BRING US TOGETHER: Has it "moved toward restricting education on race?"


Has the state of New York really done that? Charles Blow's column in today's New York Times offers a describes a lengthy broadside by the late Harry Belafonte—a broadside Belafonte delivered tin the summer of 2013.

In part, Belafonte's statement that day was an assault on the effects philanthropy had exerted on what was left of the civil rights movement.  More to the point, his broadside was an assault on the quality of what was left of Black political leadership at that point in time.

This afternoon, we'll post the parts of Blow's column where he summarizes Belafonte's presentation. In our view, Belafonte's reported analysis of Black progressive leadership can easily be extended to progressive leadership cadres from other "racial" groups.

For now, we'll limit ourselves to Blow's account of the way Belafonte's presentation affected him at that time. This is what he says:

BLOW (4/27/23): It was a warm July day, so after that session, I decided to walk back to The Times’s offices, and as I did, Belafonte’s question kept repeating in my head. The reality seized me that I had been playing much too small as a writer, covering and commenting on society and its systems rather than truly challenging them. I was at peril of being serenaded to sleep by professional vanities. I was squandering an opportunity and a responsibility.

Belafonte’s question lived with me henceforth and changed what I wrote and how I wrote it, and a few years ago, it spurred me to write my most recent book, “The Devil You Know: A Black Power Manifesto.” It was the thesis of that book, reversing the Great Migration to consolidate Black power in a few Southern states, that prompted my own move to Atlanta.

Blow says he was deeply affected by what Belafonte said. For better or worse, the result was a political thesis which seems to make little apparent sense..

Are Black Americans going to migrate to a few Southern states to consolidate political power? Everything is always possible—although, almost surely, not that!

We would draw a certain conclusion from this—intensity isn't enough. 

Charles Blow is a good, decent person who very plainly wants to live in a better, more decent society. Belafonte's address filled him with fervor—but intensity, and a sense of certainty about one's cause, will never be enough.

This returns us to a news report in Tuesday's New York Times. As we noted yesterday, the report dealt with the College Board's announcement that it's going to change the changes it has already made to its new, high-profile Advanced Placement course.

Yesterday afternoon, Nicolle Wallace was gushing about how brilliant the reporting had been in the Times. She fawned over one of the journalists who had produced the report.

It was typical stuff from one of our blue tribe's clubhouses. Yesterday morning, we mentioned the claim which we have highlighted in this part of that report:

GOLDSTEIN AND SAUL (4/26/23): Some experts are wary. Cheryl Harris, a legal scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a leading thinker in the field of critical race theory, has helped organize the May 3 protest. In an interview on Monday, she said she hoped the College Board had learned that it could not appease a political movement that, in her words, was seeking to “censor and suppress” ideas.

An analysis last year by the education publication Chalkbeat found that 36 states had moved toward restricting education on race.

Say what? As of last year, had 36 of the fifty states "moved toward restricting education on race?" 

That seemed like a very high number to us. Could that number be accurate?

As we noted yesterday, the brilliant reporter who Wallace praised had used some slightly fuzzy language in that formulation. When we clicked the link to the Chalkbeat report, we found that Chalkbeat had actually recorded "efforts to restrict teaching racism and bias" in at least 36 states.

"So far, at least 36 states have adopted or introduced laws or policies that restrict teaching about race and racism," the Chalkbeat reporters said (our emphasis).  In a significant number of those states, some law or policy may have been introduced, but they hadn't been adopted. 

It seemed to us the reporter to whom Wallace fawned had perhaps glossed that distinction in the brilliant Times report. In that sense, it seemed to us that the New York Times had perhaps embellished matters a bit. 

An important question remained unexplored:

What kinds of "laws or policies" were being referenced in these reports? Setting Chalkbeat to the side, what kinds of laws or policies did the New York Times have in mind when it said that 36 states had "moved toward restricting education on race" as of last year?

What kinds of "moves" did the Times have in mind? In what ways had those states "moved toward restricting education on race?"

As we mentioned yesterday, we noticed at Chalkbeat that the state of New York was listed as one of the 36 states which had "moved toward" doing that. That struck usas possibly odd.

