For example, amid the superficial satisfactions—and that is what they are—of casting America as a grand original sin, what is the actual purpose of teaching young people that a grievous injustice against black people is the very warp and woof of our polity? What is the endgame? In which way will an America in thrall to this conception be better?

Surely, non-black people will feel a little guiltier about “the black thing,” and internalize a reluctance to assign black people true culpability out of a sense that “they” have been through too much to be expected to perform at the level of other people. Few things more crisply demonstrate that the Civil Rights revolution has gone off the rails than that so many smart black people actually see this condescending poster child status as civic improvement.

Meanwhile, black people will internalize an even deeper sense that America is not great and doesn’t like them, in the only country they will ever know. We are now to instruct black kids just a few years past diapers in this way of thinking—in studied despair over events far in the past, and a sense that it is more enlightened to think of yourself as a victim than as an actor. At no other point in human history have any people, under any degree of oppression, conceived of this kind of self-image as healthy—and no one could effectively argue that they were missing something that we have just figured out.