john a. powell Director, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liber...
Remembering the past…     Reflecting on the present
About Bill Sutherland <ul><li>World War II conscientious objector (imprisoned for 38 months in Lewiston Federal Penitentia...
<ul><li>“ I'm a person who believes in nonviolence on principle. And true nonviolence is a spiritual force that the people...
Honorary Doctorate from Bates <ul><li>In 1940, Bill graduated  with a B.A. in sociology from Bates College </li></ul><ul><...
Julius Nyerere, first president of Tanzania, with Bill Sutherland  Bill Sutherland and Archbishop Desmond Tutu
From Archbishop Tutu’s foreword in  Guns and Gandhi in Africa   <ul><li>“ Ubuntu…recognizes that my humanity is bound up i...
Bill Sutherland with Maya Angelou
Dr. King and Bill Sutherland <ul><li>Excerpt from  Guns and Gandhi in Africa : </li></ul><ul><li>“ Bill noticed that Marti...
<ul><li>… Six years later, when Martin closed his own speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with a similar phrase, w...
<ul><li>“ We are all caught up in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever effec...
Linked Fates… Transformative Change <ul><li>Our fates are linked, yet our fates have been socially constructed as disconne...
Our Current Paradigm <ul><li>Current paradigm: Hobbesian, isolated </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Individuals as autonomous-indepen...
Current Paradigm <ul><li>Has led to increasing isolation and fear of the other </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This framework create...
Current paradigm and inequality <ul><li>Dominant public paradigms point to “bad apples” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Defective cu...
Effects of Current Paradigm on  Social Justice Work <ul><li>Within this framework, social justice work: </li></ul><ul><ul>...
<ul><li>Are we too individualistic or can we transcend this disconnectedness? </li></ul>
Spirituality and Suffering <ul><li>Existential/ontological (Spiritual Suffering) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Transience (First N...
Suffering and Spirituality <ul><li>A false separation exists between the secular and the spiritual in our world. </li></ul...
Personal vs Social <ul><li>If spirituality is our effort to connect beyond our egoistic self – how does it relate to socia...
<ul><li>Love calls the ego beyond itself and “requires engagement with the other and their situated embodiedness.” </li></ul>
Spirituality and Social Justice <ul><li>We focus on how spirituality inspires social justice, not on how social justice in...
A New Paradigm <ul><li>We believe it is possible through collective imagination </li></ul><ul><li>What is the alternative ...
A New Paradigm <ul><li>Collaborative – focuses on coalition building </li></ul><ul><li>Recognizes interconnectedness of ou...
The Paradigm in Religion <ul><li>This perspective is at the heart of a different type of spirituality </li></ul><ul><ul><l...
Systems Thinking <ul><li>Most people (including scholars and activists) think of problems from a individual perspective ra...
Dynamic Systems Theory <ul><li>Systems’ dynamics emphasize the importance of mental models.  </li></ul><ul><li>These cogni...
Tenants of Systems Thinking <ul><li>Interdependence of objects and their attributes - independent elements can never const...
Systems Thinking Systems Thinking: A   D C   B   E Causation is reciprocal, mutual, and cumulative. The Newtonian Perspect...
Systems Thinking <ul><li>Systems Theory is a transdisciplinary model that focuses on a web of relationships and processes ...
Systems Thinking <ul><li>From a systems perspective, causation is cumulative and mutual. </li></ul><ul><li>Outcomes are ca...
Cumulative Causation <ul><ul><li>Example:  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A labor economist’s analysis of discrimination in th...
System Interactions Source: Barbara Reskin.  http://faculty.uwashington.edu/reskin/
Structural Racialization <ul><li>Structural racialization refers to the ways in which the joint operation of institutions ...
Adapted from the Aspen Roundtable on Community Change. “Structural Racism and Community Building.”  June 2004
Cumulative and Mutual: Cycle of Segregation Lower Educational Outcomes for Urban School Districts Increased Flight of Affl...
Housing is a critical intervention point into the complex web of opportunity Housing is a component of a larger set of int...
playgrounds, parks, arts…
Put these together, you can imagine a structure
Systems view <ul><li>The application of a systems theory model changes our analysis of responsibility and response to harm...
Changes, Challenges and Opportunities Facing our Society <ul><li>Our world today is more complex and interconnected </li><...
Reassess our Assumptions <ul><li>Are unfettered markets good? </li></ul><ul><li>Is government action inherently bad? </li>...
More than ‘thinking globally’ and ‘acting locally’ <ul><li>Our global economy requires affirmative, deliberate collective ...
