And a Look Back Behind the Scenes at the Planning and Execution Phases of Our 2013 Research Project
I was reviewing some drafts in the Drafts folder when I stumbled on one that I’d made of a post that I’d intended to publish during our research project on the Race Grievance Industry all the way back in 2013. I wondered why I hadn’t published it, so I went back and reviewed my notes on it. Here’s a distillation of those notes:
- The owner of the blog where I was interacting with members of the RGI (here) had banned me from contributing to it.
- Consequently, I was going to copy the contents of the blog post over to my blog, so that I’d have a record of it. I didn’t want the blogger to delete the post and pretend that the exchange had never happened.
- The post, and the nearly 1,000 comments, now represent quite a large amount of material. Each time I went in to copy the contents, it had grown some more.
- I decided to wait until its growth had subsided and eventually, apparently, lost track of the post as time passed and events unfolded. (here, and linked below)
I found my draft again yesterday, and figured I should finally put a ribbon on this package. Hence, this post, along with a look behind the scenes at our thought processes in embarking on the research project itself.
About two and a half years ago, fascinated by what we perceived as faked, dishonest, or invented grievances by black Americans against whites, we launched a research project on race relations in America. The goal: to engage the RGI on their own turf with a challenging proposition, and see how they would react. In the process, we thought, we would (1) test the soundness of our own beliefs, and (2) measure the states-of-mind of members of the RGI, and (3) learn something. After quite a bit of research, we settled on “Abagond’s” blog (in this post here ) where, in the person of xPraetorius, we argued, very simply, that:
If a black person (1) gets an education, (2) speaks well, (3) works hard, (4) gets along well with others, and (5) presents him or herself more or less normally, he or she can succeed in America today.
Internally, we called the above, the “Challenge Thesis.” The Challenge Thesis came to be known as “the five things” in our long interaction with Abagond’s readers(1).
In more than 1,300 posts, back-and-forth, across two separate blog threads (here and here), between Abagond’s readers and us, no one, not a single poster — there were a couple of dozen — addressed the Challenge Thesis substantively.
I expected at least someone to say, “No, that’s not true, and here’s why.” However, all I ever got was: “You’re a racist,” or “You’re a liar,” or some other completely defensive, irrelevant, shoot-from-the-hip twaddle. Abagond himself (whom I suspect of being a woman, but I accede to his desire to be, online at least, a man) made a couple of half-hearted attempts, presenting long debunked or highly dubious statistics and, like everyone else, a bunch of useless anecdotes. It was a long, eye-opening exchange that persuasively supported the following hypotheses:
- Most members of The RGI have no idea why they believe what they believe about race relations in America.
- Most members of The RGI have as “evidence,” completely irrelevant personal or one-off anecdotes about individual incidents that have no bearing on the condition of actual race relations nationwide.
- The default reaction to ideas counter to RGI members’ most cherished beliefs is to accuse the challenger of (1) racism, (2) lying, (3) craziness (<– this last is a favorite of the left) (4) stupidity, (5) lack of education (6) lack of personal experience or something else. None of which they could possibly know.
- The RGI is a closed echo chamber, within which the member is shielded from viewpoints that challenge the accepted “understanding” — no matter how nonsensical — of the collective.
- The RGI aggressively and jealously enforces absolute ideological conformity within its ranks.
After the exchange — one that took place over two weeks from August 16 to August 30, 2013 — I took my findings and published them in a series (beginning here). After the publication of initial findings (we had the right to the first product from the project), we consulted on a nationally televised, three-part special series pertaining to race relations (I can’t tell you which series, because that would reveal more than we should about who we are. However, you almost certainly saw promos for it. We hope you watched it. 🙂 ).
The series caused a brief sensation because it directed an honest spotlight on the Race Grievance Industry and its leadership, its foot soldiers (we called them pawns), and its ummmmm… surprising (read: “corporate“) sources of funding. The RGI is not used to finding an honest media spotlight focused on them or on their activities.
I had wide latitude in formulating the milestones, details, goals and parameters of the project. I determined which blogs we’d address — both at the RGI leadership and pawn levels. I determined our basic challenge hypothesis — the Challenge Thesis — I determined who would participate in the exchange and managed responses here at The Praetorian Writers’ Group (TPWG) headquarters. I managed the entirety of all interactions. Even to the point of (often) consulting on and editing responses before our commenter hit the Reply button(2).
