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Reply to "What does the reflexive/personnel pronoun refer to?"

@Sarah Zhou posted:

“The 3MAG project will not, alone, overthrow the legacy of these misadventures and the prejudices they reinforced. The thinking that gave rise to them is still too deeply ingrained in too many minds for it to do that by itself—even, probably, for it to come close.” [from The Economist]

I tried to analyze this sentence.

1.S+V+O: The thinking is ingrained in minds
2. I can see the phrase “too…to”; “The thinking is too …to do that by itself”;

The thinking is too …for it to do that by itself;
The thinking is even too…for it to come close.

But I can’t figure out what does “The thinking”, “them”, “that”, “itself”refers to.

Hi, Sarah,

In your parsing identified as (1) above, "in minds" is not an object, but an adverbial of place.

"The thinking" does not refer to anything mentioned before in the text. It refers to the philosophy or ideology underlying racism. "Them" refers to the prejudices. "It" and "itself" refer to the 3MAG project. "That" refers to eliminating the prejudices. The general idea is that, deep-rooted as racism is, a mere project is not enough to do away with it.

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