The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

16 October 2003

Spinning the color wheel

If you thought that Diversity Seminar you attended in college was intended to touch people's hearts and change their minds, Surlypundit has ascertained otherwise:

It's not. The point is to get together all the people with a chip on their shoulder or a bad case of white guilt, and let them decide on new racism rules. They sit around and feel bad about themselves for awhile, and then try to think of ways to keep racists from making them feel that way.

Given the tendency of those "new rules" to extend the definition of "racism" as far as possible, it's hard to take these gatherings at all seriously; while racism clearly exists, and takes some truly heinous forms sometimes, the committee approach isn't, and likely never will be, anything resembling a solution. As wiser folk than I have said, the change has to come from within. For many, it has. For others, it will take longer.

Posted at 9:16 PM to Political Science Fiction

Expecting the change to come from within is kind of a cop-out. It pretty much absolves you from doing anything to actively encourage that change, because is suggests that nothing you do can change another person's attitudes toward race (or lots of other things).

Ghandi said, "Be the change that you want to see in the world." Solid advice, but it doesn't necessarily mean live your own life and hope others will catch on. To abandon efforts to expose people to different ideas on an active level isn't the answer.

Posted by: CT at 10:08 PM on 16 October 2003

None of us live in a vacuum; things do affect us. A lot of things we think originate within actually started somewhere else.

But the sort of navel-gazing and platitude-trading that characterizes this sort of gathering is not, I think, likely to serve as a catalyst for change.

Posted by: CGHill at 6:31 AM on 17 October 2003