Christian Watson Criticizes Critical Race Theory

When Christian Watson, spokesperson for Color Us United, came to Trinity University to talk about critical race theory (CRT), it was evident that the event would be controversial. Color Us United is an organization that advocates for a “race-blind America.”  The audience gathered in Chapman Great Hall was composed of Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) members, a table of liberal students, and a handful of other students interested in hearing Watson’s take on CRT. When asked how he decided to come to Trinity, he replied, “It wasn’t hard at all. I was invited, and I came.” 

Watson was raised by a liberal single mother, but as he grew older, he was exposed to alternative perspectives and started attending seminars that sparked his interest. When asked how he became interested in critical race theory, Watson explained that as an African American man, he interacted with CRT in his personal life and tended to have conversations about it, which led to “a deeper intellectual interest.”  Watson says he approaches his viewpoints from the perspective of  “philosophy, reason, and debate.”

Watson’s thesis is that the so-called diversity that is popular in America does not reflect true diversity. Today’s idea of diversity is limited to identity, a superficial way to sum up an individual. Judging someone simply on external criteria, as many institutions are prone to do for diversity action programs, ultimately gives an incomplete picture of a nuanced human being. He explained that diversity is naturally all around us, in our skills, abilities, personal beliefs, and interests. “Everyone has unique abilities and certain gifts which they must identify.” The problem is that society tries to push people away from their natural gifts and make them conform to a stereotype of what they’re supposed to be and how they’re supposed to behave. Watson concluded with a statement echoing the transcendentalists of time gone by: “Knowing yourself is the most important tool that you could possibly have in this life.”  

After he finished his lecture, a question and answer session followed. As mentioned before, a group of liberal students came to question him. They asked him about the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson, to which he replied that Biden nominated her based on race alone, rather than qualification, a perfect subversion of how it should be. When questioned about police brutality against African Americans, Watson countered, “What police brutality?” He said that the idea of systematic racism in the police force was a myth contrived by the leftist media and that the police were inherently good people. Another question came up about intentional inclusivity in the workplace, and he said it was absolutely not a good idea; people should be hired based on abilities rather than identity. This all goes back to the concept of the color-blind system Watson promotes, to ultimately treat everyone equally. 

Christian Watson’s key takeaway is to judge people based on their ideas and what they have to offer, rather than based on external criteria, a lesson that the world desperately needs to hear. His personal experience as an African American in a world distorted by critical race theory drives home the true significance of his message. Watson was an excellent speaker, convicted in his beliefs, which he explained clearly and concisely. Christian Watson delivered a refreshing and thought-provoking critique of critical race theory to the Trinity University students who gathered to hear him and his ideas.

Cover photo taken by Ellis Jacoby.

Inclusion Cannot Be Comfortable

Where was the compassion when I had to comfort my sister during her mental breakdowns because she had nowhere else to turn?

Those trying to be inclusive embrace people of different races, ethnicities, religions, creeds, genders, sexualities, abilities, and ages. However, they usually do not include those with different ideas. In other words, diversity is great, except for diversity of thought (or, for that matter, diversity that includes “privileged groups”). Some have even chosen to sacrifice genuine inclusivity on the altar of political correctness to make others feel comfortable. This is not inclusion. This is exclusion.

Only one side can really claim openness.

Take my transgender sister. Although she used to be a self-identified Bernie Sanders supporter just a few years ago, she recently became a staunch libertarian and has warmed up to President Trump and some of his policies. My question to the LGBTQ+ and PRIDE groups out there: would you welcome my sister with open arms to your support groups and activist meetings? I imagine not, because of two main reasons: the hostility that exists between queer individuals and the broader political right, and the polarized nature of today’s politics. 

I find it upsetting that basic principles of inclusion are ignored for the sake of politics; individual traits and characteristics have become so political that people who have commonalities cannot be associated with one another because of political affiliation. Personally, whenever my sister is suffering from mental health problems, I try to help her out as much as I can. Even though I have gotten many recommendations from others to get her to seek help from the LGBTQ+ community, I ignore them because I know from experience how those will go. The last time I went to a transgender group therapy session with my sister, I got tossed out of the meeting and “re-educated” for saying that I could not wrap my head around the idea of there being an “infinite” number of genders.

Inclusivity comes at a price, which is the sacrifice of the comfort that comes from echo chambers.

To whoever claims to be “inclusive,” “accepting of diversity” and “compassionate,” I ask: where was the inclusivity when I was tossed out of that meeting? Where was the diversity of thought when I was hounded and berated for merely questioning the idea of infinite genders? Where was the compassion when I had to comfort my sister during her mental breakdowns because she had nowhere else to turn?

Now, I will accept that there is some argument to be made that inclusivity’s intent is compassion. Some might argue that my words at that support group were harmful to those present, and therefore I cannot claim the mantle of being “inclusive” and “compassionate.” However, it is those critics themselves who I say cannot be inclusive. Even if it is for the sake of keeping some people ‘in,’ it is exclusive to keep certain thoughts and ideas ‘out.’ 

You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Inclusivity comes at a price, which is often the sacrifice of the comfort that comes from echo chambers. Some people try to dismiss certain ideas to make others feel comfortable, but we do not have to set aside the diversity of ideas for the sake of inclusivity. 

Some will still claim that we must fight to include certain marginalized groups. While this is true, the fight for inclusivity is not a zero-sum game. Fighting for one group to have a spot at the table does not inherently mean that another group must lose theirs. Everyone ought to have a voice. Just because one group historically had power over another does not warrant marginalizing either group. Power dynamics do not warrant mistreatment to anyone. Rather, it should be a catalyst to ensure equality among all. 

Where was the compassion when I had to comfort my sister during her mental breakdowns because she had nowhere else to turn?

Do not claim the mantle of inclusion if you actually are exclusive. Do not masquerade as something you are not. Be honest with yourself: what would an inclusive society look like? Would it include everyone at the table, or would it keep some out to make others feel safe? The former is objectively inclusive, the latter objectively exclusive. Opening up to other people of different backgrounds is the way forward. As for my sister, my advice to those who would like to help her is this: keep politics out of the conversation. If it does enter the conversation, be open-minded. Above all, just listen. I guarantee that you will learn something and  be much better off if you do not jump to any conclusions. 

As an aside, I will say that many conservatives and Trump supporters that I have told about my sister’s transition have been nothing but open-minded and receptive about it. Often times, they do not argue with me but just listen to what I have to say. I can name only one or two incidents when someone was genuinely hostile to me because of my sister. On the other hand, every person on the political left whom I have talked to about my sister always talks about how gender is a spectrum or how my sister is another case of the “oppression of transgender people.” Make what you will of that, but it goes without saying that only one side can really claim openness.

Not listening to one another causes an inherent lack of distrust of the “other.” You never know who has an agenda. What we really need nowadays are people who listen and are upfront and honest about what they want. When I talk to someone who might be hostile to the idea of my sister transitioning–conservatives and Trump supporters, for example–I do not take the opportunity to “educate” that person. I just talk about my sister’s story and leave it at that. If they want to talk politics, so be it; I am not the kind of person around whom others have to walk on eggshells. Still, there are times when politics and agendas must enter into the equation and there are times when they need to be left aside. Otherwise, it simply breeds mistrust, and nobody’s the wiser at the end of the day. When I do leave politics aside and just talk frankly about a sensitive subject, I find a receptive audience. The personal does not have to be political.