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Where Did You Hear That?
The Art of Manipulation

All. Of. Them. Some reading this will say “amen,” while others will wince. Examine your response. But the recognition that all black lives are sacred should resolve the politicized controversy for Christians over the use of the phrase “black lives matter” vs. the organization BLM dot com without need for further politicization. Of course, while I don’t want to generalize, I would be surprised if a Progressive Christian or two wouldn’t feel tension with that statement. Progressive Christians usually build their theology from their politics (that is the point of identity politics) rather than vice versa (it should be admitted that many conservative Christians tend to do so as well). And there is substantial political investment in the BLM narrative. Any who wince or become triggered at this are exhibiting “Progressive fragility.” If Progressives agree they’re fragile, that is the first step to recovery. If they disagree here, then they’ve just proved their fragility; and proven my theory.

The mere suggestion that being a “fragile Progressive” has meaning often triggers a range of defensive responses. These include emotions such as anger, fear, guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and withdrawal from the stress-inducing situation. These responses work to reinstate Progressive equilibrium as they repel the challenge, return to Progressive comfort, and maintain dominance within the Progressive hierarchy. I conceptualize this process as Progressive fragility. Though Progressive fragility is triggered by discomfort and anxiety, it is born of superiority and entitlement.

If you are unaware, this is how the darling of the Progressive Left, Robin DiAngelo, argues in White Fragility, her #1 selling book in America right now. The paragraph above is, in fact, taken from her book; but I substituted the word Progressive for white or racial. Ironically, as a white, privileged person herself—who would make the average capitalist salivate in envy at her accumulation of wealth for her speaking and writing—her book is actually refuse. In it she “argues” that either you’re a white fragile racist or you’re a white fragile racist. Nota Bene (note well): She’s white… and just more woke1But stay woke and woke became part of a wider discussion in 2014, immediately following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The word woke became entwined with the Black Lives Matter movement; instead of just being a word that signaled awareness of injustice or racial tension, it became a word of action. Activists were woke and called on others to stay woke.” Stay Woke; https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/woke-meaning-origin… and making big $$$ (maybe she’ll redistribute that inequality she’s creating and perpetuating).

DiAngelo writes:

All white people are invested in and collude with racism

and that

The white collective fundamentally hates blackness for what it reminds us of: that we are capable and guilty of perpetrating immeasurable harm and that our gains come through the subjugation of others.

Here is a brief but important digression: Does she realize that of the 350,000 current Nigerian immigrants in the US, a number of them also built their wealth on the “subjugation of others” by her same logic? Who does she think captured and sold 90+% of Africans in the transatlantic slave trade of which only 388,0002“How Many Slaves Landed in the U.S.?”; Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; https://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/history/how-many-slaves-landed-in-the-us/ came to North America of the 10.7 million who were captured and survived the “dreaded Middle Passage”?3“How Many Slaves Landed in the U.S.?”; Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; https://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/history/how-many-slaves-landed-in-the-us/ You got it. Other Africans who created generational wealth on the backs of slaves. Might this be an explanation as to why today’s immigrants have more formal education than the general American population? Btw, approximately 300,000 US Union troops lost their lives and perpetuated generational poverty for their families who are now accused of “white fragility.” The war they died in freed the slaves. Should the 350,000 Nigerian descendants pay reparations to the descendants of those 300,000 Union soldiers?

The brilliance of her theory is not in her logic, but in her rhetoric. Her theory of white fragility projected on all whites is, of course, unfalsifiable/unprovable. It depends upon ignorance and shame. Uninformed Christians are particularly good prey. Christians are accustomed to accepting the narrative that people sin against other people. That is biblical! However, if they imbibe Critical Race Theory due to a lack of critical thinking and information, they’re toast. It’s impossible, for example, for someone to prove that they are not fragile, just as it is impossible for someone to prove they are not possessed by a demon. As atheist James Lindsay points out, “One could play Mad Libs with racial groups and nouns—’Asian Insecurity,’ ‘Black Hostility,’ etc.—and there would be no way for members of those groups to prove they are not insecure or hostile.”

Some people, even Progressive Christians, are extremely preoccupied with race and, perhaps, there is a Freudian explanation. It is possible to be insensitive, but it is also possible to be overly sensitive,  C.S. Lewis recounted something similar regarding peoples’ view of demons: Some think there is a demon behind every bush, and others that there isn’t a demon behind any bush. For DiAngelo and her Progressive disciples, race is so prominent that even within the black letters and white spaces and margins of the piece you are reading here, there might be suspicion. In fact, there is also more white space than black letters in DiAngelo’s book. Doesn’t that prove racism at the systemic level? Some might think so.

Practical question for anyone/everyone: Are there genuine injustices in our contemporary laws that are systemically racist? I mean genuine injustices in contrast to mere inequalities or disparities like male-to-female incarceration rates, which are off the charts; but these statistical ratios are not valid examples of “sexism” as if unequal incarceration is an injustice. Which genuine injustices would be the first three in your mind that we ought to change? Can you name one to three (e.g. top three are, say, injustice in hiring practices, policing, property issues, etc.)? Let’s make it happen and change what duly needs to be changed. People made in God’s image should be treated well because they have intrinsic dignity, not because they have more or less melanin (Gen 1:26, Matt. 7:12).Ω

Corey Miller, PhD, is the President/CEO of Ratio Christi (2015-Present). While he grew up in Utah as a sixth generation Mormon, he came to Christ in 1988. He has served on pastoral staff at four churches and has taught nearly 100 college courses in philosophy, theology, rhetoric, and comparative religions at various places (Purdue, Indiana University, Multnomah University and Ecola Bible College). From 2009-15 he served on staff with Cru’s Faculty Commons ministry at Purdue. He is an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions at Indiana University-Kokomo. While variously published in journals (International Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophia Christi, Christian Research Journal, etc.), he is also author or co-author of Leaving Mormonism: Why Four Scholars Changed their Minds (2017), Is Faith in God Reasonable? Debates in Philosophy, Science, and Rhetoric (2014), In Search of the Good Life: Through the Eyes of Aristotle, Maimonides, and Aquinas (2019), and Engaging with Mormons: Understanding their World, Sharing Good News (under contract for 2020). Dr. Miller holds masters degrees in philosophy, biblical studies, and in philosophy of religion and ethics. His PhD is in philosophical theology from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He is passionate about defending and proclaiming the truth of the Gospel in winsome and bold ways. Miller lives with his wife Melinda and three children in Indiana.

You can find out more about their works at: Ratio Christi

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Where Did You Hear That?
The Art of Manipulation

End Notes   [ + ]

1. But stay woke and woke became part of a wider discussion in 2014, immediately following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The word woke became entwined with the Black Lives Matter movement; instead of just being a word that signaled awareness of injustice or racial tension, it became a word of action. Activists were woke and called on others to stay woke.” Stay Woke; https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/woke-meaning-origin
2. “How Many Slaves Landed in the U.S.?”; Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; https://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/history/how-many-slaves-landed-in-the-us/
3. “How Many Slaves Landed in the U.S.?”; Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; https://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/history/how-many-slaves-landed-in-the-us/