Kendi and Reynolds' Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You, a Remix—A Partial List of Errors

Many high schools and middle schools are assigning this 'antiracism' book associated with Critical Race Theory; besides being ideologically pernicious, it's bad history.

|

I posted a version of this post in October, but with the sudden political salience of Critical Race Theory, I thought I would repost an edited, somewhat expanded version. To my mind, the debate over CRT is too abstract, and people are talking past each other. It's more useful to focus on works that are actually being used in classrooms, particularly below the college level.

The "hot" book to "spur discussion" about racism or teach about "antiracism" for middle and high school students is Jason Reynolds and Ibram Kendi's book, Stamped a Remix, which is a dumbed-down version of Kendi's book Stamped from the Beginning.

Kendi's antiracism ideology is pernicious. He divides the world into segregationists, assimilationists, and antiracists. The assimilationists, like the segregationists, are in Kendi's telling all racists (pages xii-xiii). This includes almost everyone prominent who has ever worked for civil rights, including Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois (at least until he became a Communist), Martin Luther King, Jr., and more. Any book that depicts these individuals as racists should raise more than a few eyebrows before getting assigned to middle-schoolers.

The hero of the last third of the book is Angela Davis. For some reason, even though she was Communist who devoted most of her life to advancing Communism in general rather than civil rights specifically, and was an over-the-top apologist for every brutal action ever taken by the USSR, she becomes the exemplar of antiracism. Davis' attitude toward Soviet Jewish dissidents fighting for religious and cultural freedom, for example, was worse than dismissive. The Harvard Crimson reported in 1972 that Davis "explained that the situation of Jews in Russia 'has been totally blown out of proportion by the bourgeois press because they're going to do everything they can to discredit socialism.'" Not incidentally, she was and remains [link has her engaging in a modern version of blood libel by ridiculously linking Israel to police violence against blacks in the U.S.] an antisemite, and it's rather difficult to see how a racist against Jews can be an antiracist heroine. (One wonders more generally if it's a coincidence that every one of Kendi's modern heroes–Davis, Malcolm X, Jeremiah Wright, Stokely Carmichael–has a history of antisemitism.)

But plenty of other people have taken on Kendi's ideology. I had occasion to read the book, and made a running list of errors, which is undoubtedly incomplete. The list is extensive enough that no reputable academic institution should assign the book. As a resource for teachers, parents, and students I am going to list the errors and egregious misinterpretations of history I found in the last 1/3 of the book. I focus on that part because the errors seem more numerous and glaring; I'm not sure if that's because I'm more familiar with the relevant history, or the book simply isn't as bad until it gets to modern times. Along with gross errors, I'm including examples of where the authors gloss over reality when it suits their agenda. Some of these errors go to the heart of Kendi's project, some are minor. But together they reflect authors who are indifferent to fact.

Readers should feel free to use this information, with or without attribution, to oppose assigning this book to their kids. Here we go:

Page 162: Malcom X and the Nation of Islam. The book's description of NOI's philosophy makes it sound rather benign, ignoring both the overtly racist and crazy elements of it. Here is what NOI actually believes (though Malcom himself at the end of his life renounced these beliefs in favor of Orthodox Islam):

[O]ver 6,000 years ago, the black race lived in a paradise on earth that was destroyed by the evil wizard Yacub, who created the white "devil" through a scientific process called "grafting." Fard and his disciple preached of a coming apocalyptic overthrow of white domination, insisting that the dominion of evil was to end with God's appearance on earth in the person of Fard. Following this, NOI predicts an epic struggle in which the Nation of Islam will play a key role in preparing and educating the Original People, who ruled the earth in peace and prosperity until Yacub's "blue-eyed devils" came along to gum things up. The Nation of Islam teaches that intermarriage or race mixing should be prohibited.

Page 170: Angela Davis. The books suggests that she was unhappy with the "white activism" she found at Brandeis, and created her own Afrocentric ideology after the Birmingham bombing. In fact, she was mainly influenced by the white, Jewish, Communist Herbert Marcuse, who was her professor and mentor at Brandeis. The authors need to distort the history because Davis adopting ideas she learned from a white Communist wouldn't fit with the Afrocentric theme of the book.

On pages 172-173, the book suggests that not only was the 1964 Civil Rights Act ineffectual, the only effect of it on racial attitudes he acknowledges as that it caused "a racist backlash." In fact, racism was declining before the Civil Rights Act, and has continued to decline ever since. Acceptance of interracial marriage, for example, rose from 4% in 1958 to 90+% among young Americans. To take another example.

Image

And then there is this from the perspective of black people:

Image

It also seems relevant that southern businesses went from mainly segregated in 1964 to almost all integrated by 1970, much more quickly than almost anyone expected in 1964, and that universities and businesses that had recently rejected black applicants were now recruiting them, even if they had lower paper credentials. Nevertheless, Kendi says on page 173 that Angela Davis and Malcolm X were right in opposing the Act because while it looked good on paper, the law would never be enforced by the racist white establishment. So Kendi denies that the 1964 act accomplished anything beyond paper promises, and the only effect on racism he acknowledges is that it led to racist backlash, without noting that in fact after the Act racist attitudes by whites continued a long-term precipitous decline. (I wouldn't necessarily attribute the decline to the Act, but I would assert confidently that the Act didn't cause a backlash that stopped the decline.)

Page 174: The book states that Senator and 1964 presidential candidate's Barry Goldwater's opposition to federal spending was because it was going to black people for the first time ("This racist epiphany hit Goldwater once Black people were receiving government assistance, too."). This is utter and pernicious nonsense. There is no evidence that Goldwater's views on government spending, which long predated the civil rights era, had anything to do with black people, and they reflect a longstanding American libertarian tradition of being in favor of limited government that has existed independently of whether black people were potential beneficiaries (or victims) of the government. Goldwater, of course, came to these views while growing up in Arizona, where the black population was small, and whre his own family had a deserved reputation for racial tolerance.

193-97: Discussion of Angela Davis' arrest and acquittal for smuggling guns used in a kidnapping and murder. The book spins a fictional tale. The truth, via historian Ron Radosh: "Eventually, she was acquitted in 1972, despite her proven ownership of the murder weapons and a cache of letters she wrote to George Jackson in prison expressing her passionate romantic feelings for him and unambivalent solidarity with his commitment to political violence."

199-200 "Rocky." Hardly the worst thing in the book, but to depict Rocky as a racist movie simply because it depicted a white boxer against a black boxer is silly. Apollo Creed's circle of accomplished black advisors seem much more desirable than Rocky's working-class white friends and neighbors. Rocky himself is a hood working for a loan shark, he sexually assaults Adrian, tells a 12-year-old neighborhood girl not to be a whore… Rocky loses the match, and the arc of the story is that he and Apollo become good friends.

203-04 "Angela Davis was running against him, for the vice-president seat, and couldn't get any coverage." This is technically true, she didn't get much coverage. But the book implies that this was because of racism. In fact, it was because she was running as the candidate of the USSR-controlled Communist Party, and the Communists were a very, very fringe party that got much less than one percent of the vote every election.

203-05 The Drug War. I am against the Drug War, and have been my whole adult life. And I know there is a historical basis for many drug laws having been influenced by racism. But to reduce the Drug War to a product of Regan era racism, as Kendi does, is wildly oversimplistic, if for no other reasons than (a) various drug wars had been fought well before Reagan, including in places with few if any black people; (b) other, ethnically homogenous countries have also had drug wars; and (c) it was supported by liberal black legislators as much as anyone else. Indeed, Kendi's racist Exhibit A is the disparity between penalties for crack cocaine (associated with African Americans) and regular cocaine, but to a large extent the push for harsher penalties for crack came from the Congressional Black Caucus, whose constituents were being devastated by the externalities from crack cocaine sales and use in predominately African-American neighborhoods.

206 "Reagan's economic policies caused unemployment to skyrocket." Unemployment went up at the beginning of the Reagan administration, then went down for the rest of it to lower levels than when he started.

207 "Crack baby." Kendi attributes the prevalence of this phrase to racism against black children. In fact, however, serious medical people at the time sincerely believed that babies born to crack-addicted moms were never going to catch up to their peers developmentally. They fortunately turned out to be wrong. To make the underlying concern into a racist plot is silly; if anything, concern for the fate of these babies was "antiracist" as it reflected concern by primarily white physicians for the fate of primarily black children.

Reflecting their general disdain for facts, the authors blame Charles Krauthammer for making up this phrase. I looked it up. Krauthammer used it in July 1989. The New York Times used it several months earlier.

214: Re Clarence Thomas: "his work as an activist got him into fancy schools." This is just false. He grew up very poor, got a scholarship to a non-fancy Catholic college that I've otherwise never heard of, then did well enough to get into Yale Law. What "work as an activist" they are talking about is beyond me. He didn't become a conservative political activist until after he graduated Yale Law and read the works of Thomas Sowell.

214: The authors suggest that Davis left the Communist Party in 1991 because it wasn't doing enough to address racism. In fact, as a tool of the USSR, the Party collapsed with the USSR and its Communist Party.

215: Authors refer to the LA riots as a "rebellion" by black people. In fact, while there was undoubtedly some violence that was a direct response to the Rodney King verdict, most of those arrested in the riots were Mexican-American criminals who took the opportunity to loot. Much of the violence was aimed at small businesses, especially those owned by Korean immigrants. These victims had nothing to do with Rodney King, and to call such violence a rebellion is romanticizing thuggery.

216: The authors criticize a Black women's organization being "racist" for being opposed to misogynistic "gangsta rap." As if one can't imagine other reasons for Black women criticizing misogynistic rap lyrics.

216-17: The author grossly exaggerates Angela Davis' influence and "antiracist" credentials. She was primarily a Communist activist for much of her career, and was otherwise a fringe figure who did little to advance civil rights.
General comment: The entire discussion of crime and related matters fails to note that between the 1960s and 1990, violent crime in the U.S. skyrocketed to unprecedented levels, and perhaps the biggest victims were black residents of urban areas where violence was at its peak. This crime wave is an obvious alternative explanation to racism as the primary explanation as to why harsh, sometimes overly harsh, criminal laws were enacted, but the authors don't acknowledge its existence.