Dr. King on Economic Justice <ul><li>Called for an “economic bill of rights” and a massive jobs program and worked on the ...
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. <ul><li>“ Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determin...
For more information:  www.KirwanInstitute.org
Appendix
Cherished American ideals vs. reality <ul><li>Representation : Public institutions do not reflect their constituents </li>...
Positive Feedback: Cycle of Segregation Lower Educational Outcomes for Urban School Districts Increased Flight of Affluent...
Negative Feedback Loops
The Enlightenment:  “A Science of Man” <ul><li>Since Newton had proved that the universe worked according to certain laws,...
Enlightenment Jurisprudence <ul><li>Modern jurisprudence has been an attempt to make the law more scientific:  Objective, ...
Enlightenment Objectivity <ul><li>Assumed intrinsic separability of the  knower  and  known ,  subject  and  object  (Cart...
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Building a True Democracy: Illuminating the Interaction of Spirituality, Ethics, Structural Racialization and Social Justice

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  • Systems thinking is a different way of knowing.
  • 2009_ISAIA
  • 80% of prisoners didn’t complete high school, we spend 8-10x the amount to incarcerate someone
  • Langston Hughes wrote a short note on the back of the picture he had given to Bill Sutherland. The poem was written for Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, however Langston Hughes actually despised the medieval tendencies of the emperor. The Life of Langston Hughes: 1941-1967 I Dream a World by Arnold Rampersad, pp. 405-406 (http://books.google.com/books?id=WyC5910u1b4C&amp;pg=PA405&amp;lpg=PA405&amp;dq=langston+hughes+poem+about+haile+selassie&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=EJyJ9oCh-H&amp;sig=s5RLd59BPXws3iWiQgTF-fj61os&amp;hl=en&amp;ei=iXtTS6bDPNCWtgfnmcW0CQ&amp;sa=X&amp;oi=book_result&amp;ct=result&amp;resnum=9&amp;ved=0CCcQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&amp;q=&amp;f=false)
  • 80% of prisoners didn’t complete high school, we spend 8-10x the amount to incarcerate someone
  • DDT was used to as a pesticide. It remained in the body of bugs, which were eaten by birds. Those birds died, reducing the population of bug-eating birds. The population of bugs remained stable Brown v. Board of Education triggered white flight, which when sanctioned by the Supreme Court in Milikin, thwarted integration
  • The enlightenment was the importing of the use of the scientific method to discover universal laws of man via the experimental method. The belief was that just as universal laws of physics could be discovered, so too could universal laws of man be discovered. This is the essence of the enlightenment: a science of man, society, and government. Science became a lens for looking at the world.
  • Francis Bacon, one of the proponents of the scientific method, believed that scientific methods should be applied to law. As the attorney general and lord chancelor of England, he was extremely influential in regard to English legal theory, and by extension, American legal theory. Hugo Grotius was a early enlightenment Dutch jurist, who developed the doctrine of “natural law,’ the enlightenment corollary to Newton’s laws of physics. The American Declaration of Independence was framed under the influence of Natural Law thinking.
  • It was assumed that measurements reveal the values of the properties of independently existing objects separate from the measuring agencies. In measuring any characteristic of an object, we disturb its pre-measurement values. Newtonian physics argues that the experimental/observation disturbance is mostly negligible, and when it is not, the measurement-independent values can be found because the disturbance can be determined and subtracted out. Quantum physics says this is wrong for two reasons: 1) discontinuity of reality (plank’s constant) means that there is a lower bound to how small the disturbance caused by the measurement can be. Thus, there is a limit to how ‘negligible’ measurement disturbances can be. 2) It is impossible to determine the effects of the measurement interaction (and thus, it can’t be subtracted out) and the thing you are measuring. Why?
  • Building a True Democracy: Illuminating the Interaction of Spirituality, Ethics, Structural Racialization and Social Justice

    1. 1. john a. powell Director, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, Moritz College of Law Bates College MLK Jr. Day January 18, 2010 Lewiston, Maine
    2. 2. Remembering the past… Reflecting on the present
    3. 3. About Bill Sutherland <ul><li>World War II conscientious objector (imprisoned for 38 months in Lewiston Federal Penitentiary) </li></ul><ul><li>Co-founder of the Congress of Racial Equality and Americans for South African Resistance </li></ul><ul><li>Served as a special assistant to the Sixth Pan-African Congress in Tanzania </li></ul><ul><li>Bill is remembered for “tirelessly recording and participating in efforts for social change on both [North American and African] continents.” </li></ul>
    4. 4. <ul><li>“ I'm a person who believes in nonviolence on principle. And true nonviolence is a spiritual force that the people can have, which can be the most powerful thing going. But I respect the revolutionist who adopts a violent method, because I think that the most important thing is the revolution.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>-Bill Sutherland </li></ul>
    5. 5. Honorary Doctorate from Bates <ul><li>In 1940, Bill graduated with a B.A. in sociology from Bates College </li></ul><ul><li>“ At Bates college in Maine, Bill continued his activities for racial justice and pacifism…” </li></ul><ul><li>( Guns and Gandhi in Africa ) </li></ul>
    6. 6.
