Behavior Modification and “Interrupting Whiteness”

Behavior modification is a type of therapy also known as applied behavior analysis. First mentioned in 1910, it focuses on “decreasing maladaptive behavior through extinction or punishment.”
Behavior modification, similar to operant conditioning, can be achieved by various means: reinforcement (positive or negative via rewards or lack of them), punishment, extinction, shaping, fading, and chaining.
Behavior modification can be used to treat obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), phobias, enuresis (bed-wetting), generalized anxiety disorder, and separation anxiety disorder.
Behavior modification draws from the operant conditioning principles developed by the American behaviorist B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) who discussed using operant conditioning to shape behavior of humans and animals by reinforcement or lack of reinforcement in his 1938 book, The Behavior of Organisms. Skinner is highly regarded and studied in universities across the country, particularly in Education and Psychology.
Extinction, such as putting a child in time-out when he/she misbehaves is an example of “nudging” unwanted behavior by separating a child from his parents or an individual from a group.
Negative reinforcement is a “behavior whose reinforcing properties are associated with its removal.” Terminating an existing electric shock after a rat pressed a bar is negative reinforcement.
By rewarding desirable behavior, undesirable behaviors are replaced with more desirable ones. Using punishment through aversive or unpleasant stimuli is a way to discourage unwanted behavior. One example would be taking away smart device privileges. If the reinforcement is removed permanently, behaviorists call it extinction.
Two very important questions remain, who decides the desirable behavior parameters and to what ends? Do the ends justify the means?
Suppose your desire is to have a “national conversation on race” because you believe the majority white population is racist and therefore their behavior must be extinguished. Aside from non-stop race-baiting discussions on the liberal main stream media outlets with low viewership, you engage the liberal academia at various colleges through their progressive departments of studies of women, race, and social justice.
If their outrageous accusations and ideas don’t stick, then they move the notch to “interrupting whiteness” in American schools, “leading while white,” “challenging white supremacy in society,” and eliminating “white privilege” of Caucasian students, “white domination of thought,” achieving “racial equity,” and how to “decenter whiteness.”
If these topics seem twilight-zonish, then perhaps we should attend the national conference for teachers and school administrators taking place in Baltimore, MD on October 10, 2015 which focuses on race, “leading while white,” and “systemic racism” in our schools and society.
The conference titled The National Summit for Courageous Conversation 2015 is organized by the Pacific Educational Group (PEG), “a large and influential consulting firm hired by hundreds of school districts nationwide – often under pressure from the federal government – to address ‘racial gaps’ in scholastic performance and behavior problems in the classroom.” According to PEG, “public education should be infused with Afrocentrism.”
Why not discuss relevant topics such as improving reading scores, math scores, science scores, overall achievement in school, graduation percentages, and reducing violence, truancy, drugs, and dropout rates in school? Why not attempt to fix what is wrong with families and society in general that produce such moral and mental decline in our children, regardless of skin color?
In the fundamentally transformed new and improved America, “is this the kind of race-obsessed confrontational philosophy that should be guiding instruction and curricula in the nation’s public schools?”
No mention is made of personal responsibility, the destruction of the black family unit by dependency on welfare programs, the absence of dads in the home, drugs, violent behavior of blacks on blacks, recidivism after jail, abortions, the lack of self-control, lack of motivation to study, school dropout rates among black students, huge unemployment rates among black teens, and other issues that plague the black community.
It is convenient instead to blame non-existent “white privilege.” Critical Race Theory dissects the concept of “whiteness” as the focus point of guilt for all societal problems. Because we are Caucasian, we somehow benefit unjustly from this “racist” system; we are part of the system, and thus automatically racist. The struggle of millions of whites to succeed by working hard against many odds is somehow irrelevant in this half-baked theory.
According to Critical Race Theory, “racism represents both prejudice and power. Since the theory espouses that blacks have no power in society, they cannot possibly be racist.”
The PJ Media post of October 7, 2015 lists some of the workshops. The titles are sheer propaganda meant to re-educate, to shape the white population’s behavior into the desired direction of utopian “racial equity.” Communist societies used “re-education” to force people into confessions of their non-existent guilt and acceptance of the new ideology. If they refused, they were sent to re-education camps, labor camps, prison, or shot.
To nudge students into desired behavior, PEG focuses on “restorative justice,” an euphemism for eliminating detention and suspension for students who exhibit violent behavior at school and offering them therapy and counseling sessions instead. Since July 2015 “restorative justice” is now official government policy.
The September 15, 2015 Executive Order titled “Using Behavioral Science Insights to Better Serve the American People,” will use behavior “to support a range of national priorities, including helping workers to find better jobs; enabling Americans to lead longer, healthier lives, improving access to educational opportunities and support for success in school; and accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy.”
The Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST) proposed in this EO will use empirical findings from government-recruited behavioral science experts to help people “access public programs and benefits” with ease, to present information in such a way that ”affects comprehension and action by individuals,” to “most effectively promote public welfare, as appropriate, giving particular consideration to the selection and setting of default options,” and “review policies and programs that are designed to encourage or make it easier for Americans to take specific actions, such as saving for retirement or completing education programs.”

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