220 Charles Murray never "rallied for Republicans," as the authors claim. He did favor welfare reform and wrote a controversial book about that, and he did write a very controversial book on IQ, and then some other controversial books later, including a book about social problems in the white working class. But he's never been a political activist of the sort that "rallies" for a party, and he's often made it clear that he considers himself a libertarian, including by writing a book about why he's a libertarian.

221 "Angela Davis was still a threat." No, she really wasn't. She was a fringe nobody except in far-left activist circles. The consistent elevation of the relatively obscure Davis into a major force in American politics was something my friends from the USSR remember being fed as propaganda by their government in the 1970s, and it's weird that Kendi and Reynolds follow in that tradition.

222 OJ Simpson trial, with whites rooting for conviction and blacks for acquittal. There was a racial split on this, but plenty of black people thought he was guilty, and some whites did not. "Rooting" is a ridiculous word here. Some people who thought Simpson was guilty still thought he should be acquitted either because of prosecutorial incompetence in proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt, or because they thought the trial revealed racism among local cops and acquittal would send a message that this was not acceptable.

222 Mumia Abu Jamal: Not a political prisoner as the book says, but a murderer duly convicted by a jury after full due process.

224: Attack on "Color-blindness." Why shouldn't we be blind to color? Why, if someone white looks at a black person or a white person, should they see a black person or a white person, not just a person? The authors take hostility to color-blindness as a given, but readers should not.

228-29: "Science says the race are biologically equal. So if they're not equal in society, the only reason why can be racism." This is the heart of Kendi's ideology, and it's simply false. There is no society on earth with more than one ethnic group where the two groups are exactly equal. Sometimes, the group that is the victim of racism actually is "better off" economically than the majority group. This has been true of Lebanese immigrants in Africa, Chinese immigrants to other countries in Asia, and Jews in various places. In our own country, Indian-Americans, Jews, and Greeks have the highest median incomes. Is that because of racism? That's not to deny that racism in the U.S. has had a negative effect on African American well-being. It is to deny that any disparities among groups are inherently a product of racism. Indeed, there are significant disparities in average socioeconomic status within the various "racial" categories in the U.S., including between, e.g., African immigrants and descendants of American slaves, among various white groups, various Asian American groups, and so on.

230: President George W. Bush promoted "anti-Islamic and anti-Arab sentiments." False. He went out of his way to not blame Islam or Arabs, to the chagrin of some of his more chauvinistic fans.

231: Discussion of No Child Left Behind (which I opposed, and think was overall a disaster). The book says the law put the blame on black parents, and black teachers, and public schools. I don't follow the logic of why it blamed black parents. Or black teachers. It did blame underperfoming public schools for not ensuring that all children, particularly minority and poor children, succeeded in school. Exactly why would you not blame the public schools? And the focus on improving underperforming public schools, disproportionately minority, is much more obviously seen as concern for black children, not contempt for black parents.

237: "It was rumored that the Bush Administration directed FEMA to delay its response in order to amplify the destructive reward for those who would benefit. Whether or not this is true, they were delayed." This is a nonsense conspiracy theory that any respectable author would reject out of hand.

NEXT: Today in Supreme Court History: June 26, 2003, June 26, 2013, and June 26, 2015

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Hi, lawyer dipshits and Commie scumbags. The biggest problem for you is that all -isms are folk statistics, mostly true, most of the time. They also change with reality. The 2010 Census found African immigrants out-performed whites. Now, there is a type of racism where employers and admissions officials come across one and chase him waving wads of cash to get a top performer. Africans are the new Koreans, racism says. One of these became President of the United States. Their pitch black skin has become a sign of top performance. The lighter skin of our half British American misfits makes people run away.

    Hire a black man to manage your finances and a Jew for your professional basketball team, take the consequences. You lawyer scumbags will start to name great black financiers and Jew basketball players. You will not run out of fingers, proving the point by their rarity.

    All anti-racism has a denier, Commie agenda. Race struggle has replaced class struggle as a masking ideology for the Commie takeover of our nation. Zero tolerance for woke. Like zero. Say, boo, in woke, shut the school down. I mean, shut down Harvard and Yale. They are enemies of our country.

    1. The 2010 Census found African immigrants out-performed whites.

      So if people with the same genes as African immigrants who are born in the U.S. do not out-perform whites the difference must be due to the environment in which these people were reared.

      1. Having the same genes for skin color doesn’t mean having the same genes for traditional “merit” traits. Very often, emigration to the US is a form of self-selection based on less common traits. After all, we famously do not have open borders, so not everyone who wants to can get in. There’s another question of whether new immigrants in general work particularly hard to succeed in their new homes.

        1. Having the same genes for skin color doesn’t mean having the same genes for traditional “merit” traits.

          This is an argument assigning genetic reasons for the failure of certain blacks born in the U.S. to prosper financially. However, there are many people who exclude genetics and lay the blame on systemic racism. But African immigrants, and children of African immigrants, are subject to the same racism but a much higher percentage them become successful. So it would seem that to the extent that other blacks do not perform at as high a level the cause is not systemic racism but more likely is something else in their environment that held them back.

          1. So many of them are Nigerian princes, so that helps, and the ones that aren’t were oil ministers. We also get a few that have extraordinary shot-blocking capabilities.

          2. You made an argument by asserting that genetic factors are the same, and concluding that differing cultural factors must be the reason for the difference you cite. But you did not give a good reason to believe that the genetic factors are the same — unless you think that skin color (in a very broad sense!) is the only relevant genetic factor.

            1. But you did not give a good reason to believe that the genetic factors are the same

              Right, I was just using the assumptions of those who lay all the blame on systemic racism.

      2. African immigrants are the descendants of tribes who won the wars — with the losing tribes being sold as slaves.

        There is a great deal of diversity amongst Africans and hence there is no reason to presume identical DNA…..

        1. “There is a great deal of diversity amongst Africans and hence there is no reason to presume identical DNA”

          Say, special Ed, you do know that the only people who have identical DNA are twins, right? And not even all twins, but just one kind of twin.

          1. And not even all twins, but just one kind of twin.

            Do you have a reference to this?

      3. I should probably know better than to get involved in this. However,

        Immigrants are not the general population. They have self-selected to improve themselves and have above-average opportunity to do so. To compare, charter schools perform better than public schools at least in part because they do not have many bottom-rung, apathetic students. The need to apply directly ensures that before we even look at actual school quality.

      4. “So if people with the same genes as African immigrants who are born in the U.S. do not out-perform whites the difference must be due to the environment in which these people were reared.”

        It’s the hip-hop music and the droopy pants, for sure!

        1. You say that like it’s a joke, but that’s pretty much dead on. What does the hip-hop music suggest are reasonable values? Does wearing droopy pants help you during job interviews?

      5. “the difference must be due to the environment in which these people were reared.”

        Which is to say, “black” culture in America.

        Which is not the fault of Trump supporters, or Republicans in general

        And the only white people who’ve had significant influence on it have been of the Left

      6. What makes you think they have the same genetic profile? Makes much more sense that African immigrants tend to be the most accomplished from their homelands and indeed what we know about average IQ in Nigeria overall doesn’t match average IQ of the immigrants. So the immigrants represent the most intelligent elite of their homelands.

    2. “Africans are the new Koreans, racism says. One of these became President of the United States.”

      This poor fellow can’t tell the difference between Hawaiians and Africans.

  2. Oh Kendi….

    My favorite bit of his, is that he effectively says electing Obama was bad for racial equality. Because it encouraged people to think of America as a post-racial society, and that’s the hardest idea for anti-racism to defeat.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/kendi-election-of-obama-harmful-to-racial-equity/

    1. This echoes some of the early intra-socialist disputes.

      Some sects (eg the Bolsheviks) believed that revolutionary activity was vital to spark the Revolution

      Some sects opposed any reformist efforts to ameliorate the condition of the proletariat, lest that dampen revolutionary ardor, and so delay the Revolution

      And some sects believed that the Revolution was an inevitable consequence of the laws of history, and it would come in its own sweet time, much as a volcanic eruption , and so neither socialist revolutionary incitement, nor reform, could have any effect on the date of its arrival.

      1. In other words, cults do what cults do. Which is (mostly) loudly disagree about things that outsiders just don’t care about.

  3. Well done, David, though I will say in passing that the NOI eschatology doesn’t seem any more fanciful than that of other faiths.

    1. The cosmology theories of other faiths were formed thousands of years or hundreds of years ago, OK, for those eras. Religion was the beginning of asking the questions of science and to supply some answers. NOI is from dozens of years ago, and violates traditional Islam.

      I read the Sharia. I prefer it to the Catechism as a basis for the Common Law. I cannot understand why Jew and Muslim law students do not start to protest when their profs start spouting language plagiarized from the Catechism in law school.

      1. What does “I read the Sharia” even mean? This is just a completely nonsensical statement.

      2. The cosmology theories of other faiths were formed thousands of years or hundreds of years ago,

        I’ve never bought this excuse for old religions.

        It’s worth remembering that unless you believe the stuff in a religious text actually happened, you are reading stuff that, at the very least, the authors, and most likely the promoters as well, knew they had made up. And there was always a huge amount of con artistry and social control in organized religion.

        The difference is simply that the farther back you go, the harder it is to definitively state that things did not happen. If someone said there was a worldwide flood in 2019, you can refute them because history recorded it, whereas claims made before recorded history are harder to refute. But that’s just another way of saying it’s easier to tell lies and tall tales about them and get away with it.

        1. Well at one time the Black Sea was a large fertile valley that was populated. And it flooded about 7200BC. It’s a large enough area that it could be confused as the whole world, and memory of the event could have been passed down thru stories to be included in the old testament. However there is a gap of about 5000 years between that flood and the first written versions of the Old Testament, that’s a long time.

          1. “at one time the Black Sea was a large fertile valley that was populated.”

            Piker. At one time the Mediterranean Sea was fertile ground.
            It wasn’t that long ago that “the whole world” was a distance of some 40 kilometers or so (because of limited transportation capability). Adam and Eve thought that Eden was the whole world, until they left it and found people outside.

