By Dr. Denise R. Ames
This is a momentous time that we are experiencing. Who can be trusted for wise council? Where are the elders? Elders have something to add to the conversation about what is going on today. I am one elder who feels I have something to say. The following are 12 Insights that I have learned and want to share with you.
# Social Justice, a Shallow Narrative
In the last blog, “A New National Narrative,” I made the case that we need a new national narrative that fits better with our national reality. One of the national narratives that has recently thrust its way onto the national stage is the Social Justice narrative.
This narrative rejects the fact that United States was founded on Liberal (Enlightenment) principles based on the dignity of each person, who is imbued with inalienable rights responsibilities, and freedoms.
The more radical Social Justice narrative says these principles are lies, since the nation was founded upon slavery, misogyny, and colonialism. This legacy of lies and deceit are so egregious and embedded in the American psyche that, to them, there is no way to reform the system, since the system is utterly corrupt. Therefore, an overthrow of the system is necessary and a system based on radical economic, political, and social equality (equity) is imperative. Or, some even promote the turning upside of the current system where Whites have more power to one in which people of color have the most power.
Although idealistic and naïve in many ways, most elders know that this type of system is virtually impossible. It is also dangerous, since the overthrow and replacement of a political, economic, and social system in place for over 250 years would be wrenching for the nation and cost untold number of lost lives.
Therefore, a new national narrative based solely on Social Justice principles lacks intellectual depth and realistic goals. The Social Justice narrative, for example, rejects gradual and steady progress as a way to improve racial equality. In fact, commentator Coleman Hughes makes the informed argument in a YouTube video that significant progress among African Americans has been made if comparison among other Black groups over time is used for analysis instead of citing the gap between Whites and Blacks. Its like comparing apples to apples instead of apples to oranges.
Also, to have a viable national narrative, a compelling vision that unites the country together in common endeavors is necessary. At the moment, the Social Justice narrative is advancing the “sin of slavery” as a new “religion” to compel whites to accept their role as oppressors of Blacks. This guilt is leading Whites to atone for the slavery sin by elevating Blacks to a role of superiority in American society. By worshipping the oppressed, culpable Whites are shedding some of their guilt. This does not have long-lasting appeal, and is rejected by many sensible Americans as Black racism.
As I see it, the Social Justice narrative does not have the moral conviction, ethical reasoning, or spiritual depth to carry it forward as a viable national narrative. Although it could be a part of a new national narrative, as a way to advance the dignity and worth of all Americans, as a stand-along narrative I see it as severely flawed.
About the Author: Dr. Denise R. Ames
Dr. Ames’ varied life experiences— teaching, scholarly research, personal reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness that develops globally-focused books and educational resources for grade 9-university. She has written eight books, plus numerous blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, teaching units, and conducted professional development workshops for the non-profit and its clients.
Dr. Ames is now developing her new program: Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network. Turn encourages life-long learners to see things with new eyes, learn from the past, and understand the relationship of all things. She teaches workshops/classes and writes about Turn’s five programs: learning from the past, cross-cultural awareness, five colliding worldviews, elder wisdom, and transformative travel.
Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them has just been released!
Divided addresses the question on the lips of every American: why can’t we get along? The cultural divide is threatening our democracy and destabilizing our country. Divided looks at the deep cultural divide through the lens of five colliding worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. This approach helps us make sense of our deep divisions and suggests ways of bridging them.
It is urgent that we understand and bridge the cultural divide. Bridging the divide is dependent upon first understanding it. Gaining an understanding of the five worldviews enhances our success of arriving at sensible solutions and increasing civil conversations. If not, rancor and intractability ensue.
Divided is one of nine books written by Dr. Ames and the Center for Global Awareness, check out their offerings! Global Awareness Books