It was fairly early on in in the planning process that we realized that the Challenge Thesis left huge room for a rejoinder that would be very difficult to overcome. I’ll get to that in a moment. We went back and forth on whether we should “tighten up” the Thesis — eg: eliminate or reduce the possibility of a response like what we anticipated — or go with the original formulation. Ultimately, we went with the original formulation, because a “tightened up” thesis would look like the product of professional researchers, which we are.
To our shock, not a single commenter — not one — went for the rejoinder that would have been much more difficult to rebut. The response that would indicate that the potential weakness of our Challenge Thesis had been discerned.
As it is, the original Challenge Thesis is self-evidently true(3) — there are numerous stories of black people becoming fabulously successful in America. And in figuring out how they did it, there is usually some combination of the above-listed “five things.” That’s why I formulated the Thesis as I did: to imply the most likely follow-up conclusion: In a country where white animosity toward black Americans is as pervasive as the RGI says it is, it would be perfectly impossible for any black person to succeed — certainly not as fabulously as Oprah Winfrey or Barack Obama, or any number of other black people. This assertion is, itself, self-evidently true. Remember: the RGI insists that America is a racist hellhole stuffed to the gills with race-based animosity directed at black Americans by whites.
Here’s the potential weakness of the original Challenge Thesis:
It may be true that if a black person does the five things in your Challenge Thesis he can succeed in America today, but he faces obstacles to success — obstacles based on his race — that no one else faces, and that is the new face of white racism in America today.
We kind of held our breath in positing the original Challenge Thesis because if someone had, early on, proposed the above response, our exchange would have been like just about any other concerning race in America today: trying to discern motives and intentions buried deep within the minds of others, and speculating about things on the fringes of each interracial interaction. This is, of course, the home turf of the RGI.
The RGI claims it knows and understands the real thoughts, ideas, and motivations behind the thinking of others. The RGI claims that it can read the minds of white Americans, and in there it finds nothing but hidden or overt hatred of black Americans. The RGI frequently overtly makes such ludicrous claims; its assertions about “code words” and the like say the same thing.(4)
We were lucky. Fortunately we had guessed right. We had posed just the right challenge. Why? Because, again, precisely no one saw fit to call us on it, thereby providing persuasive evidence of our conclusion #1, above: “Most members of The RGI have no idea why they believe what they believe.”
For example: Despite vast incontrovertible evidence of white good intentions, despite the elimination of egregious discrimination against black people, despite huge indicators of black progress — including thousands upon thousands of wealthy, powerful and influential black Americans, some of Abagond’s readers insisted that conditions for black Americans are worse than ever now. Worse than the days of segregation and Jim Crow Laws, and worse even than during slavery.
At some point, as I knew would happen, I was banned from Abagond’s blog. At that point his flock felt free to comment without fear of rejoinder from “me.” Their comments, thus liberated, were instructive. They redoubled their venom, and they re-tripled their speculation about “my” racism, mental health, intelligence, or lack thereof, craziness, etc.
I was going to copy and post the blog entry and all their comments, but I realized that these things sometimes grow well beyond the time when the majority of the commenters have moved on, so I allowed the post and its responses to ferment a bit.(5)
Here at TPWG HQ we believe (1) the self-evident truth of the Challenge Thesis, and (2) the deeper truth of our real Thesis, to wit:
In America today, if a black person (1) gets an education, (2) speaks well, (3) works hard, (4) gets along well with others, and (5) presents him or herself more or less normally, he faces no more obstacles to success than anyone else.(6)
Now, I’m going to post the blog post that Abagond wrote, as well as the subsequent comments. It’s quite a lengthy read, but it has absolutely fascinating passages, along with many highly entertaining ones. The original — called: Notes on xPraetorius — is here.
I’m reproducing it in these pages (it’s the next post) because, as I mentioned before, Abagond has banned me from commenting on his blog, and I worry that he’ll delete the post.