      3. ” I cannot understand why Jew and Muslim law students do not start to protest when their profs start spouting language plagiarized from the Catechism in law school.”

        Jews and Muslims don’t speak Latin.

      4. How old do you think Joseph Smith and/or L. Ron Hubbard were? Thousands of years? Or just hundreds?

  4. Science says the race are biologically equal

    Er, no.

    1. Science says the concept of “race” is poorly defined as a matter of biology, and that if you wish to make valid comparisons based on racey type things, you would do better to look at population clusters

    2. Science says that if you use “race” as socially defined, you come up with all sorts of (statistical) differences between “races” – from IQ test scores to susceptibility to different diseases to differences in types of muscle fiber

    3. Science says some of those differences are plausibly related to genes, some not so much, and some are “don’t know”

    4. But, science says, since the starting point (in 2) is the doubtfully valid category of “races-as-socially-defined”, probably a bit more should be in the “don’t know” box than it might seem

    5. Science says researching racial differences – except in the medical arena – is a spectacularly bad career choice, and so knowedge of the facts is likely to advance veeeeery slowly

    6. Science says that starting your analysis with a crashingly and obviously false premise is unlikely to lead you to true conclusions about the nature of reality

    7. Science says you could have reached that conclusion a lot quicker simply by noting that it’s a book by Kendi

    1. “Science” has nothing to do with 5 or 7.

      1. I’ll give you 7 🙂

        As for 5, I think you could do a little experiment on how many grants have been given for non-medical research into racial differences in, say, the current millenium. How many grants of tenure have been made to academics with published papers on (non-medical) racial differences. That sort of thing.

        1. I recognize that and understand why our vestigial racists dislike the study of racism, especially since being a racist became unfashionable among better elements of American society.

          Carry on, clingers.

          1. So you then promoting the teaching of racism and bigotry. Carry on hard core leftist.

            1. “So you then promoting the teaching of racism and bigotry.”

              Are we sticking with the thesis that poor display of grammar reflects low IQ?

    2. Science and the Census rebut the claims of the vile Commie race whores in the lawyer profession. Very dark skinned recent African immigrants outperformed whites. Africans are the new Koreans is the new stereotype.

    3. “Science says the race are biologically equal

      Er, no.”

      Oh, yeah!

      Science divides us all up into the race Homo Sapiens sapiens (not a typo)

      1. Well, maybe it’s not universally believed among scientists that race is only a social construct. For example, Harvard professor of genetics David Reich said:

        I have deep sympathy for the concern that genetic discoveries could be misused to justify racism. But as a geneticist I also know that it is simply no longer possible to ignore average genetic differences among “races.”

  5. You admit this is only a book to spur discussion, and then you treat it like a text book.

    Would you similarly ban Zinn? de Tocqueville? Paine? W.E.B. DuBois? Frederick Jackson Turner?

    1. If you assign a book that reads like a history and purports to be nonfiction, one would expect it to be reasonably accurate. Middle and high schoolers don’t have the historical knowledge nor the range of ideological knowledge to contest or challenge what Kendi writes; nor, for that matter, do most teachers. As for the rest of these, for those very reasons, none of those books are being assigned to middle and high schoolers.

      1. So Zinn is out then. And a lot of de Tocqueville.

        I think you sell middle schoolers short in their critical thinking skills.

        1. No great loss = Zinn; de Tocqueville OTOH, a different matter. 🙂

        2. there’s a LOT of science-fiction books that simply aren’t available to younger people because the school libraries don’t have ’em in the first place, and the regular libraries don’t shelve them where the kids will find ’em. Maybe “Stranger in a Strange Land” would go over their heads, but why not let them have a go at “Little Fuzzy”, “Red Planet” or “Tunnel in the Sky”? “Dune” might be a little dense, and “Foundation” too political, but “I, Robot” + “The Bicentennial Man” shouldn’t be. And everybody should read “Mimsy were the Borogoves”, and “Flowers for Algernon” and “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” And “Neuromancer”.

          1. Can’t argue with your recommendations, but I’d note that Flowers for Algernon was assigned reading when I was in Jr High in the 70’s.

        3. Do you work with middle schoolers or even high schoolers?

          And it’s not necessarily critical thinking skills that are the problem, but the lack of knowledge/context.

          For comparison, when we assign high schoolers to read Shakespeare, a lot needs to be explained because of a lack of context. (In fact, far more needs to be explained than actually is in an English class, considering there is rampant then-modern political commentary baked into a lot of Shakespeare). Even most adults can’t just read Shakespeare, because most of us don’t have a working knowledge of colloquial Elizabethan English or Elizabethan politics. No amount of critical reading skills will bridge this gap in background knowledge – you either need the background, or need a knowledgeable and trusted commentary to provide it for you.

          And at least Shakespeare is worth the effort. There’s never enough time to cover the important things in school. A problematic book like Kendi’s isn’t worth the effort. (Nor is Zinn.) Most of the rest of your list would at least be worthwhile, but the only one of those I actually read in high school was Paine (and then not much).

      2. ” Middle and high schoolers don’t have […]the range of ideological knowledge”

        This is the key complaint, isn’t it? If you don’t indoctrinate them first with ideology, they won’t reject the things you reject, and if they accept some things based on their own reasoning instead of rejecting it based on yours, that’s just unacceptable, isn’t it?

      3. “If you assign a book that reads like a history and purports to be nonfiction, one would expect it to be reasonably accurate.”

        It is reasonably accurate, if not ideologically flavored to your liking.

        1. It is reasonably accurate

          Is this reasonable accurate: “Science says the race are biologically equal. So if they’re not equal in society, the only reason why can be racism”?

      4. If you assign a book that reads like a history and purports to be nonfiction, one would expect it to be reasonably accurate.

        Or at least, also spur the discussion with a book that presents an opposite point of view, to be read at the same time.

    2. To spur discussion, why not assign a book saying the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, the Klan were the good guys, and the Jews control the weather?

      I mean, we just want to spur a discussion!

      1. I’ve long wanted to show Birth of a Nation to high schoolers but haven’t because neither side has the depth to understand what the movie says about people like Woodrow Wilson and White southerners of his generation.

        I see using this text as the same thing — while *I* may understand what’s being omitted, most high school teachers won’t, and most middle school teachers would flunk a basic citizenship test.

        1. “most middle school teachers would flunk a basic citizenship test.

          Most Americans would fail the naturalization exam. A lot of them struggle with basic geography, too. History is another challenge. Back before he got a late-night talk show, Jimmy Kimmel had a Comedy Central show called “The Man Show”, with Adam Corolla. They set up a booth on the boardwalk asking people to sign petitions to “End women’s suffrage now” with the slogan “they’ve suffered long enough” and got people to sign… do we call that a problem with history, or vocabulary?

          Obviously, YOU are smarter than middle school teachers, Special Ed. Wouldn’t want to suggest otherwise.

      2. I mean, I read excerpts from Mein Kampf in 8th grade.

        1. Anybody mention that Hitler had a few skeletons in his closet when Mein Kamph, was discussed? Any sort of opposing view presented?

          1. Obviously, any reading assignment from “Mein Kampf” should be followed by a screening of “Captain America: The First Avenger”.

        2. At the time that you read Mein Kampf was your teacher advocating that it was factual and should be used as a guidebook for society? Was one of the political parties ate up with it? Were school districts and companies paying Adolf $20,000 a pop for one day seminars?

          The modern racist trash publication is being treated a bit differently than the old one.

          1. Bernstein’s thesis is not that Kendi should not pre presented as factual, he in facts admits it generally is not.

            He thinks it should not be taught at all.

            1. His point is that it will be taught as gospel, unlike how you were taught Mein Kampf.

              Both are the angry ramblings of a racist. Only one was/will be presented as such.

        3. “I mean, I read excerpts from Mein Kampf in 8th grade.”

          And look at you now. Calling for the eradication of the Jewish State…

          1. Bullshit. Show where he ever did that.

            1. At Charlottesville.

              1. Sarcastro called for the end of the Jewish state at Charlottesville? Apologies if that’s a joke that sailed over my head, but…???

                  1. I feel the breeze but I still don’t get it.

      3. “why not assign a book saying the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, the Klan were the good guys, and the Jews control the weather?”

        Won’t Alabama object to other states taking all their schoolbooks?

        1. Nice cheap shot. Typical.

          1. My mistake. Obviously, Alabama WILL NOT miss them if other states take all their school textbooks.

    3. S_0,
      I find that such compelled reading is hardly a tool for discussion. Rather it is a medium of divisiveness and/or indoctrination. One would be far better assigning Lenin’s “Materialism and Emperiocriticism” as a work that “made a difference” in history.

      1. I was thinking “Mein Kampf” as a topical conversation starter.

        The tale of a resentful man (with, we must admit, one or two real things to resent) who winds his resentment up into blaming all his troubles on people of a different race from himself (not just some of them, all of them) and constructing a weird and fantastic alternative reality, in which everyone else must be brought to believe by force.

        1. But enough about American Republicans.

          1. You’re full of the nonsensical one-liners.

            1. You’re a Republican, aren’t you?

      2. Compelled reading fueling class discussion is like all of middle school social studies.

      3. “I find that such compelled reading is hardly a tool for discussion. Rather it is a medium of divisiveness and/or indoctrination”

        If reading one book can indoctrinate your kid, you’re a failure as a parent. Outright.

        1. If reading one book can indoctrinate your kid, you’re a failure as a parent. Outright.

          Indoctrination is a process. It normally would not be completed after reading a single book. Also, a lot depends on whether the school/teacher introduces the book as fact or as opinion. And children of failed parents have rights too.

          1. “Indoctrination is a process. It normally would not be completed after reading a single book.”

            No shit, really? So if your kid CAN BE indoctrinated by reading a single book, what does that say about the job you did raising that kid?

            ” Also, a lot depends on whether the school/teacher introduces the book as fact or as opinion”

            Not if you’ve done a good job raising your kid, it doesn’t.

