CLARITY ISN'T US: A racist under every bed!


Maddow / Blow / gerrymanders: As best we can tell, something like 28 percent of respondents reported that they disagree with the following statement:

“White Americans today are not responsible for discrimination against Black people in the past.” 

Those respondents don't believe that such people "are responsible for" such past behavior—presumably, for such past behavior by other people. At least, that's what those respondents told the Public Religion Research Institute (the PRRI) as part of the recent survey described in this fuzzy report.

On the basis of this declaration, the PRRI seems to have reached a certain judgment about those respondents. The organization seems to have judged that those respondents had thereby "indicate[d] a more receptive attitude to racist beliefs" through their stated reaction to the fuzzy statement.

In their response to a very fuzzy statement, these people had indicated that undesirable attitude! Or at least, that's the way Jennifer Rubin described it in this remarkably fuzzy column for the Washington Post.

Our view? It seemed to us that Rubin was demonstrating a highly receptive attitude to claims about racism on the part of Others. For better or worse, this has become the central organizing principle of current blue tribe tribal belief. 

Experts say it's bred in the bone, this instinct to demonize Others. Before we look at what Charles Blow said about gerrymandering in a recent column, consider something Rachel Maddow said, just last night, on her weekly Monday night program.

Maddow started with an informative report about anti-government sedition back in the 1930s. She then discussed the upcoming Supreme Court session, which gets underway today. 

Discussing a case before the Court, she offered this at one point:

MADDOW (10/3/22): That case they're going to hear tomorrow is out of Alabama. Alabama has a population that's more than a quarter African-American. But the Republicans who control the Alabama state legislature want only one of the state's Congressional districts to have a majority-black electorate.

The legislature wants only one of Alabama's congressional districts to be majority-black. It was abundantly clear that viewers were supposed to think that this preference is morally wrong.

Meanwhile, say what? If a state's electorate is something like 70 percent "white," isn't it possible, absent gerrymandering, that all the state's congressional districts would be majority white? That none of the districts would turn out to be majority black?

Absent (something like) gerrymandering, concentrations of population—in a large city, let's say—might  result in one or more majority-black districts. But why would there have to be any such districts, let alone more than one?

How many members of our blue tribe would know how to answer such questions? We'll guess the number would be extremely small. 

Maddow didn't offer any help as she proceeded last night. Later, she restated her basic framework, adding a bit more detail:

MADDOW: Tomorrow, the Court will hear a Voting Rights Act case out of Alabama, where more than a quarter of the voting age population is African-American, but six out of seven congressional districts are majority white.

Alabama's population is one-quarter black—and the state has seven congressional districts. Absent something resembling gerrymandering, on what basis can we assume that any of those congressional districts would turn out to be majority black, let alone more than one? 

Based on Maddow's presentation, the Alabama legislature has drawn a map which resulted in one such district (out of seven). Apparently, some litigant is arguing that there should be more than one such district—but on what basis is that argument being made?

Maddow made no attempt to address this fairly obvious question. She seemed to think it was obvious—if a state is one-quarter black, at least two of its seven congressional districts should be majority black.

Could any such outcome obtain in Alabama without some form of "gerrymandering?" Are litigants in this Supreme Court case arguing that some form of gerrymandering should be used to carve out that second district?

Maddow didn't make any attempt to address these obvious points. We'll guess that very few of her viewers could have addressed such issues.

To Maddow, it seemed obvious that Alabama should have more than one majority-black district. She didn't explain why she thought that, and she didn't explain the legal or constitutional basis on which a litigant could argue that point. 

She didn't describe the process by which a larger number of such districts could be obtained. Would something like gerrymandering be involved? 

As is the norm within our self-impressed tribe, no explanation was offered by Our Own Rhodes Scholar. Despite that fact, her moral assessment was clear.

So it goes as our failing blue tribe discusses matters of race. Last week, Charles Blow discussed a similar situation in this column for the New York Times

(Headline: Ron DeSantis’s Race Problem.)

Blow discussed a redistricting dispute in Florida—a redistricting dispute which is supposed to help us see that the Others are racist. But then, in our current state of disarray, pretty much everything does!

Tomorrow, we'll look at what Blow said in his column, after which we hope that we will never decide to discuss such topics again. But this is the way a nation ends, not with slam-bang attempts at clarity but with (mandated tribal) whimpers.

In closing, we'll ask you this:

Could you explain why a state like Alabama would be required by the Constitution to have two majority-black districts, not just one? 

Remember, we're not asking which number you would prefer. We're asking if you can explain the basis on which the Constitution, or some federal law, would require the larger number.

