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Culture Clashes, News

Samuel Sey on Critical Race Theory

This is an edited excerpt from Lucas Holvlüwer and Tyler Vanderwoudes’ Real Talk podcast Episode 43 where they discussed Critical Race Theory with special guest Samuel Sey of SlowToWrite.com. They've had a lot of other great conversations with all sorts of intriguing guests like Tim Challies, Arnold Viersen, André Schutten, and Jonathon Van Maren, so be sure to check them out on YouTube, their website, or any of the places you find your podcasts! ***** Lucas Holtvlüwer: Define Critical Race Theory (CRT) for our listeners, and maybe give a couple of examples of where it's infiltrated our society. Samuel Sey: Critical Race Theory is very complex, intentionally. Many people call it Marxist, and some Critical Race theorists would deny that but it really is a version of Marxism, a newer version of Marxism. So, I'll explain Marxism first in a very brief way. Marxism, basically, is the idea that there is an essential conflict between groups in society, and these groups are the bourgeoisie, or you would say the privileged class of rich people, versus the proletariat, being the poor lower class. That's the idea. There's a book called From Class to Race, by one of the founders of Critical Race Theory, Charles W. Mills. What he says is, Karl Marx was right that there is a conflict in society, a conflict that has been plaguing society from the very beginning and is still ongoing today, until there is a revolution. But what this author says is, Marx was right about there being a conflict; what he was wrong about is what the conflict was really about. Marx said it was an economic or class struggle. Critical Race Theory says, it's a racial struggle – it's really between white people and black, white people versus non-white people. That is really what Critical Race Theory is about. And it also says, in very post-modern thinking, is that Western society, especially Canada, is built by white people for white people. So even the values that we think are impartial – things like freedom, rights, impartiality, our legal system, our schools, our government, our churches, all the things we think are impartial – they're designed by white people for white people, as a way to marginalize and oppress non-white people. That's what Critical Race Theory is, in a very general, brief way. The implication is that white people – unless they are fighting against the systems and the culture – are racist. If you want to abolish the system, then you are anti-racist; if you're not for revolution, then you are a racist by nature. In terms of examples, I don't know if you guys know about this, but last year around Black History Month, I was invited to a school in Alberta to speak about racism. But, I guess they didn’t Google me. They did not read any of my articles, so they thought, I guess, that I was going to be teaching Critical Race Theory. They didn't know that I was going to be actually speaking against Critical Race views. Tyler Vanderwoude: Oops! Samuel Sey: That’s a big oops indeed. I was actually fairly tame. I didn't want to shock them. The title of the speech was “What is racism?” and I was defining racism biblically as partiality (Acts 10:34-35, Gal. 3:28, Lev. 19:15). Racism is simply partiality against someone because of their skin color. Or to use a more broad definition, racism is bias against anyone because of their skin color, therefore you can be racist against black people, white people, Asian people, brown people, indigenous people, it doesn't matter. Then I said – and this is a key part that became controversial – if racism means partiality, then systemic racism means systemic partiality. What that means is if someone claims Canada is systemically racist then they need to identify a policy or a law from the government that shows partiality or a bias against black people. Systematic racism is shown, not by outcomes, not by disparities but by clear favoritism against black people. I asked if they could find a single such law or policy in Canada. They could not find a single one. So that was it. I leave. Then a few weeks later the school wrote a public letter denouncing me for denigrating students, for denying racism, for sharing racist views, essentially calling me a racist. Now the one thing they didn't do was mention my name. Everyone knew who they were talking about – people from the talk at the school knew they were referring to me. But I guess if they mentioned my name, someone would Google me and they would realize that, wait a minute, this guy's black! Which probably doesn't jive with what they're saying. That's one example where, by simply defining racism through biblical theology, they deem that I'm racist because I am protecting the white supremacist definition, in their mind, of racism. Another example: I think it was in the Durham region here in Ontario you had the school board giving non-white teachers more weight in their votes, because they believe that non-white people are oppressed and are marginalized in society. They, therefore, need to compensate for that by making their votes count more than the white person, which is, of course, racism. But that's an example of critical Race Theory. There’s many more. The federal government has given – I'm forgetting what they call this project – but there's a project from the federal government that gives black businesses more funding because they're black, because, again, they live in a racist society, they have more barriers, therefore they need more help from the government. Lucas Holtvlüwer: The tricky part about Critical Race Theory is that, perhaps there are grains of truth to some of the claims. There has been, obviously, discrimination in the past, there are disparities today, and people find themselves in different situations. And often you can categorize that, generally speaking, certain demographic groups based on race are in better or worse positions, financially speaking. So, I guess what I would ask is, is Critical Race Theory just a tool that people