As I mentioned, after Abagond banned me — a particularly instructive act, since I was nothing but polite — the commenters at his site went to town on me. Of course, they couldn’t simply disagree with me. No, I had to be evil, or sick, or cruel, or some other bunch of things that showed that my disagreement stemmed from deep and serious abnormality. All led by Abagond, who posted the following fairly typical silliness afterward (I’ve added in my own commentary, inline, in square brackets, and in red font):
Thanks, I will keep that idea in mind. Right now I feel kind of ill from the whole thing. [This is typical. Since I’m a “racist,” and “crazy” and all the rest, my poor victimized interlocutors feel somehow “ill,” or “dirty,” or “violated.” When all they ever really had to do — to avoid the trauma of finding that they don’t have a monopoly on the truth — was ignore me.] Something of a post-mortem by commenters will probably take place here.
I should have suspected something was up when he copied the whole Hitler thread to his blog, and without even asking. Apparently he was afraid I would delete it – but why would that concern him? [Because I was concerned that Abagond would delete it. It was the beginning of our research project. One thing we learned early on in our research: leftist blog owners enforce ideological purity in their blogs. They ban people who disagree. Once banned, one loses control of one’s own contributions to another blog. I was pretty sure that I’d be banned before too long, and that I’d then have to copy the contents of the blog post and our comments in order to keep alive the record of how they unfolded.] That thread, I thought, made him look like a fool.
Also I should have suspected something from how, even as a troll, he was an outlier: like how there was no true passion behind his arguments, [Oh? We were, and remain, quite passionate in our beliefs. Hence, the research project! That our thinking was well thought out, doesn’t indicate a lack of passion. Furthermore, we kept our tone measured in order to avoid giving Abagond an excuse to ban us. We even admitted it publicly several times during the exchange.] like how he could spend so much time at it. Both those point to him getting paid to do it. [We were not getting paid to do this. Not that is, until we could sell both the methodology and the final product to some highly-placed media types. However, even if we were getting paid for it, that has no bearing on whether we believed in the effort. We got paid because (1) our methodology was strong, (2) our results were good, and (3) we believed — passionately — in the effort we were undertaking.]
It was also strange how he did not object to this thread. [Why would I — or we — an entire thread devoted to testing our hypothesis? Perfect! I even tossed out a few perfunctory chastisements at Abagond, suggesting that to isolate us on a separate thread was to get us conveniently out of the way, while the rest of his blog went merrily forward.] It takes an amazingly thick skin to do that. He also did not object to anything I said in the post. Human vanity on his part and human erring on mine would suggest that some disagreement would be likely. It was not as if the post were a glowing review of him or something. [More to the point, Abagond and his readers came off as hidebound, reactionary, stubborn, defensive, insecure, inflexible, closed-minded ignoramuses. How could such troglodytes offend us? What could they possibly say that would possess or contain anything worth getting upset about? I take Abagond’s wonderment at our lack of temper tantrums with great satisfaction. Our team did a great job of refusing to lose focus due to personal attacks directed our way.]
It now makes more sense of :
– Why he did not know who Tim Wise was. Or know much about Stormfront. [Neither of which or whom is all that prominent in American life. I gather that Tim Wise is kind of well-known in the RGI, and that StormFront is some kind of white supremacist organization or other. Both Wise and Stormfront are fringe participants in the national debate.]
– Why he kept misinterpreting my Hitler post [Equally valid, and more important: Abagond was unable to see how his post could be interpreted as I did. This speaks of Abagond’s sometimes ineffective and unclear writing style. And he’s one of the better bloggers!]
– Why his arguments seemed like window dressing [I addressed this above.]
On the other hand, he is such a liar I do not even know if I believe his banishment story. [This is funny. Of course Abagond couldn’t know whether we were lying! This is pretty easy to understand, yet Abagond and his readers made this accusation time and time again. Even though we’d patiently point out that (1) they couldn’t possibly know whether we were lying, and (2) we never questioned the character or integrity of the people arguing against us. The first refuge of the one whose argument is coming undone is: accuse the other of something like lying, or in the case of the RGI, the default accusation: “racist.”] It could have been a face-saving exit since it seemed like I was not going to ban him. [To the contrary, this reveals how prescient we actually were. It became increasingly evident that Abagond was going to ban us, so we made the decision to (1) tell him we knew it, and (2) manage our own banishment by doing a countdown to when we would do the self-banishment. If you read that part of the passage, it’s quite an entertaining read. It’s where we revealed that we were doing a study, and where we were pretty confident that it would be our last post — whether we liked it or not. You can search for the term “self-banishment” to find where we understood that our time there was limited.]