Do you have any idea how that would work? Would it involve "gerrymanders," and if so, why isn't that legally wrong? 

Also, importantly, this:

If someone disagreed with your view on this matter, would that show they were racist? 

Tomorrow: From reading Blow, you'd never guess what Judge Lewis said

For the record: According to the Census Bureau, Alabama's population in July 2021 was 26.8% black.


  1. If we don't continuously stoke hate and racism, how are blacks going to remain miserable enough to vote for Democrats?

  2. "The organization seems to have judged that those respondents had thereby "indicate[d] a more receptive attitude to racist beliefs" through their stated reaction to the fuzzy statement."

    No, through their stated reaction to that quoted statement and ten other questions. This is how Somerby puts his thumb on the scales -- by lying about how the questionnaire works. All of a person's answers count, not just one.

  3. "Or at least, that's the way Jennifer Rubin described it in this remarkably fuzzy column for the Washington Post."

    Somerby then attributes his own misunderstanding to Rubin, but she didn't say the scores were based on the answer to a single question, as Somerby did.

    Repeatedly calling a study "fuzzy" is not actually a criticism. It is name-calling. There was nothing fuzzy about the question, nor about the %s of people who said yes or no to it. Somerby claims to be confused by the question, but those taking the survey had no trouble deciding that they disagreed or agreed with the statement.


  4. "If someone disagreed with your view on this matter, would that show they were racist?"

    But of course, dear Bob. And not just "on this matter" -- on any one of your tribe's bullshit talking point. That's what being liberal is all about.

    ...and thank you, as always, dear Bob, for documenting this tiny-little portion of the recent liberal atrocities...

    1. If someone disagreed with your view on which Monopoly token you favored that would show they were racist.

    2. The Ukrainians are advancing in Kherson Oblast.

    3. It seems to me that asking a question about whether today's white people bear any responsibility for today's racial problems (which are rooted in past actions of white people) has a lot of relevance to assessing someone's racial attitudes and beliefs.

      How can someone live and participate and benefit from a society rigged in favor of white people without having some responsibility for their privilege? If white people were given twice as much Monopoly money at the beginning of the game, would that be a fair game? Denying that they started with an advantage is what this is all about. It is racist to close one's eyes to the inequities of our society in order to justify doing nothing to help fix our racial problems.

    4. We've accepted for decades that a kid can work since Kindergarten for a nearly perfect SAT score only to be rejected for admission to an Ivy because of her skin color but we're not going to stand for the same kid getting brutalized or killed by a repeat offender in the street because "bail reform" is the latest stupidity to capture the imagination of liberals.

    5. Anonymouse 10:48am, therefore disagreeing with that one question means you are a racist, and not subconsciously racist due to the culture, but willfully so.

      You got it. The PRRI survey sets up the rules and wins the game. They’re a microcosm of what they claim about the country.

    6. No, the measure includes 11 questions and the scores are computed across all of them. One question does not determine whether someone is "likely to endorse racist attitudes or beliefs". Note that the study is not calling anyone racist as a person, but saying they are likely to agree with racist ideas. And no one said the test measures deliberate racism. And the PRRI survey was used to see whether such attitudes correlate with support for confederate statues because people were claiming their support was based on historical pride and not race. A high correlation would undermine that explanation.

  5. "Experts say it's bred in the bone, this instinct to demonize Others."

    Is being opposed to racism really "demonizing others?" Do white people have the right in our society to engage in racist behaviors that hurt other people? Somerby argues as if that were true, but that seems a bit entitled to me.

    If Republicans truly thought they were doing nothing wrong, by being racist, they wouldn't object so strongly to questionnaires that identified them as racist, as Somerby has been doing these past several days. If they were doing something they considered legitimate, why would they care? Why wouldn't that be a badge of honor, something they were proud of, the way Trump is proud of his racism?

    Somerby is working very hard to avoid being identified as racist, and yet he accuses a questionnaire designed to identify people by their own responses as likely to endorse racist views, as "demonizing" when it in the people's own responses that reflect their own opinions. Does Somerby think no one notices when people like himself engage in racist thinking?

    Somerby's desire to excuse people for their racist beliefs has been going on a long time now. People do notice when he does it (judging by comments) and he isn't fooling anyone. Attacking Rubin for stating the obvious about MAGA Extremists won't change the racism some people, like Somerby, think is their right to indulge, without complaint by the people affected by their statements and other racist behavior (such as denying opportunities to people based on their minority status and violating constitutional protections and laws against discrimination).

