Glenn says, "I'm not surprised that if you call attention to white cops beating up black kids, somebody else is going to call attention to black thugs beating up innocent white people. And do you know, there are a lot more of the latter than there are of the former."

I'd love to see the statistics that corroborate such a claim.

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We live by narrative, and by anecdote. Here we have dueling anecdotes. Glenn has true anecdotes about progressive cancellation in private schools, Rajiv has true anecdotes about conservatives hounding bewildered teachers. Glenn's anecdotes would make any conservative angry. Rajiv's anecdotes would make any liberal angry. They respect each other, but in this conversation seem to fail to reach a middle ground.

Of course "reality" could be represented in numbers, if we had them: X percent of schools are in the grip of progressive indoctrinators, Y percent of school boards do conservative bullying of teachers and librarians ... but numbers put people to sleep.

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I disagree that the "educators" are innocent bystanders. Anyone supporting indoctrinating kindergarten children with racial and gender ideology, even if they are not experts on the bacground of critical theory, has no business anywhere near children. Period.

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rajiv's reliance on propublica (!) 'reporting' reveals that conformation bias rules his weltanschaung....

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if it isnt crushed with vengeance, it will fester and rise again

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You're an economist, Professor Sethi; a celebrated and accomplished one. Perhaps you'll gain insight by descending for a moment from the macroeconomic sphere and taking a short sojourn into the realm of the atomized, individualized microeconomic realities extant within everyday life.

The ruleset for managing scarcity scales upward from individualized a priori assumptions. What the backlash is focused on, is the nature of the priors being inculcated by authority figures that dominate the attention of those who must compete with each other for scarce resources.

It is no accident that Critical Theory gained traction in the legal profession. The necessary amorality of promiscuous advocacy engenders a "by any means necessary" methodology. Critical Theory's focus on power as the apex of hierarchical priorities is not necessarily misplaced within a framework of ubiquitously confrontational advocacy, but it's highly destructive of the social cohesion essential to everyday economic activity.

This is because it destroys, not just trust, but the very ability to trust. As an economist, you are very well aware of the way that cooperation and competition devolve into tribalistic savagery when the bedrock of trust erodes beyond a certain point.

Oh, certainly, your observations about the confusion experienced by those who endure parental criticism are poignant. Charitably put, can you entertain the notion that low-information parents are made uneasy by a visceral comprehension that their progeny are being permanently disadvantaged by teachers that have a poor grasp of the subject matter?

We can look at it through a Critical lens and conclude that "as ye reap, ye will sow." We can also look at it through an economic lens and postulate that teachers do not primarily perform their duties in order to teach, they do so to make money. They make money by conveying information and attitudes, but they would rarely teach without a monetary incentive.

A man of your accomplishments can readily view the situation within the above two frameworks, and many more. The "truth," if there is one, becomes far more complex than any single framework can accommodate.

At the core of all of this is the ability to form bonds of trust. A crude metaphor is to visualize an enduring social contract as that which sets up a boxing ring and provides an honest referee who enforces limits on how force is employed in competition. Critical Theory, applied indiscriminately, is a corrosive substance, an acid that dissolves the ring and kills the referee. The result is one where rules-based competition for scarce resources becomes a no-holds-barred streetfight-to-the-death.

If thoughtless academics are unaware that the bottle from which they dispense information contains a mild solution of ideological muriatic, shall a charitable impulse deem their offering any less corrosive? The mildness of the solution only prolongs the period of dissolution endured by the substrate upon which it is poured.

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As a parent of two high schoolers Rajiv is simply incorrect. This issue is pervasive in public middle and high schools.

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Glenn, you are spot on and courageous for being vocal here and elsewhere (eg letter in defense of Clarence Thomas was inspiring). White man have been discriminated against legally since 1964 when Affirmative Action gave protection to everyone but them. That is racist and sexist when you protect all but one group because of their race or sex. Just like attacking one group because of their race or sex would be racist or sexist.

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I'm flabbergasted that this gentleman thinks CRT is only an issue in a few elite schools.

