Confronting Injustice LO6676

Rol Fessenden (76234.3636@CompuServe.COM)
14 Apr 96 01:29:13 EDT

Replying to LO6593 -- was: What makes sense

Forgive me if I am pushing an agenda that no one finds interesting. If no
one responds I will drop it. However, for me this question of why
injustice continues, why good people do not do more, is an interesting
one. My thinking has been precipitated by reading about Martin Luther
King and wondering why he did what he did. Then it was a short step to
wondering why others do not do likewise. Myself included. No pedestal
for me.

In Michael's post, he does not like "attack". Let me spell out a specific
circumstance. A group of males and females of indeterminate background
are meeting. During a break in the formal meeting, someone tells an
anti-semitic joke. Most laugh 'politely'. Some look uncomfortable. No
one says a word in dissent.

When I talk about this example, people say they would speak up. Some say
they would speak to the joke teller privately. Some would be public. I
have conducted a few experiments, and the reality is, no one says a word.
Why is this?

Michael asks what about the influence of the system on injustice? What
about it? WHO is going to change the system? How is it going to happen?
When is it going to happen? Why is it going to happen? the answer to the
last question is that it will change when plenty of people demand that it
change, and it will not change before then.

Michael asks if "attack" is a way to approach what we don't like from a
learning/developmental perspective. Every person has to answer this for
themselves. My aswer is that injustice is not something I "don't like".
It is morally reprehensible, and yes, "attack" is the right way to
approach it. In my view, people who practice unjust behavior may need
education, but today they are behaving as bullies.

Many people walk away from injustice, and think they have done enough. Is
it enough? Why is it enough? Will that behavior -- walking away from it
-- eventually eliminate injustice? When we do not actively confront it,
are we in fact implicitly giving it support?

I guess I have been practicing a form of the "5 whys" method to get to the
bottom of the question of how we treat injustice. However, I have not
been explicit, so now I am coming clean.

If this is not of interest or does not belong on the LO forum, just tell
me, and I will shut up.

[Host's Note: The connection to LO for me is how does this relate to
effectiveness. Senge defines "learning" as "increasing our ability to
produce the results we want." So, Rol's example above seems relevant. I
also welcome discussion about how we can be effective in the broader
world, seeing community as an extension of organization. That's my
rationale for this thread fitting in here on LO. ...Rick]


Rol Fessenden LL Bean, Inc.

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