    4. Hey, here’s a great book to “spur discussion” – I mean, you wouldn’t want to ban de Tocqueville, would you?

      Sure the book may be controversial, and it may not suit some highbrow professor’s conception of “accuracy” – but it *feels* true, and that’s what counts, especially with children at an early stage of development…

      https://amzn.to/2U8W0Tq

      1. The double-standards game isn’t played that way. The book you suggest doesn’t meet some standard, so it’s not fit. The book he is defending is immune from any criticism based on [any standard] because [absolutely any reason goes here — it just is because that’s the decision — the reason is just filler text to make the argument look real].

        1. The standard it doesn’t meet is that it isn’t one my kid would read. If it didn’t have any teenage vampires in it, she wasn’t reading it.

      2. Yes, because I think the limit shouldn’t be Kendi, I must think there are no limits at all.

        This is a pretty lame argument.

        1. I think a small section on Kendi is fine, but balance it with at least as large a section using Sowell. Being a black man, a Marxist, a government bureaucrat who was born in the Jim Crow South, spent his formative years in Harlem.

        2. “I must think there are no limits at all.”

          I already guessed that you wouldn’t want None Dare Call It Treason assigned in a high-school curriculum, even to “spur discussion.”

          That is in fact the point of my reductio ad absurdam – that your argument doesn’t furnish any basis for excluding the work (banning it, in your terms).

          The logic you offer would make it difficult to impose limits on the curriculum, over the objections of educators who insist on assigning discussion-spurring, extremist-sympathizing, factually-challenged material.

          So, in short, you’ll need to find better arguments to rebut Bernstein’s position.

          1. My argument does have limits though, you can tell because those books are not assigned.

            Mein Kampf is, though. And Birth of A Nation.

            Think on what the contrast is.

            1. Mein Kampf is assigned to spur discussion?

          2. “I already guessed that you wouldn’t want None Dare Call It Treason assigned in a high-school curriculum, even to “spur discussion.”

            That is in fact the point of my reductio ad absurdam – that your argument doesn’t furnish any basis for excluding the work (banning it, in your terms).”

            So, in other words, when you guessed what his argument would be, you did a crappy job of it?

            1. Keep guessing, maybe one day you’ll get something right, like a monkey with a typewriter.

    5. “Would you similarly ban Zinn? ”

      Sure.

      Parson Weems was more reliable.

    6. Based on the memo from the NEA, these books are intended to be taught as true history to be regurgitated in tests and not just controversial ideas meant to spur discussion.

  6. Oh, and deciding that a book shouldn’t be mandatory reading in a public school classroom isn’t remotely the same as “banning” it.

    1. Professor Bernstein….Thank you. Truly. Finally someone has taken the time to define what CRT is, and detail the problems many people have with it (myself included). Looking forward to your next ToI blog post as well (I am a daily reader).

    2. You’re banning teachers from choosing it. That’s well on the way in that direction.

      1. Science teachers are not allowed to choose the Bible as a reference book for their classes. People would justifiably throw a fit if a health or psychology teacher picked Dianetics as a textbook. There are always standards about this kind of thing, and so far we haven’t tried to burn Scientology’s books or the Bible. (Well, most of us haven’t. Some progressives have.)

      2. “You’re banning teachers from choosing it.”

        Individual teachers have no business assigning books.

        1. Sure they can. Why Catcher in the Rye, instead of Huck Finn, or Great Expectations.

          But what I would suggest is someone, maybe Sowell himself, edit a book about the same length of Sowell’s writings, and grade level as Kendi’s, insist that if you’re going to teach Kendi, then Sowell is part of the same section, given equal weight.

          The teachers may even learn something.

          1. Curriculum should be standard in a district.

            The curriculum may include limited approved options but a teacher should not just free lance. Its not fair to a student with a poor teacher.

            1. “Curriculum should be standard in a district.”

              No it should not. PARTS OF a curriculum should be standard. Students are all different people. Every single one of them. Each learns differently.
              A school is not a factory.

              1. “Each learns differently.”

                Sure, but its not curriculum but teaching approach that matters. A teacher should adjust tactics to reach hard to teach students, not use a totally different book.

                For instance, if a student has trouble writing, maybe an oral report on the book. Or a short play put on by several students.

                1. “Sure, but its not curriculum but teaching approach that matters.”

                  Unless, say, “teaching approach” is part of curriculum. The teaching today is so awful. Half the kids are below average!

      3. Why don’t we just keep teaching political stuff of any kind out of K-12. The only thing teaching it guarantees is that the teacher won’t teach it in any balanced, informative, rational fashion.

        1. Absolutely. We wouldn’t want them to have any kind of knowledge of political stuff when they graduate high school and can start to vote.

          1. We can teach facts about government. And history. Again, based on your expressed opinions you want indoctrination. Particularly if your side is doing the indoctrinating.

            I’m not a fan of either team and think politics is anti-reason and rational thought. I’d prefer that their brains not be fucked up until they’ve got choices.

            1. Make up yer damn mind.

              “based on your expressed opinions you want indoctrination. Particularly if your side is doing the indoctrinating. ”

              Which side is “my” side? Based on your extensive analysis of my expressed opinions (which somehow managed to miss the detail that I’m not a member of a political party), surely you can answer that question easily…

    3. “Oh, and deciding that a book shouldn’t be mandatory reading in a public school classroom isn’t remotely the same as ‘banning’ it.”

      All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall…

  7. “What “work as an activist” they are talking about is beyond me”

    Thomas was involved with Black Power groups as an undergrad and believed that blacks who married whites were a traitor to the race. Of course, he stopped his activism as he moved rightward.

    1. If that’s the activism they are talking about, it clearly did not get him into college, his college wasn’t fancy, and what evidence is there that this is why Yale Law School admitted him?

      1. “what evidence is there that this is why Yale Law School admitted him?”

        That document with all the Latin and the words “Yale Law School” hanging on his wall.

  8. “214: The authors suggest that Davis left the Communist Party in 1991 because it wasn’t doing enough to address racism. In fact, as a tool of the USSR, the Party collapsed with the USSR and its Communist Party.”

    CPUSA still exists and became more or less its own entity after the Soviets withdrew funding for it in 1989. The extent to which its mission is to fight racism has always been the subject of internal debate.

    1. Anyone who thinks any Communists are interested in fighting racism is delusional.

      1. In your judgment, does the Republican Party generate racists (and misogynists, and gay-bashers, and xenophobes, and White supremacists), or, instead, merely attract them?

        1. Neither they are now part and parcel of the democrat party.

          1. Remember, there are good people on both sides.

            1. And they are all urged to drink bleach.

        2. “In your judgment, does the Republican Party generate racists (and misogynists, and gay-bashers, and xenophobes, and White supremacists), or, instead, merely attract them?”

          Not “or”, “and”!

      2. “All Communists Are Bastards”

        1. That’s what you get when you make a law that Communists can’t get married. All the little Communists get born to unmarried parents.

    2. Well, sure, the CPUSA still ‘exists’ today, in the same way the KKK does, (Role playing for people who are attracted to murderous ideologies.) but not as a functioning political party. It pretty much imploded when the USSR stopped funding it, it had never been self-sustaining.

      1. Brett Bellmore : “….but not as a functioning political party”

        I would love to see you produce some quantitative measure that distinguishes the CPUSA’s success as a “functioning political party” before & after the fall of the Soviet Union. Perhaps like the difference between a grain of sand and a mote of dust? Kinda hard for a person to see an “implosion” between those two extremes I’d think.

        (not unless he really has an addictive flair for the dramatic)

        1. Brett’s a Republican, and thinks they’re a functioning political party, so maybe we shouldn’t give his opinion on such things much heed.

          1. Sure. They all joined the Democratic Party. So I have to disagree with Brett – they’re more than functional.

            1. All the Republicans joined the Democratic Party? and that proves the Republicans are functional? Sure thing…

            2. I Callahan : “Sure. They all joined the Democratic Party”

              Now, was that before or after all the racists enraged over civil rights legislation migrated to the the Republican Party?

              (Note : unlike I Callahan’s “point” above, that’s factually true)

      2. “Well, sure, the CPUSA still ‘exists’ today, in the same way the KKK does,”

        Which racist monuments and statues are the Commies fighting for?

  9. “Page 170: Angela Davis. The books suggests that she was unhappy with the “white activism” she found at Brandeis, and created her own Afrocentric ideology after the Birmingham bombing. In fact, she was mainly influenced by the white, Jewish, Communist Herbert Marcuse, who was her professor and mentor at Brandeis.”

    It’s possible for both of these things to be true.

    1. “Along with gross errors, I’m including examples of where the authors gloss over reality when it suits their agenda.”

      1. I thought this was too obvious to need explaining.

        One could follow Marcuse, while also being unhappy with the white activism going on. Marcuse, himself, believed that true change could only come from oppressed classes, and not affluent whites. See his book, “The One-Dimensional Man”.

      2. “Along with gross errors, I’m including examples of where the authors gloss over reality when it suits their agenda.”

        As long as it suits your agenda.

  10. Yeesh. Just treat everybody fairly regardless of skin color.

    1. Nah. Leaves no opportunity for revenge or graft.

    2. Dividing people into factions so you can lead one side against the other is more profitable. In Obama’s case it lead to the Presidency.

      1. “Dividing people into factions so you can lead one side against the other is more profitable. In Obama’s case it lead to the Presidency.”

        Worked once for Trump, too.

        1. But only once.

    3. Yeesh, just learn it’s not that simple.

      1. “just learn it’s not that simple.”

        It is in fact just that simple.

        50 years where that was the goal, much racial progress. Last 10 years as it is being adandoned, not so much.

        1. abandoned

          1. Aren’t you a member of the party that adandoned it?

            1. No, you are.

              1. Nice comeback. Didn’t work, but nice try. Thanks for playing. come back when you have some IQ points.

                Hint: People who aren’t members of parties are NOT in parties that did anything.

    4. Just treat everybody fairly regardless of skin color.

      Meritocracy and “color-blindness” are ideological precepts that work against minorities. Shame on you!

      1. What works against minorities is the thing where you say you favor meritocracy and/or “color-blindness” but then actually work forwards keeping entrenched power cliques in power and the powerless ones powerless.
        But I don’t have to tell you that.

    5. “Yeesh. Just treat everybody fairly regardless of skin color.”

