Inculcating Distrust Towards Others Is What The U.S. Emphatically Does Best

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The parents, and the district, heck the community on a whole are unequivocally complicit in inculcating their young ones to hate just as they do.

The Idaho Statesman reports that by Sunday afternoon, nearly 3,000 people had signed the petition on Change.org to reinstate 14 Middleton School District staff members who were placed on paid administrative leave. Parent Carmen Ives tells KBOI-TV they started the petition to save their teachers, staff and principal.

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“I want to say we are better than this,” Superintendent Josh Middleton said in a Facebook video Friday. “We embrace all students. We have a responsibility to teach and reach all students. Period. Do I think that there was a malicious intent in this poor decision? No, I don’t. Was there a poor judgment involved? Absolutely. And we now have to own those decisions.”

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Once again with the apparent whiteness on their side and on display the sophistic attempts to explain away derisive mockery as something harmless for derisive laughter is seen simplistically as plausible poor judgement and not overtly malicious intent.

Racial trauma is treated as a thoughtless joke in both deliberate and inadvertent ways. The effect of such offenses which is seen in the anxiety, hyper-vigilance and hopelessness felt by the offended is unmistakably akin to post-traumatic stress disorder or PSTD. This is what gives off the generally aware and ingrained mistrust that white people gladly and readily earn in their social exchanges.

Distrust is the confident expectation that another individual’s motives, intentions, and behaviors are sinister and harmful to one’s own interests. In interdependent relationships, this often entails a sense of fear and anticipation of discomfort or danger. Distrust naturally prompts us to take steps that reduce our vulnerability in an attempt to protect our interests. Accordingly, our distrust of others is likely to evoke a competitive (as opposed to cooperative) orientation that stimulates and exacerbates conflict. Distrust has also been linked to lower job satisfaction, commitment, and motivation.

That is how whiteness defends its cultural incompetence by conflating the more reprehensible “malicious intent” with the less reprehensible “poor judgment” sanctioning.

Once in place, distrust forms a powerful frame on subsequent events in the relationship, such that even good-faith efforts by the offender to restore the relationship are met with skepticism and suspicion. The result is a “self-fulfilling prophecy,” where every move the other person makes is interpreted as additional evidence that justifies an initial decision to distrust him/her. This distrust not only inhibits cooperation in the relationship, but also may result in retaliation that causes the conflict to escalate. When the other person reciprocates this sentiment, there is mutual distrust that further fuels the escalation of conflict.

While the apparent tenor and view from this commentary explicates a functional distrust of whiteness, the contradistinction in the dysfunctional distrust as evinced by this particular Halloween display and anti-immigration sentiments shared by certain whites is even more disconcerting.

Dysfunctional distrust. However, distrust can lead to adverse effects as well. As noted earlier, distrust is associated with a lack of cooperation, lower satisfaction and commitment, and possibly even retribution and actively hostile behavior. Taken to its extreme, distrust can give rise to paranoid cognitions — false or exaggerated cognitions that one is subject to malevolent treatment by others.[1] Such perceptions drive individuals to the point of hypervigilance (excessively trying to make sense of every action the other person takes) and rumination (brooding or stewing on the meaning of the other person’s behavior and their intentions), resulting in a faulty diagnosis about whether the other can be trusted or not.

Unfortunately, voting (which is quite necessary) alone is not going to fix this, but it is a first step towards it.

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