forms. It can be injustice based on a person’s gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, or economic class.” – Mary McClintock, “How to Interrupt Oppressive Behavior,” Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, p. 483

Premise #4: ‘Lived experience’ is more important than objective evidence in understanding oppression

Here are the quotes I used in this homily:

“The idea that objectivity is best reached only through rational thought is a specifically Western and masculine way of thinking ” – Margaret L. Andersen and Patricia Hill Collins, “Reconstructing Knowledge,” in Anderson and Collins, Race, Class, and Gender, p. 4-5

“There is no single true, or all encompassing, description.”– Richard Delgado, “Storytelling for Opposistionalists and Others”; in Critical Race Theory, pp 71

To live with equality in a diverse, pluralistic society, we have to accept the fact that all groups and individuals have a legitimate claim to what is true and real for them” – Cooper Thompson, “Can White Men Understand Oppression?”, Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, p. 478

Premise #5: Oppressor groups hide their oppression under the guise of objectivity

Here is the quote I used in this homily:

“The gendered practices of everyday life reproduce a society’s view of how women and men should act. Gendered social arrangements are justified by religion and cultural productions and backed by law, but the most powerful means of sustaining the moral hegemony of the dominant gender ideology is that the process is made invisible; any possible alternatives are virtually unthinkable (Foucault 1972; Grasci 1971).” – Judith Lorber, “’Night to His Day’: The Social Construction of Gender”, Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, p. 207.

Premise #6: Individuals at the intersection of different oppressed groups experience oppression in a unique way

Here are the quotes I used in this homily:

“individuals appear at differing points on the sexuality and gender continuum and n the path toward a definition of their identities; and individuals come from disparate racial, sexual, gender, class, ethnic, religious, age, and regional backgrounds as well as physical and mental abilities. Therefore, the weight of oppression does not fall on them uniformly.” – Warren J. Blumenfeld, “Heterosexism,” Readings…, p. 265

“Time and time again, I have observed that the usual response among white women’s groups when the ‘racism issue’ comes up is to deny the difference. I have heard comments like, ‘Well, we’re open to all women; why don’t they (women of color) come? You can only do so much…’ But there is seldom any analysis of how the very nature and structure of the group itself may be founded on racist or classist assumptions.” – Cherrie Moraga, “Shifting the Center”, Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology, p. 26

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