While plenty of Catholics will agree that racism is a moral evil, many white Catholics view it as a problem that existed mostly in the past. So, when non-white Catholics talk about the problems of racial injustice, the history of racism, and how the church has been complicit, some white Catholics get uncomfortable. They experience this kind of conversation as divisive.
Now there’s a new phrase we’re hearing often, in discussions of race: critical race theory, or CRT, which looks at the way racism is woven into our nation’s social institutions and systems.
Critics of CRT assert that it is divisive anti-American discourse, that it villainizes white people and indoctrinates young minds. And Catholic critics of CRT say that it is incompatible with church teaching.
In today’s episode of Field Hospital, Mike and Jeannie talk to professor Sam Rocha about critical race theory, what it really is, and whether it’s compatible with the Catholic faith.
Sam is an associate professor in the department of educational studies at the University of British Columbia, host of the podcast Folk Phenomenology, and writer in Catholic media such as America, Commonweal, Our Sunday Visitor, and Church Life Journal.
You can learn more about critical race theory, read Sam’s writings, and access other resources relevant to this topic through these links:
- “What Barron Gets about CRT” by Sam Rocha
- “What critical race theory is—and is not” by Brian Fraga
- “Critical Race Theory” by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic
- “A Lesson on Critical Race Theory” by Janel George
- “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr.
- Sam Rocha’s Substack
This episode of Field Hospital is supported by Catholic Theological Union.