If you have ever taken a psychology class, you have come across the concept of conformity vs. groupthink.
Conformity is when you come into a situation with a certain minority mindset; however later your mindset is changed to reflect the majority. Groupthink; however, is when you come into a situation with a minority mindset, but stay quiet or pretend to agree with the popular opinion so that you don’t come off as confrontational. This is dangerous and partially why most people were so confused at the 2016 election results.
Need a clear example of what causes groupthink? I’m sure that at any time that you stumble across this article, you can find a perfect example on social media, especially if a company made a tweet or commercial that could potentially be seen as racist. Or the dreaded times when you write something online that goes against popular opinion, and you receive a comment that says “drag her” or “delete this”.
A while ago, one of our writers wrote 7 Things That Quirky, Alternative Pro-Black People Are Tired Of Hearing From Other Black People, and views were mixed. On one side, the people who could relate to the post were excited that it was even written. It made them reflect on things that people have said to them in the past or in some cases, currently say to them.
On the other side, those who couldn’t relate were furious. We were called “anti-Black” (even though the whole point of the article is that “Black is Black” no matter what you are into) and several people simply wrote the comment “delete this” because they disagreed or couldn’t relate.
Similar things happen to any person that doesn’t believe that everything single thing is racist.
If you live in America, racism against people of color, especially Black Americans and Latinx Americans is very real and even more prevalent thanks to our new president consistently slapping us across the face with things like anti-DACA policies and an official National Columbus Day.
However, what about in certain circumstances where there is a grey area on whether or not something is racist. What happens when you don’t agree with the popular opinion? In the society that we have created for ourselves on social media, it seems best to stay quiet.
You: I don’t think that they meant that to be racist
Them: Delete this
You: But I really looked into it and she was just saying…
Them: Stop caping for Becky. You are so disillusioned by the white man
You: No, I just have a different opinion…
Them: You’re cancelled. *insert disapproval meme* “block” “subtweet” “subtweet”
We’ve created a generation of people who are literally too fragile and too closed-minded to process an opinion that is different from the one that they hold. In turn, we’ve also created people who are now afraid to voice their true opinions.
It seems that the people of our generation are so quick to block and dismiss you or hit you with a meme, that no real conversation is being had. With all that we as Black Americans have experienced in America, it is understandable that many of us are consistently on defense; however, what progress can we really make if we don’t allow people around us that have a different opinion?
People think that their opinion matters the most if they are best able to articulate their opinion in the most matter-of-fact way; however, an opinion is not law on either side, no matter how petty and direct the delivery is.
If we block and dismiss everyone that makes us feel uncomfortable and only surround ourselves with people who think like us, we are leaving ourselves blindsided and disillusioned to the world of thoughts outside of our little bubbles.