  6. "Meanwhile, say what? If a state's electorate is something like 70 percent "white," isn't it possible, absent gerrymandering, that all the state's congressional districts would be majority white? That none of the districts would turn out to be majority black?"

    The answer to this question depends on whether there is also racial segregation. If black people tend to live in the same places together, instead of being evenly spread across the state, then there should be 25% of the districts black.

    But this isn't a hypothetical question. Alabama knows where black voters live, and they are not spread evenly across the state.

  7. On the question of gerrymandering, what Somerby didn’t tell you is that Alabama‘s congressional district map has already been ruled discriminatory and a violation of the Voting Rights Act by a panel of three federal judges back in January. Also, new maps have been proposed that address the problem.

    Somerby also didn’t tell you that that federal court decision was appealed to the US Supreme Court by the State of Alabama, and that the Supreme Court put a stay on the lower court ruling via a “shadow docket” ruling.

  8. Somerby thinks that Maddow and Blow should be explaining how gerrymandering works and why it is wrong, instead of discussing the specific gerrymandering cases in the news currently.

    This argument can apply to any topic in current events. Perhaps they should be using their time to show ignorant viewers where Ukraine is on a map, instead of talking about the latest advances in the war there? Perhaps they should use their time to explain how covid attacks the respiratory system, or what a virus is, instead of giving latest covid stats? Perhaps they should explain the process by which a new justice is appointed and confirmed to the Supreme Court, instead of telling us about the argument between Gorsuch and Jackson-Brown?

    But mostly, I think Somerby doesn't want Maddow to point out that there is racial gerrymandering happening in order to decrease representation of black voters in Alabama. It is the focus on racist manipulation by white politicians that Somerby dislikes, not her assumption that viewers will know that (1) gerrymandering is politically motivated, (2) there are several ways to achieve it, depending on the situation and one's goals, (3) it is forbidden by law and can be adjudicated by courts after each 10-year census when seats are reapportioned.

    Other times, Somerby has blamed cable hosts for wading into the weeds. Today, he wants more weed-wading, not less. That's because his real goal is less talk about racism and more Maddow-hatred, which is bred in the bone for Somerby. And when he pauses for breath, he shifts to Blow, because he doesn't like black gay opinion writers any more than he likes female gay cable hosts. An uninformed reader might assume that these are the only two opinion columnists given that they receive a disproportionate share of Somerby's hate.

  9. "If someone disagreed with your view on this matter, would that show they were racist?"

    Probably, but depends on their arguments. Somerby's are definitely racist. (See mh's comment. The court has already ruled on this.)

    1. And it’s important to note that The Voting Rights Act does not mandate that you show racist intent. According to the Act, any law that “results in a denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color” is illegal, regardless of intent.

      I keep wondering to what extent Somerby really honors the legacy of MLK, one of his purported heroes, for whom the Voting Rights Act was a signature achievement and is today threatened with extinction by the Supreme Court.

  10. "For the record: According to the Census Bureau, Alabama's population in July 2021 was 26.8% black."

    The figure that matters for reapportionment purposes is not the population in July 2021, but when the census was done in 2020.

  11. It may seem as though Somerby is arguing about Alabama as an isolated incident, but recall that he raised similar objections to the Maryland redistricting when Democrats tried to improve their position. Why is a supposed liberal taking the side of Republicans on this issue?

    1. Somerby has written a couple of posts about gerrymandering, where he argued that given x% R and y% D, how could you ever draw a map that gives x% representation to R’s and y% representation to D’s? In so doing, he discounts the vehemence with which state legislatures pursue the districting process, intentionally gerrymandering the results to enhance the party in power.

      And the US Supreme Court has ruled that partisan gerrymandering can no longer be reviewed by federal courts. And with this current Alabama case, they are on the cusp of deciding that racial gerrymandering is unreviewable, by declaring the VRA unconstitutional.

    2. "declaring the VRA unconstitutional."

      Looks like that 57-year temper tantrum about blacks having representation in government, might just pay off.

  12. "But this is the way a nation ends, not with slam-bang attempts at clarity but with (mandated tribal) whimpers."

    Somerby complains that if he disagrees with liberals then he is being racist, but if liberals disagree with his opinions, we are being unclear (fuzzy) and tribal.

    Racism is real and can be argued with specific reference to how people are affected by it. Fuzziness and tribalness (agreeing with those you agree with) cannot be as readily argued. Somerby's idea of clarity tends to be excessive literalness coupled with obstinacy and refusal to see the bigger picture (the overall meaning). He tends to introduce confusion that exists only for him, and mainly when he objects to what is being said, not when others are similarly confused. It is a tactic, not genuine, and unhelpful to advancing understanding.