The trees grow high in New York State / They shine like gold in autumn. Also, though, the state of New York is politically blue. 

When we clicked the relevant link at the Chalkbeat report, we found the text of the proposed law in question. According to the Times report, that proposed law meant that the state of New York had "moved toward restricting education on race."

Instantly, let it be said—the proposed law in question doesn't seem to have been adopted. It was proposed by Republicans in the state legislature, but we can find no sign that it ever passed into law.

Perhaps that's what the Times reporters had meant when they said that states like New York had only "moved toward" restricting education on race. But had the proposed law in the state of New York actually done any such thing?

Below, you see part of the text of the proposed law. You can peruse the full text here, through the Chalkbeat link.

Before you peruse it, we'll ask you this. What part of this proposed law do you disagree with?

Assembly Bill A8579 / 2021-2022 Legislative Session

AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to prohibiting courses in critical race theory

THE people of the state of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:

Section 1. The education law is amended by adding a new section 817 to read as follows:


1. No teacher, administrator or other employee of a school district, charter school, or city school district shall require or make part of a course the following concepts:

   A. One race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.

   B. An individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherenrly racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.

   C.  An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex.


For now, let's stop right here. So far, is it clear to you that something is wrong with what this proposal is saying?

Granted, we all know how to complain about the silly, overwrought use of the term "critical race theory." Also, some of the language in statement 1, seen above, can be said to be a bit unclear.

That said, do you think that students in public schools should be taught that "one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex?" If that's what the proposal seeks to forbid, would you actually disagree with that stipulation?

Moving along, do you think that students in public schools should be taught that some individual, "by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously?" 

If that's what the proposal seeks to ban, would you disagree with that?

The proposal moves on through six more "concepts" which, it says, "no teacher...shall require or make part of a course."  

Concept D is quite clumsily worded, but with effort it can be puzzled out. Meanwhile, how about such concepts as these:

Do you think that public school students, in any grade, should be told that "an individual's moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex?" Also, are we "restricting education on race" if we say that a teacher can't do that?

Do you think that students should be told that some individual or individuals should "feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex?" Are we "restricting education on race" if we say that shouldn't be done?

Do you think that children should be taught such things? If that's what this proposal was meant to address, do you really disagree with such assertions?

Please understand! We aren't saying that this proposal should have been adopted. As written, some of its meaning isn't perfectly clear.

Also, we can imagine provisions which might be added to some such effort—provisions which hold that children should be taught that we all bear responsibility, as American citizens, for trying to make our large, sprawling nation live up to its stated ideals.

We can imagine clarifying the language of this proposal. We can imagine adding provisions which are more positive in nature—provisions about what children should be taught.

For today, though, we'll leave you with a few questions:

Do you really disagree with what this proposal seemed to be saying? But also, we'll ask you this:

Do you know why the New York Times, a newspaper in the state of New York, would tell us that the mere introduction of this proposal means that the state of New York has "moved toward restricting education on race?"

Why in the world would a newspaper say that? As we think back to Bill Clinton's strange suggestion to Joe Scarborough, we'll offer much, much more on this question tomorrow.

For today, a simple question:

The trees grow high in New York State, but how about this:

 When Republicans offered that proposal, did that mean that the state of New York "had moved toward restricting education on race?" Because that's what the New York Times said!

Tomorrow: Disconsolate experts despondently say that The Others must always be wrong!

This afternoon: Charles Blow's account of what Belafonte said


  1. "by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously"

    This is or was a popular theory put forth by the author of White Fragility.

    1. It does seem to me that unconscious racial beliefs caused Somerby to think that black people wouldn't move back to the South as Blow suggests, despite census data for decades showing that they have been doing exactly that.

      The existence of latent racial stereotypes that affect decision-making and other thinking has been demonstrated by numerous psychological experiments. These came long before the book White Fragility was written. Denying the influence of such racist and sexist attitudes is anti-science, a refusal to accept facts, but that is what bigots do, since their bigotry leads them to deny many other facts about people, such as their humanity and right to equal opportunity.