      How could anyone complain about that?

      In the same spirit, here’s my proposal for fairer boxing matches: For the first 8 rounds of every fight, my guy will box normally, and yours will box will both hands tied behind his back. At the end of the 8th round, if we think maybe the fight hasn’t been quite fair, and if your fighter is still conscious and standing, he’ll be allowed to finish the fight with his hands untied.

      Fair, right?

      1. Most people do not think that America is anything like making someone to box with their hands tied behind their back.

        Most are also not so Marxist to think that the proper remedy for historical wrongs is ongoing oppression.

        1. “Most people do not think that America is anything like making someone to box with their hands tied behind their back.”

          No, it’s more like making them hold their hands above their heads at all times.

        2. Most people do not think that America is anything like making someone to box with their hands tied behind their back.

          No, of course not. We’re at the stage where the people who were bound and bludgeoned for 400 years are told by people like you, “the restraints are off, so it’s a fair fight now.”

          1. 400 year-old people!!!!!!

            Your anti-black racism does not look any better wrapped up in “caring.”

      2. If you want to identify individuals who have been wronged and try to right the wrongs, then do that.

        But you don’t. You want to hurt people en masse today because someone with similar skin color did something bad 50 or 100 years ago. And you want to keep doing it, over and over and over.

        1. You do realize, don’t you, that pretty much every government act or expenditure, including the ones you like, benefit some people at the expense of others?

          1. And that’s one of the reasons I’m for government that does only the minimum absolutely necessary. Government is a necessary evil. When it’s not necessary, it’s just evil.

            1. Like you, I’m only for government when it does things I approve of. So you may want to climb down off your high horse about my goals and motives. Categorically they’re no different than yours. We just disagree on the details.

              1. False. You are advocating hurting innocent people because they share a skin color with someone from 50-100 years ago. I advocate against innocent people being hurt by government for any reason. It’s a night and day difference.

                The original comment was suggesting people should be treated fairly. Leo Marvin says no

                1. Bullshit. I’m advocating that government level a playing field that was tilted for 400 years by and with the cooperation of government. The people who would benefit are those whose opportunities were and are impaired by the tilting. And the innocent people you allege will be hurt is every one of us of every race who pays the taxes that fund government programs. That includes taxpaying African-Americans as much as it does taxpaying whites.

                  I doubt you frame your support for military spending as “advocating hurting innocent people” even though the money that pays for it comes out of the same pot as the programs you oppose. So get over yourself.

                2. “The original comment was suggesting people should be treated fairly. Leo Marvin says no”
                  You guys have a fundamental disagreement about what “fair” means.

  11. P.S. Other than what I noted, David’s criticisms are correct.

    I’ve seen Angela Davis up close — she has a weird way of speaking and is amazingly pompous. I got the impression she’s surrounded by concentric circles of worshippers and there’s no one around her who will point this out.

    I also met her younger sister, who stays out of the limelight. Nice lady, modest, quiet.

  12. So Kendi and Reynolds claim that the L.A. rioters pf 1992 were the insurrectionists of their day.

    There is no statute of limitations for insurrection.

    1. You can be insufficiently alive to be prosecuted, which has the same effect as statutes of limitations.

  13. Another heroic effort by Bernstein to refute those who think everything is about racism when he clearly knows it’s all about COMMUNISTS.

    1. Either way, anyone who disagrees with him is a confirmed antisemite.

      1. Either way, anytime Pollock enters the conversation, you know you’re going to get pithy one-liners, but nothing that ever refutes the argument.

        1. Unlike your strong rebuttal with extensive supporting evidence?

          1. You yourself provide all the supporting evidence one would ever wish to have for I Callahan’s rebuttal.

            1. Thanks for the help.

  14. Leftist revolutionary truth transcends factual and historical accuracy.

    Too bad you’re still pretending like they might care about whether their mythos appears to match reality. The less it looks real, the more they’ll mock you for pointing it out. Because you don’t get it at all.

    1. Ben – he gets it. Where you may differ is how to critique it. We still have to point out these people as charlatans as much as possible, no matter what.

      1. I disagree that he gets it. And I don’t know who you think is listening to anything being pointed out.

        People who care about the difference between truth and falsehood should have seen enough to make up their minds many years ago.

      2. ” We still have to point out these people as charlatans as much as possible, no matter what.”

        Even if it turns out that they aren’t charlatans?

        ” We still have to point out these people as charlatans as much as possible, no matter what.”

    2. I don’t think Bernstein wrote this post expecting to convince the CRT crowd of their errors — he wrote it to convince everyone who might be on the fence.

      1. Most of the Volokh Conspiracy these days seems to consist of red meat designed to lather especially downscale right-wingers who fantasize about ‘owning the libs.’

        Not all of it, though.

        1. You could read this as an attempt to correct mistakes in Kendi’s book that are flagrantly wrong. But you would rather teach kids racism and bigotry.

          1. You could read this as an attempt at apologia, demanding different interpretations of facts, but that would require admitting that someone on “the other side” might be right, and we know THAT ain’t happening any time soon.

      2. ” he wrote it to convince everyone who might be on the fence.”

        Naw. He wrote it to amuse himself, and was insufficiently amused so he wrote it again.

    3. “Leftist revolutionary truth transcends factual and historical accuracy.

      Too bad you’re still pretending like they might care about whether their mythos appears to match reality.”

      Are you dyslexic? It seems you have your left and right backwards.

  15. In a stylistic shake-up, we don’t wait until the end to start labeling people as anti-semites, but hop that fence much closer to the beginning of this piece.

    1. If you disagree that each of “Davis, Malcolm X, Jeremiah Wright, Stokely Carmichael”–has a history of antisemitism, please say so. If not, pipe down.

      1. Were they as bad as the right-wingers proudly and loudly chanting “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville?

        Or the old-timey conservative evangelicals who engage in phony embrace of Jews because they expect Jews to play an important role in a superstitious fantasy (at the conclusion of which the now-useless Jews are to be cast toward eternal damnation) — a story that would be especially horrifying were it not a fairy tale?

        1. No, they were way worse. And as usual, you’re a liar. They didn’t say “Jews will not replace us.”

          Do you ever post anything that isn’t either snide, arrogant or a lie?

          1. there’s video. with clear audio. Why do you guys keep trying to deny things that are easily shown to be true?

            1. If you were trying to defend and promote ignorance, backwardness, bigotry and superstition as a political platform, you would eventually resort to silly, stupid measures, too.

              The video and audio are readily available.

              It’s too bad the Conspirators have a ‘free passes for clingers’ policy, because it would be great to watch Prof. Bernstein go after the contention those right-wingers weren’t saying “Jews will not replace us.”

      2. “If you disagree that each of “Davis, Malcolm X, Jeremiah Wright, Stokely Carmichael”–has a history of antisemitism, please say so. If not, pipe down.”

        What I said was that you usually don’t start complaining about all the antisemites until you get to the end of one of your little rants. If that’s not true, say so.

        1. Is your biggest complaint with this piece really that anti-Semites are labeled as such early rather than late? Because that doesn’t even approach argument. It barely even qualifies as a whine.

          1. I made an observation that the prof switched up his style for this piece. That’s not even a complaint, much less a “biggest” one.

            1. Others have accused you of relying on snide, inconclusive one-liners rather than actual reason, argument, or even substantive comment. It sounds like you agree with them.

              1. Others have suggested dismissing your input as inconsequential. It seems you agree.

  16. “Discussion of Angela Davis’ arrest and acquittal for smuggling guns used in a kidnapping and murder.”

    There is also the issue of a 26-year-old woman having sex with a 17-year-old boy — the age of consent in California is 18 today, I don’t know what it was in 1970.

    Nor do I know what California and Federal law said about minors possessing firearms — and I believe that the age of majority was still 21 but a 17-year-old is a minor even today.

    My suspicion is that the law was something along the lines of “with parental permission” — that a parent or legal guardian could give a firearm to a minor, but no one else could (excepting en loco parentis, e.g. school shooting clubs).

    1. When I was ten, I went to a summer camp that had a shooting range. It wasn’t only open on parents’ visiting day.

    2. “There is also the issue of a 26-year-old woman having sex with a 17-year-old boy — the age of consent in California is 18 today, I don’t know what it was in 1970.”

      Well I can tell you that it was 16, I happen to know because I was asking for a friend.

      Actually I can probably fess up anonymously now. My 16 year old gf moved in with me when I was 23, in ’78, we got married in 83, and were married 34 years. I’m probably safe now, our 3 kids would probably disown her if she turned me in now, even after the divorce.

  17. This book sounds like it has as many problems as a history textbook from Texas, or a science textbook from a backwater religious school, or a downscale homeschooling outline popular in Oklahoma, Mississippi, or Idaho, or West Virginia.

    Let’s hope the American mainstream produces better books — for those willing to accept progress — to improve education.

    1. Texas history books in high school and college are used nation wide. You clearly are such a blinded bigot you cannot understand simple things.

      1. YMMV. some publishers create a version of their textbooks specifically for Texas, and some just edit out the bits that Texans don’t like, like climate change being related to fossil fuel extraction, and then offer the same books to schools in other states. YOU clearly are such a blinded bigot you cannot understand simple things.

      2. I understand that guys like me have been shoving progress down the throats of guys like you for so long as either of us has been alive, and that we will continue to shape our national progress against your preferences for so long as either of us will be alive.

        Be nicer, or your betters may become less gracious in victory.

  18. A Washington Post article talks about Thomas’ early activism:

    Thomas also seemed to share his black classmates’ enthusiasm for the radical politics of the day. He wore a goatee, Army fatigues and combat boots, and a poster of Malcolm X adorned his dormitory room, according to a former roommate. In January 1969 he joined a number of other students in founding the Black Student Union, serving as its first treasurer and writing its constitution. Thomas later lost a close election for president of the union, recalled Leonard Cooper, a college friend and fellow activist.

    Thomas participated in several civil rights protests in Worcester, including one outside a Thom McAn shoe store accused of denying jobs to blacks, Cooper said. His most celebrated act of defiance occurred during his junior year, following the suspension of four black students for their involvement in blocking access to the campus by corporate recruiters. Complaining that the four had been singled out because of their race, the black students staged a news conference in which they ceremoniously threw down their student ID cards, then left the campus in a caravan of cars.