  13. “Are litigants in this Supreme Court case arguing that some form of gerrymandering should be used to carve out that second district?”

    The existing map was already determined to be discriminatory by a panel of federal judges.

    According to Somerby, I guess we have to leave that gerrymandering, that favors white candidates, in place, rather than redraw the districts to allow for potentially more black representation, a process that must necessarily include, via Somerby’s reasoning…”gerrymandering”. At least, that’s what he calls the process of rectifying racially discriminatory gerrymandering.

    And he’d rather not examine why the State of Alabama would object to the re-districting ordered by the federal court.

  14. Imagine pretending Democrats have not operated in bad faith on race forever, but more aggressively divisive after every voter who didn't vote for Obama was labeled RACIST, radicalizing an entire generation of voters who elected Trump, installed three new justices, and will reclaim the House next month.

  15. Conservatives don't like being called racist, whether they are racist or not. It does seem to be universally recognized as a bad thing to be, except by those who embrace it, such as white supremacists. Everyone wants to be considered a good person, but some flaws seem to be more acceptable than others, such as perfectionism or disorganization. People will work to correct such flaws, but not racism, unless they are liberal and have the recognition that everyone is somewhat racist by virtue of growing up in a racist society. Conservatives seem to reject that idea.

    Part of the problem is lack of education. Liberals are more likely to have taken the social science courses that provide the evidence that convinces them of the truth of our racist roots. Conservatives don't take much sociology or history, but focus instead on engineering and economics. Attacks by conservatives on mandatory ethnic studies are intended to circumvent the attempts to show people how and why we are all racist, so that people will be more accepting of their flaws and work to change, both themselves and society.

    A person accused of perfectionism might feel comfortable owning it, read some books about how to be less perfectionistic, and try to changer their behavior. But someone who is racist will tend to deny their racism instead of working for change.

    Somerby is in the latter category, unlike most liberals. He denies his own racism and that of the South. He energetically resists any attempts to demonstrate how we are still living with vestigates of racism lingering from slavery, including housing segregation, segregated schools, and negative expectations for black people.

    How does Somerby deny racism? First, he routinely defends the police involved in shootings of unarmed black people. Second, he has never focused on ways of helping disadvantaged black kids in school, only showing how large and intransigent the gaps are between them and white or Asian kids. Third, he has vigorously attacked any black writer who has discussed racism, from the 1619 project to Ta-Nehisi Coates novel of his coming of age to the banning of Toni Morrison's Beloved to the qualifications of Ketanji Jackson-Brown to the Supreme Court. He seems never to have met a competent black person, judging by the way he singles out black journalits and professors. Fourth, he has explicitly stated that today's black youth have no complaints about racism because they tend to describe microaggressions instead of lynchings, and he thinks efforts to achieve school integration are a farce, since there are not enough white kids to populate the minority-majority schools (district boundaries are sacrosanct in his world), and he thinks all lives matter and Kyle Rittenhouse was a martyr to liberal excess. These attitudes add up to a picture of someone who wishes to deny being racist by denying the existence of racism, without examining the patterns in his own thought.

    I don't care whether any commenter here says racist things. I DO care when an avowed liberal attacks the concept of racism and works hard to undermine efforts at racial progress, under the guise of being a critical thinker. That is self-serving nonsense and makes liberals look like hypocrites because Somerby won't recognitve his own privileged life and work to make things better for ALL people.

    Somerby knows who and what he is. He can have more integrity and feel better about himself by working to help others than by defending racist beliefs and attitudes on the right. It is hard to sustain the belief that one is a good, decent person, while attacking attempts to improve the lives of others. Somerby would be a happier person if he were to acknowledge and work on changing his views about race. The same applies to conservative trolls here, but they aren't calling themselves liberals.

    1. Your "efforts at racial progress" are ineffective if well-meaning and that's giving the benefit of the doubt that they are not motivated by smug self-regard as is the case with most virtue signaling leftists.

    2. 1:55: “ineffective”? Are you saying no progress has been made since the days of Jim Crow? What rock have you been living under?

    3. "People will work to correct such flaws, but not racism, unless they are liberal and have the recognition that everyone is somewhat racist by virtue of growing up in a racist society. "

      Aren't you and your recognition special.

    4. mh, the gaps are still there. The "talk" black mothers should be having with their black sons is not about fake police brutality but how Democrats think they are inferior because there is a persistent gap when everything else is controlled for.

