I grew up being taught BRT (Benevolent Race Theory) not Critical Race Theory

I grew up in Arkansas. There an elementary school taught me what I now call BRT (Benevolent Race Theory): that slavery was kind, paternal, and civilizing for slaves. It was a distorted view of race that took me years to free myself from. (Benevolent Race Theory proponents usually say that they like Black people and mean them no harm.)

Here are some of the misguided ideas that I was taught by school and society when I was growing up in the South. Those ideas tried to justify slavery and racial abuse and have been taught in America since the beginning. BRT teaches that:

  • Slaveholders rarely used intimidation, force, or brutality to control their slaves.
  • Forced, Jim Crow segregation was good for both White people and Black people.
  • Legally segregated schools were “separate but equal.”
  • Black people didn’t mind the back of the bus because they got to sit together.
  • The fact that there were a few Black slaveholders means slavery wasn’t wrong.
  • We shouldn’t criticize slaveholders because they were living by the values of their time.
  • Slaves were too financially valuable for their traffickers to mistreat them.
  • Most slaveowners were good to their slaves and had good intentions towards them.
  • Black people would be better off to forget their history and the evil done to their forefathers.
  • Black people should be quiet and appreciate that they’re living in America.
  • Slaves and hired Black domestic workers were usually treated with kindness.
  • If a White person has a Black friend, he’s definitely not a racist. 
  • There’s a “Curse of Ham,” that means Black people need to serve White people if they want to be in God’s order.
  • Slavery elevated and civilized Black people instead of degrading and abusing them.
  • Runaway slaves were wrong for making it harder on the slaves left behind.
  • White supremacy was overall good for America and didn’t really cause much harm.

As an adult I began to read about race in America and I discovered that these ideas are falsehoods. They are myths that need to be renounced and replaced with the fuller story of American history.

To discover and accept the unpleasant facts of history, we need to set aside emotional attachment and explore it with an open mind. I wrote a book to help do that, called: Off the RACE Track From Color-Blind to Color-Kind.

Photo by Clement Eastwood on Pexels.com

About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I co-lead a non-traditional expression of the body of Christ in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia" that is available in Kindle & paperback @ http://amzn.to/2nCr5dP
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6 Responses to I grew up being taught BRT (Benevolent Race Theory) not Critical Race Theory

  1. Espirational says:

    Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Marguerite says:

    I attended parochial school. They didn’t spend much time on the slavery issue but we did know that it was inherently evil. The peculiar institution, as it was called, was our country’s most shameful original sin. Better this than the crap some students were taught that minimized and excused the slavery issue.

  3. Timothy E. says:

    This seems like another article from a leftist who is completely ignoring what makes people angry about CRT. No one is upset about CRT because “it says slavery was bad” or because “Jim Crow was good.”

    People are angry about CRT because it is anti-white racism, and not even thinly veiled racism at that. When angry parents show book passages that talk about how ‘All white people are oppressors’ and that ‘meritocracy is white supremacy’ and then their detractors turn around and accuse them of wanting to not teach history, what other response should they have except for righteous anger? How about telling employees ‘Be Less White’ from coca cola’s CRT “anti-racist” training? Doesn’t sound very benevolent to me, or to anyone else with a functioning cranium.

    CRT proponents are liars and racists or ignorant fools, it’s as simple as that.

    • Steve Simms says:

      Thanks for your comment. I’m a white conservative who wants to see the full story of American history told, regardless of people’s skin color. I’m not making this up, just telling the truth. When I grew up in AR, I was taught that slavery was benevolent and beneficial to Black people. To present such evil in that way was wrong, regardless of whether someone is liberal or conservative or white or black.

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