More than once I have heard or read, from woke leaning influences that intention does not matter. In fact, wokeness focuses on “impact” over “intention”.
Di Angelo says, “They were unable to separate intentions from impact.” (p.105, What Fragility)
In the book, “The Coddling of the American Mind”, we read, “If a member of an identity group feels offended or oppressed by the action of another person, then according to the impact-versus-intent paradigm, that other person is guilty of an act of bigotry.” (p.44, The Coddling of the American Mind)
Note that this paradigm redefines right and wrong by society and feelings; no longer according to Scripture.
In conversations with others, some have said, “Well, if my child said something hurtful to another, it is wrong regardless and needs address.” Yes, wrong should be righted, we should repent as sinners to a holy God and change unhealthy patterns.
However, if we make a blanket statement that “intentions do NOT matter”, where does that leave us? And if we focus on “impact”, we only focus on the outcome but not the matter of heart. I think of Cain and Able where God was most concerned about the heart and intent of their offerings.
We also need to ask, why would anyone want to try to be better if they were told no matter what, they are wrong and will be at fault? How does this motivate us to improve character as individuals, or for us to be a more moral society?
Or, what is the point of a relationship with God if my motives not longer matter?
As Christians, if intentions do not matter, then the way Jesus and the Holy Spirit work in us is no longer necessary. We are told that we love because He first loved us. The Holy Spirit, in our lives, convicts us and guides us in, hopefully, making better intentions and choices. In the Old Testament we hear of the Bible referring to a “hard” heart. God works on molding our hearts to be more like his, but there are some who choose to have hard hearts.
The Bible makes it clear that our intentions do matter. God responds differently to those who have moldable and repentant hearts, than He does to those who have hard hearts. God is always ready to forgive.
“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7) This is God’s response to Samuel who is looking for Israel’s next king.
Do you remember the parable of the son who heartlessly left his father, squandered all his inheritance, but when he came home with a heart change, his father went running to him. This can be likened to us as sinners and a generous God who is waiting for us to come to him with changed intentions and a repentant heart.
If we take on the CRT and woke view of “intentions”, then it essentially leads to a lack of forgiveness and the assumption of wrongs before they are even committed.
It basically assumes that racism is inevitable and the response is to be reactive, rather than proactive. Wokeness assumes racism in specific groups; it assumes the worst. “Racism cannot be absent from your friendship.” (p. 81, White Fragility)
In, “White Fragility”, DiAngelo also says, “It is not possible to teach someone to treat everyone the same.” (p.79, White Fragility) No matter, how hard you try, no matter your intent; it does not matter. The “impact”, the wrong, the pain, is what wokeness focuses on.
If I were not a believer, and did not believe in Christ forgiveness and the fact that He has made me a new creation; I would be living in despair with that mindset. And, I have told you that I did live in hopelessness for a time.
Again, how can wokeness and CRT even be used as an “analytical tool” to view society and understand people? Why are we as Christians attempting to make them acceptable in any way?
Wokeness and CRT do not offer life and hope; they offer despair and hopelessness.
WEAKNESS LEAVES US ON SHAKY GROUND
It is true that in our weakness, God is strong. But if we are weak and not grounded in Christ, we will be standing on very shaky ground.
I have never shared this information before. The reason I developed anxiety, as an adult, is because of a church leader who was meant to speak life into me. Instead, this individual never saw anything as good enough, did not like my lack of emotions, had trouble saying anything positive, and was somewhere in the realm of manipulative or mentally/emotionally abusive. (I do not intend to share names.)
I found myself changing overnight. I went from being confident and seeing my value, to not seeing my worth. There is much I will not take the time to express. However, it was extreme. After being a “Director” in multiple jobs, I found myself not being able to sit in meetings, speak to others or attend church. I would get so sick inside that I did not know if I could make it through many days.
Enter a “woke” leaning environment, with me on shaky ground. This led me to deep depression, added onto anxiety. But, God was gracious. While I had lost all confidence and worth, the Truth I learned growing up stuck with me. I could sense a dichotomy of worldviews but did not have the confidence and boldness to stand strong, or filter truth alone.
Side note, parents raise your children in the Word, church and teach them why God is good and why Jesus is the only way. Also, pray for them constantly. This is what saved me! My parents grounded us in Christian settings, taught us to love the church, even with it’s faults and have been faithful prayer warriors for us over the years.
Why share all this?
I get that “intent” does not matter in the sense that what was done to me was done, whether that person meant to hurt me or not. I have had much to deal with, as a result.
However, if I believed the “impact vs intent paradigm” or “intent does not matter” narrative that is implied in many woke sources, I would never have found my voice, forgiveness and healing in Christ. All this is because my lot in life would already be pre-determined as a racist and white supremacist, due to my skin color and unavoidable socialization, “habitus”. In a sense, I would not have minded these labels, had I been called them to my face, as I was already viewing myself as worthless. But labels like that did not let me heal, obviously, and they stripped hope away because Christ’s death was apparently not enough; my outcome was pre-determined and unavoidable according to wokeness.
