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Dealing with racist relatives

In my experience, whether you can influence people in a crowd depends mostly on how much power or "cred" you have with the members.

My father was the most popular, charismatic, and powerful person in our family, very outgoing and intelligent, with strong opinions and quick on his feet. He could take anyone down about anything and seemingly not be thought ill of or necessarily have a bad scene result--although he occasionally left bruised feelings (and frustrated opponents!) in his wake. He could even get away with being thoughtless or a silly drunk, things others could't overcome. A person of such stature in a group can lead the conversation away from practically anything, even racism.

Sometimes a less powerful person can become a temporary leader, or a leader on a particular issue, if they can strike the right tone and body language and choose the right words.

Whenever I wonder why some bozo is running for high office, I remember that they want to change not only national policies, but the national conversation, from, for example, social justice and approval of those who work for it, to ruthless capitalism and approval of those who make the most money.

=alstro, obviously not good at this myself ;-)
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