    7. 7. Julius Nyerere, first president of Tanzania, with Bill Sutherland Bill Sutherland and Archbishop Desmond Tutu
    8. 8. From Archbishop Tutu’s foreword in Guns and Gandhi in Africa <ul><li>“ Ubuntu…recognizes that my humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be truly human together. Ubuntu is relevant to this book because, in their discussions about the African process of liberation and social change, Bill Sutherland and Matt Meyer have looked beyond the short-term strategies and tactics, which too often divide progressive people. They have begun to develop a language that looks at the roots of our humanness beyond our many private contradictions...” </li></ul>
    9. 9. Bill Sutherland with Maya Angelou
    10. 10. Dr. King and Bill Sutherland <ul><li>Excerpt from Guns and Gandhi in Africa : </li></ul><ul><li>“ Bill noticed that Martin and Coretta King were visibly impressed when, on that fateful night in 1957, the British flag was lowered, and the flag of Ghana was raised. Nkrumah, dressed in traditional kente cloth, his fists waving in the air, tears streaming down his face, shouted over and over again: ‘Free At Last, Free At Last, Free At Last!’ </li></ul>
    11. 11. <ul><li>… Six years later, when Martin closed his own speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with a similar phrase, which he attributed to an old Negro spiritual, Bill couldn’t help but wonder if those thunderous words in Washington D.C had not come from King’s memory of that historic evening in Ghana.” (p. 34) </li></ul>
    12. 12. <ul><li>“ We are all caught up in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever effects one directly effects all indirectly.” </li></ul><ul><li>-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Linked Fates… Transformative Change <ul><li>Our fates are linked, yet our fates have been socially constructed as disconnected, especially through the categories of class, race, gender, nationality, religion… </li></ul>
    14. 14. Our Current Paradigm <ul><li>Current paradigm: Hobbesian, isolated </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Individuals as autonomous-independent selves </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Egoistic, possessive, separate, isolated, rational </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Role of state: protect individualism and private property </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This is reflected in beliefs about Judeo-Christian God </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Protects against evil, punishes wrongdoers, promotes individual-success through own will </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Within this view, government social programs seen as counter-productive and reinforcing negative behaviors </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Current Paradigm <ul><li>Has led to increasing isolation and fear of the other </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This framework creates/marginalizes the racialized other </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creates false separations – negates shared humanity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>As a result we are a nation divided </li></ul>
    16. 16. Current paradigm and inequality <ul><li>Dominant public paradigms point to “bad apples” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Defective culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individual faults </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal Racism </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Overlooks policies and </li></ul><ul><li>arrangements: “diseased tree” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Structures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cumulative causation </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. Effects of Current Paradigm on Social Justice Work <ul><li>Within this framework, social justice work: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Overlooks opportunities for coalition building </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is more fragmented and isolated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May be competitive and divisive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can lead to guilt or disempowerment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is not connected to overarching set of shared values </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lacks a political and spiritual vision! </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. <ul><li>Are we too individualistic or can we transcend this disconnectedness? </li></ul>
    19. 19. Spirituality and Suffering <ul><li>Existential/ontological (Spiritual Suffering) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Transience (First Noble Truth of Buddhism) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Loy’s Sense of Lack </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Psychoanalysis (Lacan’s Lack) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inherent in existence </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Surplus” (Social suffering) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The result of social arrangements/structures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Visited on people unequally </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. Suffering and Spirituality <ul><li>A false separation exists between the secular and the spiritual in our world. </li></ul><ul><li>A role of spirituality is to address suffering, both ontological and social suffering. </li></ul><ul><li>Structural racism causes suffering, and animates a call to spirituality to engage those structures. </li></ul>
