From Diversity Training Sessions to Political Re-Education Camp

John Beatty — submit or be crushed

by James A. Bacon

Loudoun public school officials thought it would be a good idea to provide “cultural competency and sensitivity” training to teachers, administrators and school board members. As described by LoudounNow, the county rolled out a workshop series designed to “push participants outside their comfort zone” and “question their belief systems.” In particular, participants were “forced to grapple with the benefits afforded them from generations of white privilege, stretching back to America’s earlier days.”

Last week, board member John Beatty made the mistake of actually participating in the conversation. He made the observation that in the Jim Crow era following Reconstruction former slaves were worse off than they had been during slavery because they lacked the patronage of a master. The comment was meant to be an indictment of Jim Crow, not an endorsement of slavery, but it ignited a firestorm.

Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee Chairwoman Katrece Nolen and Executive Board member Wande Oshode found his observation so heinous that they called for him to be removed from two school board committees and asked the full board to condemn his comments.

“Most people in the civilized world recognize this statement as being rooted in the very racist, inhumane and oppressive institution of slavery. To justify any aspect of slavery only 66 years after Brown versus Board of Ed eliminated inequities in the public school systems, and only a year after LCPS made national news about racially-insensitive lessons and conduct by administrators, is absolutely inexcusable,” Oshode said. “No parent of minority children should feel comfortable with Mr. Beatty remaining on the school board.”

I’ll get to the substance of Beatty’s remarks in just a moment. But there’s a more immediate issue at stake. Since when is it justifiable to spend public funds to provide ideological indoctrination of teachers, administrators and elected officials? Make no mistake, these workshops are not about having “an open dialogue about race.” They’re about propagating a leftist view of race and American history and brow-beating people into submission. In the supposed land of the free, these workshops are nothing less than political re-education sessions.

In an email response to Nolen and Oshode, Nolen responded that his comments were misconstrued. He does not support slavery, he said. “I abhor slavery and all the injustices that have occurred since then.” He continued:

In reading the quote out of context, I agree that it is offensive. However, the point I was making was not, as I was speaking to the issue of being deliberate and thoughtful before taking any actions. As elected officials, we have an obligation to consider all sides of any question and to carefully consider the ramifications of any actions we take. History teaches us that if we fail to do so, our actions can have far-reaching negative consequences. I referenced the Jim Crow laws as a particularly egregious example of this, as the laws made it impossible for the recently freed slaves to support their families. To avoid making similar mistakes, we must always consider all sides of any question and think carefully about the impact of our actions. And as I have just learned, we must also guard our words to make sure that when quoted out of context, they cannot cause offense.

Beatty’s argument in a nutshell: You took my quote out of context.

That’s the safe argument. If I were in his shoes, I would make a very different argument. I would argue that Oshode’s comment was offensive — indeed that the entire workshop series was offensive. I would criticize the expenditure of public funds to engage in political indoctrination.

By way of preface, let me state the obvious so the enforcers of PC rectitude don’t accuse me of what they accused Beatty of. I’m not defending slavery. Slavery was a moral abomination. As practiced in the United States, the institution expropriated the value of the slaves’ labor, sexually exploited slave women, broke up the families, subjected them to mistreatment and brutality, and inflicted a multitude of other harms. Slavery was a hideous stain on American history. There is no moral “defense” of slavery. None.

But it appears from their comments that Beatty’s critics have no interest achieving a dispassionate understanding of the “peculiar institution.” Their apparent intent is to portray slavery not only as a moral evil but as an unadulterated evil in every aspect. Their political goal is to maximize white guilt. Thus, they find offensive any observation that could be construed (in their minds) as diminishing African-American victimhood and white guilt, thus reducing their moral leverage in contemporary debate.

It is not “defending” slavery, however, to contend that American slavery was not in the same league as the Holocaust in its severity, as some have suggested it was. (The slaving wars in Africa and the “middle passage” in which slaves were packed into slaving vessels and transported to the Western hemisphere were a different matter; millions of people died.) It is not “defending” slavery to note that, following the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the slave population in the United States flourished demographically. To Beatty’s point, it is not “defending” slavery to observe that, as abusive as many were, white slave owners had a material incentive to protect the value of their property by keeping their slaves in good health while Jim Crow-era landowners had no comparable incentive to look out for their sharecroppers. It is not “defending” slavery to consider the possibility that, from a purely material perspective (food, shelter, other basic material needs), African-American slaves might have been better off than, say, penniless Irish immigrants stepping off the ship in New York harbor.  