Instead, I chose to keep no record of wrongs and move from victim mentality to being a fighter. I would not let this be my end. Oh, it was painful and dark, but what would have been worse would have been staying in “victim” mentality and never healing or finding my confidence in Christ, again. I continued to ask questions and seek answers, though it was slow in coming.
I also chose to not view the entire church as responsible for my new mental health struggle, rather I understand that we are a fallen people doing our best to carry out Christ’s mission. In fact, church brings life and healing to me. But the woke demonization of the evangelical church made it hard for me to tear walls down; because it creates a chasm in our relationship with CHRIST. It changes the Gospel.
I do not condone demeaning others, but what Satan intended to harm me, has made me even stronger. For example, I am sharing more intimate deals with you than I would have ever imagined.
And, I truly do not care what labels are given, because I am more filled with Christ’s love, joy and worth than I have been in years. That cannot be taken from me. I know who my Savior is and who gives life!
But it should be said that I do not speak out of white fragility or stress. I speak out of joy and a change purpose in Christ that offers hope and eternal life.
WOKENESS: FOR WHITE PEOPLE
Note, I only use the terms “black” and “white” in reference to wokeness. I do not support labeling humans by these terms.
For “white” people, wokeness says that whites are responsible for the sins of whites in America because our country was created on slavery and white supremacy. Unfortunately for whites, there is no hope to not be racist or a white supremacist because of “habitus” that is inevitable socialization that preconditions us to function in specific ways. There is no way around it.
” ‘Habitus is the result of socialization, the repetitive practices of actors and their interactions with each other and with the rest of their social environment…Thus, habitus can be thought of as a person’s familiar ways of perceiving, interpreting, and responding to social cues.’ ” (p. 101 Bourdieu quoted by DiAngelo)
The only way to change is to work to be an “antiracist” and toward the ends of systemic change, NOT individual change. When you are not acting in this way and completing the correct works, you resume being a racist.
So here we see the lack of hope and forgiveness that will mentally do damage to white people.
But, white people cannot speak of this or it is referred to as “white fragility” or “white stress”, because whites have not dealt with near the amount of difficulty black persons of color have dealt with.
So even though whites are seen as better than blacks, having white privilege, they now carry the weight being told they are those in the wrong, but can never be fully relieved of their wrongs.
And, if whites are hurting, it is nothing like the decades of black pain, so white people are basically told to, “suck it up”. I have heard that it is not much for blacks to ask that whites experience the same pain they have dealt with for decades.
But did God not say we are to forgive seventy times seven (Matthew 18)?
I remember a white Christian individual committing suicide and many around me being shocked. They would never have expected it from this individual who loved God and seemed fulfilled. I do not know specifics, but I know situations like this will be much more common if whites are told they are will always be wrong and deal with it.
My mind went to the fact that when we focus on equity and emphasize the needs of a small group, much will be overlooked. Again, I do not know that anything could have been done in this case, but how many are we overlooking because we are not equally focused on the whole. Rather, in a Social Justice environment, we are focused on those considered minorities that need equity of outcome to find equal treatment. We are forgetting and overlooking many, I believe. We are redefining who the “sick” are and through human understanding, not the biblical means.
Christ came for the sick, the unsaved. This is a very different message. It leads to equality of treatment not equity in outcomes.
I never reached the point of trying to take my life, but there were many nights I begged for God to do so. And telling the doctor that you are trained in the “Columbia Suicide Assessment” and are fine, with your husband sitting in the room, does not make you seems less of a concern. It just tells the doctor you are smart enough to navigate the conversation, but actually took the time to assess yourself.
I assume many would never have known this about me.
How many are forgotten and overlooked when we focus on equity of outcome rather than equality of treatment?
WOKENESS: FOR BLACK PEOPLE
“People of color…are racialized within a culture of white supremacy – a culture in which they are seen as inferior, if they are seen at all.” (p. 55, White Fragility)
Many will disagree on this following point. If you are black, the only acceptable view is that of the larger narrative; what DiAngelo mentions above. Blacks are taught to see themselves as “inferior”, as victims and the oppressed.
It is true that there are disparities in black communities, but it is not right to label all blacks as “inferior”. DiAngelo does not know the hearts of all men. I do not believe all whites are socialized by “habitus” to view minorities, especially blacks, as inferior. However, if intentions do not matter, then woke voices can technically keep labeling away.
If I, as a white person, am to say that I believe a “black” person is equal to me and has the same value as a creation in Christ, I will be told that I do not understand “socialization” in America. One is also accused of being “color-blind” when trying to treat all equally and not based on their skin color.
I understand the groups and labels by which CRT wants to see individuals “socialized”. I also understand that crushing words have been placed on “blacks” in America, in our past. We are not a perfect nation.
