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Opinion: Race Marxism at BYU


Whiteness Theory, the discussion for Week 10 of Ryan Gabriel’s graduate class, is a theory that designates certain characteristics, experiences, and privileges as unique only to the white race. Further explaining this idea in his 2021 BYU Devotional titled “Healing Racism Through Jesus Christ,” he said:

"As I mentioned before, being White is not simply another racial category; in our society, White individuals are at the top of the racial hierarchy, making them the default group that other racial groups are compared against. Because of this, it is not surprising that some major skin care companies sell skin-lightening lotion specifically targeted to people of color. These products imply that looking lighter and whiter is better” (emphasis added).

Yes, this was taught in a BYU devotional. Skin-lightening cream is a material manifestation of whiteness, implying that looking white is paramount. Gabriel asserts that white individuals are dominant over non-whites and obtain certain privileges that non-whites would not enjoy, using them to oppress non-whites. Implicit in their whiteness, consciously or unconsciously, white people regularly express their “white complicity,” “white fragility," “white silence,” and many other manifestations of whiteness. Therefore, Whiteness Theory is a component of Critical Race Theory. As mentioned in my previous article in the Chronicle. Critical Race Theory is a fusion of neo-Marxism and Postmodernism; I briefly explained the postmodern origin of Critical Race Theory but did not explain its Marxist background.


Traditional Marxist thought originates from Karl Marx’s and Friedrich Engels’ founding ideological documentThe Communist Manifesto.” In the text, Marx argues that society is in constant conflict between the oppressed and oppressors: the bourgeois (capitalist) property owners and the proletariat (working-class) laborers. The bourgeoisie, through their accumulation of capital and property, exploit the proletariat which creates perpetual class conflict. Marx’s solution to the class conflict dilemma is laid out in 10 general propositions; Marx claims they are “generally applicable” in “advanced countries.” The application of these tenets, according to Marx, will lead to a revolution and eventually to a utopian society. Later attempts to apply those principles in the world, of course, killed tens of millions of people.


Marx’s first proposition is crucial; today it is refurbished into a Critical Race theorist principle. Marx advocates for the “abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.” As argued by Marx, property is the material manifestation of bourgeois domination over the proletariat. Accumulation of property is an accumulation of capital; the accumulation of capital is the oppression of the proletariat. In short, Marx argued that all economic, social, political, and individual inequalities are the results of the accumulation of capital by the bourgeoisie. Sound familiar? Critical Race Theory similarly asserts that all economic, social, political, and individual inequalities are the results of the accumulation of whiteness. This transformation of Marxian bourgeoise/proletarian class conflict into Race Marxist white/black race conflict is obvious and stems heavily from Cheryl Harris's 1993 essay “Whiteness as Property” which includes this segment about affirmative action:

“The current polarized debate on affirmative action and the intense political and judicial opposition to the concept is thus grounded in the fact that, in its requirement of equalizing treatment, affirmative action implicitly challenges the sanctity of the original and derivative present distribution of property, resources, and entitlements and directly confronts the notion that there is protectable property interest in ‘whiteness.’”

Assigned reading in Gabriel’s class, Harris's essay implicitly argues that white people’s “whiteness” is equivalent to the traditional Marxist idea of bourgeoisie “property.” The influence of this essay can be seen in this BYU sociology homework from Jane Lopez’s class, titled “Revealing Whiteness Activity.” In the activity, students were to “photograph and describe at least three manifestations of ‘whiteness.’” Lopez describes whiteness as “basic rights, values, beliefs, perspectives, and experiences… only consistently afforded to White people.” As white people continue to manifest and uphold their whiteness (Marxian “property”), the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) will continue to be oppressed. By awakening more people to Critical Race Theory, the BIPOC can overthrow the White (bourgeois) society and eventually lead us to an equitable, utopian society. This is Race Marxism.


However, to argue that Race Marxism is being taught at BYU automatically designates you as a radical conservative. BYU Associate Professor Eric Bybee erroneously criticized conservatives who make Critical Race Theory to be a “Marxist bogeyman.” However, Bybee is completely incorrect in his critique. The founding Critical Race Theorists blatantly admit their Marxist roots. In their introductory book “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction,” Richard Delgado recounts his experience at the meetings which laid the foundation for Critical Race Theory:

“So we gathered at that convent for two and a half days, around the table in an austere room with stained glass windows and crucifixes here and there–an odd place for a bunch of Marxists–and worked out a set of principles. Then we went our separate ways. Most of us who were there have gone on to become prominent critical race theorists, including Kim Crenshaw,” (emphasis added)

Professor Bybee is wrong. Race Marxism is being taught at BYU. We must remember Prophet Spencer W. Kimball’s voice of warning as he said:

“Freedom from worldly ideologies and concepts unshackles man far more than he knows. It is the truth that sets men free. BYU, in its second century, must become the last remaining bastion of resistance to the invading ideologies that seek control of curriculum as well as the classroom.”

The problem isn’t that Marxism is being taught, the problem is that it is being taught as objective truth. We must reject the refurbished Marxism being taught in some of BYU’s classrooms. Marxist ideology didn’t work, doesn’t work, and never will work, even if it has a different name. We must advocate for a broader curriculum to be taught at BYU, rooted not in the destructive doctrines of Marxism, but in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If the cancer of Race Marxism has adequate time to metastasize, BYU will be shackled by the worldly ideologies that have destroyed millions of lives.

Written by: Jacob Christensen

Writer at the Cougar Chronicle

The opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author.

The Cougar Chronicle is an independent student-run newspaper and is not affiliated with Brigham Young University or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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