But the leftist “cultural competency and sensitivity” crowd isn’t interested in the complexity and nuance of history. Their starting position is maximizing white guilt, and they work backwards through history from there. They have no interest in dialogue — they lecture, others must listen. They have no tolerance for dissent. Rather than engage in rational discussion, pointing out the errors in his thinking and inviting him to adopt another view, Beatty’s critics seek to cast him into outer darkness.

Oshode and Nolen are entitled, of course, to their own opinions. They are entitled to criticize any elected official they want. And they are free to organize any kind of event they want — on their own dime. But Loudoun County has no business using public funds to organize political indoctrination sessions, compel public employees to attend them, and encourage participants to “question their belief systems.” Virginians should condemn such a use of taxpayer dollars.

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59 responses to “From Diversity Training Sessions to Political Re-Education Camp

  1. One of the best articles Jim Bacon has written on Bacon’s Rebellion. It’s a breath of fresh air amid the stench of ignorance running rampant in our land, thank largely to a toxic ideology of higher education in this country.

    If we want to learn as adult mature human beings as to this particular issue raised, read William Faulkner’s That Evening Sun found at:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/That_Evening_Sun

    And note the loss went both ways with terrible consequences if enough of us are left who can still read, understand, an appreciate great literature, and what it tells us about all humanity, including ourselves.

  2. Is the School Board in Loudoun County elected or appointed? Whatever the back pedal, the idea that Jim Crow was worse than slavery is odd as is the patronizing comment about penniless Irish getting off the boat. What’s the relevance?. The Irish (or Scots Irish) immigrants, including some of my ancestors, CHOSE to come to America.
    Jim, if you want to get upset about something how about Hanover County’s legal bill with the NAACP for refusing to change the names of two schools from Confederate officers? Is that how Hanover people want their money spent? Defending Confederate generals?

    • As political tin ears go, that guy in Loudoun has one about as thick as they come. As to his effort to explain, the old adage that once in the hole you stop digging comes to mind. But you do love to swing your shovel, Jim.

      • Yes, there are some who relish this, but it is not Jim, nor John Beatty. Likely you start with Va. Attorney General’s office, and its smoking gun certified letter, to jump-start unfolding events in “racist” Loudoun County, which our Republican friends in Virginia want to hide, and pretend they don’t see, just like they got suckered in 2016.

      • I would add that if the leaders of the Republican Party in Virginia cannot weight in on “these taxpayer funded political indoctrination sessions that compel public employees to attend them, and encourage participants to “question their belief systems,”” then the leaders of the Republican Party do not deserve anyone’s vote. It’s better that such false leaders simply resign in mass, so other leaders worthy of the name “leaders” can be found who have the courage and conviction to protect their voters, and the state of Virginia.

    • The school board is elected. Mr. Beatty is new to 21st century politics. Nolen and Oshode know exactly what they are doing and it has been seen before.

  3. following……….

  4. None other than William Lloyd Garrison had the audacity to publish commentary in the Liberator that the Famine-era Irish were often worse off than slaves, who, at least, were fed.

    I do, however, agree with Peter in that there is a big difference between deciding to immigrate to the United States under any conditions and coming over in chains. Slavery is much worse in my view since it involves ownership of another human being, a totally repulsive concept.

    But if we carry Peter’s valid point further, why are some on the left trying to create a special status for some Hispanics who, by choice, are illegally immigrating to the United States and, in many instances, taking away work and higher wages from American citizens, including some descendants of African slaves?

  5. What the heck is a Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee?

    • School leader Dr. Williams has a bad habit of stepping in the same pot holes over and over again. MSAAC has been created to address equity issues and the education arm of the Loudoun NAACP. They have been given a permanent committee status and operate with a $3.5 million budget.

  6. re: to paraphrase: “at least slaves were not “normally” killed , etc”.

    They were. Their kids and wives and husbands were also separated and sold to other slave-owners in other regions and states, like they were cattle. This was accomplished by “herding” them to slave auction blocks where they were perused for their “qualities”.

    The question is – how many of us white folks were taught this history when we went to school?

    During Jim Crow, many had their homes burned, and were beaten and killed.

    And Confederate Statues erected across the south and Schools and highways and other public buildings named for Confederates generals who were also slave owners.

    Many white folks, including those who are teachers today – never learned this in their history schooling… but you can bet that black children are aware of that history.

    One can call this “indoctrination” by the “left” and do and they were utter the racist meme about blacks being better off under Jim Crow then later cry that they were quoted “out of context” – which means to me – either they were ignorant of the racist use of that meme or they knew it but still were willing to say it then claim they meant something else.

