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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Racial Equity Training

What I found very curious and revealing is thisracial equity training for progressivesthat begins with:

White people on the left often hate to be called white. Much of the time, progressive or liberal white people experience this naming as a direct attack, something to get away from, fight back against, or something they just can’t handle, all jittery and anxious, trying to DO something and just making it worse. Sometimes they stand there, bodies all braced and waiting for the moment to pass.  And sometimes they completely disappear, ghosts in front of your eyes.

The conclusion of the racial equity trainer is, of course, that all these seemingly progressive folks are racists and white supremacists. The whole thing reminded me of this funny Soviet cartoon where a little elephant learns to count and begins to count all the other animals in the forest, happily exclaiming, “I counted you!” And the animals get very upset because they don’t like being counted. This is exactly how identity works. It has an internal locus of control. People don’t like their identity being named – let alone described – by others. They want to name themselves. I remember once almost biting a fellow’s head off for telling me, “You are a Slav.” I’m in no way ashamed of or emotional about being a Slav. But I didn’t like a stranger taking control of naming my identity, just like I wouldn’t welcome anybody approaching me with “You are a woman / a mother / a hypertensive / a heterosexual, etc.”

This is all clear and obvious and is boring even to talk about. What is a lot more interesting is how hard the racial equity trainer works at demolishing any solidarity that these silly little progressives might feel across racial lines. It’s like she is being paid by a white nationalist group to spread their propaganda. And for the sake of the enjoyment they derive from childish acts of masochism these sad little progressives keep subjecting themselves to the experiment. This is a behavior learned in childhood where a child is locked into an S&M relationship with a judgmental and disapproving parent and learns to derive enjoyment from feeling guilt for just being in the world. It has nothing to do with progressivism or search for racial equality.

The adult thing to do would be to say, “I’m engaging in this self-serving exercise just because it pleases me. Maybe I should get over myself and go do something real for justice and equality.” But the pleasure is too strong and too irresistible.

The way out of all this is to resist the colonization of the public with the aggressively spilled around private (see Bauman). Whenever you hear discourses like the linked one that take collective problems to the realm of individual psychology, just end the conversation. Everybody’s psychological issues should be solved with a qualified specialist. The shared space of discussion shouldn’t be occupied by the fake psychologizing conducted by unqualified amateurs.

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5 thoughts on “Racial Equity Training

  1. Alex the Physicist on said:

    Where could I get a copy of that Soviet cartoon? I’d love to get it translated, and trot it out the next time I’m in some sort of diversity training.

    Like

  2. You can call me anything you want. I figure anyone’s viewpoint or opinion to be anecdotal and subjective anyway, and everyone has their prejudices and myopic tendencies.

    Like

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