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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Part 10: Thinking Social Change

It is MLK Day. We are taking our grandkids to see Selma and then on to the MLK monument. 

Today there was an article in the Post "Majority of US students in Public Education are in Poverty," and the Brookings sent out a study Five Bleak Facts on Black Opportunity. And Mitt Romney, the Post says today, is going to center his presidential campaign on Poverty. The works of Piketty and Siglitz are recalling Michael Harrington's The Other America. Pope Francis is bringing back a sort of "liberation theology," which is really Catholic Social Teaching, and leading the leaders of all major religions to consider within their own traditions the issue of equality of opportunity that is limited by inequality of results of our economy, our politics, and our culture.

What the study of thinking tells me that often to solve a problem we have to graduate to a whole new level of thinking. I am suggesting with my colleagues who are also passionate about the issue of poverty and race in the US that we can’t just keep doing the same thing without results. We must go to a higher level of thinking trying to explain the why and how of this problem. I propose doing this without assigning blame or shame because that removes our general responsibility to solve e the problem.  I would love to get a group together, meet with lots of people thinking about the issue of race and poverty in the US from different perspectives, get others from our churches, neighborhoods, clubs, study groups to do the same towards suggesting other approaches for public policy and community action. 

I believe that we would have to really examine our assumptions even the ones I am making here, namely: 

  • It is untenable that we have a society where persons are for whatever reason denied opportunity.
  • We have such a society in the US. 
  • We can think and solve problems often at a higher level of thinking.
  • To do that it is useful to consider historical and other causes scientifically without blame or guilt.
  • The solution will come from thinking about the issue from many perspectives and so objectively and experimentally.
  • The solution will be a matter of public polity and community action. 

This is not a "purely intellectual" pursuit because all thinking is practical and shapes the categories and models for action. 

Yes, I would urge this group-think movement to be both distinct from and critical of our religions, our political parties and their factions, our economic interest groups, and all our institutions including our media, but at the same time be interacting and entwined with them. It would be a group-think at the service of no one and every one, cognizant of and questioning all authorities and all ideologies, focused only on coming upon a solution to the problem of racism and poverty in our social order. 

Let's think about it.