      You know what does close racial gaps in achievement and mobility? Intact families. Which are, you guessed it, racist.

    5. White people should be honest with their kids, and tell them to stay away from Wall Street and corporate boardrooms. If there is one thing we can all agree on, parents should keep their kids away from criminals.

    6. Somerby has never once denied the influence of slavery and segregation on our current day culture.

      It a lie to say that he has and when you invariably tell such lies, you show how militant, angry, and untrustworthy you are.

    7. "fake police brutality"
      This reminds me of that time Republican voters, who are economically anxious and not at all straight-up bigots, burnt Trump Tower to the ground when Trump gave the rich and corporations that HUGE tax break.

    8. @Cecelia:
      “Somerby has never once denied the influence of slavery and segregation on our current day culture. “

      I will give you this: In one post at least, Somerby said something along the lines of “the achievement gaps are a legacy at least partially of our slaveholding past.” Something along those lines.

      However, whenever the discussion turns to the remnants of that past, whether active or passive, “structural racism” for lack of a better term, he almost invariably attacks those who point it out and seek ways to mitigate it.

      And it isn’t just a question of rhetoric. He won’t point out the ways Fox News and the GOP always twist the discussion and allege that Democrats/liberals are merely using this as an issue to accuse conservatives of racism and the notion that Dems are just inflaming black passions for votes, as if black people weren’t keenly aware of reality.

    9. Cecelia,
      Are lies bad? Asking for the Republican Party who lie about Trump winning the 2020 Presidential election.

    10. "...when you invariably tell such lies, you show how militant, angry, and untrustworthy you are."

      That's a deal-breaker for Republican voters, unless you also hate on black and trans people, of course.

    11. Somerby has denied the 1619 Project and the history it contains. He said it was full of errors, although he did not discuss any specific problems with it. The 1619 project is about the history of slavery and the economic foundation of the colonies and early nation.

      Somerby has also denied the influence of current school segregation on black and other minority kids. He keeps claiming it is not possible to do a better job of integrating majority-minority schools because there aren't enough white kids to go around. That is a specious complaint because it fails to acknowledge the difficulties of housing segregation, which is still being enforced by redlining, a form of economic discrimination against black people that keeps them living in segregated neighborhoods. The problem with segregated schools is that kids who attend them do less well than minority kids who attend integrated schools, largely due to lack of resources in the majority-minority schools. Somerby has always opposed the efforts to enroll more black kids in NYC's special science high schools, claiming that it will be unfair to the Asian kids who currently dominate admissions. He has also denied the problem of admission to selective middle schools that prepare NYC kids for admission to those special science high schools. All of this is about segregation in our current culture, and Somerby has been on the wrong side of all of it.

      And then there was Somerby's refusal to believe that Ketanji Jackson Brown was sufficiently qualified to be appointed to the Supreme Court, no matter what praise she has received and no matter what he previous accomplishments. That essay was similar to the one where Somerby argued that a black high school graduate with high grades was being set up for failure in a competitive environment because she couldn't possibly have earned those accolades and actually be up to the pace in college, and the cruelty of getting black students' hopes up with high grades in majority-minority schools -- sort of like what
      David in Cal keeps arguing -- that black students admitted to competitive colleges tend to flunk out -- except that records show they do not.

      I am not lying about any of this, as others here who have been reading Somerby regularly can attest.

    12. mh, that’s not true.

      Anonymouse 3:15pm, in other words Somerby hasn’t denied the influence of past wrongs on our current black pop, he’s dubious toward the efficacy of some plans of redress and of the philosophy that guides them.

      That’s enough to make you a “racism denier” and in most cases a racist.

      Oh, we get the vast scope of your brilliance and humanity.

    13. Maddow and her girlfriend keep an enormous kennel of lambs at their estate. They saddle them at night and ride around whooping and hollering which is why their neighborhood association is suing them.

    14. This wasn't cute the first time you said it. Grow up.

    15. Cecelia, your revision of Somerby is not what he has actually said. You keep trying to rehabilitate him, but he speaks for himself. Unfortunately, he comes across like a bigot.

      Ridiculing people for wanting to improve our society is unhelpful. We should be working together to do that, but those of you who claim that liberals are being elitist or performative or just showing off some positive trait, and saying loud and clear that you don't want to help. I don't know why, except that it is entirely consistent with the ongoing lack of empathy you display here when it comes to other people's misfortunes. I was taught as a child that service to others was important to being a good person. Apparently, Republicans don't get that same teaching. But ridiculing those who help seems kind of counterproductive when the South was just hit by a major hurricane that is going to require a lot of aid to restore things to normal. Do you really think you should go around kicking the people who are motivated to do that work for others?