It does support ThatDeborahGirl’s idea that it was No Slappz – he would be a likely recruit. [An important point, this last. Abagond’s readers spent a vast amount of time trying to analyze me (us), not what I (we) said. I (we) was either a racist, a liar, crazy, uneducated, someone else, some small part of a larger conspiracy or the like. It never occurred to them that I simply might — legitimately and honestly — disagree with their point of view. ]
(1) – We launched our “Challenge Thesis” with this post (in context at Abagond’s blog: here), reproduced below, with added red highlighting:
Abagond: “@ xPraetorius
In the post I was not trying to prove that White Americans are racist. Instead I was mocking the moral arguments they use to play down their own racist past and present – by applying the very same arguments to something they clearly see as racist. If I played it a little straighter it would have been a parody.”
xPraetorius: Abagond, this is where you make your fundamental mistake. No whites(*) are trying to “play down their own racist past.” For more than fifty years there has been a steady stream of LOUD and unmistakable “mea culpa!” coming from whites from all walks of life. Long past the point where everyone should have “got it.”
If yelling constantly and without cease “I’m sorry!” for more than fifty years constitutes “downplaying it,” then you have a weird definition of “downplaying.”
Yet the more whites have been prostrating themselves in contrition, the more the grievance industry has been saying just how evil and racist white people are. And the more that selfsame grievance industry has come up with tortured and twisted rationalizations — like white condemnation of white racism in the person of Hitler — to support their conclusions.
At SOME point, you have to expect that at least SOME of the ones who have long been aware of and apologizing on behalf of long-dead ancestors are going to say, with REAL justification, “Hey! That dude you’re accusing of downplaying the past, THAT’s not me!”
And, they’re right. It’s not.
You say you’re not trying to “prove that White Americans are racist,” but, really, there’s only one reason to “downplay a racist past,” now isn’t there? The accusation of racism goes hand-in-hand with “trying to downplay the past,” and neatly precedes the “privilege” accusation. It goes like this, and it has been made many times in this blog: “You’re a racist because of your white skin, and because of your white privilege that comes from the labor stolen from blacks 150 years ago!”
The only answer to the absurd and irrelevant accusation of profiteering from the labor of 150 years ago is to say, why stop at 150 years? Why not go back to the founding of the country, when those persecuted for religious purposes were themselves dispossessed? Oops! Why stop there? There is a clear record of the British being dispossessed by the French in 1066. Yeah, so? Why stop there? Why not undo ALL the injustices done to everybody ever? That’s the ONLY fair way to approach it. Of course, at that point everyone would have a grievance against everyone else, and there’d be no point.
So, why would YOU get to decide where to stop? Because it’s in YOUR self-interest? That’s kind of self-obsessed isn’t it? How about all the others that have been dispossessed throughout history? How about THEIR descendants? How about reparations from the ones who dispossessed THEM?
Still and all, whites DID try to make it up to blacks — and to every possible group that could ever find a way to define itself as an aggrieved minority. See, eg: blacks, Hispanics, Japanese internees, gays — sorry: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Allies and Pansexual — asians, American indians, endangered species, illegal immigrants, and you name it.
You have to face a simple fact: there is STILL plenty of money, fame, power and prestige to be gained by complaining histrionically to white people about how awful white people are. THAT is what REALLY fuels the still histrionic race grievance industry. See, eg: Obama, Barack, Holder, Eric, et al.
If you look at ALL the communications from ALL the above-mentioned grievance groups, you’ll see they ALL complain about the “WHITE fill-in-the-rest:” male, patriarchy, straight, colonial, imperial, privileged, rich… but the complaints all begin with “white.” Why? It’s the Willie Sutton theory of robbery: that’s where the money is. Want free money? Complain to white people about what lousy, rotten creeps white people are.
