As the debate rages on the extent of equity and social justice for all, two perspectives are emerging. On the one hand, the traditional school of thought represents people who believe that things are going well and that the system operates well based on their conception of equity and social justice for all. These traditionalists assert that our system is fair and that it works as it is supposed to do. They further claim that the system’s operation aligns with the founding fathers’ statements in the 1776 Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that their Creator endows them with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
A year ago, who would have predicted that Critical Race Theory (CRT) would have become a 2021 national buzz word? A buzz word for those attacking it. A buzz word for those defending it. Probably with relatively few of those attackers and defenders actually having read much of it.
I have, but it’s not easy going. Lots of ideas. Lots of jargon. Lots of obscurantist legal analysis. But if you stick with it, CRT can be very thought-provoking.
CRT is based on a simple premise: the law is not neutral. As a result, institutions and systems that arise from the law will not be neutral. When Mark Twain asked a friend to explain his position on a controversial issue, the friend answered, “I’m neutral.” To which Twain responded, “Then whom are you neutral against?”
A Christian Case Study
The problems and trends facing society are complex: moral turpitude and decay; increased crime; the deterioration and demise of the family; despair, loss of purpose and insidious incompetence among our young; economic irresponsibility and the disappearance of personal and corporate integrity. These problems are essentially spiritual problems and relational in their essence. Systemic solutions related to the welfare system, economic system, and criminal justice system merely the symptoms of the problems. It is logical that spiritual approaches to these problems are the most effective means to ameliorate them and their negative and all-too-often tragic consequences.
An outlier incident has crushed the economy, hurled masses into unemployment, closed schools, and forced isolation. The global pandemic has generated a health crisis tsunami of suffering, anxiety, depression, and addiction, which is why our inner and outer healing must be a priority for overall health and well-being. Authors Edwards and Jackson view inner and outer health as the wholeness required to adapt to an ever-changing environment. They explain the differences and connections between inner and outer health, as well as the importance of altering one’s environment to secure the essence of inner peace and be an extension of one’s own perceptual systems when their own are compromised. Spoken from lived experience and research, Drs. Edwards and Jackson describe the impact to a person’s well-being when inner and outer health are not in harmony and discuss the fortitude that it takes to focus on one’s own healing – not the healing solutions chosen by someone else. Focusing and committing to inner and outer healing positively can affect one’s personal and professional lives and the communities around them if prioritized.
Arts in Health Program
Why create an Arts in Health program for Mother’s Day? According to the CDC, women caregivers have a greater risk for poor physical and mental health, including depression and anxiety. Mothers have held such heavy weights this last year: from grieving losses to taking on more responsibilities such as managing work from home, additional hours for childcare, homeschooling, at-home nursing, coaching, offering tech support and much more. The presence of art and music in healthcare enhances the overall experience. It allows us to remove ourselves from whatever we’re battling to be motivated and inspired.
Diverse partners joined together in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to inspire and support women and female artists for Mother’s Day and, most importantly, promote health and well-being through the Arts. The program included artwork by Alex Paul Loza, music by Shane Morrow and a presentation of new work from poet Erika Roberts in partnership with multiple organizations that will resonate with communities across the country.
Historians devote their lives to predicting the past. So when called upon to predict the future of cultural expression, as the editor did for this issue, I had to distance myself from my disciplinary comfort zone.
Not for the first time. Two decades ago I had to do this when completing my book, The Children Are Watching: How the Media Teach about Diversity (Teachers College Press, 2000). In that book I focused on the traditional mass media: magazines; newspapers; film; television; and radio. It was the first book (and maybe still only) to examine how the media have treated the theme of diversity, not the depiction of specific diverse groups. In other words, how have media provided an informal public multicultural education, for better and for worse?
Equity Impacts Corporate Decisions
Why have diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) expertise in the Boardroom? Look at the controversy swirling around the Georgia’s voting law–the backlash, the boycott, and the backlash to the boycott. Georgia’s most vulnerable citizens lose from both the law and the boycott. I contend that if there had been DEI experts on the boards of the major corporations that traditionally lobbied in Georgia, this may have been averted. Corporations could have predicted how the passage and signing of the bill into law may have impacted their brand. While the bill was being crafted social justice concerns could have been addressed, along with concerns regarding voting integrity. When you are driving you slow down before you come to the hairpin curve rather than trying to correct for it afterward. I have always contended that we should resolve a problem before it begins.
I am a 72-year-old well-educated, sad, tired and angry Black woman. Let me tell you why I am so sad, tired and angry.
I am writing this in April, 2021, at the end of the prosecution’s case in the Chauvin trial. For most Black Americans, the killing of George Floyd was like opening an old wound and picking at a scab again and again so that the wound never quite has a chance to heal. The Chauvin trial has caused us to relive that terrible day and to realize that the wound has not yet healed. You may not read this until the trial is over and the verdict is in, but, no matter the outcome, the wound will still be there.
“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
In those memorable opening lines of his novel, The Go-Between, writer L. P. Hartley captured many dilemmas. The dilemma of memory. The dilemma of change. The dilemma of misunderstanding.
It also captured the dilemma of generations, particularly conversations across generations. We did things differently then. They do things differently now. How are we going to help them understand what we experienced? How are they going to help us understand what they are experiencing?
Continue reading Diversity and Speech Part 20: Communicating across Generations – by Carlos E. Cortés
I’m trying to make a positive difference in American political life by investigating whether and how it’s possible to draw some Trump voters toward the political center. In November 2020, about 48% of American voters voted for Trump. Voting for Trump is a proxy measure for rightwing feelings and beliefs. Many of these beliefs are extreme. None contribute to the American Dream of fairness, equity, opportunity, equality, and compassion, or the Good Society. Do we want to live in a permanently ideologically divided country, with the risk of civil war?
Continue reading How I’m Trying to Make a Positive Difference – by Marc Brenman