    2. The statement "Black people wouldn't move back to the South" is not an accurate interpretation of the quote "Black Americans will migrate to a few Southern states to consolidate political power.".

    3. And yet black people ARE migrating to a few Southern states, notably GA and TX and they are consolidating political power there. The census data and the Brookings report are not saying solely that black people are migrating back to the South, but also that they are concentrating themselves in certain areas that are turning from red to purple and blue in terms of voting patterns.

      Connecting the dots, this is why the South has been so actively pursuing voter suppression measures.

      Blow explicitly says that is why he moved to Atlanta, yet Somerby dismisses that other black people will do the same. On what basis? He has no evidence, but there is a lot of demographic evidence in the study cited above. I am white and I know several white people who moved to red states because of the political climate there. One specifically moved to Texas because of the secessionist movement there. Why wouldn't black people move to somewhere where their vote will have more impact because it is combined with other black people's votes -- enabling them to make racial progress, something many, if not most, black people care deeply about?

      Somerby didn't know what he was talking about when he made that remark. But where did it come from? What view of black people formed it in his imagination? Ask yourself that.

    4. It's not accurate to assume that all Black people prioritize racial progress above all else, or that they would automatically choose to move to an area where their vote would have more impact based solely on race. People's decisions to move or stay in a certain location are influenced by a wide range of factors, including job opportunities, family ties, quality of life, affordability, and personal preferences.

      It's important to note that simply living in an area with a high concentration of Black residents does not automatically guarantee progress on racial issues. Many areas with a large Black population still face systemic racism and inequality, and there is no guarantee that political power will result in meaningful change.

      Ultimately, the decision to move or stay in a certain location is a personal one and depends on a variety of individual factors. While consolidating political power may be one factor that some Black Americans consider when making such a decision, it is unlikely to be the only factor or even the most important one for everyone.

    5. No one said that all blacks are doing this. Just enough to affect politics. And Blow advocated that more do it. No one said all except you.

      Yes, living in an area with more black people WILL ensure racial progress. It has done so in many places already. Again, you make this an all-or-nothing outcome -- progress means change for the better, it doesn't mean all problems get eliminated immediately.

      Obviously people have multiple reasons for moving. No one said they didn't. But many do prioritize racial progress. You are the only one saying that people have ONE reason and one reason only for moving. No one said that people do or should have only one reason for moving.

      Where is the logic bot when you need him?

    6. You want to amend your question to read "Why wouldn't just enough black people move to somewhere where their vote will have more impact because it is combined
      with other black people's votes -- enabling them to make racial progress, something many, if not most, black people care deeply about?"?

      This is what you would like to know?

    7. If so, the answer is basically the same. Consolidating political power is not a comprehensive solution and the decision to move or stay in a certain location is a personal one and depends on a wide range of factors for anyone including the subset of Blacks your question suggests..

    8. "You are the only one saying that people have ONE reason and one reason only for moving."

      I explicitly said the exact opposite.


    9. I should be more precise. You are the one who said that I said anything about one reason for anything. I didn't. No one would assume that I did except a bot or a bot-like asshole. You put words in my mouth that I didn't say, then you are denying doing that. It is obvious and anyone can read what you wrote.

      When a human being says "cats have tails", no other human would think they were saying all cats have tails without exception. That is not implied in human conversation. There are clearly Manx cats and cats who have had unfortunate accidents or birth defects. A generalization always allows exceptions and categorization includes examples that do not fit, without negating the validity of that categorization. When people talk about a specific group, they intend their focus to be on that group and not other groups or the exceptions.

      These are some of the pragmatics of human conversations that autistic people, small children, stupid bots, and those with frontal lobe deficits have trouble with. I posted a link to a textbook on this subject yesterday. Go find it and read it (or give it to whoever is using AI to derail conversation here).

    10. If we acknowledge that people do not make decisions to move based on a single factor, then it is possible that Black people may choose not to relocate to an area where their vote could have more impact through racial consolidation due to a multitude of reasons. These may include personal factors, economic constraints, cultural connections to their current community, potential systemic barriers, and drawbacks associated with the consolidation of political power. In essence, the decision to move or stay in a particular location is complex and influenced by various factors beyond the potential for increased political power. This was the point I made initially.

