Whitefield Academy Blog

Intersectionality: What Defines Our Kids?

by | Apr 11, 2018 | Classical Christian, Education, Middle School, Parenting, Spiritual Life, Upper School | 0 comments

The term intersectionality is more than just a mouthful, it is the current mantra of higher education. In its simplest form, it is the concept that one’s identity is defined by the inextricably linked sum of various human characteristics such as race, gender, and sexual orientation. Taken a step further, it is the theory that discrimination based on membership in different minority sub-groups intersects to compound oppression (WSJ).

Moving Forward

Intersectionality espouses “the prioritization of subjective individual experiences over objective truth. The experiences of marginalized groups are not only considered more valid than non-marginalized people, they are also treated as more valid than facts or reality” (TGC). In this framework, it is not reason or revelation that guides understanding. Rather, it is the experience of the oppressed that should inform our understanding of society’s ills and dictate our way forward. Their feelings and voices should lead society forward to a liberated place of equality.

Out With The Old

The writings of poet and social justice ideologue Audre Lorde are touted by those in higher education who champion the philosophy of intersectionality. Lorde said “The white fathers told us: I think therefore I am, The Black mother within each of us – whispers: I feel, therefore I can be free” (Poetry is Not a Luxury, 1977). The rejection of “old white men” espoused on college campuses has less to do with race and gender alone and more to do with the rejection of any philosophy rooted in reason and objective truth. It is a rejection of the classical thinkers and of Western European thought. In fact, students at the University of Pennsylvania recently replaced a portrait of Shakespeare with a photograph of Audre Lorde as a statement of this rejection (WSJ). The flawed oppressors of old, replaced by the liberated oppressed of today.

This is the current cultural tide washing up onto our educational shores, and the wave is attempting to erode education, reducing it to mere enculturation. Intersectionality enculturation says the collection of common practices from which humanity derives meaning should be guided forward not by looking to understand objective truth, goodness, and beauty but by looking to subjective experience, injustice, and suffering.

How Do We Prepare Our Kids Through Education?

Classical education is a form of education that values the literature, philosophy, and science of those who have come before, and recognizes the contributions of these men and women despite their flaws and differing cultural lenses. Classical education looks not just to the emotive art of the Renaissance or to the spiritual awakening of the Reformation or to the intellectual pursuits of the Enlightenment or even to the productivity of the Industrial Revolution. It seeks to integrate reason, experience, and revelation to create not just a productive citizen but to restore the ruins of fallen humanity; to restore individual and societal meaning to the true source.

In contrast to the subjective meaning and divisive language of intersectionality and higher education enculturation, classical education has the goal of unifying our society on the basis of objective meaning through the revealed truth of God, the goodness of His works, and the beauty of His character as seen through all educational disciplines.

How Do We Prepare Our Kids At Home?

As we prepare our children to navigate the untruths presented in our culture, it’s critical that we present them with truth in the younger years, allow them to ask questions in the middle years, and encourage them stand for their beliefs in the older years.The classical education model echoes this path with elementary also known as grammar school emphasizing comprehension, middle school also known as logic school emphasizing analysis and making judgments, and high school also known as rhetoric school emphasizing synthesis and composition.

Classical education walks alongside us as parents in our most important role of raising kids who love God, love others, and are clear communicators of His truth, goodness, and beauty. However, parents shouldn’t rest in that education alone; we are meant to be the primary spiritual teachers of our children.

Knowing that our meaning in life is to glorify God and bear His image, there is nothing more important than teaching our kids the character of the God we are meant to reflect and point toward. God has given parents the distinct responsibility of mentoring our children to this end. As we disciple our children, our focus should be that they come to know and love the character of God not only so they can reflect His moral attributes, but so they can point people to His unique attributes. We purposefully parent our children so that they can truly bear His image and glorify God as designed by their creator.

The True “True Success and Happiness”

When our kids hear Oprah say, “You will find true success and happiness if you have only one goal…to fulfill the highest most truthful expression of yourself,” we want their inner compass to remind them that their goal is not to express themselves but to express their God. Self-expression and the subjective individual experience pales in comparison to the objective truth of the Eternal, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Infinite, Sovereign God who created them with the high purpose of reflecting His Unchanging character. Who they are is rooted in who God is.

The Answer to The Longing

There is a longing deep in the hearts of humanity to understand and improve the human condition, to understand our identity and purpose, and to break free from suffering and injustice. To paraphrase Corrie Ten Boom, we look for our identity within ourselves and come up depressed; we look to resolve the injustice of the world and wind up distressed. Yet if we would just look to God, there we would find our rest. May we raise children through classical education and purposeful parenting who point this aching world to The Answer and The Solution within Himself.

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