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A reader writes:

In White-liberal white-baiting link-baiting gone wild you mentioned this:

Make an outlandish statement about White people.

Watch White people react in denial.

Use denial reaction as proof you were right all along.

There’s a word for this logical Fallacy. It’s called Kafkatrapping.

In short it takes the form of using denial of guilt as proof of guilt. Here’s the blog that explains it very well.

I think the term should be used more widely.

Absolutely, and thanks for the heads up.

Kafkatrapping now not only is in our vocabulary, it’s a “tag” (I need to go back and add it to past posts).

Here’s an excerpt from the blog post explaining it, Kafkatrapping:

One very notable pathology is a form of argument that, reduced to essence, runs like this: “Your refusal to acknowledge that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…} confirms that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…}.” I’ve been presented with enough instances of this recently that I’ve decided that it needs a name. I call this general style of argument “kafkatrapping”, and the above the Model A kafkatrap….

My reference, of course, is to Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”, in which the protagonist Josef K. is accused of crimes the nature of which are never actually specified, and enmeshed in a process designed to degrade, humiliate, and destroy him whether or not he has in fact committed any crime at all. The only way out of the trap is for him to acquiesce in his own destruction; indeed, forcing him to that point of acquiescence and the collapse of his will to live as a free human being seems to be the only point of the process, if it has one at all.

This is almost exactly the way the kafkatrap operates in religious and political argument. Real crimes – actual transgressions against flesh-and-blood individuals – are generally not specified. The aim of the kafkatrap is to produce a kind of free-floating guilt in the subject, a conviction of sinfulness that can be manipulated by the operator to make the subject say and do things that are convenient to the operator’s personal, political, or religious goals. Ideally, the subject will then internalize these demands, and then become complicit in the kafkatrapping of others.


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” Ideally, the subject will then internalize these demands, and then become complicit in the kafkatrapping of others.”

Much like the Borg do when invading and infecting people with nanites.

I am going to remember this word, kafkatrapping. It seems to happen a lot in arguments.

Squeeky Fromm
Girl Reporter

Well, many years ago when I worked for the state government I had to attend a diversity seminar. We got the same…society is inherently racist, “racism” is defined so it can’t be applied to everyone, and racism is entirely in the eye of the beholder.

I had the following colloquy with the presenter, and I admit if my term of office on the state board wasn’t about to end I wouldn’t have.

“If I understand you correctly, if someone from an oppressed group finds what someone else says or does to be racist or bigoted, even if the speaker had no such intent and the words do not clearly show that intent, the speaker is guilty of racism and the speaker should acknowledge his racism?”


“And this would be true even if the offended person has not been subjected to the worst oppression that his or her group has suffered?”

“That’s right.”

“In that case, as a member of the world’s grand champion hall of famer minority group, I perceive you to be an anti-Semite and ask you to acknowledge your anti-Semitism.”

“How dare you call me an anti-Semite!”

I’m still trying to understand why, based on her own premises, I was wrong.

    SoCA Conservative Mom in reply to Alex Bensky. | September 1, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    Ever attend sexual harassment training in California? It’s a laugh a minute until you realize they are serious.

      Yes, California is extremely rigorous in this regard. One typically difficult dilemma: Should a partner keep his door open when meeting with a female associate?

        platypus in reply to Rick. | September 2, 2013 at 12:55 am

        A person with enough brains to make partner would never have to ask the question. 🙂

        Not only would I keep my door open, I would have my secretary present to “take notes.”

        Kinda like the reason the male OB-GYN has a “nurse” present during an exam.

          Yes, but then the partner must do the same for his meetings with male associates. Otherwise, he is discriminating against female associates by not allowing them to have the same, mentoring, one-on-one interactions with him as he has with male associates.

    You are still trying to understand her reasoning because you are assuming that she uses rational, logical thought. I assure you, she does not. Her answer shows you exactly how she comes to her conclusions, through emotion.

I was informed at a recertification training on Cultural Sensitivity In Substance Abuse Treatment that white people, being incapable of experiencing racism as victim, cannot deny or refute accusations of racism. And I’m not paraphrasing. That was pretty much it.

    Ah yes, but if you’re “hispanic” (whatever that means) like I am, but do not act and think like a liberal, then you are instantly labeled “white” by the very people who claim to hate labels so much. Then, any past racism directed towards you magically disappears since you are “white”, of course. Which is really funny because an act of racism I encountered was a white boy calling me a “Mexican” in a derogatory manner.

    Liberal logic is an exercise in the absurd.

As for ‘kafkatrapping’ – love the concept, hate the term. Very awkward, does not roll sweetly off the tongue. Sort of stumbles off and clanks when it hits the ear.

    rinardman in reply to Henry Hawkins. | September 2, 2013 at 8:40 am

    I think I’ll just stick to the old standby…guilt-tripping.

