At New York, Eric Levitz gets it right!


Three cheers for Eric Levitz: This morning, at New York magazine's Intelligencer site, Eric Levitz stated the obvious.

At this point, doing so is a very rare thing. In our view, Eric Levitz deserves three cheers for actually getting it right.

Levitz's essay appears beneath the headline shown below. We wouldn't put it that way ourselves, but Levitz deserves lots of credit:

When Keeping It ‘Woke’ Gets Racist, Liberals Should Say So

That's the headline which appears above Levitz's essay. Personally, we would phrase it somewhat differently. We agree with the bulk of Levitz's analysis, but the framework we'd offer is this:

When Keeping It ‘Woke’ Gets Stupid and Silly, Liberals Should Say So

A decent, sensible Blue Tribe member could even say it like this:

When Conservative Parents Voice Reasonable Complaints, Liberals Should Say They Agree
 In his essay, Levitz points to some of the "anti-racist" workshop training materials which have been used in the Loudoun County (Virginia) schools. He posts a screenshot of one framework while offering this analysis:

LEVITZ (11/8/21): A key flashpoint in Virginia’s CRT brouhaha came in July, when Loudoun County’s public schools revealed the contents of a training on “culturally responsive teaching” that its faculty had undergone. That training included a slide outlining the distinctions between the supposed individualism of white culture, and collectivism of “color group” culture:


It’s important to put this PowerPoint in context. Contrary to the insinuations of some anti-CRT agitators, this was not used as an instruction material for children. Nor was it meant to teach “that some races are morally superior to others.” Rather, it is a reductive summation of research on the ways that cultural insensitivity can impair educational outcomes for immigrant children.

It is also, by all appearances, racist. The notion that expecting one’s children “to form and express opinions” and “questions elders” is a definitionally white parenting style, while expecting children to “show respect by quiet listening” is a “color group” one, is a racial caricature. As is the broader idea that white families prize individualism over communal obligation. Positing fundamental cultural distinctions between people with different pigmentations—not different class, regional, national, or religious backgrounds, but merely different concentrations of melanin—is a task better left to white supremacists than equity coaches.

We disagree with Levitz on only one point--we wouldn't call that utterly silly Powerpoint slide "racist." We don't think it's helpful—or especially accurate—to turn to the atomic R-bomb on every and all occasions.

We'd call that PowerPoint what it actually is—we'd say it's transparently silly.  Along the way, we'd encourage liberals to draw this important lesson from it:

People who play on our own liberal team can do and say dumb things too.

We'll have more on this topic this week. For now, let's close with this:

Within our tribe, we simply love to call The Others "racist." We want to call The Others "racist" every time out. 

This is a major problem with Us. It's a moral and intellectual failing. Meanwhile, everyone can see that we're like this—everyone except Us!

This is the way We Look To Others. Everyone sees this but Us.


  1. "When Keeping It ‘Woke’ Gets Racist, Liberals Should Say So"

    Ha-ha. Had they followed his advice, they would've been saying it day and night, non-stop, dear Bob. They wouldn't have had a moment to say anything else.

    Thanks for the laughs.

  2. So now we define liberals as the new "woke" news media and the internet PC police?

    Look what was done to Socialism. It used to mean "workers own the means of production". After years of misuse and what seemed like a coordinated campaign by Republicans to redefine the word, many people now believe it to mean "the provision of benefits and social services". Welfare programs.

  3. There are cultural similarities between the different nations of central and Latin America. There are also cultural similarities between the various Asian nations. It does not make sense to require someone writing training materials to enumerate all of the possible nations where immigrants to America originate. Both Asian and Hispanic cultures share a greater emphasis on collectivism than Americans do, including both white Americans and acculturated immigrants who have lived in the US several generations and shifted from a collective to an individualist set of cultural attitudes.

    Somerby pretends to know something about anthropology. He should understand Triandis's classification of cultures. He should realize that these training materials are attempting to give educators guidelines they can use when working with children and their families. That means that if the kids are people of color from immigrant families, it makes more sense to expect collectivist attitudes than individualist ones. Treating all kids as if they held the attitudes of the dominant white culture in American, when they are clearly immigrants, is a mistake and will result in misunderstandings and cultural insensitivity. The goal is to prevent that, not to be PC in some way that conservatives are demanding tbrough their wilfull distortion of what racism is about.

    That Somerby thinks this is smart is pretty dismaying given that he was a teacher himself. His ignorance about how to deal with immigrant children might get him fired if he were working in the multicultural environments of today's large cities.

    The demand that no stereotype should ever be applied to a student, in the absence of any other knowledge about them, prevents people from reasoning from general knowledge to the specifics of that child's life. You start with thed most applicable knowledge you have, then revise accordingly when you learn more about the individual. That is how thinking works and it is not racist to reason that way.

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