    1. This in in response to the comment What “work as an activist” they are talking about is beyond me.

      1. Is that what got him into Yale Law School?

        1. I don’t know, but it contradicts the notion that his connection with activism is unknown.

          1. The book’s relevant claim about Thomas was that “his work as an activist got him into fancy schools”. Bernstein’s question was what activism did that, and simply pointing at some activism does not support the idea that it got him into one fancy school, much less multiple fancy schools.

            1. You can try working backwards. Objectively, he did get into some nice schools. Was it his extensive publishing history prior to admittance? Probably not. Was it family money and influence? Seems unlikely. When you come up with a likely alternative, show your work.

  19. It would be great to have been told how many is many in “Many high schools and middle schools are assigning this …” Would 11 schools be “many” – how about 111? We have 25,000+ high/middle schools , …

  20. 206 “Reagan’s economic policies caused unemployment to skyrocket.” Unemployment went up at the beginning of the Reagan administration, then went down for the rest of it to lower levels than when he started.

    According to Politifact: “During Reagan’s first five years — January 1981 to January 1986 — black unemployment fell from 14.6 percent to 14.5 percent. …During Reagan’s full term — January 1981 to January 1989 — black unemployment fell from 14.6 percent to 11.8 percent. That’s a decline of 2.8 percentage points, or 19 percent.”

    1. The problem with citing figures for unemployment is that the people to collect such statistics take people who have been unemployed for a long time and poof! take them out of the statistics because they somehow aren’t unemployed any more? If you use up all your enemployment benefits, they no longer count you among “the unemployed.”

      1. This figure is meant to include only those who are unemployed and trying to find work. It makes sense in the case of a say-at-home spouse who is not looking for work, but possibly not for people who have given up trying to find work.

        1. We’ll just magically decide that people who have not found work aren’t actually looking for work, and that way we don’t have to be concerned about the people who ARE looking for work and can’t find any. I should try handwaving to solve ALL the world’s problems.

          1. Apparently, to be classified as unemployed, a person must be without a job, currently available to work, and actively looking for work in the previous four weeks. Thus, a person who does not have a job but who is not currently available to work or has not actively looked for work in the last four weeks is counted as out of the labor force.

            Are you saying that this is a misstatement of the facts or that you disagree with this definition of unemployment?

            1. They can play with the definition all they want. The bottom line is that they find a way to label some unemployed people as not unemployed.

              1. Are you going to answer the question about whether you think swood1000 mis-stated the operative definition of unemployment?
                My six-year-old kid does not have a job, and some might argue that he is unemployed. It would be enormously stupid to include him in any kind of unemployment statistics, though.

                If you want to defend the book’s claim that “Reagan’s economic policies caused unemployment to skyrocket”, you need to point to a definition under which that happened. Using the official numbers, that did not happen.

                1. ” Using the official numbers, that did not happen.”

                  The official numbers are useless. Did you not pick that up from what I wrote before?
                  If you count the people who were actually unemployed, though, it does turn out that there were a substantial number of them

            2. “Are you saying that this is a misstatement of the facts or that you disagree with this definition of unemployment?”

              How about this one: A person is “unemployed” if they not currently employed. Infants and retirees are unemployed. The fact that you don’t want to count them as unemployed didn’t make them employed.

              1. Infants and retirees are unemployed.

                This results in an aggregation that people are not interested in. Unemployment is a societal problem but unemployed infants are not part of the problem.

                1. “This results in an aggregation that people are not interested in. ”

                  Neither should people be interested in an aggregation that doesn’t count people who are still looking for work but not employed among the “unemployed”.

        2. “This figure is meant to include only those who are unemployed and trying to find work.”

          So taking people off the list because they’re out of unemployment benefits seems kind of shady. I mean, we KNOW they stopped looking for work when they stopped getting unemployment checks, right?

      2. U5 and U6 measure that. Don’t try to dispute those figures because U3 doesn’t include discouraged workers.

        And those trends always track each other. There is a phenomenon that happens that when labor markets get tight, discouraged workers get undiscouraged.

  21. Here is all the “logic” you need from the left.

    We are supposed to believe that society is full of white supremacists, so much so that to fill the newspaper with favorable stories almost every single example is either hyped, distorted, or simply a hoax.

    But, we are supposed to believe that a few hundred unarmed tourists with cameras walking around the capitol almost overthrew our government.

    Ancillary to that, cops are good when they protected democrat politicians on the capitol and police murdering an unarmed protester is just fine according to AK and Sarc.

    1. “cops are good when they protected democrat politicians on the capitol”

      Mike Pence a democrat politician now? Because he wouldn’t help overthrow the 2020 election?

      1. I’m sure the dems cared less about him and even if some tourists did run into him they probably would have just wanted to take a picture with him.

        1. Delusional bigots are among my favorite culture war casualties . . . and a core element of this White, male, right-wing blog’s followers.

        2. ” if some tourists did run into him they probably would have just wanted to take a picture with him.”

          Probably not the ones chanting “hang Mike Pence” or the ones who booed him and called him a “traitor” when he spoke at a conservative event recently.

          Take your revisionism elsewhere.

          1. You do realize those were the actions of just a few people, right? Because I seriously doubt that you do.

            1. You don’t understand shit.
              and you can still take your revisionism with you when you leave.

              1. Telling the truth is not “revisionism”. It is telling the truth. The fact that you have to lie and then tell yourself it isn’t a lie is just sad.

                1. “Telling the truth is not ‘revisionism’.”

                  Trying to sell revisionism as “truth” doesn’t make it not revisionism.

                  ” The fact that you have to lie and then tell yourself it isn’t a lie is just sad.”

                  But it’s peachy-keen when you do it?

  22. “Crack baby.” …..

    Bernstein is absolutely correct here. The concerns he discusses were widespread, and shared by many medical professionals.

    IIRC there were few who disagreed with the idea.

  23. Clearly such a book as this should be nowhere near any public or private schools. But many people like Kirkland are foolish leftists who only understand soft bigotry and power and are willing to dole out the first in order to secure the second.

    1. “Clearly such a book as this”

      You mean a book that you find difficult to read, and not just because it has multiple-syllable words in it?

      1. No, he means a book that is flagrantly racist and chock full of factual errors.

        You don’t seem to care, presumably because this is a form of racism you support because of the Jersey color of the authors.

        1. My mind reading powers clearly do not reach your level, as you are able to reach thoughts I’m having that even I wasn’t aware of.
          Can you give me some winning lottery numbers?

          1. You don’t support this racist screed being assigned in schools? Your comments suggest that you do. I’m not reading your mind, I’m interpreting your words.

            1. You’re reading someone’s mind, in the sense that I haven’t written a damn word about whether or not this book should be assigned in schools. Until now. The answer to that question (should this book be assigned in schools?) depends greatly on which schools and to which students. Some will apparently feel threatened by it, as is Bevis the Butt-Head. A great many others would be likely to read it, sigh “whatever” in that way teenagers have, and move on to beating the next level of whatever videogame has caught their interest.

      2. Well as someone that was coming of age in the Bay Area in 1970, in fact I was only about 30 miles away from the Marin county Civic Center when Angela Davis’ shotgun, which was taped to the neck of Judge Harold Haley by her 17 year old bodyguard, blew the judges head off in an courtroom escape attempt.

        Despite my leftist sympathies at the time that told me all I needed to know about Angela Davis. And any book that spends a significant amount of time lauding her I am not going to find convincing.

      3. This version is actually written to a very low level, my 12 year old daughter read some of it and told me she felt like she was reading a book written to a third grade level, and poorly at that.

        1. It’s harder to write third-grade-level than you think it is. I used to write manuals for Nintendo games, and the designer would tell me “OK, right here you can use up to 19 characters to describe what the B button does, and over here you can use up to 19 characters to describe what the A button does, and over here you can have 5 lines of 60 characters to describe the all the indicators shown on the main game screen” and the whole thing had to be written in vocabulary a 9-year-old can understand.

    2. “Clearly such a book as this should be nowhere near any public or private schools. But many people like Kirkland are foolish leftists who only understand soft bigotry and power and are willing to dole out the first in order to secure the second.”

      I observed that this book appeared to have problems. Now I shall observe that I am glad Republicans chose ignorant, obsolete bigots as a pillar of their electoral coalition.

      1. They need the bigots to be able to even come close in elections when the Democrats get all their voters to show up at the polls.

        1. I sometimes wonder whether Republicans and conservatives embrace and appease the bigots because they like the diffuse intolerance to at least some degree or, instead, shack up with the bigots purely for practical (‘it’s the only way we can compete in modern America’) reasons.

          It’s reprehensible conduct either way.

          1. Bird of a feather.

  24. In an article titled “Why the Academic Achievement Gap is a Racist Idea” Kendi said that “Standardized tests have become the most effective racist weapon ever devised to objectively degrade Black minds and legally exclude their bodies.” He says, “What if we measured intellect by an individual’s desire to know?” and “What if we measured literacy by how knowledgeable individuals are about their own environment: how much individuals knew all those complex equations and verbal and nonverbal vocabularies of their everyday life?”

    Possibly because “an individual’s desire to know” or his familiarity with “all those complex equations and verbal and nonverbal vocabularies of their everyday life” do not build bridges or cure disease or show how to acquire knowledge using statistical inference, nor do they teach effective communication or disclose historical mistakes that should not be repeated. Perhaps it is uncharitable to note that Kendi’s GPA was below 3.0 and his SAT scores were just above 1000.

    1. Glenn Loury On Affirmative Action in 2021: If (black) kids do poorly on the tests it’s not because they’re victims of bias. It’s because they don’t know the material. Please don’t lower standards. Develop their potential instead!

      1. ” If (black) kids do poorly on the tests it’s not because they’re victims of bias. It’s because they don’t know the material. Please don’t lower standards.”