    Altho it doesn’t let you sound as superior, as throwing out a Kafka reference.

Perhaps we must understand that the collective does not tolerate deviation from its directives else we become guilty of not following the collective in all ways.

One deviant thought is: “Why does the collective always need a queen bee or a kingfish?” Cannot the collective just be?

Almost as bad as ‘oikophobia’ dislike of ones home/homeland

I thought kafkaesque covered all that.

People of the “older” generation know this ruse already — because we actually *read* Kafka in school as part of required reading, and also had to learn about logical fallacies, write, argue, and debate using facts, law, logic, and common sense. This public school education has morphed into lessons on anti-bullying, feel-good group hugs and putting condoms on bananas.

The nation is disintegrating.

So riddle me this — what if they had told him what the crime was, yet still treated him the same way?

Oh wait, that’s a father in family court.

Eric Raymond’s coinage is excellent. Great to have a word encapsulating this stuff. Thank you for linking. Great post.

Making up new words is the opposite of clear communication. I know it makes you feel good about how clever and well-read you are, but no one cares if you’re well-read or how you feel about yourself. Don’t be so self-indulgent.

As for the tactic, it’s a way to exploit weakness. A denial is a weak argument. A counterattack is a strong argument. Don’t offer a denial without a counterattack. “I’m not a racist” is obviously a weaker argument than “don’t you have anything better to do try to divide people along racial lines using false charges of racism?” Note how the subject is changed.

As for “guilt”, WTF is wrong with you people? If you personally hurt someone, you should feel guilty about it. Otherwise, you shouldn’t, and you’re being self-indulgent (again) if you do. Everything in the world isn’t about you. This means you’re not guilty for everything in the world. And if someone says you are, consider them an enemy.

Rush is famous for saying that the left isn’t interested in facts and evidence. It’s the seriousness of the charge that matters. Calling someone a bigot or racist is a means to divert attention away from the real issues under discussion. And where there are verifiable evidence of bigotry and disrespectful treatment of others, a la “filthy Filner”, all of a sudden the left is looking down at their feet, while they whistle past the graveyard. Hoping nobody sees the ghosts in their closets.
Look at how race baiters like Sharpton and Jackson have accumulated wealth. Terrorizing people and companies by the mere threat of accusing them of being racist. At some point, someone will have to stand up to these people that extort compensation in exchange for not making factually suspect public claims.

There’s also the argument that logic, facts and reasoning are the tools of the oppressors. Feminists are particularly fond of this “argument”. It was a point that came up repeatedly in my mandatory Womyn’s Studies class in college.

[…] see: Kafkatrapping  (“The White Privilege” argument is a Kafkatrap) Legal Insurrection ^ | 9-1-2013 | William A. […]

Kafkatrapping, although never called that, is a useful tool with a long history in Marxist regimes. It was a central feature of The Moscow Show Trials, The Cultural Revolution, and the many and various Marxist purges. As many as 20,000,000 people were killed with the help of this technique.

I think it is a useful neologism.

Kafkatrapping is a symptom of moral relativism: I feel right and therefore you are wrong. Truth is left out because that would mean that there is a moral Authority in the universe.

I invite anyone to look at the DoJ’s “Dear Colleague” guidelines for how campus should handle charges of sexual assault and tell me how these guidelines encompass anything relating to due process of law or free expression.

I’m not a big fan of Rush, but he’s right–for the left, leveling the charge amounts to a conviction.

Kafka… white, European, Jewish, male. Need I say more?


Sounds a bit more like the left is reviving Salem witch trials…. a la Monty Python (

Or is it IRS audits writ large?

There was a major poll out a couple of weeks ago showing most people agreed race relations are worse now than when Obama took office. One sub-poll question was whether whites or blacks are more racist, and both races agreed blacks today are more likely to be racist – and blacks hold that view in even greater numbers than whites.

So this strategy of crying “racism,” “misogyny,” or “homophobia” at the slightest resistance to capitulate to the leftist agenda may indeed backfire over time. Like the little boy who cried, “Wolf!” found out, repeating a false charge over and over means people start tuning it out.

If disagreeing with Obama and believing he is not all that smart after all, if believing Trayvon Martin was a violent predator who brought his death upon himself, if believing Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are two-bit lying con artists makes me a racist then, damn it, I welcome the label.

Because people who are stupid enough to throw that label don’t matter to me. To hell with them all, now and forever.

[…] isn’t a term that he coined, but I imagine this post from William A. Jacobson at his Legal Insurrection blog will help put it into wide circulation, particularly in regards […]

[…] It is therefore remarkable that any of Professor Penn’s students even disagreed with his partisan monology. His accusatory diatribe resembles what has been called a “kafkatrap”: […]