One of the great perks of being white in America is the capacity to forget at will. The sort of amnesia that blankets white America is reflected in an Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman lyric sung by Barbra Streisand: "What's too painful to remember we simply choose to forget." The second stage of grief flashes in the assertion "it didn't happen." Instead of "forget it," there is "deny it." Civil rights icon Joseph Lowery often says that we live in the fifty-first state, the state of denial. Denial is even more sinister than amnesia because there is some concession to facts that are then roundly negated. Here is where the gaslight effect goes wild. Black folk are made to feel crazy for believing something they know to be true.
-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 78