HOWEVER, Christ said we all are made in His image. No one should be taught to live as a victim or inferior. The next natural inclination will only lead to bitterness and anger (riots/vandalism), lack of forgiveness (labeling others, whole groups as the oppressors based on skin color), justify wrongs to make new rights (antiracism discrimination), and focus on change of power (but then that is what CRT/wokeness focus on, distribution of power).
Society is viewing culture and people through power, man made created groups and outcomes. If the church uses wokeness and CRT as, even an analytical tool, the church will begin to view and treat people through this same lens. The focus is turns to man created groups and focus on “race”, which is not a biblical term.
Black people should be viewed as beautifully made, in Christ’s image. They should be treated as equal and taught this about themselves.
Wokeness is creating harmful thinking patterns for blacks by creating an inferior mentality, just as creates differing harmful patters for whites. For both, it creates distortions and harmful thinking patterns.
WOKENESS: FOR OTHERS
Do you wonder why Black Lives Matter and wokeness focus on “blacks” but rarely for other persons of color?
One, it is a moment that society is coming together to speak out for blacks. I understand it is their moment. They are crying out for others to hear their voices and ways they still are being hurt, and blacks should be heard, respectfully. There is much pain and sin to process.
However, you will be considered ignorant and unenlightened, even as a believer, if you focus on individual sin rather than systemic racism. And intentional systemic racism is hard to give examples of today.
In regards to current day, it is a fact that there are economic disparities, differences, in society. However, disparities are different than proving systemic or institutional racism, that laws have currently been created with racist intent. Some may exist but as a whole, it would be rare to find institutions that train and fully function based on racist principles.
For example, not all police are bad. They are human and sinners. Some do not show respect for all people, but the police force and how they train their men are not trained to be racist and act on racist policies. It is possible some departments are full of sinners and are tainted, but as a whole, it would be hard to find institutional racism and prove it as fact. Most people refer to disparities in this conversation.
I do believe that there are ways we can better love our neighbors. “Every Black Life Matters” and “Center for Biblical Unity” are great sources to begin the discussion and sources for looking at means to respond to disparities in black communities.
But back to “others” in the conversation, not just blacks and whites. I was often told that, “It is their time” in reference to blacks. In the lens of wokeness and CRT, the only way to view “whites” is the oppressor and the ones in the wrong, needing to change and make repayment.
I believe many other persons of color are left out of the conversation.
Interestingly, if you look at the “others” BLM supports, it is LGBTQ+. The focus is more so on changing the dynamics of traditional family. It does not consistently really focus on the pain of all minorities.
If we stick to using the “analytical tool” of CRT, like many believers are trying to do, it will place all of us in specific groups and take out the conversation of intentions. Ultimately, we all either land on the side of oppressed or oppressor.
This is critical.
You will be told that CRT does not lack forgiveness and grace. It is not about works, but if you read the sources, there are numerous quotes to support these implications.
Intentions matter. God looks are the heart; the Bible tells us this is true.
If I were to accidentally do something hurtful to a friend, they would much more likely forgive me if they knew my intent. Unless they see through a woke lens.
When a person starts to view an entire group of people as racists, they begin to always assume the worst. When a person starts to view an entire group of people as victims, they begin to always see those individuals as inferior, even if they never thought so before.
Wokeness views much as inevitable and assumes the worst in others. It is retraining our thoughts to view each other as groups, actions and vocabulary assigned by society.
Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, non-believers make this statement, “Teaching people to see more aggression in ambiguous interactions, take more offense, feel more negative emotions, and avoid questioning their initial interpretations strikes us as unwise, to say the least. It is also contrary to the usual goals of good psychotherapy.” (p. 42, The Coddling of the American Mind)
More importantly, we should refer to scripture where we are taught; “keep no record of wrongs”, we are forgiven “as far as the east is from the west”, “love covers a record of wrongs” and many other verses that speak into teaching forgiveness and loving others.
If we operate on Scripture rather than wokeness, we see others with more value and equally. We are taught to love, forgive and see the best in others. The messages are night and day different, if you do the research.
Remember that wokeness is inconsistent and not based on reason; it is ever-changing. It will take time to define definitions and understand viewpoints. Change and processing will not come quickly. Be patient and not easily angered.
We need kindness, patience and forgiveness from all accounts, as we work towards unity in Christ.
Do you assume the worst in others?
Do you assume all whites or white Americans are racist and white supremacists, through Christ never placed this label on whites? Are you causing others to see themselves through this lens? If so, do you realize the damage you are doing to those individuals?
Do you speak of and treat blacks, or other persons of color (POC) as victims or less than? Do you teach this mentality to POC? If so, do you realize the damage it is doing to those individuals that were created by God, himself?
Do you encourage whites to share all their struggles, even the twistedness of wokeness and CRT that will lead to hopeless depression? If not, are you aware that you will now be accountable to God, knowing this will cause mental damage and likely the loss of life, for some?