A longtime African American neighborhood empowerment leader slammed critical race theory during an evangelical seminary webinar over the weekend, arguing that the United States has a “grace problem” instead of a “race problem.”
Bob Woodson, the director of the Woodson Center and founder of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, participated in the Southern Evangelical Seminary's online event Saturday, "Awaken: Thinking Well About Wokism, Social Justice, & Racial Reconciliation."
The civil rights veteran, who once worked on community development programs for local and national organizations, including the NAACP, was asked, “Is America systemically racist?”
Woodson shared his belief that critical race theory, a theoretical framework on systemic racism in America being pushed by some in academia and the political left, "should be replaced by critical grace theory."
“America does not have a race problem, but it has a grace problem," Woodson said.
Woodson attributed the problems ailing African Americans in contemporary American society to the expansion of the social safety net instead of systemic racism.
Woodson explained that “when whites were at their worst, blacks were at their best.” He discussed the role of the black church in helping to improve the lives of African Americans in the century following the abolition of slavery.
Upon discovering that the black community had a 75% illiteracy rate, Woodson said many black churches opened Sabbath Schools.
“Within 40 years, that level of illiteracy went down from 75% to 30%,” he recalled.
Robert Woodson talks about race in America during a video for Hillsdale College in October 2020. | YouTube/Hillsdale College
Woodson detailed how “Christian values” and “Christian principles” enabled the African American community to experience relative peace and prosperity despite the adversity they faced due to the Great Depression and racism.
“We had the highest marriage rate of any other group in society during [the] depression because of our faith and because of … our attitude of self-determination," he explained. "Elderly people could walk safely in those communities without fear of being assaulted by their grandchildren.”