        It’s not about lowering standards. It’s about setting them accurately. For example, setting up “real” problems in the math story problems test.
        Chad and Abigail are preparing for the regatta at their yacht club. Each mainsail is 5 meters tall and 3.5 meters at the boom. there are 12 yachts total in the regatta. How much canvas will they need to buy to make all the sails?
        A) 60 square meters
        B) 65 square meters
        C) 100 square meters
        D) 105 square meters
        E) None of the above.

        1. The answer is E) You don’t need any canvas. modern sails are made of stronger, lighter materials.

        2. None of the above. Obviously.

          Even for someone who has never set foot outside Mongolia.

          1. Yeah. It’s really easy to answer correctly 11 minutes after the correct answer has been given to you. Obviously.

        3. Chad and Abigail are preparing for the regatta at their yacht club.

          Yes, there have been SAT or IQ questions that were easier for those from a certain segment of society to answer. But efforts have been made to remove those. Are you saying that it is impossible to remove those, making such tests inherently invalid?

          Kendi is apparently saying that vocabulary not common in the inner-city ghetto is culturally biased on such tests, but the purpose of education is to acquaint children with the whole range of English vocabulary. Does that lack legitimacy? Do you say that vocabulary is not correlated with academic achievement or with reading comprehension? Are you saying that academic achievement and reading comprehension are racist if they differ between the races?

          1. You ask a lot of questions about what I am saying. Is your reading comprehension so poor that you cannot read what I am saying?

        4. That question is at least as unfair in an all white farm town in Kansas as it would be in inner city Baltimore not far from the inner harbour. Sure the kids from Martha’s Vineyard are going to ace it.

          But whoever wrote the question seems to be just as ignorant, a main sail doesn’t have to be a triangle, it’s the sail behind the mast, but on a larger yacht it could be squarerigged. That calls for an unfounded assumption.

          Phrasing the question better like Chad and Latisha have a summer job renovating an apartment building. How much carpet do they need to re-carpet 12 rooms each of which are 5 meters by 3.5 meters.

          That’s the almost the same problem, and it’s essential math. And you could make the problem harder by putting the room in feet, and ask for the carpet in yards, but it would still be fair and essential knowledge that should be tested.

          1. “That question is at least as unfair in an all white farm town in Kansas as it would be in inner city Baltimore not far from the inner harbour.”
            Indeed. But perfectly fair to a kid who grew up sailing on the Puget Sound northwest of Seattle.

            “But whoever wrote the question seems to be just as ignorant, a main sail doesn’t have to be a triangle”

            Nor did any part of the question say that mainsails have to be triangles. Point to the word “triangle” in the question. So your complaint that the person who wrote the question is ignorant for assuming that a mainsail has to be triangle fails and he is now laughing straight at you for inserting a rule that mainsails have to be triangles into a question that makes no such assumption. To answer the question correctly, you don’t have to know anything about the shape of mainsails.

            “Phrasing the question better like Chad and Latisha have a summer job renovating an apartment building. How much carpet do they need to re-carpet 12 rooms each of which are 5 meters by 3.5 meters. ”

            If it makes you happier, imagine the question is as follows: “Chad and Latisha have a summer job renovating an apartment building. How much canvas do they need to re-carpet 12 rooms each with are 5 meters by 3.5 meters?
            A) 20.5 meters
            B) 60 meters (squared)
            C) 175 meters (squared)
            D) 210 meters (squared)
            E) none of the above

            and the answer is again E because you don’t use canvas to re-carpet renovated apartments.

            1. Can you point to any actual SAT questions that are trick questions relying on that kind of specialty knowledge? Or are you just inventing straw men?

              1. People who have access to actual SAT questions around bound by non-disclosure agreements, so no, I WON’T be helping you with your SATs.

                1. Your days of being moronically non-responsive and obnoxiously insulting in response to direct questions have certainly come to a middle.

                  1. Your days of clever comebacks will come, someday. Yesterday was not the day.

              2. There was famously an SAT question about yacht::regatta.

                1. This was from an SAT analogy question from the early 80’s:

                  RUNNER: MARATHON
                  (A) envoy: embassy
                  (B) martyr: massacre
                  (C) oarsman: regatta
                  (D) horse: stable

                  Apparently, 53% of whites chose C, the correct answer, but only 22% of African-Americans chose C.

                  This question was discussed in The Bell Curve by Murray and Herrnstein, which was excerpted in an article in The New Republic, for those who are interested. Their observation was: “The black-white difference is generally wider on items that appear to be culturally neutral than on items that appear to be culturally loaded. We italicize this point because it is so well established empirically yet comes as such a surprise to most people who are new to this topic.” No doubt there are different opinions on this subject. Some point out that on many SAT questions that appear facially neutral, whites still score much higher than African-Americans, such as this one:

                  The singer now performs a more ___________ repertoire of songs than in the past, when he sang only traditional ballads.
                  (A) sentimental
                  (B) experimental
                  (C) mellow
                  (D) customary
                  (E) wary

                  While 59% of whites answered correctly (choosing B), just 37% of African-Americans answered correctly.

                  1. The fun part comes when you let different people decide what answer gets scored as “correct”. If you really want to measure analysis skills (you know, intelligence), multiple choice questions are very poor for that. What you really want is to ask them is to provide a reason why the wrong answers are wrong as well as explaining why the correct answer is correct. If you’re going to stick to multiple choice because it’s easy to score mechanically, you really want to have “choose all that apply”-style multiple choice rather than single-answer.

    2. “Possibly because ‘an individual’s desire to know’ or his familiarity with ‘all those complex equations and verbal and nonverbal vocabularies of their everyday life’ do not build bridges or cure disease”

      But SAT vocabulary does?

      1. But SAT vocabulary does?

        Vocabulary is a strong indicator of student success (Baker, Simmons, & Kame’enui, 1997).

        1. But does it build bridges? Cure diseases?

          1. It is used by programs that teach these things, and that are looking for indicators of which students are more likely to be successful in the program.

            1. The fact that something is misused shouldn’t be cited as evidence that something can’t be misused.

              1. Is it misused if it correlates positively with academic achievement?

                1. You are trying to show that stupid people can be otherwise functional?
                  We already have Special Ed to prove that point!

    3. “What if we measured intellect by an individual’s desire to know?” and “What if we measured literacy by how knowledgeable individuals are about their own environment: how much individuals knew all those complex equations and verbal and nonverbal vocabularies of their everyday life?”

      Alas, I suspect the folk who will do best on these tests are likely to be much the same people as do best on the standardised tests. Not precisely, but mostly. But I’d be most interested in the sort of tests Kendi proposes. Difficult to compose such tests objectively, I would think, but worth a try.

      Obviously Kendi’s literacy test has to be particular to people of the same “environment” and thus you will need lots of different ones if you wish to compare people from different environments. Which I would think would be harder to do than, say, comparing IQ tests taken in different languages.

      1. Obviously, what we should do for IQ tests is give them all in Mandarin Chinese, so we don’t have any unnecessary calibration between different languages. What? You can’t read Mandarin Chinese? Guess you have a low IQ, then. You can get the same results by the choice of vocabulary you use in English, too. This is the basic flaw of using vocabulary testing to measure intelligence.

        1. This is the basic flaw of using vocabulary testing to measure intelligence.

          On the SAT vocabulary is intended to measure likelihood of success in college. When I was in school we had to learn new vocabulary constantly. I assure you that many of these words were Mandarin Chinese to me when I first saw them. If a person doesn’t learn the vocabulary then it could be because he lacks intelligence, or is not incentivized to learn it, or his school didn’t teach it, or he didn’t read the assigned literature that incorporated that vocabulary. If his school didn’t teach that vocabulary or didn’t assign the reading that used it then either his school was substandard or such vocabulary and reading are not an important part of a good education. Kendi would apparently agree with the latter whereas the conventional belief is the former. Where do you come down?

          If a large vocabulary is positively correlated with academic achievement what’s wrong with using such a test? I will concede that those whose parents have a large vocabulary will have an advantage, but that is going to be true no matter what measure one uses. Those with parents who insist on good grades have an advantage over those without such parents if admission is based on grades.

          1. “If a large vocabulary is positively correlated with academic achievement what’s wrong with using such a test?”

            You’re assuming that academic achievement is related to intelligence. Sometimes it is.

            1. Counterpoint: Special Ed claims to be a Dr.

              1. “Here let me yell some more at this computer….that will show them how smart I really am…!!!!!”

                1. Is it working?

                  1. Yep. We can see how smart you am.

                    1. Are you so dense that you didn’t understand I was mocking you?

                    2. No, you were awesome.

            2. You’re assuming that academic achievement is related to intelligence. Sometimes it is.

              No. I’m saying that it has been shown empirically that a large vocabulary is positively correlated with academic achievement. This is why it is used on tests that try to predict which students are more likely to achieve academically.

              1. Academic success is strongly correlated to a lot of factors, including intelligence but also diligence and motivation. At truly stupid person can earn an Ed.D. Ask Special Ed. (but use short words.)
                Go back to 6/26 4:40pm. What was the last sentence of that posting? Was it about academic achievement? Hint(no). You brought up testing for academic achievement as a defense for using vocabulary to test intelligence. This is why you got a response that pointed out that you had a small apples:oranges problem in your argument.

                1. You brought up testing for academic achievement as a defense for using vocabulary to test intelligence.

                  I was saying that I don’t want to get into intelligence, because people can’t even agree on a definition of intelligence, but people can agree on a definition of academic achievement. So I simply pointed out the correlation of that with vocabulary. I wasn’t equating academic achievement with intelligence. I was saying that aside from that, it has value in the SAT.

                  1. You tried to drag a random tangent to the center, and you got called on it.

          2. ” Those with parents who insist on good grades have an advantage over those without such parents if admission is based on grades.”

            If, and it’s a big “if”, the parents’ insistence has any effect. Sometimes it does not. My parents’ wanting me to do my homework and get better grades did not raise my GPA in the slightest. I needed a 2.75 to get into the state college I wanted and I finished at 2.78. Needed a 2.0 to graduate with an undergraduate degree, finished at 2.3. Did better after that, because I as motivated. Top third of my class at law school, despite working full-time AND being a single parent when I started.

