I published part 2 of my interview with Margaret Young this week. We finished up our conversation about her experiences trying to get the play she wrote about black Mormon Pioneer Jane Manning James, I am Jane, televised. Some executives got skittish and pulled the production due to the mere subject of race. It seems to me that sometimes it is white people who are more sensitive to discussions of race than black people. Margaret discussed taking offense with her own seminary teacher’s racism when he used the N-word. I admire Margaret’s constant struggle to combat racism. I have tried to be an example and stand up against racism, but I don’t know what to do when a person flatly refuses to acknowledge racism.
This past week, I had a Facebook conversation, and I complained that President Trump was trying to make racism mainstream. My friend said flatly, “I believe that to be categorically false.” I brought up Trump’s comments that Mexicans were rapists who brought crime. He responded “That’s not racist, even if it is false.”
I knew that if we can’t agree on that topic, a further conversation was futile. He told me I was “unhinged.” I responded “Your comments demonstrate a head in the sand view of racism.”
Tying this back to my conversation with Margaret, I asked what lessons we could learn from Jane’s life and Margaret responded,
I want Jane’s story to be certainly an example how far we still need to come. If there are people who regard blacks as less than, their hearts must change. Jane is an example of one who persevered through trials that we could hardly imagine, and did it through her relationship with God and praised God throughout.”
Let me re-state what Margaret said: “If there are people who regard blacks as less than, their hearts must change.” How can we help people’s hearts change when they can’t admit that calling Mexicans drug dealers and rapists is a racist statement? I know that disengaging isn’t the best option, but I felt that further arguing would further entrench him in his opinion. What do you do?