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Just over a year ago, Glenn and John had their discussion on "Thinking Critically on Critical Race Theory"


I rewatched much of it after reading the ProPublica article.

Three points from this discussion are relevant:

First, they agree that a soft form of CRT is being disingenuously introduced into our schools. "Disingenuously" because its proponents argue that it cannot be CRT since it is not the academic hard form.

Second, Glenn believed that many of these proponents deliberately mislead; John disagreed, saying that these people are steeped in this culture, know no differently, and thus are not fully to blame.

Finally, they synthesize a two part definition of this variant of CRT: Part A: Black people are victims, white people are oppressors. Part B: Rectifying this situation should be one's life mission.

This discussion was academic in that it was detached from any particular incident; in the ProPublica article you can see the real life consequences of this culture war.

In alignment with the first point, parents were rightly concerned about Trojan Horse CRT brought in under the guise of an innocent sounding DEI initiative. Furthermore, this new position does not seem to be particularly well thought out by the school board. Ms. Lewis interviewed for one position and then was offered a newly created role that was so poorly defined she got to determine what it actually was.

As to the second point of Glenn and John's conversation, Ms. Lewis may be an unwitting foot soldier in this culture war. Or she may be an innocent, and the loss of her job is collateral damage.

Finally, if Glenn and John's summation is an accurate depiction of what is actually happening, the culture war will only intensify, leading to a stronger backlash than the one described in the article.

Finally, the backlash will become a front in the culture war as well. This article can well be seen as an opening shot, with salvos to follow in due course.

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I need more detail to make sense of Rajiv’s concern. I am anti-CRT and I urge activists to contemplate potential consequences of human response. My default position is that two groups have made themselves un-trustworthy since 2018: HR and schools. Question to professor Loury: Can you interview an HR expert from multi-ethic Singapore?

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Great interview! Thank you for letting us seeing into their mindset

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Jul 14, 2022·edited Jul 14, 2022

I can certainly understand why parents in Cobb & Cherokee counties are overreacting. There is a constant boiling frog syndrome going on in schools. If you don't stop it immediately, you'll be boiled before you know it. Unfortunately, this is now true in all American culture.

Kila Posey, a black parent of a student at Mary Lin Elementary (in Atlanta) learned this last year.

This festering philosophy is everywhere and in everything. You have to say 'no'. All the time.

If any of these do-gooding people were sincere about understanding what was going on in society, how we got here, and perhaps open a dialogue about how to solve the problems then Thomas Sowell would be mandatory reading and entire classes devoted to his ideas. And of course, Prof Glenn Loury, too.

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So Mr. Sethi "worries that this backlash is harming people who did nothing to deserve the ire of those who are fed up with the progressive line on race." Did he worry about those who didn't deserve what precipitated the backlash? How many people were attacked, personally and professionally, for saying that re-racializing society was a bad idea? It was poisonous the first time and there is no reason to believe that doing it again will produce different results.

It's a bit much to clutch one's pearls over the reaction instead of the cause. The biggest problem with the backlash, it seems, is that it's happening at all. The education-industrial complex operated without pushback for going on two generations and quietly kept moving the goalposts further and further away from actual instruction on the subjects that young people might need to master in order to be successful. When functionally illiterate people are "graduating" high school and when colleges are forced to provide remedial math/English work for unprepared incoming freshmen, it should be clear that educators have lost their way.

Parents have finally noticed that the system is NOT serving their kids well and after years of silence bordering on indifference, they are pushing back. To the educrats, it must seem shocking but that's the nature of pendulums. Once they reach their end point on end of the spectrum, they reverse course quickly and move toward the opposite end. Besides, there is nothing about claims that schools had become indoctrination camps but those complaints were dismissed. More recently, parents were painted as terrorists. Great move. And from CRT we've moved on to teachers who believe six year olds need to hear about adults' sex lives. If an industry was trying to make a spectacle of itself, what would education do differently?

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I agree with M. Mink. *Vastly* underestimates. And *vastly* pathological.