    Either way, it’s a lose-lose if you are someone who really wants to get along with black people.

    Words matter and when you use them – you are saying something about yourself and your ability to earn the trust and support of black people on these issues.

    • re: to paraphrase: “at least slaves were not “normally” killed , etc”.

      What are you talking about? I just did a word search of the posting and every comment made so far on this thread and YOUR comment is the only one so far with the words “paraphrase”, “normally” or “killed” in it.

      • ” It is not “defending” slavery, however, to contend that American slavery was not in the same league as the Holocaust in its severity, as some have suggested it was. (The slaving wars in Africa and the “middle passage” in which slaves were packed into slaving vessels and transported to the Western hemisphere were a different matter; millions of people died.) It is not “defending” slavery to note that, following the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the slave population in the United States flourished demographically. To Beatty’s point, it is not “defending” slavery to observe that, as abusive as many were, white slave owners had a material incentive to protect the value of their property by keeping their slaves in good health while Jim Crow-era landowners had no comparable incentive to look out for their sharecroppers.”

    • “The question is – how many of us white folks were taught this history when we went to school?”

      I was. [Virginia Beach City Public School System – early 1970s through early 1980s]

      • Were you taught that many were lynched in Jim Crow that others were attacked and killed at the end of WWI – that families were routinely separated and sold to never see their families again?

        I was “taught” but I did not “learn” about the full extend of what happened to slaves and blacks during Jim Crow until much later.

        • Yes.
          Yes.
          Yes.

          Any more questions, Mr. Prosecutor?

          • Nope. I’m relating things I’ve seen and asking if you did. Those
            things, once I knew about them – changed the way I think about the race issue. I realize that I was not taught much about it and that I was largely ignorant about the width and depth of it.

            I was taught that all these Confederate Statues were memorials to great men. I had no idea they were put up in the Jim Crow era when blacks were being lynched and their homes burned.

            I was NOT taught that children were taken from their parents and sold at slave markets. I WAS taught that slavery was a “good life” for slaves – that they were “better off”being slaves, etc.

            Yes, I was taught these things and I’m pretty sure I was not alone…

            That’s why I ask others and sometimes I get the same answer that yes, they too encountered these things but also I get folks who say they never saw such a thing – like we lived in two different worlds.

            And that explains a lot. So I do ask.

      • Hard to remember what I was taught in school. Can’t separate it out from family visits to the battlefields, from reading Foote, Catton, Freeman, Sandburg, David Potter (Harper Lee, for that matter)….Being in an integrating high school 1968-1972, race relations was not actually a question of history but a daily experience. If there was a confederate general on a pedestal in Roanoke, I’m not aware. Maybe a cenotaph at the courthouse with names. Big Lick played no role in the Late Unpleasantness.

        • The veterans of the war did play a role. They made Roanoke the symbol of the New South in Virginia.

        • With the exception of David Potter, I have multiple works by each of those historians/authors in my home library. Which of his writings would you most highly recommend?

        • I live 3 miles from Bloody Angle. I go there several times a week to walk.

          I’m familiar with the place, the geography, and the interpretation and like a lot of other Civil War Battlefields in our area – it largely memorializes the battle, the soldiers, the Generals, and not so much the lives of the slaves – who were greatly affected by the battles – and many of them tried to escape to the union lines. Others stayed behind. You won’t get this from many of the interpretive signs and I was not taught this in the segregated school I attended which is 3 miles from Bloody Angle either.

          What I learned about Slavery and the lives of slaves, I learned later on after I got out of school and the more I learned about it, the more I realize how little of it was actually covered in school. We were presented with far more “history” about the Confederacy and it’s heroes like Robert E Lee – of which we have an elementary with that name.

          It’s not hard to figure out who is who these days on this stuff.

          there are lots of attempts to “cloak” but it only takes a few words to get it better calibrated.

          I just don’t think unless someone has walked a mile in a black persons shoes that we know much beyond our own biases – and have seen it over and over.

          I do tend to think some of it might be overdone at times but again I’m brought back to the fact that I’m not them.. and I don’t have several generations of ancestors who were systematically mistreated. It was their families that were.

          And no, I do not take one or two of their word for it. I look at numbers – in the polls – that look like this:

          that’s 84% of blacks who say: the legacy of slavery still affects black people in the U.S. today

          you don’t have to agree – but it is the reality.

  7. “Supporting slavery” and being insensitive to racial issues are not the same thing. And I can’t comprehend where these judgments come from … words like required “political indoctrination sessions”, or “no tolerance for dissent.”

