Dear Psychology Majors, members of their families, and friends of the Department,
Recent events in Minneapolis and across the country have exacerbated an already difficult situation and increased fear and mistrust among a populace already fractured along racial and political faultlines. However, well-intentioned statements of solidarity and empathy do very little to right the wrongs endemic in our society, and are forgotten by the audience – and often the speaker – soon after they are made. It is how we put our beliefs into action that will ultimately move us toward building the just society that each of us desires – and all are entitled to.
We all know there is not a single or simple solution to the problems of racism, sexism and all the other isms that plague our existence – but there is a starting place – and the responsibility rests in each of us and how we approach every interaction we have with others. The Golden Rule exhorts us to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, but that is clearly not enough. We must meet people where they are and not where we want them to be. We need to treat others the way theywantto be treated. Our conscious decisions to act with empathy and tolerance and – more importantly – react with a similar mindset will – albeit frustratingly slowly – begin to reduce the stress on those faultlines that threaten to tear our civil society apart.
As we move forward together, please do as your conscience guides you – whether through protest, advocacy, volunteer work, contributions to victims of injustice, or simply through random acts of kindness – to make the world around you a little better than it was yesterday. It may not seem like much, but it’s a start….
This is, once again, an opportunity for you to put what you’ve learned about Psychology into practice for the benefit of society. Together, we are the solution.