I ranted about the article M. Sethi recommended, but didn't say much about what he discussed. His quotes preceded by ">>>".

>>> "The position itself was defined to some degree in the language of diversity, equity, and inclusion, although her background, I mean, she actually initially thought CRT meant something totally different. She's really not aware of any connection to this kind of legal scholarship."

There's that "tell." CRT, as it is known these days, has ZERO, zip, zilch, NADA to do with ANY LEGAL THEORY. I'll give M. Sethi the benefit of the doubt, and not say this is a lie. But it indicates such a poor understanding of the issue that it beggars belief. Granted, it's somewhat amorphous. Just like Wokeness is. What is included? What not? Is CRT synonymous with Woke? A lotta that depends if it includes trans *GROOMING.* (Poor term but what is, in actual *FACT,* happening. Be glad to argue the point.)

>>> "And really a whole bunch of people are swarming, and partly through a coordinated national campaign, where a script is being distributed."

Uh hunh. Hmmmm.

>>> "What I see going on is that there are things that ought to be debated and questioned and brought to the surface."

Okay, let's bring some facts to the surface. M. Sethi bought the story in ProPublica, lock, stock, and barrel. Yeah, there was some nationally organized resistance in the Georgia case. But lets try to maintain a minimal contact with reality.

Woke is a coordinated national campaign, no? International, actually. Scripts You say? What I call "The Narrative" is broadcast out on social media, as well as mainstream. I call that distributed very, very *widely.*

Everybody's heard-a regulatory capture, right? Institutional capture, anybody? How many institutions can You name that *haven't* been captured by the Woke?

>>> "But instead of that, there's a very active, nationally coordinated campaign to mob school districts in ways that that get innocent people who are trying to just basically do right by the children hounded out of jobs or school boards, and so on."

From https://boghossian.substack.com/p/ed-schools-weak-academics-and-woke Ed schools teach the teachers who teach. Ed schools teach the administrators who run the show. Ed schools teach the PMC on the state boards. Ed schools care more about training their students how to be Woke, than teaching them about their supposed profession.

So let's get real here on who is the mob. And who does the sowing. And who are more likely to get fired. And what the parents are up against, when they wanna have some say so in what their children are indoctrinated in. To try to portray the teachers as the underdog? I'm not sure if it's just plain ignorance, or is an effort to intentionally paint a false picture. Because *most* Americans will root for the underdog. That's why the ProPublica painted such a nice picture of this Celia Lewis. Touching. She was up against the mob.

To finalize, what these parents in Georgia were *doing,* in actual *FACT,* was attempting and managing to get rid of the DEI position altogether. I'm sorry M. Lewis was caught in the crossfire. She mebbe was *not* as Woke as all get-out. It's possible. Again, reality: The DEI industry, according to what I've read, is a $6 BILLION industry. This is what the parents are up against, and the people in DEI are the mob.

>>> "There's no question that in some schools, especially elite private schools, yes, it's fair ground. But this has gone way beyond that."

Well, yeah... The Woke *religion* has gone way, way beyond what's necessary. Therefore...

>>> "It's the folks who are generally centrist, maybe right-of-center, left-of-center, doing their jobs as educationists."

I'm sorry, but I'm incredulous. It's the job of the Colleges and Universities to turn out good illiberal Woke people, right? And if they're not sufficiently Woke, they get additional training in how to be Woke in the Ed Schools. Odds of people coming outta all that being Centrists?

Don't bother with research. Social scientists can prove any hypothesis they wanna. To me, social science is an oxymoron anyway.. Even *hard* sciences are getting that way. Therefore...

[Edit: should-a been "Cecilia."]

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Jul 13, 2022·edited Jul 13, 2022

Dr. Sethi vastly underestimates the problem of CRT and its effects on school culture and the minds of children of all races. And should we get into the gender stuff that's causing vast numbers of little girls to want mastectomies and to render themselves infertile for life? The porn in the school libraries problem? How far too many teachers use their students as little therapy buddies who are there to affirm their psycho-sexual identities? There's serious pathology in America's public schools.

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