    OMG! I agree that the Loudoun official has a tin ear, but as former Loudoun resident I went back to find out where the indoctrination sessions got their start. Not sure of the time line, but the Blackface scandals were in the air when a Loudoun elementary school teacher made national news by having her kids reenact chasing slaves through the underground railroad to bring them back to their owners. That incident began a county wide look at “tin ears” and the real inequities in “student achievement gaps, discipline disproportionality, under representation of minority students in advanced programs and courses, and the lack of a diversified teacher workforce.”

    The effort led to some countywide discussions, and in the school system, to questions such as “how to better teach the history of racial oppression and discrimination in Loudoun schools—including the addition of blackface, among other omissions, to the curriculum.” A year later the “LCPS has reduced discipline disproportionality between African Americans and White students, while also decreasing suspension rates for African American and Hispanic students.“

    So … I applaud Loudoun officials for their continuing efforts to address the hangover left by those southern historians who rewrote the history of the Civil War to discount slavery, and whose rewrite remained in southern school history books into this century, and left us with all those statues to men who fought to maintain slavery in the South. The damage wrought by this interpretation of history is immeasurable. It is only now unraveling.

    I also think that my Scots-Irish ancestors who arrived without a penny would not think they would have been better off if they hadn’t had to pay for their boat ride because, as slaves, their immigration and all their future labor was compelled. One particular ancestor got himself a job as a stone mason building the capitol dome in DC and went on to contract much of the stonework in Victorian Philadelphia.

    • This is fake news. “not sure of the time line, but the Blackface scandals were in the air when a Loudoun elementary school teacher made national news by having her kids reenact chasing slaves through the underground railroad to bring them back to their owners” I personally know the teacher involved. Totally steamrolled!

      • OK … I copied that from the Loudoun news paper … What did the kids actually do for this game of “underground railroad”.
        It too sounded like a ‘tin ear’ thing

        • The activity was in the gym. It involved stations. Cross curricular activity between gym class and PE. As students went from station to station they learned about slavery, the underground railroad, etc. That is all that happened. The reports of students being chased around and reenacting runaway slaves is false. The principal had no guts. Superintendent was born without guts. The teacher was the fall guy and was transferred to a different school. The protection of a hired lawyer is the only reason why the teacher kept a job. What is happening in Loudoun County and soon to come across the Commonwealth is

          McCarthyism: a mid-20th century political attitude characterized chiefly by opposition to elements held to be subversive and by the use of tactics involving personal attacks on individuals by means of widely publicized indiscriminate allegations especially on the basis of unsubstantiated charges

          • I think the exercise had the potential to have bad optics and so I do somewhat question the judgement of the teacher. It just does not sound appropriate for gym/PE – even for Black History.

            Don’t do student exercises that involve “slaves”

            ” If “living history” role-plays in the classroom can so easily go wrong, why do teachers keep assigning them?”

            https://slate.com/human-interest/2019/05/history-classroom-role-playing-games-slavery-holocaust.html

            And not surprised that neither the principle nor the super were willing to fall on their swords to defend it. Been there. Seen that. Don’t have to be about slaves – just an irate parent.

          • Couldn’t see the issue very clearly from your explanation so I went to the paper again …
            https://www.loudountimes.com/news/for-black-history-month-this-loudoun-county-elementary-school-played/article_9cecd568-35ef-11e9-8540-6372d03d3025.html

            “Third-, fourth- and fifth-graders at Madison’s Trust Elementary School in Ashburn were instructed during their physical education period earlier this month to play a “game” that involved students working in groups, pretending to be runaway slaves and advancing through an obstacle course meant to represent the Underground Railroad.”

            “In at least one instance, an African-American child in the class was designated as a slave for the activity, according to Loudoun NAACP Chapter President Michelle Thomas, who said she’s heard several complaints from parents regarding the activity.” The NAACP complaint said that a black child was the only one who could have had slave ancestors, so playing the slave stigmatized him in front of the other students.

            Per usual … the complete facts probably lie somewhere in between the complaint and your version of ‘totally overdone,” which leaves me still trying hard to see what is wrong with at least trying to “form a more perfect union” in these United States. We all have biases and understanding who our ancestors were helps us understand what has had a role in shaping who we are. But it doesn’t have to be who we remain, either the planter or the slave.