People are starting to realize this finally and just starting to tell the complainers a simple truth: (1) if you get an education, (2) speak well, (3) work hard, (4) interact well with others, you can succeed in America. I added a #5: if you don’t cover your body with piercings and tattoos, have a normal haircut (you know what I mean by “normal”) and don’t wear outlandish jewelry — ie: if you present yourself as a serious, focused businessperson ready to get to work, you will succeed in America. And, really, America owes you nothing more than a fair opportunity to succeed.
All your OTHER angst, however, is, and ought to be, YOUR responsibility.
Since I’ve been alive — a tad more than half a century — the above-mentioned groups have been a steady parade of people shouting to white people in particular, “You screwed us!” After some reflection, whites have invariably pretty much shrugged their shoulders and said, “Ummm…ok. Here’s money, or fame, or power or extra rights. Need anything else?” All without firing a shot. Let’s face it, if white people are oppressors, then for the past 50 years and more, they’ve been the sorriest excuse for oppressors the world has ever seen.
All this to the tune of more than 17 trillion (that’s “trillion” with a “tr” and 12 zeroes) dollars in tax money alone, as well as immeasurable power — culminating in the presidency of the United States — prestige, fame and acceptance.
Needless to say, this only encouraged more of the same, to the point where, as today, people like Abagond are finding white racism under every rock, and around every corner.
Why? It still pays.
Oh, it might not pay the ABAGOND’s of the world, but it pays the fabulously wealthy leadership of the grievance industry calling the shots, ie: Sharpton, Jackson, Obama, Holder, Touré, Harris-Perry, etc…
I digressed a bit from your point, Abagond, and I apologize, but your goal was apparently to try to say that you had discerned and hoped to describe the “white state of mind.” That state of mind, so you said, is one that would downplay white racism and the abuses committed by whites because of that racism. That assessment is so far off-base, that it merited a vigorous and wide-ranging rebuttal.
(*) I will admit to the occasional use of hyperbole to make a point. In this case, as in others where I have made statements that seem absolute, I mean: “No whites whom anyone takes seriously.”
(2) – The commenters wondered at “my” ability to produce rapid-fire responses. The explanation was simple: Overall, there were six of us monitoring comments, deciding which to respond to, researching, responding. All under the same ID. We made it seem like only one by observing several conditions. Things like not responding during sleep hours, and the like. However, there were several long responses that appeared early in the morning, and that was sometimes because they had been prepared the night before.
Some will say, “Hey! That’s not fair! There were six of you!” To which we’d respond: “There were many more of them.” And: “All that counts are the actual ideas and thoughts in the exchanges. It doesn’t matter whether there were six — or six thousand — interacting, it’s the ideas and thoughts that counted.
I did, however, pretend that there was only one of us. The only way in which I was dishonest with Abagond’s flock.
(3) – One of our original goals: We wanted to see what would be the response to an assertion that was obviously true — after all, the President of the United States of America, the most powerful man in the world, is a black man. Placed into his position of massive power, prestige, wealth and influence, overwhelmingly … by white people.
(4) – To the vast shame of us on the right, we didn’t immediately, publicly, loudly, derisively, sneeringly laugh the very idea of “code words” and “coded speech” right out of the room. Speech is speech and words are words. It is absolutely inexcusable to allow someone else to try to tell us what we really mean when we say what we say. Our response to such piffle should have been: “I’ll tell you what I mean when I say what I say. Period. I’ll extend the same courtesy to you. Don’t try to pretend you can read my mind, and I won’t try to pretend I can read yours. Got it? Good!”
(5) – That time has passed, so I have reproduced the blog post in its entirety in the next post.
(6) – This is the actual Challenge Thesis as we formulated it before going in. This is the one that we figured seemed too “professional.” Actually, by definition, everyone faces his or her own completely unique set of obstacles to success in America today. Therefore, by definition, every person faces different obstacles to success from every other other person in America today. However, in adhering to “the five things,” any black person on average faces no more obstacles than any white person, and one of those obstacles is not the color of his skin. There are, let’s face it, white racists out there. There are also, let’s face it, black racists out there. Lots of them. However, truth to tell, nowadays, membership in a “minority race” is more of an advantage to success, than a disadvantage. Especially if you meet the five criteria for success mentioned in the Challenge Thesis. I thought it might be too much to mention all that in my interaction with Abagond and his readers.