    11. Repeating this was entirely unnecessary.

  2. "Do you know why the New York Times, a newspaper in the state of New York, would tell us that the mere introduction of this proposal means that the state of New York has "moved toward restricting education on race?"

    Yes, because they believe and want to teach kids that whites are inherently racist. This is the crux of the issue.

    1. Introducing legislation is "moving toward" restricting education on race. White politicians have been doing this all over the country, including states where they have less of a chance of succeeding, such as New York.

      The newspaper no doubt reported what it did because it was part of the report cited in the article. Reporters aren't in the business of making up things that weren't said or done by those they are covering.

      There is no such thing as a "mere introduction." The measure was introduced. It was not voted down -- it sits in the Education Committee.

  3. Throughout White Fragility DiAngelo tries to convince white readers of two things: you're either a fragile racist or you're a fragile racist.

  4. According to Somerby, the proposed NY law had 3 parts that he chose to include in his long winded diatribe and 6 parts he excludes. He then has the temerity to ask the reader to pass judge judgement on a proposed law he has des in part only. Why did he leave out 2/3 of the proposed law? Certainly not due to space constraints. While the six parts he leaves out may well be as innocuous as the three he includes, that does not mitigate his foolishness in asking the reader for an up/down vote on the law and certainly raises questions about his motivation for excluding 2/3 of it from his argument..

    1. " C. An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex.


      For now, let's stop right here."

      Then later Somerby says:

      "Concept D is quite clumsily worded, but with effort it can be puzzled out."

      But, as Unamused has pointed out, Somerby does not quote D or the following parts of the proposed law at all. How then can we know whether it is clumsily worded or not? Somerby clearly expects us to accept on faith that his reactions to the remaining items should be ours too. Without the courtesy of listing them.

  5. "Are Black Americans going to migrate to a few Southern states to consolidate political power? Everything is always possible—although, almost surely, not that!"

    Somerby should check the census data before saying something like that. There is a phenomenon called "black flight" comparable to the white flight involving white people moving to suburbs:

    "There has been a longstanding “white flight” to suburbs since at least the 1950s in many American cities and more recently a “Black flight” trend that became most prominent in the 2010-2020 decade."

    "As discussed earlier, Black city population losses were more widespread in the 2000-2010 decade than in the 1990s—as the number of Black-loss cities rose from 13 to 20 and added up to an overall 50-city Black population loss. While 23 cities lost Black populations in the most recent decade, the magnitude of this loss declined for the 50 cities as well as several individual cities (download Table D). For example, in the cities with the largest Black losses in 2010-2020, Detroit, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Oakland, Calif. lost considerably fewer Black residents in 2010-2020. Still a few more cities have joined the “Black flight” list.

    The Brookings Institute says:

    "The reversal of the Great Migration began as a trickle in the 1970s, increased in the 1990s, and turned into a virtual evacuation from many northern areas in subsequent decades. The movement is largely driven by younger, college-educated Black Americans, from both northern and western places of origin. They have contributed to the growth of the “New South,” especially in Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina, as well as metropolitan regions such as Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston. And although these areas are simultaneously in the midst of new immigrant growth and white in-migration, the continuing “New Great Migration” has served to give Black Americans a large—and in many cases, dominant—presence in most parts of America’s South."

    "Although region-wide, Black migration to the South declined during the 2015-2020 period, the major southern magnet states of Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina still led all other states in Black in-migration. Similarly, Atlanta was still the greatest net Black migration gainer during this period, followed mostly by other southern metro areas—most notably, Dallas and Houston. "

    Thus, based on census data, Atlanta in particular is still receiving an influx of new black residents, leaving large Northern cities to pursue jobs and lives in the increasing black middle class and suburbs of Southern states. This has been reflected in voting, including Trump's loss in GA.

    Blow and Belafonte encouraged a reverse black migration trend that was already in progress.

    That makes Somerby's claim that such a thing could not happen sound pretty ridiculous.

  6. “some of the language in statement 1, seen above, can be said to be a bit unclear.”

    And the lack of clarity is an important, not trivial, point.

