There’s a kind of mind-reading that seems to me to be very prevalent in the US. It often goes so far as to assume that someone other than X is better able to tell what X thinks than X is. This not a harmless assumption, and it is built on a false assumption about our access to other minds. In fact, our mind-reading is prone to a lot of mistakes once we get beyond the very simple tests used on 4 year olds in psychology.
Most recently Hilary Clinton is being victimized by mind-reading. She said:
Race remains a deep fault line in America. Millions of people of color still experience racism in their everyday lives.
Here are some facts.
Let’s be honest: For a lot of well-meaning, open-minded white people, the sight of a young Black man in a hoodie still evokes a twinge of fear. And news reports about poverty and crime and discrimination evoke sympathy, even empathy, but too rarely do they spur us to action or prompt us to question our own assumptions and privilege.
Apparently, a lot of people looked at this and said she wouldn’t have said this unless she felt that fear. So she is a racist.
But in fact the comment about fear was one of a long list of bad facts about racism in the States. And she said we must admit these features exist and get rid of them.
So the racism is most certainly not in her words. It is an injustice to report that it is in her head.
Many thanks to Rachek McKinnon for bringing this up on facebook. Of course, as Rachel said, on the left this might all just be misogyny. If so, hang on because it’s probably going to be a horrible election season.