Why People Believe in Conspiracy Theories But Not Racism
Your ex-classmates think racism is a myth yet conclude aliens are absolutely real
You log on to Facebook and you see that one of your classmates from 10 years ago has shared a post slating the Black Lives Matter movement and explaining how they do not believe that being white gives them any privilege. In fact, they go out of their way to say how being white gives them ‘no rights’ and they have been robbed of the freedom to speak their mind.
It is these exact same people, who will share a multitude of posts, putting their complete faith into the fact that 5G towers will cause the destruction of our planet.
So why is it, that these people will wholeheartedly believe a speculative theory that they found on some obscure blog, but cannot believe in a very real problem that has plagued our world for centuries?
Lantian et. al suggests that ‘personality traits such as openness to experience, distrust, low agreeability, and Machiavellianism are associated with conspiracy belief’. So now we know that some conspiracy theorists can be related to traits such as Machiavellianism, which defines the tendency to be selfish, manipulative and exploitative, we can understand why these types of people cannot grant respect and compassion to black people.
Lantian et. al continues to explain that conspiracy theorists often have ‘lower levels of analytic thinking’ which is proven by the fact that they will freely share their views without previously bothering to fact check what they are claiming. They will read a passionate post online and due to their lack of analytical skills, they will not discern that what they are reading could possibly be untrue. They view these claims as gospel, simply because it aligns with their viewpoint.
So if they are so quick to believe that their government has created the myth of a global pandemic to control them, then why are they not so quick to believe in the fact that our society, our leaders and our institutions are inherently racist?
The reason is that believing in white supremacy directly affects them and will render them as vulnerable. These people love to believe that their purpose is to bring an injustice or conspiracy to light, as doing so will make them a hero.
They think that sharing a plethora of posts on Hollywood paedophile rings will single-handedly eradicate child exploitation, yet they are not willing to put in a fraction of that effort to share a post on racism, that could directly educate their friends and family.
Conspiracy theorists, claim to be open-minded, yet they are in fact the exact opposite. The theories that they believe to be true, will always implicate someone else as wrong. This is the reason that they can't believe racism exists, because if they did, they would end up implicating themselves.
They claim to be spreading awareness and helping others, yet their acts are selfish. If they truly were altruistic, they would be willing to admit their own flaws in order to bring change to the world, rather than purely focussing on the faults of others. It is their Machiavellianism and close-mindedness that hinders them from accepting that they may be part of a problem- so instead, they choose to incriminate others to satisfy their desire to appear valiant.
A 35-year-old waitress probably does not have the ability to stop the government from perpetuating corruption with her Facebook posts, but she absolutely does have the ability to make a change to racism, by spreading awareness to her friends and family.
It is much easier to put your belief in some abstract theory that involves celebrities or government leaders, rather than accepting an issue that involves yourself, your friends, your work colleagues and many around you.
The only thing that we can do to educate these people on the harsh reality of racism, is to keep sharing facts, statistics and experiences. It will take these types of people longer to accept, yet through consistent information and teaching, these people may eventually become enlightened to the fact that our culture is inherently racist and only we have the ability to reverse that.
Racism is not something that can be solved by exclusively pointing the finger at others, we all need to analyse our own actions and see how we are subconsciously contributing to the problem.