can use to look at the world, and sort through disparities, and figure out why disparities exist, or is there more of a theological, more of a worldview at play behind it? Samuel Sey: Critical Race theorists claim it is “just a tool,” or what they call an analytic tool. But I think they're not being honest. I also don't mind them calling it that. It clearly is a worldview – they see Western society, or Canada, or white people, as being a certain way. They have a definition for what is injustice or what is just. They're not simply analyzing things. They are claiming good and evil, righteous and evil. They have a theological view as to what is right or wrong, what should be punished and what shouldn't be. Through that worldview, they analyze the world. That is true for every worldview – every worldview is analytical by nature. So yes, they analyze things, but fundamentally CRT is a theology. They have, what I like to call, their own past and future. We say that through Adam all humanity became sinners. We know that there's no distinction between Jew or Greek, or black or white; we are all fallen people. The problem is Critical Race theorists would essentially say white people, since they have more power, are more evil or more “sinful“ than non-white people. That’s why they oftentimes say only white people can be racist, because white people have power and other people don't. So they have a different theological understanding of sin. And they also have their own future, in the sense that they have their own heaven which is really a socialist or communist utopia. The key word in Critical Race Theory is “equity.” They really believe that we can have equity, which basically means “equality of outcome” – that you can have all non-white people and all white people having an equal outcome. According to the most prominent political race theory scholar today, Ibram X. Kendi, the only way – and he's kind of right about this – to produce equity is to discriminate. He actually says this very openly. He says that the remedy for past discrimination is present or future discrimination. That's also because in his book How To Be An Anti-racist – which I call How To Be A Racist because the book is all about racism – he says that racial discrimination is only wrong if it leads to inequity, but it's good if it leads to equity. That means it's okay to be racist against white people, it's okay to discriminate against a white person if it will lead to equality of outcome between all people. So it's okay to bring white people down so that you can make them equal with all groups. It never works out that way, of course. There are always going to be people who have more power than others. But just like communists, now and in the past, Critical Race theorists will be the ones on top and everybody else, including black people will be at the bottom. Lucas Holtvluwer: I think the one topic that trips up a lot of folks, especially white folks is this idea of “white privilege” because I feel like there is some truth to it. There are differences in outcomes more so certainly in America, but still as you pointed out in previous interviews, also in Canada there's is quite the disparity. Can you talk to folks about what this idea of white privilege is, how they can understand it, if there's some truth there, how to navigate the truth, and separate out the truth from the Critical Race Theory Samuel Sey: ….White Canadians generally are more wealthy than black Canadians. As to the reason why, I wrote an article, maybe three years ago now, addressing this topic. I compared the numbers in America, the UK, and Canada when it comes to the disparities between white people and black people in these three nations. My point is this: these three nations have very different histories concerning slavery, segregation, and racism. All three nations have experienced racism against black people, for sure, throughout their history, but all three nations have very varying degrees of this racism. And yet the numbers comparing white people and black people in these nations are very similar when it comes to wealth, crime, education, and basically everything else. My point is, if we would claim the reason for this is because of the legacy of slavery or racism, how can you make that claim when, again, you have identical outcomes but with very different histories. It makes no sense. My explanation – which is proven because this is the common denominator between all three nations – is fatherlessness. I grew up without a dad in the home so I know this personally. Long story short, my father left my mom before I was born. It meant that since my father wasn't home my mom was never home either because she had to work two jobs. When she was then working two jobs I had no one teaching me discipline, therefore I became a very violent kid. I was in 25 fights before I became a Christian at 19. When I said 25 fights I mean 25 fistfights. …..My mom is an incredible mother but it's very hard to take care of a child when you are the only parent in the home. I mention that because single parenthood is the norm for a lot of black people. Here is the issue: in America 75% of black children are raised in a household with no father. 75%. The number for white people it’s 25%. That's a 50% gap. That is the real issue there when it comes to disparities. It is a known fact that children raised without their fathers in the home leads to more crime, more sexual activity, poorer education, poor discipline, which creates, of course, a lot of the disparities that we already know. In Canada, the numbers are pretty similar as well. That is the issue that no one talks about when it comes to white privilege. So if someone says to me there's white privilege, I don't like that term because it's based on Critical Race Theory and I will reject it. But what I will say is this: if a white person is more privileged than a black person, generally it's because they have more access to their father which leads to more privilege and prosperity in the home and in culture. Listen to the whole episode below. ...

