Wednesday, June 15, 2011

a bit more on David Reich's The Antiracism Trainings

I realized that in yesterday's hasty comment on The Antiracism Trainings, I left out a few things:

The book is set in the 1990s. Antiracism theory and the UU church have changed greatly since then. Most antiracism theorists have dropped the "all whites are racist and only whites are racist" arguments for a slightly more nuanced take on the nature of power—but I must say that while they now make token acknowledgment of other factors under the rubric of "intersectionality", they continue to be race reductionists, as their name indicates.

Pondering The Antiracism Trainings, I've seen something that now seems obvious: "training" in a theory is only indoctrination. I don't know what modern antiracism training is like, but in the 90s, it clearly was little different from "training" in EST or Scientology: trainees were isolated, then drilled by people who belittled them for deviance and praised them for conformance. If I was writing an essay about the ways cults create members, I'd be sure to mention Stockholm Syndrome.

Though I've quibbled about Reich's book, I'm very glad he wrote it.