Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Shaming Americans.

Last night, when my daughter was reading Twitter comments that blamed "whites" for electing Trump, I pointed out to her that her entire education had involved blaming white people for slavery and Jim Crow and all manner of evils and it wasn't surprising that this created a reaction in the minds of Americans who were wondering what they had done wrong.

I've suspected that the purpose of public education was to indoctrinate "white" Americans in shame.

Now, we find out that my suspicions were right.

//Though job loss and economic stagnation played a role in his victory, so did shame. As the principal investigator on a study of the middle class for the National Institute of Mental Health, I found that working people’s stress is often intensified by shame at their failure to “make it” in what they are taught is a meritocratic American economy.

The right has been very successful at persuading working people that they are vulnerable not because they themselves have failed, but because of the selfishness of some other villain (African-Americans, feminists, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, liberals, progressives; the list keeps growing).

Instead of challenging this ideology of shame, the left has buttressed it by blaming white people as a whole for slavery, genocide of the Native Americans and a host of other sins, as though whiteness itself was something about which people ought to be ashamed. The rage many white working-class people feel in response is rooted in the sense that once again, as has happened to them throughout their lives, they are being misunderstood.//

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