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Robin Diangelo’s book, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism (Boston: Beacon Press, 2018), became a bestseller and in short order put her on the high-rent corporate training circuit. 

The book first hit the market to tepid response, then racial matters exploded in the U.S. following George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, May 25, 2020. Soon thereafter, Diangelo and her catchy phrase “white fragility” were all the rage.

Diagnelo is smart, no question, and she writes from extensive experience talking to seminars about race and racism, so she offers many illustrations and she’s learned how to respond based upon her ideological filter to virtually every reaction or comment about race and racism.

Diangelo says identity politics is how the nation works and that “implicit bias is always at play because all humans have bias.” The book, she says in the introduction, “is unapologetically rooted in identity politics.”  She leaves no room for growth or change, just you-are-who-you-are. Everything for Diangelo boils down to a person’s race.

She claims whites are ongoing victims of white fragility because they are schooled into racism from birth, they are defensive (silent), uninformed and ignorant (argumentation, certitude, other forms of pushback – her words, not mine, e.g., “If you are white, your opinions on racism are most likely ignorant.”

We are in the United States, according to Diangelo, trapped in social forces that prevent us from attaining racial knowledge—our individualism, meritocracy, depictions of whiteness as the ideal, jokes, truncated history, white solidarity, and more – even "objectivity," which she says argues it is possible to be free of bias, something she rejects. Again, you-are-who-you-are and there’s no out.

Diangelo argues the US economy was based on abduction and enslavement of Africans, displacement and genocide of indigenous people, and annexation of Mexico. Americans are ipso facto “colonizers.”

She rejects the idea of a melting pot, saying only European immigrants were allowed to melt. She offers no evidence for this assertion.

Racism as a system for Diangelo is somehow rooted in individualism, capitalism, democracy, consumerism, and meritocracy. –Read this again.  Diangelo is saying American ideals that have produced the freest and most prosperous country in the history of the world, one with racial sins and struggles for sure but one that fought a Civil War to end slavery and eventually established civil rights for all individuals, is somehow at its core, racist. For Diangelo, American ideals are the precursors of systemic racism.

Since people of color do not hold power—Diangelo’s broad brush—they basically cannot be racist, only whites are racist.  

Whites, she says, may be against racism but still benefit from it; this is “White privilege.” In turn, “Whiteness,” a spin-off of white privilege, is rooted in self-worth, positive expectations, psychological freedom, freedom of movement, belonging, sense of entitlement. White privilege leads to whiteness which leads to “White supremacy” and finally “White solidarity.”

Diangelo specifically rejects Martin Luther King, Jr’s “colorblind” approach to civil rights and says any white that uses this is hiding racism. No one in her view can be colorblind in a “racist society.”

Any idealization of the past is nostalgia for white privilege. White privilege is a form of bullying, even if unintentional or unaware.

In the name of “anti-racism” backed by pithy phrases, Diangelo has and is making a lot of money in corporate training, but she is ironically propagating a new form of racism. For her, everything is about conflict, oppressor and victim, and race along with gender are key victim groups. 

Diangelo says all knowledge is socially constructed. Nothing is objective, so she conveniently omits any reference to or potential for God and religion and absolute truths. She does not believe any white can really ever change, so there is not room for grace or forgiveness or change. She does not allow for Whites or Blacks or others to experience spiritual transformation. In the end, she doesn’t offer much hope for constructive change, not even for her own life. Ultimately, she just strives to act with “less white identity.”

Diangelo’s analysis and prescriptions yield to reductionism, all things are determined by race, her views are rooted in Marxist critical theory, thus her assumptions and worldview clash with a Christian worldview. She provides no space for considering human beings made in the image of God, capable of and indeed inevitably given to sin (there is nothing in the book about sin or evil), but able to respond in faith to experience redemption and restoration. None of this is found in White Fragility. 

Diangelo dehumanizes whites and blacks, considering people simple products of their environment and racial biology. Strangely, and inconsistently, she argues favorably for LGBTQ+, suggesting biology does not reign supreme over social constructs, yet when it comes to race, she is a determinist, either/or, no alteration possible.

In the end, while Diangelo’s book points to some genuine race problems in American society, ones about which Americans should hold honest and open conversations, her prescription for well-being offers no real transformative power, just try to do and be better.  

So, her book will likely do more harm than good, especially for those who a) want to disrupt American society for their own partisan political ends, b) those who use it as a springboard for seeing racism in everything that happens, c) those who reject American ideals, for ideological reasons, in favor of promoting radicalism, and d) those who want to virtue signal their new woke bona fides.

I do not endorse or recommend this book.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

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“Sophisticated ignorance” is a phrase I use to describe how highly educated intellectuals can be “ever learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

The American Medical Association recommending sex be removed from birth certificates is an example.