Remembrance Day

Operation Manna

When two enemies collaborate for the common good, could it be anything less than a miracle? **** You can download or listen to the podcast version (6 minutes) here. It was a bad time to be Dutch. The winter of 1944-1945 was a particularly difficult one. Not only were there the usual difficulties of occupation that the Dutch had grown used to during the war, but food was in short supply. The northwestern Netherlands, especially the provinces of North and South Holland, were under siege by Allied forces. My grandmother told me that her family had nothing to eat for six months but turnips, morning, noon and night. After that experience, she didn’t eat another turnip for the next 60 years until the day of her death. My grandmother, however, was one of the lucky ones. Many were reduced to eating tulip bulbs, and 20,000 people died during the months that are known as the Hunger Winter. The situation became desperate enough that the German forces occupying the Netherlands went looking for help. Since they couldn’t supply the food, they needed someone who could. Operation Bad Penny The Dutch resistance sent a message to the Canadian army claiming that German commander, General Blaskowitz, wished to talk about the desperate situation. That’s the kind of message that seems like an obvious trap. The enemy wants to talk to us face to face? What could go wrong? But intelligence operatives Major Ken Cottam and Captain Farley Mowat decided it was worth the risk. On April 26, 1945, the two of them, along with Mowat’s aide, Sergeant “Doc” MacDonald headed off for the German-occupied region of the Netherlands in a risky and perhaps foolish mission. Somehow they got through. The men had a large white flag flying from their jeep, and along with that and the Major’s knowledge of German, a lot of bravado, and a very vague invitation to talk to the General about food supplies, they were allowed through and even escorted to the German headquarters. By the 27th, the men sent a message back to their own headquarters that they had negotiated a truce to allow the Allies to drop food to the Dutch civilians. By April 29, the first plane was loaded with food and ready to test the Germans’ goodwill. The Lancaster bomber took off with a crew of 7, five of them Canadians, and a lot of food where normally the plane would carry bombs. The Germans hadn’t officially agreed to a ceasefire at this point, so this mission was dubbed Operation Bad Penny. While a bad penny is an object that you don’t want, according to the saying it’s also one that keeps coming back. The plane flew very low to the ground, at about 50 feet, since the food was not parachuted but dropped in large gunnysacks. As the bomber climbed back into the air, the message “mission accomplished” was sent out.  Faust too... With this success behind them, the effort to drop food began in earnest. It was dubbed “Operation Manna” in reference to the Biblical story where God sends the Israelites food that literally falls from heaven. Flight after flight, in fact 3,298 of them, dropped food to the desperate Dutch.  Because the planes were insufficient, they were supplemented by convoys of military trucks that the Germans also let through in what was labeled Operation Faust. Faust is a character in literature who made a deal with the devil to get what he needed. The flights kept coming in very low in order to prevent damage to the food being dropped, so low in fact that one pilot described waving up to Dutch civilians on the balcony of a windmill. In total, Operation Manna dropped 6,680 Imperial tons of food. The related American Operation Chowhound dropped a further 4,000 tons. It was one of the most incredible operations in military history, for one military called on its enemy for assistance in helping the civilian population. Two mortal enemies laid aside weapons to feed the hungry population, dropping manna from heaven, as it were. Conclusion As for Captain Mowat, one of the intelligence agents who helped make Operation Manna possible, he went on to lead a remarkable and often exciting life. He became one of Canada’s best-known authors, with books like Never Cry Wolf, The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be, and Owls in the Family. But the fighting he’d seen in the Second World War seemed to have scarred him, and he spent much of his life tilting at windmills, “in search of something to give him hope in mankind.” He said of his experiences in the war that “It made me consider that perhaps we weren’t the greatest form of life on Earth, not the absolute work of God, but perhaps some kind of cosmic joke, and a rather devilish one at that.” And maybe he has a point. In this broken and fallen world, man’s inhumanity and his capacity to hurt his fellow humans can be staggering. But what Mowat didn’t see and we shouldn’t lose sight of, is that in that misery we aren’t alone. There is hope, there are miracles, and, sometimes, there’s even food falling from heaven. This article is taken from an episode of James Dykstra’s History.icu podcast, where history is never boring. You can check out other episodes at History.icu or on Spotify, Google podcasts, or wherever you find your podcasts. To dig deeper... History-April 27 1945: The crazy trio who helped a starving war-torn Holland" NewsHolland Operations Manna and Chowhound Operation Manna | Ina Farley Mowatt, OC, 12 May 1921–6 May 2014. Life of a warrior and death of an icon Canada’s Liberation of the Netherlands: The Hunger Winter! Article Stories of Remembrance: Farley Mowat Operation ‘Manna’...

