In this paper, I consider pedagogical moments when the project of pedagogy is to not understand, as understanding would entail complicity with dehumanization. I explore the slipperiness of understanding and parse when understanding is helpful and when it reinscribes structures of dehumanization. I examine when it might be important in music education pedagogy to foster a refusal to understand, specifically in cases of extreme suffering that might occur in projects of dehumanization, atrocity, and genocide. Then, I explore the ethics embedded in different forms of understanding and consider why not understanding is sometimes the ethical path and tease out the complexities of such refusals to understand. Subsequently, I focus on what music might contribute to this pedagogical approach. I then explore and critique empathy and the project of empathy in education. Ultimately, I consider the role of discomfort in music education to facilitate these kinds of refusals. I center the work of several scholars in this discussion: Sherene Razack (Dark threats and White knights: The Somalia Affair, peacekeeping, and the new imperialism University of Toronto Press Toronto, ON, 2004, Rev Educ Pedag Cult Stud 29 (4): 375-394, 2007), Megan Boler (Feeling power: Emotions and education. Routledge, New York, NY, 1999), Jennifer Geddes (Hypatia 18 (1):104-115, 2003), Charlotte Delbo (Auschwitz and after. Yale University Press, New Haven, 1995/2014), Hannah Arendt (Eichmann in Jerusalem: A report on the banality of evil. Penguin Books, New York, NY, 1963/2006), Marie Hållander (Ethics Educ 10(2): 175-185, 2015, Stud Philos Educ 38: 467–480, 2019), Barbara Applebaum (Being White, being good: White complicity, White moral responsibility, and social justice pedagogy. Lexington Books, New York 2010, White educators negotiating complicity: Roadblocks paved with good intentions. Lexington Books, New York, NY, 2022), and Liora Gubkin (Teach Theol Relig 18(2): 103–120, 2015).