            1. If, and it’s a big “if”, the parents’ insistence has any effect. Sometimes it does not.

              We’re just looking at likelihoods here. Maybe if your parents had really come down hard on you for grades below a ‘B’ your trajectory would have been different.

              1. “Maybe if your parents had really come down hard on you for grades below a ‘B’ your trajectory would have been different.

                Mom did and it didn’t make any difference. There was stuff I was interested in and stuff I was not interested in. School was the second one.

            2. ” Those with parents who insist on good grades have an advantage over those without such parents if admission is based on grades.”

              Those who are motivated to show success in academia will have an advantage over those without such self-motivation, if admission is based on grades.

              Conversely, a person who isn’t motivated to show success in academia, or whose other motivations are more dominant, will have a disadvantage over those who focus on academics. But the really good running-back will still get into USC, along with the parents who can afford to pay to have their kids recruited to the crew team.

    4. If liberals actually cared about science they would be more interested in applying the scientific method to find ways to overcome what appears to be a significant educational gap between certain demographics instead of just yelling “racism” at it.

      1. OK, Mr. the Dane. Let’s try your way. Instead of yelling “racism”, I’ll just come right out and ask, why are you stupid?

        1. If I had a link to it, I’d post a link here to a video of Nancy Kerrigan whining “WHY?” after Tonya Harding’s husband hired some goons to try to break her leg.

          You’ll just have to imagine it. WHYYYYYY?

        2. Thanks for proving my point (people around here do that a lot).

          1. THAT’S why you’re stupid?

            1. You think you’re making a point?

            2. And you are displaying your lack of intellectual prowess for everyone to see even more for some reason. Guess you can’t really fix stupid, but thanks for proving my point yet again!

              1. The point is that you insist on being stupid. Point conceded.

              2. ” Guess you can’t really fix stupid”

                On the other hand, I would strongly suggest that you get yourself fixed.

  25. This is the basic flaw of using vocabulary testing to measure intelligence.

    The basic faw in this basic flaw is that you can measure the correlation between linguistic tests and non linguistic tests, and if you test someone in a language they’re fluent in, the correlation is strong. If you test them in a language they don’t speak at all, the correltion is weak. Thus you can measure the “bias” of the choice of language (and vocabulary) by measuring the degree of correlation between linguistic and non linguistic tests.

    The difficulty with the Kendi literacy test is finding another suitable test that you can use for measuring correlations, and so for detecting bias in the literacy test.

    1. “The basic faw in this basic flaw”

      Tell me more about this faw.

  26. I have to disagree with you here:
    “The book says the law put the blame on black parents, and black teachers, and public schools. I don’t follow the logic of why it blamed black parents.”

    It’s because Black parents should shoulder a lot of the blame. Unmotivated parents lead to unmotivated students. Sure it’s a generational affect, and it is a trait across racial lines.

    That’s why I have proposed performance bonuses for improvement in standardized test scores directly to parents. If you took 10% of current bloated school budgets in districts like Baltimore where the spend > 16k per student, that would free up 1.6k per student to reward the parents for better reading and math scores. Even a 5% improvement annually over 5 years would put a student in the 25th percentile to the 50th, and put 8000 in the parents pocket.

    It’s a better plan than to keep pissing the money away on administrators, unions and CRT. None of which will improve test scores at all.

    1. the trick is, always has been, and always will be, to make and keep students motivated to show the type of success that you want instead of the type of success that they want. The ones who are already motivated by a desire for academic success will not be difficult to push towards academic success. the other 90% will be tougher.

  27. It is said that if a person will follow three simple rules he or she will have only a 2% chance of ending up in poverty and a 74% chance of attaining middle class income: (1) graduate from high school, (2) have a full-time job, (3) Wait to get married until after 21 and do not have children until you are married.

    Suppose we have two people alike in every respect except that Person A followed the three rules and Person B did not. If Person A enters middle class and Person B remains in poverty it would seem that the difference is caused by the choices each one made, but Kendi seems to say that people in poverty cannot be assigned any blame for their poverty, since that blames the victim instead of the system. Is such a position coherent?

    Glenn Loury calls this a bluff:

    But this is a bluff that relies on “cancel culture” to be sustained. Those making such arguments are, in effect, daring you to disagree with them. They are threatening to “cancel” you if you do not accept their account: You must be a “racist”; you must believe something is intrinsically wrong with black people if you do not attribute pathological behavior among them to systemic injustice.

    …Or, consider the educational achievement gap. …But the simple retort, “racism”, is laughable—as if such disparities have nothing to do with behavior, with cultural patterns, with what peer groups value, with how people spend their time, with what they identify as being critical to their own self-respect. Anyone actually believing such nonsense is a fool, I maintain. …They are bluffing—daring you to observe that the 21st-century failures of African Americans to take full advantage of the opportunities created by the 20th century’s revolution of civil rights are palpable and damning.

    1. Are you another one of those people who thinks liberals invented “cancel culture”?

      1. or is it just only bad when they do it?

    2. Rule 4: don’t get sick with a serious illness. that can land you in bankruptcy.

      1. In other countries with “universal” healthcare it lands you in a grave….

        1. In every country, everything lands you in a grave if you wait long enough.

          1. Awesome retort. Better than what you tried above at least.

            1. Also better than anything you offered…

  28. What this article illustrates is that this a book of preliminary ideas and observations that *should* have been subjected to the usual back-and-forth of academic debate that eliminates many of the flaws you’ve noted. But because Kendi in particular and left in general eschew debate outside their own echo chambers, and have successfully positioned the mere act of disagreement as a form of racism (“The very heartbeat of racism is denial” — Kendi), these ideas and assertions passed through to book form without challenge.

    1. I agree with you about this book. But I had to laugh at your “left in general.” Do you really believe the right is not guilty of this exact same sin, the echo chamber effect?

  29. ” But because Kendi in particular and left in general eschew debate outside their own echo chambers,”

    If you include conservatives under the umbrella of “the left”, then this statement is true enough. As a general rule, reality is not constrained by ideology, so if you insist on ideological purity, you’re going to be disappointed by reality. Sorry, “Real” Americans, this applies to you, too.

  30. This thread is full of neo-phrenology, white grievance, and empty partisan yawps.

    It’s certainly demonstrates something about the underlying thesis about the structure of society, and the unreasoning aspect of the defense of the racial status quo among certain cohorts that’s a big part of the thesis here.

    1. and the unreasoning aspect of the defense of the racial status quo

      This is he “if you don’t agree with Kendi then you’re denying that there is a problem” school of thought.

      1. Pull your head out of the sand, and look around.

  31. “…it’s rather difficult to see how a racist against Jews can be an antiracist heroine. ”

    No problem, they just define Jews as white or “white adjacent.” Their whole world-view is simultaneously absurdly over-simplified and consists of unsupported, unproven assertions.

    Hell, they adore fundamentalist Muslims in places like Iran and Saudi Arabia, who throw gays to their deaths off of tall buildings and are about the worst anti-Black racists in the world. Anti-Semitism is easy to handle.

    1. “Hell, they adore fundamentalist Muslims in places like Iran and Saudi Arabia, who throw gays to their deaths off of tall buildings and are about the worst anti-Black racists in the world. Anti-Semitism is easy to handle.”

      Yes, those conservative Muslims are VERY conservative.

  32. Not incidentally, she was and remains …[link has her engaging in a modern version of blood libel by ridiculously linking Israel to police violence against blacks in the U.S.] an anti-Semite

    I really don’t see why referring to Jewish Soviet prisoners by saying that “They are all Zionist fascist opponents of socialism” is anti-Semitic. A Zionist wishes to establish a state of Israel in Palestine. Saying that a person who opposes Zionism can only be doing so for anti-Semitic reasons is no better than the reasons that Kendi has for calling people who disagree with him racist. It’s just name-calling without a demonstration of the truth of the accusation. Nor do I see how it is anti-Semitic to say that many police departments have received anti-insurgency training by the Israeli military, or to say that there are important connections between struggles in the U.S. and struggles in Palestine. As with the indiscriminate used of “racism” this just robs the word of its power.

    1. For example, Albert Einstein and others opposed the creation of the State of Israel. Were they all anti-Semitic? Jewish anti-Zionism has history that goes way back.

    2. ” As with the indiscriminate used of “racism” this just robs the word of its power.”

      Could that be the secret end-game?

      1. Could that be the secret end-game?

        I don’t know. Is Qanon the answer?

        1. “Could that be the secret end-game?
          I don’t know. Is Qanon the answer?”

          Q: could that be the secret end-game?
          A: Qanon.

          Hmmm. Don’t think so.

  33. Good article!
    In relation to the quote from Kendi’s book: “Science says the race are biologically equal. So if they’re not equal in society, the only reason why can be racism.”
    I can cite an example of this falsehood from my own family. My father, myself, my brother, my 2 sons; all with very similar education, family life, life experiences, each have varying degrees of status in society. Different political bents, different career paths, different financial status, but we are all ‘white’. We are not equal in society and racism has nothing to do with it.

  34. “My father, myself, my brother, my 2 sons; all with very similar education, family life, life experiences, each have varying degrees of status in society. Different political bents, different career paths, different financial status, but we are all ‘white’.”

    When you look at a group of people, and the only thing you notice is that they are all the same color, that’s racist.

    1. Oh come on. It’s impossible to make one’s way through life today without being constantly bombarded with accusations of racism. The George Floyd protests that dominated public life recently were all about race. Whites are constantly being urged to acknowledge our white privilege and admit our racism. Anyone on the left side of the political equation is especially under that kind of pressure. Now you say that being white is the first thing that comes to mind and that this shows racism. To me it means only that this issue is front and center for you, that you want to stay in good standing with your political group, and that you have found a way to convince yourself that you really are racist. After all, the official doctrine is that whites who deny their racism are in denial, are farther from the light, and are obstructing progress. Furthermore, thanks to the teaching of Robin DiAngelo and other CRT gurus, we have learned that racism is at the group level and not necessarily at the individual level. So people can acknowledge their racism without having to acknowledge any personal blame.

  35. “Oh come on. It’s impossible to make one’s way through life today without being constantly bombarded with accusations of racism”

    True. If you go through life doing and saying racist things, people will notice.

Please to post comments