White Evangelicals and Critical Race Theory

(Photo Credit: Matthew Teutsch)

On August 18, 1963, 10 days before Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, an article entitled “Our Laws Must Be Upheld” appeared in The Shreveport Times. The author derided the “Negro rights” revolution, writing that there has been “increasing public revulsion against the avalanche of propaganda that it is all right for Negroes and their white supporters to break laws in bloody street demonstrations because the so-called ‘rights’ they seek are something they are ‘supposed’ to have.” Part of this “avalanche of propaganda,” according to…

Today, I’m going to finish talking about Zao by looking at their song “Xenophobe,” but before I do that, I want to take a moment and detail what I’ve learned over the course of working on these posts. I’ve started delving more into the topic, finding songs and bands that I totally missed during the late 1990s and early 2000s. I’m also starting to think about the confluence of the rise of “Christian” heavy music during that period, specifically with Tooth and Nail and evangelical conservatism. As Jeff Bettger, the lead singer of Ninety Pound Wuss (one of my favorite…

Like all of the bands I’ve written about in this series, Zao came out of the “Christian” music scene of the 1990s and 2000s, a scene spearheaded in many ways by Tooth and Nail Records and Solidstate (the harder branch of Tooth and Nail). However, the bands I’ve discussed have dropped that “Christian” label, pointing out the problematic nature with such a label, specifically when everyone in the band does not hold Christian beliefs. As I stated previously, this is a longer discussion for another post (or series of posts). If interested, though, I’d suggest reading Mark Salomon’s Simplicity, Andrew…

Over the last couple of posts, I’ve written about politics and social commentary in “Christian” bands and songs, specifically metal, punk, and ska. I chose not to write about hip hop because that is another discussion altogether, one that I have written about before when discussing songs by Lecrae, Sho Baraka, and Propaganda. In his new book, He Saw That It Was Good, Sho Baraka writes about the ways that individuals view Jesus, and he comes to this point, even when discussing music such as CCM: “My assessment is that Black Christian expression, especially in its art, has never departed…

Last post, I began writing about “Christian” bands who address political and social issues in their music. They go against, in many ways, the Contemporary Christian Music which wants squeaky clean songs that don’t challenge the status-quo. Squad Five-O’s “Our State Flag” and Five Iron Frenzy’s “Zen and the Art of Xenophobia” challenge the church’s positions. Today, I want to continue this discussion by looking at two songs from Stavesacre’s How to Live With A Curse (2006), songs that over the course of the past few years, have really resonated with me during our current political moment.

Stavesacre “We Say”…

Over the past few months, I’ve been noticing a trend in a lot of the older bands and songs that I really cut my teeth on during college during the late 1990s and early 2000s. During that period, I was really into the “Christian” punk, ska, hardcore music scene that initially revolved around Tooth and Nail. I purposefully put “Christian” in quotation marks because as the years have passed, I really do not like that label in this context, or really any context related to art or media. What started standing out to me, as songs popped up on my…

One of my favorite quotes comes from Mark Twain. Talking about what travel does to one’s worldview, he wrote in Innocents Abroad, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” While I agree with Twain’s quote on the surface level, I want to take a moment and push back regarding his assertions.

I do think that travel broadens one’s perspective and it aids in breaking down…

Today, we celebrate Memorial Day in the United States, a day where we remember those who died serving their country. In May 1865, less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered, ending the Civil War, recently freed African Americans celebrated Decoration Day. On May 1, 1865, 10,000 people, largely formerly enslaved individuals, gathered and marched around the Charleston racetrack, commemorating the 260 Union soldiers who died when the Confederacy transformed the racetrack into a prison during the war. They marched to remember those who died so that they could be free.

As we celebrate Memorial Day, I want to expand…

“Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, I Have a Dream.” This is the nine-word problem that informs much of our understanding of the Civil Rights Movement. It begins with Rosa Parks in Montgomery in 1955, carries through King during the bus boycotts and into 1963 where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream Speech” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The dangerous nature of this problem, as Nate Powell points out in Save It For Later, is that it draws a neat circle around the movement and neat line forward…

Nate Powell’s Save It For Later is a book for this moment. As a parent, as a white male Southerner, Powell’s book speaks to me in the same ways that Lillian Smith’s words speak to me across the decades. Both Powell and Smith know the intertangled webs that maintain systems of racism and oppression. Both Powell and Smith recognize their positions within those webs, and they interrogate themselves as they lay bare the poisonous roots that we continue to feed, the roots that burst forth from the ground and spread across the earth. Both Powell and Smith know ­­­that children…

Matthew Teutsch

Here, you will find reflections on African American, American, and Southern Literature, American popular culture and politics, and pedagogy.

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