e.g., denial, trauma, secrets

a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.


—present denial of systemic racism fits post-truth [P-T] patterns. Let’s see how. 

Just tourists visiting the Capitol?

What about the gaslighting denials regarding MAGA racists? Here’s Officer Dunn’s directly pertinent testimony [cued to 8:17-10:00]:



“You hear that guys? This nigger voted for Joe Biden.” … “Boo-ooo, fuckin’ nigger!”
That passage clearly puts the lie to Republican gaslighting efforts, e.g.: ‘What MAGA racists? No racists, really; just tourists.’ 
Along with the testimony presented by the other three officers, it becomes self-evident: the claim that the events at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, were enacted by a group of tourists, is patently absurd. It highlights the terribly insulting (dehumanizing?) nature of gaslighting as political technologies [PT].

Patterns of post-truth

I recall doing a story (as a stringer photographer) back in the early nineties for, Der Spiegel, magazine in Germany. The story was regarding the Kansas Board of Education considering the requirement of teaching Intelligent Design [ID] alongside Evolution. This was classic political technologies, but with a post-truth-style; although, I didn’t realize it then. 
In his book, Post-Truth, Lee McIntyre describes it this way: 
“It could not be clearer that postmodernist thought had an influence on ID theory. It is also not in doubt that ID theory provided the blueprint for how climate change deniers would later fight their own battles: [1] attack the existing science, [2] identify and fund your own experts, [3] push the idea that the issue is ‘controversial,’ and [4] get your own side out through the media and lobbying, and watch the people react.”


P-T/PT pattern used to deny systemic racism

Overlaying the pattern established in the “debate” of Evolution/ID theory:
  • [1] ‘attack the existing science’ — [leveraging biological science known to be faulty on the race issue was out, so that left attacking the social sciences.] Perhaps one of the boldest P-T/PT tactics is inverting-the-premise. Incredibly, making anti-racism itself racist has been widely successful. No one argues that White fragility [the phenomenon] isn’t an actual thing, just that (apparently) DiAngelo is racist for pointing it out. Critiques of DiAngelo that I’ve read and heard do nothing to address the reality of White fragility
  • [2] ‘identify and fund your own experts’ — Black voices who are, to various degrees, finding ways to discount and dismiss anti-racism, again, to varying degrees. 
  • [3] ‘push the idea that the issue is “controversial,”‘ — That one must now mount a defense of antiracism’s right to exist is a red-flag marker indicating that post-truth/political technologies have dramatically altered the public debate on ‘race in America.’
  • [4] ‘get your own side out through the media and lobbying’ — DJT catalyzed the MAGA denial reaction, and he animated the QOP to anti-antiracism boldness.

A turn to trauma

I’ve said that while DiAngelo’s book explicitly acknowledges the trauma that White supremacist ideology [Wsi] has inflicted on Black; Indigenous; People of Color [BIPOC], it also subtly (and even somewhat explicitly) acknowledges the trauma that Wsi has done to white people.

I’ve suggested White fragility [i.e., the phenomenon that no one denies] results partly from the trauma that Wsi has inflicted on people who identify as White—whether consciously or unconsciously. It’s a very different kind of trauma than has been experienced by BIPOC through their experience of Wsi and its systemic expression. Still, trauma forms a crucially important piece of common ground in holistically framing our race discourse. 

Conversely, present denial (gaslighting) is further traumatizing all sides of an already overly traumatized society on issues of ‘race in America.’ The significant front-end part of the recognition/repentance/reconciliation/healing process is, obviously, acknowledging to those who have been traumatized that their trauma is seen; that it’s real—law is necessary, not sufficient; law is poor proxy for human ‘recognition’/’acknowledging.’


Generation to Generation

We’ve talked previously about Edwin Friedman, and his work. He has adopted Murray Bowen’s theory to draw inferences about organized groups from important aspects of Bowen’s family systems insights. In his book, Generation to Generation, Friedman has a section that, I argue, needs to inform our contemplation of systemic racism, and its denial. 

Friedman points to some of the effects of ‘secrets’ on a system [e.g., ‘family,’ or nation]. His first, third, and fourth points are most salient here:

“1. Secrets function to divide a family, as an avalanche would a community.”

“3. A third major effect of secrets on a family is that they distort perceptions.”

“4.” See tl;dr “Secrets” graphic

Those who argue that CRT, and teaching American history holistically, divides the society are trying to close a wide-open barn door out of which the horses of societal division have already long gone.



Denying systemic racism (gaslighting) is a re-traumatizing slap in the face for BIPOC, and is tantamount to creating a family secret in American society that, intended or not, serves to exacerbate and extend the problem.




Next week: nothing set. Come and see. 

[this post approx. 825 words (about a 3 min. read)]

Your thoughts? 

What did you hear me say?



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