This is another major American professional health organization that has succumbed to the demanding moral superiority of gender ideology. This is about politics, not about medicine or health or science or patient well-being.

The AMA is afraid of being singled out, bullied online, or canceled, so it goes with the cultural flow rather than the hard evidence of biology, this at the risk of the human beings medical professionals are supposed to represent.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

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For many years, social research has repeatedly revealed that the influence of God, the Church, biblical theology and Christian values upon culture and everyday life are precipitously declining. i.e., limited impact.

At least two generations have now come of age with an invented conception of God as a nice old guy not involved in our lives, an assumption right/wrong is what we decide it is, and a humanistic belief our feelings, self-actualization, and happiness are what's most important in life.

The practical impact of this is that when something bad happens, and if one lives long enough, it always eventually does (even just stress or discouragement or disappointment, let alone catastrophic illness or tragedy or loss), a huge percentage of Americans have nothing to fall back on. No backstop, no unwavering foundation, no belief in Providence, no solace, and for the most seriously affected, no hope. They face their trials and fears alone. 

So how do they handle problems and pain? Many don't. They drown in some form of dysfunction, some turning to alcohol, drugs, etc., bringing short-term relief and longterm enslavement. This affects them and everyone around them. It affects culture.

So, caring about the influence of God and a Christian worldview upon culture is not just a churchy thing, nor just a culture war issue, but a recognition that Christian beliefs and values directly affect our capacity to weather the perfect storms of life. These beliefs and values tell us of an omniscient and omnipotent God who is there and not surprised, who cares, who never leaves us or forsakes us, even in the valley of the shadow of death. 

Trusting in God and his definition of reality grants us the prospect of freedom from fear and despair. Think of this the next time you read of a celebrity, or family or friend, hitting a wall and falling apart. Think of this the next time you hit the wall, which is real, but so is God.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

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How many of us want to be judged by things we said 20+ years ago, or during our teens or even college years? Some of those things may have been disgusting or reprehensible, unwise or immoral. I’m not suggesting otherwise. 

I’m just wondering where, if at all, forgiveness or grace or allowance for growth, change, and maturity fits in our current woke cancel culture. 

The Olympics Opening Ceremony director was just fired days before showtime for egregious performance jokes he made in 1998. Newly famous college athletes get hammered for offensive texts they posted as 14-year-olds. Actresses get blasted for having participated in a coming-of-age tradition that allowed racist practices 75 years ago, a good 60 years before the actress was involved and more that 10 years since the event publicly apologized and renounced its past. Comedians apologize for jokes they made years earlier in their careers when such jokes were considered edgy but acceptable.

I’m not talking about capital crimes. What is the statute of limitations on what someone later considers offensive speech or boorish behavior?

During his first presidential campaign, George W. Bush was pressured for the DUI he’d gotten as a young man. He said, “When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible.” Smart move. Who hasn’t been irresponsible, particularly when we were young?

During his first presidential campaign, Barack Obama was accused of and admitted to smoking then-illegal marijuana in high school. He called this poor decision “youthful indiscretions.” Smart move. Who doesn’t have a few of these?

Our current culture’s social media-empowered drive for purity is highly arbitrary and wholly without mercy, which is to say it has nothing in common with “religion that is pure and undefiled.”

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

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Transgenderism has taken American culture by storm and is almost at a point of no turning back. 

Long before Bruce “Call me Caitlyn” Jenner became the poster person for transgender lifestyle, the movement was pushing forward in education, entertainment, media, and of all things, sports. 

Indeed, author Abigail Shrier, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters (2020) notes that “Today transgenderism marches under the banner of civil rights, the promise to breach the next cultural frontier, to shatter one more basis of human division.” And “Virtually everything that transgender activists hope to achieve in the broader culture has already been achieved on the college campus…The universities revile privilege and facilitate emancipation from it, too.”

I have not written about LGB concerns since 2010. At the time, I remember saying to my wife that, this is it, I don’t want to delve into this topic and I’ve said what I believe and think I need to say. Fast forward to 2021, and now it’s LGBTQ++ with transgenderism riding a cultural movement demanding acceptance in the form of You must change your moral views or be silenced, You must change your educational institution or corporate policies or be bullied as “anti-trans,” and the Church and Christian faith, as well as freedom of speech and religion, cannot be cited as reasons one may oppose transgender morality.

So I felt compelled to write again.  This piece, “Transgenderism’s Cultural Juggerrnaut,” discusses transgenderism as a condition and as a movement. It’s not about sex. It’s about identity that rejects Christian doctrines, and it’s about power.