    This is another prohibited concept from the proposed NY law:


    Who determines whether a teacher is causing “any individual” to feel “discomfort, guilt…on account of his or her race or sex…”?

    Would a mere discussion of “systemic/structural racism” possibly cause such discomfort? What if a teacher merely wanted to discuss the ideas in DiAngelo’s book (as a commenter brought up above), without necessarily endorsing them? It’s pretty clear that even these kinds of discussions would run afoul of the law’s intended purpose, which is precisely to shut down these kinds of discussions.

    As an example, Somerby has previously admitted that the naep achievement gaps are a legacy of past racism. If that idea were to be mentioned in a high school classroom in a state with this kind of “anti-woke” law, the teacher mentioning it might be in trouble.

    1. Florida has 5,294 teacher vacancies, the state education association says, compared with 2,217 vacancies in January 2019 when Gov. Ron DeSantis took office. Teachers say they are leaving because of low pay and DeSantis' education policies, dubbed the "war on woke."Apr 12, 2023

      This is a feature, not a bug, of MAGAT policy toward public schools.

  7. "Moving along, do you think that students in public schools should be taught that some individual, "by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously?"

    If that's what the proposal seeks to ban, would you disagree with that?"

    I think students should be taught that our society was racist and sexist in the past, and that any person (regardless of race or sex) by virtue of living in a society where racism and sexism have not been eliminated, may hold unconscious attitudes and beliefs that are lingering remnants of previous outmoded cultural beliefs. That is why every person has a duty to make sure that our historical legacy of racism and sexism does not harm others today, even if through unconscious beliefs that may affect our conscious actions. That is what it means to be anti-racist and anti-sexist, something any good decent person should strive to be in order to avoid harming others.

    It is not possible to unearth unconscious beliefs without making latent attitudes conscious, which is why it is necessary to talk about race and sex and our history explicitly in classrooms. This is what Republicans are opposing, because they wish to avoid eliminating racism and sexism and strive to preserve the old racist and sexist traditions, which tend to benefit white men who are the power behind the Republican Party. They understand that teaching about oppression of women will result in more protests against repressive abortion laws and more demands for pay equity. They similarly understand that black people will gain support in their movement toward equal rights if children are taught to oppose the latent racism in our society. The longer Republicans cling to racism and other bigotry, the fewer votes they will get from young people who understand how racism and sexism prop up white males' privileged status in society.

    That's why this movement to restrict what is taught in schools is arising from a political party, Republicans, and largely resisted by the party that supports civil rights, the Democrats.

    That language that Somerby touts in this New York bill is far from innocuous. Somerby must know that, so that puts him squarely with the Republicans defending the racist/sexist status quo and preventing children from learning in school that civil rights are human rights and they belong to everyone, a tenet of our Constitution and a strongly held value by the majority in our country. What is wrong with teaching what the majority of people believe about protecting the rights of minorities in our culture?

  8. "That said, do you think that students in public schools should be taught that "one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex?"

    A better word than "superior" would be "privileged." When I was in my 20s, I could not get a bank loan to buy a car without a male co-signer. That was because I was female, not because of my credit rating (women didn't have credit) or history paying debts (women weren't able to contract for debts, to buy anything, much less a house or car). This was solely based on my sex -- I was assumed to be inherently unequal to men in terms of handling money and taking on liabilities. I was also not allowed to attend grad school in medicine or law, not allowed to book a hotel room in my own name, and thus unable to travel without a male companion, I could not reserve a table for one at a restaurant, I was not able to be hired in a job selling computers because of my "personality" despite having technical knowledge and social skills, I was ineligible for a management trainee job, could not train for the ministry, I could not adopt a child without a husband, could not go to work wearing pants instead of a skirt, and there were many other restrictions, all of them hinging on my sex at birth, not any behavior I had engaged in, personal accomplishment or qualification. This was in my own lifetime, not that long ago. And remnants of these restrictions linger because the attitudes toward women upon which they were based still exist in our culture. I'm sure it is the same, if not worse, for black people, who endured similar restrictions during the same time period, before civil rights movements began to slowly change things for women and blacks and other similarly disadvantaged groups.