History

Slip sliding away: a very different chapter in Dutch history

You can download or listen to the podcast version (5 minutes) here. **** Paul Simon once sang that the nearer your destination, the more you keep slip sliding away. While it’s a song about your journey through life and the places you visit, it’s also a sentiment that anyone in a northern, icy, country can understand. As a Canadian, I can confidently say we understand ice. It’s something that defines us in a way that’s hard to explain. The waters of the North are covered in ice much of the year. The ground in many areas is frozen with permafrost. The highways in the winter are either covered in treacherous black ice, or in some areas ice itself acts as the winter road. In the cities we learn to walk stiff legged like a penguin to avoid sliding on the ice. And we’ve even made ice our ally, playing hockey or figure skating to turn ice from foe to friend. Though we Canadians may know ice, we’re not the only ones. The Dutch have a reputation as speed skaters par excellence, having won bronze, silver and gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. In English literature, the familiarity of the Dutch with skating has survived as the tale of Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates. Though the Dutch may not know the snowfalls that can leave you trapped in your house for days, or the blizzards that can leave you unable to see more than a couple of feet in front of you, they do understand ice and maybe in a way the rest of us never will. Historically, for the Dutch skating has not been a sport or a playtime activity, but a practical way of getting around. Much of the Netherlands is located below sea level and large chunks of the country have even been reclaimed from the seas. This is a country with a lot of experience dealing with water. Not surprisingly, it’s also a land crisscrossed by canals because they’re necessary for drainage, and stopping the sea from taking back the land stolen away from it. Zip vs. slip Come winter, and especially the cold winters that the Netherlands frequently experienced in the 1500 and 1600s, these canals freeze. With that many canals, that’s a lot of ice. And since there are relatively few bridges spanning the rivers and canals, knowing how to skate gave you a really fast way to get around. You could get anywhere you wanted, and could get away from anywhere you didn’t want to be. Starting in the 1560s, the Dutch began to battle their colonial overlords, the Spanish.  With on-again, off-again battles raging over the years, the troubles came to a head near Amsterdam in 1572. The small Dutch fleet, highly maneuverable against the much larger Spanish vessels, was frozen into the ice in the port of Amsterdam. Though the Dutch fleet was immobile, the cold weather had brought the Spanish similar problems and they were unable to attack the Dutch city with their fleet. Forced to disembark, the Spanish started to cross the ice to the city on foot, and this was their fatal mistake. Walking gingerly in the penguin walk that natives of northern climates know well, the Spanish made slow progress towards the city. Yet as the Spanish struggled, coming at them with unbelievable speed were the Dutch soldiers. They would swiftly skate just within musket range, fire, and then skate away to reload. The speedy attack and retreat gave the Dutch incredible striking power and left nothing for the Spanish to fire at in return. The Spanish commander, the infamous Duke of Alva, was grudging in his respect for the Dutch. He ordered a swift retreat back to the Spanish boats (or as swift a retreat as the ice would allow), having suffered hundreds of deaths at the hands of the Dutch. The Duke did manage to kill a few Dutch soldiers and capture their skates. Acknowledging the innovative tactics of his enemies, he sent skates back to Spain and ordered that 7,000 pairs be made. From then on, soldiers posted to the Dutch frontier were all given skating lessons. It gave the Spanish increased mobility, but learning to skate and to skate well is not the work of a few lessons but of years of practice. The Dutch, as it were, could still skate circles around their foe. The ice-ing on the cake? While ice played a factor in the Dutch eventually winning their independence from the Spanish after 80 years of war, there were other factors, too. They formed alliances with other powers, and the women learned to shoot and guard the city walls while the men attacked the Spanish. But throughout that long war, strategic flooding of the lowlands, and its wintertime counterpart of skating played a role that the Spanish never could overcome. Though there were a lot of reasons that the Dutch beat the Spanish, it certainly helped that the Spanish learned a bit of what Paul Simon would later sing about: The nearer your destination, the more you keep slip sliding away. This article is taken from an episode of James Dykstra’s History.icu podcast, where history is never boring. Check out more episodes there or on Spotify, Google podcasts, or wherever you find your podcasts. For further reading… 80 Years War (Wikipedia) How Ice Skates Helped Win the War Ice Skates for Military Use The Dutch Army on Skates Unusual battle in the 80 Years Wars (Board Game Geek) The First Ice Skates Weren’t for Jumps and Twirls – They Were for Getting Around (Smithsonian Magazine) ...