    16. Anonymouse3:45pm, there are association guidelines on children laughing and playing.

    17. Anonymouse 3:52pm, the extent of your empathy and over all mental health shines as brightly as your aforementioned qualities.

    18. Right, mock people who want to help others.

    19. They have been feeding helium to the lambs. That's where it really goes too far.

    20. You've been inhaling too much helium yourself.

    21. I get that the cooler you are the more willing you are to accept Maddow and Susan's abuse of lambs.

    22. It was in Breitbart that they had the bright idea to feed saltwater taffy to the lambs and eight of them died. But she acts as if she could care less.

    23. Lambkin, you need to take your fantasies somewhere else. This isn't that kind of kinky blog.

  16. Democrats did not do that.

  17. Those who elected Trump were not primarily Obama voters. But you are right that they felt empowered to display their racism and sexism without restraint after Trump gave them permission (by calling immigrants rapists). There is a hate party and a change party. People will choose, as Somerby seems to have done already.

    It doesn't matter whether we call the MAGA Extremists stupid or racist or crude or violent. They are what they are and they don't care what we think of them. But they aren't going to win in urban areas where people are smarter and more civil and understand what is at stake for our world. We just have to go to the polls and not be discouraged by the constant assault on our values.

  18. 11:55,
    Imagine believing what you wrote, and still throwing a childish temper tantrum when people call Republicans "reactionaries".

  19. Meh. Somerby has been pointing out Republicans are nothing but reactionaries since at least 2015.

  20. If only Obama hadn't been President. Then no Republican would vote for someone like Trump, who wears his bigotry on his sleeve.
    LO Fucking L.

  21. The best thing about the modern Republican Party is how they treat their voters with absolute condescending disdain.

  22. Somerby was teaching middle school math when he stopped teaching. It seems likely to me that he was discouraged by the faiure of his black students to make large improvement under his teaching. It may also be that his participation in the disclosure of cheating on standardized tests by administrators and some teachers may have made him unhireable as a teacher, but I do not know the timing of that activity, so this is just speculation.

    When I first started reading this blog, I used to think that his frequent references to "ratty teachers and their unions" was echoing criticisms of teachers' unions, not expressing his own opinion of them. But now I wonder whether I got it wrong, assuming like everyone else that Somerby was liberal when he may have been complaining about the teachers along with the others critical of them. The self-serving belief that black kids are less capable of learning may justify Somerby in giving up on teaching and leaving the classroom, while being disillusioned by the cheating (which is what happens by students and adults when faced with unrealistic performance demands, lack of resources, and high stakes). Without training in how to address the needs of black kids, working one's heart out without seeing much progress can lead to frustration and anger at the underperforming kids. It would be painful to examine one's own competence (especially with a touch of unrealistic gradiosity), so it is natural to blame something external, such as the racial inferiority of black kids (or the inferiority of their upbringing and parents and lifestyles). Learning to blame race and making that a key defense against self-criticism, would tend to make someone defend against the entire concept of racism, under threat to one's ego if racism were admitted to be real. Now, it would be very hard to go back and admit that he was wrong about those black kids and wrong about his own teaching ability, and reexamine the idea that perhaps he should have done things differently in the classroom, helped more than he did. Somerby has very few years to do anything differently, so admitting his past mistakes would just be painful.

    Other white people who hold racist beliefs and attitudes may have different ways in which they have incorporated them into their psyches, using such beliefs to comfort or excuse or explain events in their lives that cannot be reexamined without significant disruption to their view of themselves and their world. But that doesn't mean we can let racist institutions disadvantage black people and other minorities in our society. If you want to remain racist in your heart of hearts, do so, but stop getting in the way of change and progress for other people. There is no excuse for using racist beliefs and attitudes to justify an unequal playing field in our country. Anyone can stop obstructing progress and start treating others better. Including Somerby, who enables every stone cold racist that visits this blog, including the ones who undermine the equal protections of our constitution.

    1. Only a racist uses "inferiority" to describe differences in mathematical aptitude between groups of people defined as a race.

      I'm sure you intend to be a good person but attributing persistent, significant differences to playing field or ineffective teachers if there are other reasons, and then placing an inordinate value on the skill in question, is as cruel as any other form of racism.

      Groups that do not perform as well on a skill based on physiological or intellectual differences are not "inferior."

    2. 1:52: You need to work on your reading comprehension.