    Men still believe they are inherently superior to women. There are many, if not most, white people who still believe they are inherently superior to black and other minority people. Recall that Trump, our elected president, said that Mexico was not sending us their "best". What do you suppose he meant by that? Even Somerby refused to believe that Ketanji Brown Jackson could not be the best qualified person to nominate for the Supreme Court, despite raising no evidence of her lesser qualifications. Why would he say that, if he were no affected by the lingering, perhaps unconscious, beliefs of our previously racist and sexist society?

    These laws, whether passed or lingering in committee, will take our schools in the wrong direction. It is impossible to keep a child or adult from being horrified by the things our country has done in the past. Let people encounter the emotions that go with knowledge, so that those emotions will motivate them to behave better than those in our past. Otherwise, some jerk of a white guy is going to decide to hire eye candy in the office because it is nicer to compete just with men, and not have those pesky women in the same jobs as the guys. And others will let him do it, because they too benefit from rules restricting women, and if a woman can't get a job, then she cannot divorce her husband and he can do whatever he wants at home too. And if you limit what black people can do, then they too have fewer options and will be unable to complain when you give them the shittiest work and worst hours and lowest pay, and say it is their own fault for not getting ahead.

    Kids need to learn about this stuff so that they won't repeat their parents' mistakes. Is it any surprise that some of those parents are working as hard as they can to prevent their kids from understanding what they did?

  9. "Do you know why the New York Times, a newspaper in the state of New York, would tell us that the mere introduction of this proposal means that the state of New York has "moved toward restricting education on race?"

    Because it is true. You don't pass legislation without first drafting a bill and introducing it.

    Doesn't it seem suspicious to Somerby that the wording of the New York legislation seems identical to that in FL and other states? Why does he not wonder about the motives of a nation-wide effort to introduce the same language into law in diverse states?

    Somerby pretends that the wording is innocuous, something we can all get behind, because why should anyone ever feel guilty or ashamed? But guilt and shame are the emotions that people should feel when they have done something wrong.

    For centuries, black people were taught to feel shame about being black. Their community and leadership helped them form a black pride movement to counteract that. For millenia, women were taught to feel shame about being female. We are still taught to feel that way about body image, adopting "masculine" traits, being insufficiently nice or pretty or clean or sexy (or for being too sexy) or not likeable enough. If school can shame girls on the basis of those things, why is a law being made specially to protect boys from being accused of sexism? Why was there no law protecting girls from shaming?

    The New York Times reported what was in the Chalkbeat Report, which tells the truth when it says there was an effort made in New York State to restrict teaching race and sex in the classroom. They didn't misrepresent the bills as passing, so they have accurately stated what happened. Somerby pretends they exaggerated, but they did not. These right wing bastards did try to change New York state's laws, as they have done in 36 other places. Somerby needs to ask the Republicans why they thought New York might go along with their program, not complain because Chalkbeat caught them in the act.

  10. Somerby thinks of New York State as monolithically blue because of NYC and because the state went for Biden in 2020. But many places in upstate New York (anyplace outside of NYC) are red and some are deep red. That means that the state legislature will have many Republican representatives, not solely Democrats.

    Here is a map of the state showing which districts voted for Biden and which for Trump:

    Notice that there are nearly twice as many districts voting for Trump than for Biden. How then did Biden win the state? The districts voting for him had more residents, were more populous, than the rural districts voting for Trump. But, as in the electoral college, state representatives are not elected based on population but by district and that gives the minority Republicans more power in the state legislature.

    No one should have to explain this to Somerby. It is an obvious part of politics. I suspect that Somerby is trying to create the impression that even blue voters favor these restrictive laws about race and sex in classroom teaching. That is not the case in New York, despite the Republican efforts to enact several bills like those in FL and TN. Somerby wants us to think that those bills are so "reasonable" that even blue New Yorkers might vote for them. That is misleading. It is more misleading than pretending the New York Times did anything at all wrong when it reported (accurately) on Chalkbeat's study.

