Does Good Information Reform People?

I recently read a quote by Charlayne Hunter-Gault that goes as follows—

If people are informed they will do the right thing. It’s when they are not informed that they become hostages to prejudice.”

I don’t believe this is correct. I wish I did, but I don’t.

Beyond differences people might have on what the “right thing” might be, I feel that some intentionally choose an evil course.  Similarly, others know that things such as racial prejudice, or not assisting the vulnerable, or on a more minor note, driving in a rude manner, are seen by many as bad actions.  Yet these behaviors and many other bad behaviors show no sign of ending.

Progress is always possible in society, but it will be initiated by just some people instead of by all people. And the lessons of progress will be practiced only by some, not by all.

The information needed about decency to others is always out there for all to learn and act upon. Some, because they are evil, or selfish, or lazy, are never going to listen.  So while I believe that decent people working together can make life better, I do not believe that information or education will lead the many people committed to bad acts to reform themselves.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault was one of the first two black students at the University of Georgia and she had to sue in order to gain entrance to that school. She is also a former reporter for the New York Times as well as the McNeil/Lehrer Report.  Ms. Hunter-Gault currently is a reporter in South Africa.

Here is more information on Charlayne Hunter-Gault.


4 Responses

  1. A tremendous post. I’ve always laughed at people who suggest that education is the singular answer to all problems, but you explained it better.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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