Christians need to know how to respond, to speak the truth in love, for only truth sets people free.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

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“When did sexual orientation become a fixed truth but sexual difference merely a psychological choice, changeable at the beckon of the surgeon’s knife?”

It’s a good question, logical, objective, rational, common sense, and therefore in what passes for public discourse today, rejected as ipso facto discriminatory and hateful.

Meanwhile, American culture is caught up in battles over what constitutes an appropriate “inclusive” or “non-offensive” gender identity vocabulary.

This list evolves almost daily, but if you don’t keep up and misuse a term, you could find yourself in trouble at your job or bullied online.

One LGBTQ website states

     “Never refer to a person as “it” or “he-she”. These are offensive slurs used against trans and gender non-conforming individuals.”

     “You can’t always know what someone’s pronouns are by looking at them. Asking and correctly using someone’s pronouns is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their gender identity. 

     When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or dysphoric (often all of the above).

     It is a privilege to not have to worry about which pronoun someone is going to use for you based on how they perceive your gender. If you have this privilege, yet fail to respect someone else’s gender identity, it is not only disrespectful and hurtful, but also oppressive.”

Examples of gender identity vocabulary include, they/them/theirs instead of he or she, ze/hir/hir/hirself or zie or xe or zir/zirself, transgender kids, endless genders, homosuperiority, gender assigned at birth, Birthing person, chest-feeding, nursing fathers, gender-expansive youth, gender-confirmation surgery rather than sex change surgery, person with a cervix, people with a penis, male-appearing genitalia, people who menstruate, transphobe, anti-trans, cisheteropatriarchy, anti-indigeneity, just to name a few.

So, it is offensive to refer to someone in a manner that reflects biological reality. 

In New York City people can be fined up to quarter million dollars for “misgendering” someone by using pronouns other than the ones they prefer. In Oct 2017, the Governor of California signed law that would send healthcare workers to jail for failing to use a person’s chosen pronouns.

Gender identity activists know that to win the battle for vocabulary is to win the war. If they can claim “inclusiveness,” victimhood, discrimination, or some other perceived oppression, they can leverage their views to accomplish their goals. 

“The Left wins because it seizes language...I have noticed, news anchors now talk about ‘gender assigned at birth,’ as if that’s something different from one’s biological sex. There may be 57 genders, but there are only two biological sexes. 

Don’t surrender the language. Reclaim the language. It’s the first step to recovering our civilization.”

“The war on pronouns, an assault upon the language by which we recognize a world in common, follows of necessity. What we are dealing with is nothing less than a war on reality itself. And everyone has just been pressed into service.”

If media, politicians, celebrities, academia, and corporations buy-in, and begin using the words gender identity activists invent, the battle is more than half-over. Indeed, it may already be lost. 

The persons who define the words determine the outcome of the debate.

Consider for example, the fact that states reviewing or that have enacted laws preserving fair competition and protecting girls and women in sports are now regularly called “anti-trans” in media reports. Not “pro-girls” or “pro-women” but “anti-trans.” Similar battles are occurring on university campuses and in public education at all levels where school personnel are being forced to use the pronouns selected by students who self-proclaim as any number of sexual identities.

     “In actuality, it is disrespectful to both you and the transgender person to use the anti-science pronoun. It demeans your knowledge of reality and perpetuates lies harmful to you and the transgender person, as well as to the rest of society…

     One should not have to abandon one’s morals and sanity to appease gender activists, those who have been brainwashed by such ideology, and those struggling with gender dysphoria. Being manipulated into telling what you know to be a lie is not good for anyone…

     It is harmful to perpetuate false gender theories. The person using a false pronoun violates the truth and obfuscates our culture’s understanding of biology. Since truth and goodness are intertwined, bowing to transgender ideology threatens both…

     Manipulating words erodes our language and therefore thinking. Graham Hillard, an English professor at Trevecca Nazarene University, made this argument in National Review a few years ago. ‘What is at stake, however, is the irreplaceable right to say of one thing, ‘true,’ and of another, ‘false’ — to define the basic realities from which our politics proceed,’ Hillard wrote. ‘A man is a man. A woman is a woman. Let us not pretend otherwise.’”

Capitulating on common sense, rational, science-based vocabulary only yields confusion, chaos, anxiety, and personal and social emptiness. 

Inclusive pronouns” do not show God’s love; they betray the God of Truth and Love.

Christians must always love their neighbors as themselves. We must always speak the truth only in love, but we must speak the truth. 

To use gender identity vocabulary may seem like a conciliatory act, a matter of respect for the other individual, but this is a false positive. Actually, we are only perpetuating lies and division, the very tools Satan wants us to use to destroy our witness.

There are innumerable ways to demonstrate love and compassion. Lying is not one of them.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

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