What the Salem Witch Trials warn us about politics today ….

CW Fong
2 min readDec 25, 2021

I came across an interesting class experiment that carried with it a powerful lesson.

The teacher told his students that they were going to play a game. He will go around the class and whisper to each student whether they were a “witch” or a “normal person.” The objective of the game is to form the largest group possible that does not have a witch in it. Any group that includes a “witch” will get a failing grade.

The students were eager and immediately started interrogating each other. Soon, a fairly large group formed, but the students slowly broke off into
smaller more exclusive groups excluding anyone who couldn’t prove that they were not a “witch.”

After an hour, the teacher stopped the game and announced that it was time to find out which group failed. He asked all the “witches” to raise their hands.

No one raised a hand.

The room fell silent.

The students were confused.

How can this be?

They were certain that so and so were “witches.”

They had to be.

The teacher asked them if they had proof, or did they just believe what they had been told?

The teacher explained that this was how the Salem Witch Trials started and when it ended, more than two hundred people had been accused, thirty were found guilty, nineteen of whom were executed, one pressed to death for refusing to plead, and at least another five people dying in jail. All because of a rumor of the presence of witches.

This is how easy it is to divide a community. All it takes is a rumor that plays into stereotypes resulting in suspicion and resentment.

We are better than this, and we should consciously make an effort to set aside stereotypes, and the shunning and scapegoating of others. As political divisions become more pronounced in society, I believe it is timely that we remember the lessons of history.

If we don’t, we are bound to repeat them, and we will all be poorer for it.

CW Fong

I blog therefore I am. Passionate about #Singapore, #Leadership, #PublicRelations, #SocialMedia, #Marketing, and #PersonalDevelopment. Above all, I do no evil