            I have enjoyed Ancestry where I found out that in addition to a lot of wild Scots, I am a direct descendant of an English Vice-Chancellor whose home, Swarthmore, was one of the original Quaker Meeting Houses, and whose wife became known as the Mother of Quakerism. I had no idea … but I did choose to live in Swarthmore, PA. once, and maybe her DNA was the source of my revulsion at seeing those signs over the water fountains in at the companies I went to in Richmond while working for IBM.

            I think it’s interesting to know those ancestors and to see how we are somewhat shaped by them, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do things differently. Nor does it mean wiping out 400 years in one fell swoop, or by one person … just moving ahead. That ain’t McCarthyism.

        • “In at least one instance, an African-American child in the class was designated as a slave for the activity, according to Loudoun NAACP Chapter President Michelle Thomas”

          This is not what happened. Again, fake news.

        • “… just moving ahead. That ain’t McCarthyism.” Step in my shoes for one week. I believe you would indeed revise your opinion.

          • Reed Fawell 3rd

            “Step in my shoes for one week. I believe you would indeed revise your opinion.”

            Well said, John.

            Another way of saying the same thing is that if you did not fight the battle of Gettysburg, then you never will, nor will you ever come remotely close to understanding that battle, and those who did, nor will you earn any legitimate claim to that battle, by walking its fields a 150 years later. To claim the contrary is cheap and its tawdry in the extreme, and it is also highly disrespectful of who did fight that battle on all sides. And particularly do not wear or claim the war ribbons of other people, never ever.

      • John – there have been more than a few occasions when teacher-inspired role playing has gone awry. It’s just not a good thing to do – anytime so not good judgement in doing it to start with.

        That’s the tough thing about public schools. There is a fine line on things because the parents themselves and society have divisions on some of these issues.

        So you don’t do it and if you do , do it, because it is known to be risky, you’re not going to get backing from the higher-ups who think the teacher should have known better and they’re not going to go down over defending it.

        John, you said earlier you’r burned out (I think). I’ve seen the signs of burn out and agree. I hang around a bunch of teachers and it’s impossible to be around them and not hear “shop talk” – and this is one of the things they have discussed – role playing on controversial issues – and burn out.

        I actually asked one of them – a veteran of 34 years about this incident and he/she said “are you crazy?, that will get you in trouble every time”! Among the teachers I know, it’s a well recognized “no no”.

        McCarthyism was systematically tracking down individuals who supposedly were closet communists. I don’t think this fits. This was not the govt going after someone who was a alleged closet-racist or some such. We’re not going through the schools and govt to ferret out those who secretly opposed to blacks.

        We ARE much more sensitive about race these days AND we are divided as a nation on the issue – that’s become more and more obvious and it has also become part of “fitness” for certain jobs – including teaching. If you are an individual who is conflicted on race issues – then some employers who have diverse workplaces, don’t want you and if you are teaching a diverse set of people, they won’t want you either if you cannot maintain a race-neutral attitude in front of others.

        And yes, if you involve kids in a role-playing exercise where some kids are assigned to be the victims – it’s just bad karma – and I don’t think it’s just today and blacks. If you did it with Jews, or Muslims or Hispanics or gay or even gender, it would also have the potential to backfire.

        I do wish you the best in whatever comes next for you. I’ve been there myself and several teachers among my friends, and when the time comes the time comes and you go on to what is next. The best to you. Life will be good!

        • I never do roleplay. Waste of precious classroom time. Teacher is rolling the dice. I have had a couple of instances and it worked out the right way. It was easy for me to draw the conclusion of staying out of the roll playing game.

          You should come to Loudoun County. Ask the Superintendent if you can sit in on one of the Equity Training sessions. You will then see for yourself.

  8. Here is a great example of modern day McCarthyism in a new disguise. Teacher involved did nothing wrong and was correcting students that needed it. The teacher is a legend in the school system and now his reputation is mud. Some students are figuring out that under the guise of “equity” they possess a great deal of power and they plan to recklessly use it.

    https://www.loudountimes.com/news/independence-high-school-substitute-teacher-reportedly-used-racial-slur-in/article_24353c44-57e7-11ea-a1df-47306931ac8a.html

  9. John – do you teach in Loudoun County?

  10. or maybe you: ” express the meaning of (the writer or speaker or something written or spoken) using different words, especially to achieve greater clarity.”

    If you did not get my meaning, I’m glad to hone it further.

    • I recognize the definition of the word “paraphrase”, so I don’t need anything honed. You, however, appear to have misunderstood said definition.

      In order to be a true paraphrase, the “different words” you use must express the meaning of the writer or speaker, not intentionally distort it to reflect your own preconceived assumptions about the writer or speaker.