    1. Despite red districts going for Trump instead of Biden in upstate New York, the Democrats hold supermajorities in both houses:

      "All 150 seats in the New York State Assembly were up for election in 2022. The chamber's Democratic supermajority decreased from 106-42 (with one independent and one vacancy) to 101-49.
      All 150 seats in the state Assembly were up for election in 2020. The chamber's Democratic supermajority increased from 103-42 (with one independent and four vacancies) to 106-43 with one independent."

      This is why those Republican bills were buried in the Education Committee. Democrats don't want them to pass.

  11. The second amendment is evil.

  12. Emotions are a feedback system that gives us information about our relation to our environment and others in it. Negative emotions tell us that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. They motivate change and adjustment. They are aversive (unpleasant) in order to get our attention and spur us to action. Positive emotions are pleasant and they reward us for approaching whatever promotes our survival and they encourage us to keep doing whatever evoked the emotion to begin with. They provide social glue to maintain relationships.

    When you deny children the experience of negative emotions, you remove a tool for learning and change that they will need access to in their lives. Teaching kids that they should never have to experience negative emotion (either via direct statements or by example) denies them coping skills and sets them up for addiction (because many people who take drugs do so to avoid negative affect).

    There are negative emotions associated directly with learning. Boredom, frustration, shame (due to failure) are chief among them. In the not very distant past, teachers used negative emotion as punishment, evoking guilt and shame by telling kids they weren't working hard enough or doing their work right. There was the dunce cap or vegetable row (at the back of the class) and kids were visibly rewarded for good work while those failing were singled out too, for humiliation. Teachers called kids names and did unpleasant things to them, time out in the coat room, being sent to the Principal's office, or denied recess. Parents complained, rightfully, about many of these methods, but teachers had to learn different tools to motivate and discipline children. Reinforcement only goes so far.

    This overconcern with what children are feeling, now extended to never reading about anything unpleasant or hearing painful truths, is diminishing the opportunity for kids to learn to grapple with the world as it really is (more coping), to learn who they are and what they care about, to have the hope of changing what is wrong and building a better society. I see these efforts to protect kids as interfering with building character, developing emotional regulation, and helping kids set goals and learn skills for dealing with intransigent problems (as arise when subject matter becomes more difficult in higher grades).

    Republicans dislike social-emotional approaches to learning. They want to protect their kids from the very types of learning that will help them with problems as adults. That is handicapping, not helping kids. The desire to avoid rather than deal with problems may be why the stats on social problems are higher for red states and among Republicans, including divorce, suicide, crime, and murder. People need emotional strength built through experience, not guns to solve problems and deal with anxieties.

    So, I totally disagree with Somerby's ideas about these bills. They are bad for kids because they prevent learning. And they are bad for society because they will perpetuate the ills of Southern states and those in the North who are bigots and racist, perhaps out of inability to tolerate a more accurate view of themselves and their place in the universe. It is painful learning the truth, but it is better to know what is real than surround oneself with a false superiority that may be comforting but cannot be tested because the loss of fantasies would be overwhelming to bear emotionally speaking.

  13. Those with strong stomachs may want to take a look at a Salon(!) in 2012, where Andrew Sullivan was outraged at Belafonte for calling Condolezza Rice, Colin Powell, and Clarence Thomas as slaves who got to live in the house, "porch negros" if you will. Belafonte predicts that when Powell suggests something the master doesn't want to hear, he will be turned out, which is pretty much what happened. As for Thomas, if at this point you view this character as anything but a tool for the white power structure , it's hard to imagine your white prejudice is something you will ever turn back from.
    Sullivan has always been a little slow on racial matters, but ti's amazing he was allowed to call Belafonte a "bigot" , you wonder if the Trump years has made this situation better or worse. . At any rate Sullivan is pretty much on the same sad page as Bob in these matters, I think we will see this in whatever he has to say about Blow next time.
    As for the rest of this, it's pretty much Bob's now standard travesty, "Thing, Thing, Thing, I hate Nichole Wallace, Thing."

  14. The NY Times ought to distinguish between good restrictions and bad restrictions. Prohibiting the use of the N-word would be a way of restricting education on race.

    1. Let’s use the N word. That will desensitize Black folks.

    2. BTW my local San Jose paper has an article similar to the one cited by Bob in the NY Times. It has the same flaws.