  23. “On the basis of this declaration, the PRRI seems to have reached a certain judgment about those respondents. The organization seems to have judged that those respondents had thereby "indicate[d] a more receptive attitude to racist beliefs" through their stated reaction to the fuzzy statement.”

    This is nonsense.

    72% of the respondents said that they did not believe that White Americans today are responsible for discrimination against Black people in the past.

    Clearly, that 72% included a significant number of non-Republicans, since only 27% of the respondents were Republican.

    Is Somerby confused?

    1. Yeah, Bob needs to revise the first few paragraphs. He's getting his logic tangled up:

      "...something like 28 percent of respondents reported that they disagree with the following statement:
      'White Americans today are not responsible for discrimination against Black people in the past.'
      Those respondents don't believe that such people "are responsible for" such past behavior..."

      If someone DISAGREES that we are NOT responsible, then presumably they believe we ARE responsible, contrary to what Bob stated above.


  24. Hmm. What's this "racially discriminatory effect" thing you speak of, dear mh?

    Would it be anything like focusing on finding the right answer? Or calling famous composers by just their last names?

  25. "“White Americans today are not responsible for discrimination against Black people in the past.”

    White Americans today, being good decent people, should want to do something to help repair the ongoing damage due to racist institutions still operating in our country due to the actions of white Americans in the past.

    1. Racism is bad.

      Many of us who have white children are now more focused on the much more dangerous problem of racism in America, which is Democrats and activist groups openly and aggressively vilifying white people.

    2. Commenters here frequently refer to millions of whites as racists based simply on their politics. Despicable.

      These commenters are suffering from unresolved traumas. Which is normal in our current society.

    3. Why do we have to read a blog where the blog owner allows the comments to be infested with bots and trolls? Does Somerby have so little respect for his readers that he lets this happen day after day?

    4. Let me rephrase, why does Somerby do such a poor job of moderating his comment section?

  26. Could be. If black students, to take an example, are less likely on average to find the “right” answer to a test question, that may indicate the effects of discrimination. And by discrimination, I don’t necessarily mean deliberate sabotage of their education by “racist” whites. We are still living with the legacy of racism, though, and unfortunately, educational “achievement
    gaps” are a part of that.


  27. Are you serious, dear mh? About "black" students being less likely on average to find the right answer to a test question?

    So, you are a white supremacist, then? Or is there any other reasonable way to interpret your 1:22 PM?

  28. mh, there is no point in arguing with Mao

  29. ...and even if your supremacist hypothesis is true, how does it amount to a "racially discriminatory effect"?

    If indeed "black" students are less likely on average to find the right answer to a test question, so be it. Why should the education system destroy itself on account of that?

  30. I agree, 1:41. I almost never bother. But his response that was elicited is an exact illustration of my original post, how the conversation is made ridiculous by trolls like Mao, who unfortunately represent the standard bad faith tactic employed by Fox and today’s GOP, not limited to trolls on obscure blogs.

  31. "But they aren't going to win in urban areas where people are smarter "

    Ah here it is again. Democrats showing their ugly interior by openly placing human value on particular heritable aptitudes.


  32. Hmm. How is it an illustration of your original post?

    We asked you what "racially discriminatory effect" is, you replied that "black" students are stupid, to which we replied: even if indeed they are, so what? Where's a "racially discriminatory effect" in it?

    That's nothing like what you asserted in your 11:40 AM.

  33. "If indeed "black" students are less likely on average to find the right answer to a test question, so be it. Why should the education system destroy itself on account of that?"

    Because backward Democrats have decided the value of a person depends on his math and verbal scores, so relative excellence in that area must be concealed or destroyed.

    Unless TrUMp miscalculates a math equation or butchers the language, in which case they will jump for joy at his stupidity and crow about their brilliance at the expense of a significant proportion of their voters who would make the same errors.

  34. "...TrUMp miscalculates a math equation or butchers the language,..."

    Fuck off , RINO.


  35. "Because backward Democrats have decided the value of a person depends on his math and verbal scores, so relative excellence in that area must be concealed or destroyed."

    Nah, you're overthinking it, in our opinion.

    Liberal High Priesthood wouldn't give a fuck about any "value of a person".

    All they want, all they need is to stir up racial hatred, to motivate the population segment that they expect to vote for them. They do believe this population is stupid, so they dumb down their propaganda accordingly.

    ...and that's it. That's all there is. There's nothing else.

  36. 2:08: “Because backward Democrats have decided the value of a person depends on his math and verbal scores”

    You trolls need to work on your talking points. Somerby has to be classified as a “backward Democrat”, because he has written countless posts pointing out the “achievement gaps” and how troubling they are and accusing liberals of ignoring them.

