> "And while I think most of the people who write this nonsense understand the game they’re playing, a depressing number of readers end up falling for the grift."

That's one of the questions I wonder about, but cannot in general discern any answer: how many people like that are conscious deceivers knowingly using a ploy?

Thanks to cognitive dissonance, I suspect relatively few are consciously playing it as a game; I suspect it's almost always unconscious. Or more accurately, that it resides in a grey area, whether they sorta believe it (um, they want to believe they believe it, so that they are not hypocrites or deceivers), but part of their mind may know it isn't so simple.

Call it the cognitive dissonance swamp. People can be lost there for years.

Does Trump really believe that he was cheated out of the election? I think it's likely in the same gray area - he probably has sort of convinced himself of it, but part of his mind likely knows otherwise.

Do Critical Social Justice ideologues really believe that 'Trans Women Are Women' is literal objective truth? I think some may also be in the cognitive dissonance swamp, caught between what they are incentivized to say, and what cognitive dissonance translates into "really believing" so they will not conscious deceivers.

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So long as these ideologues ACT as if these falsehoods are true and expect everyone else to comport themselves accordingly or suffer whatever ostracism or other penalty they can mete out, it doesn't matter what they in their "heart of hearts" believe.

There are consequences. And if it's all a grift, then it's doubly evil.

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“if we want our children to inhabit a society that is less racist than this one, we don't do that by making young white children who are guilty of absolutely nothing feel resentful and anxious about the colour of their skin.” How can something so obvious as vilifying children’s skin color be a subject for debate? It’s not about right vs left, but about right vs a special type of harmful wrong.

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I don’t buy this idea that kids will feel guilty for atrocities committed by people of their race centuries ago. If this is the justification for whitewashing history then it’s false.

I am *ashamed* of the bigotry of living while people who still use the N word, but I don’t feel *guilty* because I don’t do it. I certainly don’t feel ashamed of slavery; my family wasn’t even in the USA yet.

My only conviction here is that history should be accurately taught. Without regard for potential hurt feelings.

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I think the problem is that some schools and teachers label white kids as oppressors and colonizers and Black kids as oppressed and that they are victims. These labels don't belong to modern children but to the people of the eras long past gone.

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They should just teach accurate history and drop the SJW shit.

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I attended a predominantly black and Chinese school k-12 in the 60s/70s. When not battling each other, the black students in particular took a special delight in bullying white kids like me. A wise and accomplished executive coach helped me understand that these kids likely had parents who experienced Jim Crow and they themselves had been taught to despise white people. Of course at the time I just knew they hated me and wanted to hurt me for no reason other than my skin color. So yes, I was taught at an age too young to process that my skin color was bad and so was I. Humility at this level is really not helpful or constructive for building relationships. I lived in constant fear.

How is this helpful?

When does the cycle stop?

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As is the norm for Steve's Commontary stories, there are two. In this case racism and the debate about how history is taught and mindreading.

The mindreading part is often assumptions based upon monolithic views of tribes. George went straight to "right-wing" where once someone's ideological tribal affiliation is assumed he "knows" what they think about all things. Or so the mind readers think.

As for history and how it is taught, it can be taught honestly without venom or shame. Slavery is so ancient that God tells people how to treat their slaves in the bible. It wasn't invented in the Americas.

If you want to teach about trans-Atlantic slave trade, teach it all. It tapped into the existing trans-Saharan slave trade where humans were purchased from Africans who had captured people from other tribes. In the Americas there were black people who owned slaves. The native Americans had been taking slaves from other tribes before Europeans arrived and they took slaves from them. If not for the venomous "slavery was a white thing so white people are evil" take on it would there be a debate?

Hell yes, slavery is horrible, and it hasn't gone away. Racism is horrible in its mindless unfairness. But why go racist and make it all about one race being evil. Of course, there will be a fight about that. If you honestly want it taught honestly, you've got to participate in the honesty.

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I question whether the '5% of lefties' strangling themselves because the right became the pro-oxygen party is too low; this stupidity is far more prevalent, and on the right too. How else can you explain so much resistance to clear, experiential evidence of climate change, and scientists who've been ignored for decades continuing to sound the alarm, and the right, who have to live here too, argue it's a 'hoax' as they write off anything they don't want to believe in?

I haven't been to public school for a very long time but I started first grade a few years after the centennial anniversary of the end of the Civil War, in Florida, a state that is clearly doing what my mother said they did fifty-odd years ago, "still fighting the Civil War". We learned NOTHING about the Civil War. We *did* get together and sing songs sometimes in the afternoons, including 'Dixie'. I wonder how our black teacher thought about that (she wasn't mine, she was in the next room). I finished my junior high and high school years in Ohio and I don't remember much about the Civil War or slavery, although we sometimes spent time on black history during Black History Month. My public school education was pretty whitewashed, and anything I learned about slavery I found out on my own through library books.

I wonder why we even have a Black History Month, as though black history is something we should pay attention to outside 'real' American history, when in fact black people are every bit as much a part of American history as the Chinese, the Irish, the Asians, the Latinos, and all the other patchwork of nationalities here in North America. Why not teach a more integrated history in which black peoples' histories and stories are woven into it? Not so much, "Slavery 101" but American history as a lot less white (since it wasn't as white as we think), and weave in, instead, the role of black slaves who did a lot of the work of building this nation unpaid, and often abused. After I read your article I Googled on the history of slaves in New Amsterdam since that's where my first familial line landed in the New World (my Dutch ancestors) and no one else from my parents' family got here until my English great-great grandfather landed in New York (formerly New Amsterdam) in 1850, and he owned no slaves (it would have been repugnant to him). If any of my ancestors did it would be the Dutch, but I probably will never learn if anyone in *my* family did because it was so long ago.

It would not bother me to know that some ancestors here owned slaves. It wouldnt' even bother me if my multiple-great grandfather owned your multiple-great grandfathers. Embarrassing ancestors are common for everyone, if we even find out about them. At the Tower of London, I'm related by blood or marriage to something like four out of the ten big names on a plaque of Famous People Who Were Executed Here. The ones they didn't execute had to flee to the New World to escape the same fate (now that I think about it, they got here before my great-great-grandfather!)

I do wonder whether maybe there's a way to counteract white resistance from those who *do*, on some fundamental level, feel guilty about what happened. Maybe we can emphasize countering the negative identity obsession of both sides and note it doesn't matter what your ancestors did, who are *you* today as a person? But also, tell a more *honest* history like all the black slaveowners in the antebellum South and the enthusiastic role Africans played in selling their rival countrymen to the newest and certainly not the first market for African slaves.

I'm quite sure the left isn't ready for *those* stories. Nor would the Native Americans be keen on a focus of their pre-contact history in which they were guilty of all the shit whites became guilty of later. The point is not to say, "See, your ancestors were no better,"--well actually, yet it is. Let's acknowledge that humans are ratbastards all around, note what we did right and what we did wrong, and vow to to better now and in the future.

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Mind reading is considered one of the critical "cognitive distortions" in cognitive therapy. Although wide spread, mind reading is not a sign of good mental health. Yet for a white child or adult to challenge such thoughts has become the proof of that person's racism. How can anyone be surprised when there is a backlash?

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I can't possibly add anything to this, it's just totally right on.

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