by Jay Johansen | Aug 9, 2020
Assuming you had the political influence, you could pass laws against it, anti-discrimination laws and so forth. But that only addresses the symptom. Even if you can force people to hire others that they hate, that's not going to make them love them. Indeed it might stir resentment and make things worse. Laws might be necessary to stop the worst abuses, but they don't solve the fundamental problem.
You have to convince people that that these folks they hate are people, just like them. That they just want to live peacefully with their neighbors, get a good job, have a happy marriage, see their children do well, and so on.
You might accomplish this with public information campaigns that say, "Hey, these other folks are people just like you." But I doubt this would be very successful. It's too sterile and too heavy handed. Okay, maybe it could be done skillfully. But the principle is flawed.
If I had the resources, what I would do would be things like, Produce entertainment -- TV shows and movies and the like -- with minority characters who act just like the majority. Like, make a TV show about a minority family where the parents have silly arguments and then make up and love each other. Where they worry about their kids getting into trouble at school. Where they struggle to do well at their jobs. And so on. I'd write scripts where absolutely nothing in the script gives a clue what color or whatever these people are, so that they're just people who happen to be minorities rather than "minority people". My goal would not be to foster respect for their cultural differences, but to minimize the cultural differences and emphasize that we're all basically the same at heart.
So now suppose you want to perpetuate racism. Maybe you're a politician trying to build his career by dividing people. I'm reminded of a book I read about the Roman Empire once that said that a certain Roman politician built his career taking "money from the rich and votes from the poor by promising to protect each from the other". (Remember I'm talking about a politician from 2000 years ago. Of course such a thing could never happen today. Times have changed so much. Right?)
If I was trying to perpetuate racism for some reason, what I would be trying to do is convince the majority that these peple are all stupid, lazy, and dangerous. For example, get people who you describe as leaders of their community to go on TV and demand that the majority owe them and should give them money. Convince a bunch of them to riot and burn down buildings and loot stores. Make them look dangerous. To further enhance the effect, get politicians and law enforcement to go on TV and say that there's just nothing that can be done, and to cave in to the demands of the rioters in a show of weakness. This will reinforce to the general public how dangerous these people are. If you can stoke up enough fear this should lead to hate. Move them away from thinking "these people have legitimate grievances and we should be sympathetic" to "we have to take steps to protect ourselves". At the very least, ordinary law-abiding people will see this and think, "Wow, those people are nothing like me and my friends. They are primitive and violent."
© 2020 by Jay Johansen
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