      Maybe you should go hone yourself.

  11. Ah, yes. The infamous “open and honest dialogue”, which is usually neither. Rather it’s an opportunity for left wing nuts to force their ideology down your throat. Been there, done that.

    You can see how it operates even within this blog. Good job, Jim.

    • I don’t think so Crazy. If your “experience” is something that most blacks can relate to – then that to me is different than someone who has grown up pretty much white – in a white culture.

      It’s hard to belive we grew up with Confederate statues, Confederate names on schools and roads.. massive resistance – and saw overt signs of racism along the way – to now refer to the mention of it as “ideology”. Sorry, it, a lot more than that and to dismiss it as such just shows how far apart we are on race.

      To me, what black people think and feel – is important – even if, especially if, it’s different from mine. I do not reject it as not true or not real.

      If we ever are going to see/agree on what the past was – we have to be willing to see it through others eyes as well as our own. If we do not want to do that – then accept the consequences – we are seeing now.

  12. Ok, got a few things going on here. Somebody thinks Jim Crow may have been worse than slavery and said so at an employee meeting. Good Lord, can we have the man immediately handcuffed, blindfolded and shot? His point doesn’t sound right to me but who knows? He wasn’t defending either slavery or Jim Crow. Fake news from the left, as usual.

    Second, Jim Bacon thinks holding these re-education seminars is a wast to taxpayer money. So do I. Loudoun County needs to grow up. Public school teachers are hardly a hotbed for white nationalists. Move on. If anything was needed, give every teacher a book and ask them to read it. Save some money.

    Third, “As described by LoudounNow, the county rolled out a workshop series designed to “push participants outside their comfort zone” and “question their belief systems.” In particular, participants were “forced to grapple with the benefits afforded them from generations of white privilege, stretching back to America’s earlier days.” Fascinating. Racist as hell but fascinating. Loudoun County is 7.3% African American and 14.7% Asian American. What benefits were bestowed on Asian Americans from generations of white privilege? Asian Americans are now better educated and more prosperous than white Americans. How did that happen? More importantly, why are the racist asshats of Loudon Public Schools completely ignoring the amazing success of Loudoun’s largest minority group – Asian Americans? I think all the racist liberals in the Loudoun County Public School system need to be rounded up and forced to confront the amazing success of Asian-Americans in Northern Virginia and especially in Loudoun County. They should all be force to chant, “Thank you Asian-Americans. You make more money than anybody else. You pay more taxes than anybody else. Your money supports our dimwitted decisions to run political re-education camps while ignoring you as a minority group.”

    My proposed chant would still be a waste of time bit it would, at least, be fun to watch.

  13. “If we ever are going to see/agree on what the past was – we have to be willing to see it through others eyes as well as our own. If we do not want to do that – then accept the consequences – we are seeing now.”

    Larry, respectfully, what you claim you are doing is far harder, is far more elusive, and takes far more work, than you appreciate. It is a awesome task, we will never master, none of us. Even the best of use can only catch glimpses of, as if seeing through flickering shadows, only a few characters in flitting spots of time, even on our best days, after what is for many a lifetime’s worth of work and learning. The overwhelming majority of us see only cardboard characters built out of our own bias. That is what is going on here. Nothing more. And it’s why education in America is failing us so grievously today with such horrible results that will haunt us forever likely.

  14. One person’s complaint about “re-education” is another person’s view of righting 150 years of propaganda about Slavery and racism in America – its beginnings and the reason for the Civil War, and its continuation afterwards.

    The blowback from 400 years of cultural, gender and racial oppression looks like political correctness today. At least Richmond now has a new museum on The American Civil War that begins to tell the real story, the one that was sanitized, propagandized and air brushed to hide the American atrocity of our original sin.

    This is not a defense of excessive PC, it is an explanation of it. It is going to be difficult to navigate through conversations and changes that have been bottled up for oh so long. But, blogs like this at least allow for the “good people on both sides” to discuss.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/national/descendants/how-a-propaganda-campaign-to-minimize-slaverys-role-in-the-civil-war-became-american-history/2020/02/24/d07114f5-f5be-4ab5-9d64-508f3775f86a_video.html?fbclid=IwAR2XmZRTrj9fntld9aMuCIbDiloFpLYF2JfoGEgLPmPcOwa7BuHTFOsR6ko

    • Mr. Loving I have a thought to add on your comment. “One person’s complaint about “re-education” is another person’s view of righting 150 years of propaganda about Slavery and racism in America.”

