Confronting Injustice LO6709

Terri Deems (
Mon, 15 Apr 1996 22:23:33 -0500 (CDT)

Replying to LO6676 --

Don't shut up on this just yet, Rol. I think there is interest in this
area, but if others are at all like me it is difficult to talk about
because it is such a BIG area. I wondered at first if the issue of
attacking/confronting injustice was much related to LO, but have decided
it is; both Rol's and Rick's comments help to make that clearer for me.

I agree that when we do not actively confront injustice (whether or not we
use the word "attack"), we implicitly support it; as I think someone else
has already said, if we are not part of the solution, then we are part of
the problem. This is a touchy issue for me; while I feel passionately
about many forms of injustice, my actions are less than admirable. I am
only now more willing to speak up and voice my offense at off-color jokes
(e.g., sexist, racist, whatever). Am not very politically active in most
areas. Don't speak up when I see/hear a parent being abusive to a child
in the supermarket. It's tough to address injustice--on this list or
through other mediums--without taking a close look at myself; where
injustice is concerned, there is no "they" out there--there's just me, and
my voice is yet weak.

So what stops me? What makes me think that the occasional letter to the
editor is enough? Energy is part of it. Fear another (which has already
been somewhat addressed). Powerlessness. Ignorance. A still-immature
unity consciousness (but improving!). Unwillingness to devote the energy
to become more critically conscious.

Those things are largely subjective. There is also a role, I think, for
the objective conditions in which we find ourselves--environment, culture,
whatever. At least in the Western world, we seem to have cultivated
communities and work organizations that value fragmentation,
specialization, separateness; we've commodified ourselves. Those
boundaries, I believe, help us to perpetuate the myths that, e.g., your
problems are not mine nor of my making, that I must protect myself, that I
am powerless.

I wonder if part of the "problem" of walking away from injustice might be
developmentally related, both individually and collectively. The
theorists I'm familiar with, such as depth psychology, psychosocial
developmental, cognitive development, moral/ethical development, and
gender development, share some common ground in that they show the
movement of growth from dualistic, ego-centered (or pre-egoic) patterns to
increasingly more complex, transcendent patterns, from differentiation to
discernment. Do groups, organizations, families, communities, develop in
a like manner? I think they do, and I think this has strong implications
for the workplace.

I'm quickly losing track of any real point here--sorry, Folks! (I've been
accused many times before of not having a linear mind) I think the
"system" does impact injustice, that there is an important dynamic
occurring in the interaction of any system with individuals and
collectives, and that these are important to become more mindful of, and
more knowledgeable of. When Rol and Michael ask, WHO is going to change
the system, I wonder what system he has in mind.

There is hope in all of this, though. Clearly, humans are drawn to
incidents of great suffering, great injustice, and in certain
circumstances show what would be possible if we were to allow ourselves to
be most fully human. How about the role of media in all of this? Better
question, perhaps: why do we allow media to determine for us, in many
cases, which causes we rally around and which we ignore? Seems there is
more to this than awareness and education, but those are critical as well.

Enough. I'd like to bring this more directly back to our workplaces, but
I think that had better wait . . .

Terri Deems
Deems Associates Inc

-- (Terri Deems)

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