Church history

Jenny Geddes: the Reformer who let fly…

You can download or listen to the podcast version (5 minutes) here. **** Our story is about what should have been a small thing. It wasn’t such an unusual thing. You hear about it from time to time. Someone got upset and threw their stool. Someone got excited, got a little rowdy, and that was the end of it, right? Not quite. The stool thrower was a certain Jenny Geddes, She wasn’t a notable woman, merely running a fruit stall just outside the Tron Kirk, the main church in Edinburgh. Her stall was the 1600s equivalent of a hot dog stand. She wasn’t the sort of person that you would expect to appear in the history books. She was average. Not unusual. Much like you or me. But maybe that goes to show you that if the cause is important enough, the small can rise to do big things. In 1635, Charles I, king of England and Scotland, had declared himself to be the head of the Scottish church. Not all the Scots were terribly happy about this. In the spirit of the Reformation, the Scottish church had gone a good ways toward removing Catholic influences and developing its own, distinctive, Protestant style of worshipping. There was quite a bit of fear that Charles would change all that. Charles wanted the Scottish church to be more like the English one, uniting religion in his kingdom. Catholic subterfuge? Charles and the unpopular English Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, appointed a committee of, admittedly, Scottish bishops to develop a prayer book for use in the Scottish church. The Scots saw this prayer book as a way to make the Scottish church Catholic again by subterfuge. A lot of the more conservative Scots, the more Puritan leaning members of the church, were not impressed. So when it came time to debut the new Book of Common Prayer in an actual worship service, tensions were running high. Sunday, July 23, 1637 saw Deacon John Hanna nervously ascend the pulpit at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. Sitting in the back of the cathedral was Jenny Geddes. Interestingly, the women were required to sit at the back, and bring their own stools to sit on which undoubtedly has a fascinating story behind it. For our purposes, it’s enough to realize that any stool light enough to be brought from home is also light enough to be thrown across the room. At some point Geddes had had enough. She rose and colorfully accused Hanna of being a Catholic priest in disguise. She yelled “Devil cause you severe pain and flatulent distension of your abdomen, false thief: dare you say the Mass in my ear?” and then flung her stool across the room and at Hanna’s head. Cursing flatulence on someone and flinging your stool seems to have been the trigger for chaos. A riot started in the church – possibly involving more flying stools – with the service ending up more like a barroom brawl than a place of worship.  One worshipper who dutifully used the appropriate responses from the new Prayer Book was soundly thumped with Bibles. The riot spread out onto the street, even the city council chambers were besieged, and in time the authorities were called in to break up the chaos. The ruling authorities in Edinburgh appealed to the capital in London to withdraw the new Book of Common Prayer, but the government of Charles I refused. The Scots responded by signing a National Covenant in February 1638, to make the Scottish church more Presbyterian and less Anglican, and later that same year tossed out the Scottish bishops who had written the new Prayer Book. King Charles treated this as rebellion, and in 1639 launched the First Bishops War, the first in a series of wars with the Scots known as the Wars of the Covenant. These wars would tax his treasury, and, ultimately, lead to the confrontations with Parliament which would eventually cost him his head. Conclusion All this came about because one woman threw a stool. The funny part is that historians aren’t even sure if Jenny Geddes was a real person, or just a wonderful element to throw into a pretty crazy story about religious and political reform. Whatever the case, the riot was real, and it goes a long way towards showing that at the right moment, real, average, even boring, people can make a spectacular difference. Sometimes it’s not where you take your stand that matters, but where you take your seat. This article is taken from an episode of James Dykstra’s History.icu podcast, where history is never boring. You can check out other episodes at History.icu or on Spotify, Google podcasts, or wherever you find your podcasts. For some further digging… Wikipedia on "Jenny Geddes" Undiscovered Scotland on "Jenny Geddes" Reformation History on "Jenny Geddes" Scot Clans on "Jenny Geddes" InAmidst.com on "Lo and Behold"...