      Your comment is very well stated and true. I must ask this however. Why must the burden of fixing 400 years of America’s sin fall on my shoulders and thousands of other teachers across the state? We are busy. We have no time for this. I only see my classes every other day for 83 minutes. I have an endless list of education obligations to fix. We are ill equipped to grapple with this social sin. How am I supposed to know that the “N” word can be used freely by some but not at all by others? How am I going to be able to compete with the nonstop 24/7 messaging from popular culture? Now I am being threatened and intimidated by my employers, the school board, to get on board with their fix or else….No sir. I will not do this. Pulling the parachute cord. Somebody else’s turn. You care to warm up in the batter’s box?

  15. Jim Loving. You’re is a fair comment.

    In these situations I am always reminded of wise counsel of a women of the left and man of the right – Doris Lessing and Reinhold Neibuhr. Here is a comment I made about them last April under Jim’s post A Street Sign by Any Other Name is Still Just a Street Sign.

    RMF In reply to Andrew Roesell says:

    You are quite right, as usual, Andrew. Rommel was a great general, and a great and good man. So was Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. In my view, and I have studied Woodrow Wilson at great length, he was not a great man, nor a good one. As president, I believe he did great harm and little good, by reason of his deep character flaws.

    When I majored in political science at UVA, the chairman of the Department worshiped at Woodrow Wilson’s altar daily in classroom services. Why? I kept asking myself. And I still do. Why are intellectuals so often so totally wrong, so blind to the facts and nuances of history, and people caught up in history?

    To try to answer that question, I’ll repeat here yet again the wisdom of Dorris Lessing, a brilliant and formidable women that “A 2010 BBC radio documentary listed along with several other prominent British writers, as one of Vladimir Lenin’s “useful idiots.”

    But later Doris Lessing pointed up the power of group dynamics to blind and render stupid otherwise good and competent people when she tells us about the psychology department of a small town American University that invited a few hundred town’s people to the campus to participate in an “experiment.”

    When the visitors arrived on time and no university officials were there to meet them, the group waited. Soon, still waiting, people in the group begin to argue among themselves about what was happening, the fact they had been invited to come, but no university people had showed up, and nothing was happening as they waited.

    Still, waiting some more, and with ever more arguing, the group broke into two camps. Debates ensued and leaders of each camp emerged. Disputes spread to past grievances with the university and among the two groups. Quarrels erupted. A few said the meeting was becoming useful now if only because those in the two groups can “have it out once and for all.” Scuffles began, first among the younger men.

    At this point the University psychologists arrived to put a halt to the proceeding and announce that their experiment was finished, having accomplished it’s goal of showing the tendency of the human mind to see things in pairs – either/;or – black/white – we/you – good/bad – the forces of good/the forces of evil. And it showed how humans tend toward conflict that is magnified when they act in groups, so much so that they often splinter into more groups, if only to oppose one another.

    Thus, apparently, for any group to succeed, and for leaders to emerge and achieve control or dominance of the group (so as to direct its actions), the group needs at least one enemy. So groups often fight about non-existent or artificially made up or inflamed differences, just to keep the group going. This is common as mud. It’s how football games and wars happen and are won, along with much else in human society.

    To quote Doris Lessing again:

    “The business of seeing ourselves in the right, others in the wrong; our cause as right, theirs as wrong; our ideas as correct, theirs as nonsense, if not downright evil … Well, in our sober moments, our human moments, the times when we think, reflect, and allow our rational minds to dominate us, we all of us suspect that this “I am right, your are wrong” is, quite simply, nonsense.” See Doris Lessing, Prisons We Choose to Live Inside, published 2013.

    Now lets try Reinhold Niebuhr who also brilliantly elaborates on such group behavior. He suggests that this strident group behavior where powerful psychological forces render people irrational, putting them in highly agitated emotional states that blind them to reality, can never be fully neutralized.

    He suggests that individuals in groups could only enlightened by character driven leaders who mitigate their blindness. A sterling example of this is Lincoln, his appeal to his constituents “better angels.” And how he most always sought their better good, not his own selfless interests.

    Now back to Doris Lessing, and Again I will quote from her book Prisons We Choose to Live Inside:

    “Anyone who reads history at all knows that the passionate and powerful convictions of one century usually seem absurd, extraordinary, to the next. There is no epoch in history that seems to us as it must have to the people who lived through it. What we live through, in any age, is the effect on us of mass emotions and of social conditions from which from which it is impossible to detach ourselves. Often the mass emotions are those that seem the noblest, best and most beautiful. And yet, inside a year, five years, a decade, five decades, people will be asking, “How could they have believed that?” because events will have taken place that will have banished the said mass emotions to the dustbin of history.