    He also chastised liberals in NYC for wanting to change the testing requirements for getting into the specialized high schools, because liberals figured a student shouldn’t necessarily be defined by his or her test score.

    But go ahead and keep writing your absurdities.

  37. Ignorance (lack of knowledge) is not the same as stupidity (inability to learn). Acquiring an education doesn't make someone smarter (better able to learn) than another person, it makes them better educated (more knowledge). It doesn't make them a better person either, in terms of social status or life choices. It gives them more tools for making good decisions later in life and teaches them how to find out answers to questions that will affect them, such as should I evacuate ahead of this hurricane, is it a good idea to keep a gun where a toddler can reach it, should I wear a mask during a pandemic, and is this candidate a con artist or a solid choice?

    Democrats have better life outcomes than Republicans because they tend to be better educated and value learning. Ultimately, learning is about figuring out what is true in the world. Not getting conned, not believing falsehoods, myths, lies, superstitions. It is the antidote to what Trump is peddling.

    Republicans have framed education as indoctrination and their leaders try to undermine higher education and limit what is taught in K-12 schools. This makes their followers easier to fool, more compliant and willing to send them money. They attract voters by scaring them and making false promises, not by demonstrating competence (as Democrats do). The ultimate example are the fools who broke into the Capitol building on Trump's behalf, breaking laws and now going to prison for their violence at his behest. They made a hugely bad decision and now they are paying for it, not Trump (yet). Life has many pitfalls -- it is foolish to spurn the source of info that helps people avoid making mistakes -- college and the tools it provides for navigating life.

  38. Note that it was Mao who equated not doing well on a test with being stupid.

  39. Yeah, good point. Okay: stupid or lazy.

  40. ...although, to be fair, smart people can usually pass tests without studying much...

  41. A fair number of people don't actually read any more. They skim and feel like they have the gist of what was said, without reading the words themselves. In this way, they frequently get the gist wrong, while missing important details and subtleties. People especially do this when they feel like they already know what is being said in a text.

    When I was teaching, I needed to explicitly tell my students that they needed to read, not skim, the textbook, because otherwise they wouldn't do well on the exams. I had to tell them to pay attention to details, because details matter and would be on the test. In my professor reviews on "Rate My Professor" and similar websites, former students would advise that a person would do well in my class if they actually did the reading. Lately, I have been seeing op-eds lamenting the fact that no one can pay attention to long pieces of written material any more, since they are accustomed to reading texts and tweets. Does that mean that people are not reading novels any more as recreation? I don't know.

    There is more mental effort required to read than to skim. And more to read a longish paragraph than a short one. And there is more mental effort needed to read fiction than non-fiction, because fiction requires visualization. It is a sign of decreased cognitive ability when someone shifts from fiction to non-fiction with progressing dementia.

    I find myself wondering whether Trump's followers are, like him, people who do not read and do not want to expend mental effort to understand what is happening in the world. For a while, I could predict which TV shows would be renewed and which cancelled based on the complexity of their plot lines. Is it just easier to have Republicans tell you who is bad, rather than having to figure out what issues a Democrat tells you he is in favor of, in order to decide who to vote for? Do fewer people vote in primaries because it is more complex than just identifying the D vs R beside a name?

    Somerby used to be about critical thinking, but now he is engaged in fooling people by confusing an argument with nonsense. These days he hides important details, including quotes and links and it is enough to call people names without telling us why. I suspect that is a symptom of declining willingness to invest effort in convincing people, but it seems to be mimicking the difference between how Republicans vs Democrats treat their followers in terms of trusting them with facts and making actual arguments. Trump is a barometer for nonsense. Those who follow them are declaring something important about their willingness to think. And that is distressing for those of us who have worked with young people, trying to teach them to use their minds.

  42. That may work until you get to college. Everyone hits the wall at some point and then they need to actually study. People who coast through lower grades often don't know how to apply themselves when the work gets harder -- they often quit and denigrate whatever they found difficult as unnecessary or foolish. See Somerby's essays on Einstein and Godel, for an example of what that looks like.

  43. Somerby is peddling nonsense again. Like that time he tried to pretend there was a Liberal in this great big world, who could be more condescending to Republican voters than your average Republican politician is. The whole concept is ridiculous.

    1. Yes, Bob trying to sell the impossible. Like my friend in 2nd Grade, who tried to convince me his father could bounce a super-ball to the moon.

  44. Bob just doesn’t have much credibility on racial matters anymore. Is Lester Maddox available?