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Glossary of New Terms

Posted by Matt Postiff October 7, 2020 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Society 

Following are some definitions of terms that I have been hearing a lot lately. I thought I should do some research to learn more about them so as to be able to describe them better in conversation and preaching. These definitions are somewhat objective, but my values do peek through. For that, I am not apologetic!

Anti-racism on the surface seems to be as one definition suggests, "the policy or practice of opposing racism and promoting racial tolerance" [Oxford Languages via Google]. However, policy or belief is not enough. If you are not actively involved in dismantling racist systems, then you are not anti-racist, according to the modern adaptation of the definition. "Anti-racism is the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably." This definition makes a sudden shift from race to power. Notice that they say that systems and policies and attitudes are changed—not to remove racism but with the goal to redistribute power. In this view, racism and power are integrally tied together. Practically, this means reducing the power of the white majority race and increasing the power of minority races.

Cancel culture is defined as "the practice of withdrawing support for (or canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive". It is normally associated with a company or individual being swamped by critical social media posts on Twitter and Facebook. A targeted person of this technique may end up losing their job as a punishment or offering of atonement for whatever objectionable sin was done. It is a technique used to enforce political correctness and to ridicule unpopular opinions.

Communism is a political philosophy which promotes class war as a means to remove private ownership and capitalist economics. In addition, communism is directly opposed to religious freedom, Christianity, and freedom of thought in general. See socialism.

Critical Race Theory According to a paper by Nicholas Hartlep, Critical Race Theory: An Examination of its Past, Present, and Future Implications, "There are five major components or tenets of CRT: (1) the notion that racism is ordinary and not aberrational; (2) the idea of an interest convergence; (3) the social construction of race; (4) the idea of storytelling and counter-storytelling; and (5) the notion that whites have actually been recipients of civil rights legislation." Interest convergence is the idea that where the interests of whites are improved by working on racial progress, they will participate. Beyond that, they will not, since their interests and the interests of the minorities diverge after that point. The above definition misses a key component of CRT, however, because CRT emphasizes the concepts of race, law, and power. Whites, it is supposed, have constructed law in such a way as to maintain their power. Structures of society are responsible for causing race problems (not individuals); therefore structures must be changed.

The Cultural revolution was, historically, the movement under Mao Zedong to expand Communism by removing capitalist and traditional elements from society. In this philosophy, rebellion was justified. Many Chinese people died. There is a modern movement afoot in the west to accomplish a very similar outcome. It advertises as "progressive" and is socialist and communist in ideology.

Identity Politics was the idea that groups that share certain characteristics like race, religion, social class, etc. gather into alliances to protect their interests. However, the phrase is presently used to denote an approach to politics, particularly by the Democratic Party, that emphasizes constituent groups based on certain characteristics, usually race or social status (black, poor, Hispanic, oppressed, LGBTQ, transgender, illegal aliens, etc.). The grievances of each group are the central focus of political activity. This is contrasted to an approach that wishes to see the constituency as one large group (citizens, American, the melting pot idea, etc.)

Intersectionality An explanation of how various social categorizations overlap or combine to create advantage or disadvantage. For example, it is supposed that generally, a white person has privilege over other categories. A white male has an even higher privilege level because of the intersection of the two traits. A black LGBTQ female is very disadvantaged because of the intersection of three social categories that are each disadvantaged. The idea of proponents is to eliminate advantage and elevate the disadvantaged. It seems that no distinction is made between immutable characteristics (white, black, male, female) and mutable characteristics (LGBTQ, illegal alien).

Micro-aggression is "a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority" [Oxford Languages via Google]. The word "aggression" is important to note, as such behavior is seen by some proponents as being a form of violence. It sometimes is meant in an aggressive way, and other situations it is not at all aggressive. In the case of an unintentional or even completely innocent statement, there seems to be an oversensitivity and refusal to overlook what might otherwise be a harmless statement. Perhaps the statement is not entirely harmless, but it arises from baked-in cultural factors that are hard to eliminate. That is looking at the "receiving" side. On the "giver's" side, micro-aggression is a term to explain insensitive and unloving statements/actions/etc. Christians on both the receiving and giving sides are taught by God to lovingly address such matters ("let love cover a multitude of sins," or "if you brother offends you, go to him,"), come to a better understanding, offer apology, grant forgiveness, and move ahead.

Neo-marxism An extension of "regular old Marxism" with new philosophies such as critical theory. A philosophy of governance and culture that uses social justice, racism, and other issues defined in this glossary as levers to gain power.

Oppressor vs. oppressed The philosophies described in this glossary are obsessed with the notion that society is made up of oppressors and the oppressed. For justice to prevail, the oppressed must throw off the oppressor (or, the oppressor must voluntarily step down). This is often advocated by any means that are available, including actual physical violence and thievery. This is connected to the cultural revolution as a way to right the oppressed categories, but will inevitably put another group into the oppressed category.

Socialism is a political and economic structure where the means of production and distribution are owned and regulated by the community, not privately. Socialism is typically one step away from full-fledged communism.

Social Justice A type of justice that is concerned not with crime or moral right and wrong, but rather with the distribution of wealth, privilege, opportunities, power, and the like.

SJW = Social Justice Warrior A person who actively promotes social justice (progressive) views.

Woke Adjective describing someone who is alert to injustice in society, especially racism [Oxford Languages via Google]. Someone who is naive to such issues would not be "woke." Someone who knows about such issues but does not actively campaign for the progressive agenda is also considered to be un-woke.

1619 Project "The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative."

One comment: the rapid change of language by addition of new phrases indicates that rapid cultural change is happening. The language is adapting to express new ways of thinking. Media and academic institutions, especial high schools and colleges, are at the forefront of this effort to change the culture.

Update: Answers in Genesis just wrote a helpful article on Critical Race Theory, which also comes some of the other terms defined above.

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