Changing Minds about Racism is Futile

I have thought a lot about the crisis we are having with racism.  In fact, the next few books to present at the First Friday Book Synopsis will focus on this.  I wish I felt differently about this topic has that concerned many lives.  In my view, this is futile.   I just don’t think that too many people are going to change their mind about this topic.  Way before these current events occurred, people already know what they think, and what they believe is right and wrong.  While they may listen a bit, they will mostly confirm and reinforce what they already think – but they are not going to change their minds.  They can do lip service without making any changes in their own minds.  To them, this is just old news. They already know what they think, and what they believe, and what they stand for. They can pretend, and they can speak out of two sides of their mouth. They can access books, papers, films, and they can protest, march in different kinds demonstrations, follow or break rules, or even prevent or commit crimes, but none of that changes people’s minds.  About 18 months ago, I went to a presentation by Randy Mayeux about the history of racism.  The speech was well-presented, and the audience was grateful.  They were polite.   When I left, I had the feeling that the morning had no impact on anyone.  “Ho Hum.”   They already knew what they thought.   We have studied attitude change for years.  If we had the data, we still do not know if the respondents were honest,   Even when people can be angry – they not even know what they are angry about.   Ask someone if the recent events have honestly really changed his or her mind about racism.  I don’t think that too many people are going to wake up after having an epiphany.

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