When we’re unnerved by an unsavory caricature, our minds race; we’re vigilant; we’re arguing internally against the stereotype; denying its relevance; disparaging anyone who would use such a stereotype; pitying ourselves; trying to be stoic. In short, we’re doing everything except high level thinking—the kind that leads to academic excellence. We’ve channeled our limited cognitive power into dealing with the threatening caricature.
Confusing the issue – framing interactions as racial conflicts or otherwise adding a distracting context to otherwise-unrelated events – seems to be a popular way to tire out the opposition or even create enough white noise to suppress rational analysis of disinformation.
Emotional reactions make it easier for me to lead the conversation.