    People of my age have lived through several such violent reversals. I will mention just one. During the Second World War, from the moment the Soviet Union was invaded by Hitler and became an ally of the democracies, that country was affectionately regarded in popular opinion. Stalin was Uncle Joe, the ordinary chaps friend, Russia was the land of the brave, liberty loving heroes, and Communism was in interesting manifestation of popular will that we should copy. All this went on for four years and then suddenly, almost overnight, it went into the reverse. All these attitudes became wrong-headed, treasonable, a threat to everybody. People who had been chatting on about Uncle Joe, suddenly, just as if all that had never happened, were using slogans of the cold war. One extreme, sentimental and silly bred by wartime necessities, was replaced by another extreme, unreasoning and silly.

    To have lived though such a reversal once is enough to make you critical for ever afterwards of current popular attitudes.” From Doris Lessing, Prisons We Choose to Live Inside.

    This is why keeping our colleges and universities free to protect and enhance our inheritance and properly educate our children to be free and independent people able to think and act for themselves is so critically important if they are to avoid all the mistakes they otherwise will make or get caught up in to their great misfortune.”

    And to perfectly sum this up yet again, the Wikipedia summary of William Faulkner’s That Evening Sun found at:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/That_Evening_Sun

    This summary misses altogether half of William Faulkner’s story. The critics from long ago up until today, typically miss that half the story, and much else in his other works because they are so blinded by the horrible evils of Slavery, they cannot see anything else.

    • The gross dysfunction of Virginia’s state government is illustrated by the state’s Attorney General’s office ongoing effort to destabilize public education in Loudoun County for political advantage. The state’s goal is to retrain the minds of kids in Loudoun Schools. This effort will only serve to destabilize children’s minds, filling them with illusions of racism around them everywhere, including within their own heads and their own alleged racists acts they are told that they and their parents do daily in their own schools. This poison spreads as kids graduate, going on to college or out into the world of work.

      This is what The Chronicle of Higher Education calls the “Real Campus Mental – Health Crisis” described as:

      “Anxiety and depression is on the rise among young people: college students are more distressed than ever before. Increasing shares are enrolling with mental-health histories, in terms of diagnoses, treatment, and medication. The real crisis, however, is that the traditional model of providing services is broken. More and more overwhelmed students are seeking help, overwhelming their colleges. Even with growing staffs, counseling centers cannot keep up. Meanwhile, troubled students are left with unmet needs.

      The Chronicle’s newest in-depth report, “Overwhelmed,” explores how to handle the surging demand for mental-health services, fulfill legal obligations, and make student well-being a priority. At a time when campuses are scrambling to find answers, the report shows how centers can expedite the intake process and consider new methods and resources — not all of which are costly.

      Purchase this report and learn how to:

      Handle demand for counseling and get more students the help they need
      Identify options beyond individual therapy to suit different populations
      Interpret key legal issues related to mental illness and suicide
      Evaluate new resources to help students deal with common stressors
      Make students’ well-being a priority across the institution.” End Quote.

      But does this Report truly understand what causes and fuels this great problem?

      I am very doubtful. For more on this crisis, and how to get report go to and see:

      https://store.chronicle.com/products/overwhelmed?

  16. Loudoun produced such hard right and anti-gay politicians as eugene delgaudio and dick black

    • Loudoun experienced a huge upscale suburban expansion in the 2000’s that changed their politics. Confusing that switch from Red to Blue, Loudoun was also the home base of Lyndon LaRouche from the 80’s, the Communist/Socialist who had turned totally paranoid by the time he moved to Loudoun, and whose views ended up being just conspiracy theories fought issues with ‘psychwar’ techniques and slander. I remember the pictures of Obama with a Hitler mustache about town. I also remember the fight to throw out DelGaudio about the same time.

      I worked with the group who won the 2008 primary campaign for Obama over Hillary and whose activism won the state for Obama. It was a big win … “In 2008, Virginia, for the first time since 1964, cast its electoral college presidential votes for a Democrat, Barack Obama.” The Democratic chair who led the campaign actually wrote a book about our success.

    • johnrandolphofroanoke

      When Loudoun was booming and people moved in they simply did not show up to the polls for local and state offices. Delgaudio and Black were highly skilled at turning out the conservative church vote. With low voter participation their formula worked for many years.

  17. Pingback: From Diversity Training Sessions to Political Re-Education Camp – Bacon’s Rebellion | Prometheism Transhumanism Post Humanism

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