    21. 21. Personal vs Social <ul><li>If spirituality is our effort to connect beyond our egoistic self – how does it relate to social justice? </li></ul><ul><li>Could working for social transformation be an integral part of engaging deeply with our personal encounters? </li></ul><ul><li>Must reject structures that limit our ways to embrace love in our interpersonal interactions to “come home” </li></ul>
    22. 22. <ul><li>Love calls the ego beyond itself and “requires engagement with the other and their situated embodiedness.” </li></ul>
    23. 23. Spirituality and Social Justice <ul><li>We focus on how spirituality inspires social justice, not on how social justice informs spirituality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Caring about other’s suffering connects deeply to one’s own spiritual development </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Suffering a central concern of both </li></ul><ul><li>Spirituality Social Justice </li></ul>
    24. 24. A New Paradigm <ul><li>We believe it is possible through collective imagination </li></ul><ul><li>What is the alternative vision? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A model of connectedness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individuals as part of something bigger </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inter-being, unified, not egoistically separate </li></ul></ul>
    25. 25. A New Paradigm <ul><li>Collaborative – focuses on coalition building </li></ul><ul><li>Recognizes interconnectedness of our beings and fates </li></ul><ul><li>Is the natural extension of a overarching, shared vision and framework </li></ul><ul><li>Reconceptualizes society to promote the political, economic, spiritual, and psychological health of ALL </li></ul><ul><li>Focuses on “targeting within universalism” </li></ul>
    26. 26. The Paradigm in Religion <ul><li>This perspective is at the heart of a different type of spirituality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A God who identifies with the poor and oppressed and expects followers to support and work with marginalized populations and combat prejudice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sees social justice work and government programs as a spiritual necessity </li></ul></ul>
    27. 27. Systems Thinking <ul><li>Most people (including scholars and activists) think of problems from a individual perspective rather than a systems perspective. </li></ul><ul><li>This framing of the issues has the potential to limit our understanding of the nature and depth of a problem as well as a proper solution. </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional non-discrimination models focuses our gaze in a way that restricts us to recognize that the problems at hand are in need of systemic resolution. </li></ul>
    28. 28. Dynamic Systems Theory <ul><li>Systems’ dynamics emphasize the importance of mental models. </li></ul><ul><li>These cognitive models are the implicit (often unconscious) causal maps of a system that we hold as well as our beliefs about how the system operates. </li></ul><ul><li>Our predominant model of racism is the individual racism model. </li></ul>
    29. 29. Tenants of Systems Thinking <ul><li>Interdependence of objects and their attributes - independent elements can never constitute a system. </li></ul><ul><li>Holism - emergent properties not possible to detect by analysis should be possible to define by a holistic approach. </li></ul><ul><li>Goal seeking - systemic interaction must result in some goal or final state. </li></ul><ul><li>Transformation of inputs into outputs - this is the process by which the goals are obtained. </li></ul>
    30. 30. Systems Thinking Systems Thinking: A D C B E Causation is reciprocal, mutual, and cumulative. The Newtonian Perspective: A  B  C  D  E Linear causation
    31. 31. Systems Thinking <ul><li>Systems Theory is a transdisciplinary model that focuses on a web of relationships and processes and not on linear, singular causation or the intent of one or even a few individuals. </li></ul>
    32. 32. Systems Thinking <ul><li>From a systems perspective, causation is cumulative and mutual. </li></ul><ul><li>Outcomes are caused by many actors’ and institutions’ actions and inactions over time and across domains. </li></ul><ul><li>Outcomes are the result of causes that accumulate over time and across domains. </li></ul>
    33. 33. Cumulative Causation <ul><ul><li>Example: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A labor economist’s analysis of discrimination in the labor market, controlling for background characteristics and educational preparation of labor market participants, ignores the previous discrimination in education, housing, and health markets. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wealth: intergenerational and impact across domains. </li></ul></ul>
    34. 34.
    35. 35. System Interactions Source: Barbara Reskin. http://faculty.uwashington.edu/reskin/
    36. 36. Structural Racialization <ul><li>Structural racialization refers to the ways in which the joint operation of institutions produce racialized outcomes. </li></ul><ul><li>Structures matter and are not neutral. They unevenly distribute benefits, burdens, and racialized meaning. </li></ul>
    37. 37. Adapted from the Aspen Roundtable on Community Change. “Structural Racism and Community Building.” June 2004
    38. 38. Cumulative and Mutual: Cycle of Segregation Lower Educational Outcomes for Urban School Districts Increased Flight of Affluent Families from Urban Areas Neighborhood (Housing) Segregation School Segregation
    39. 39. Housing is a critical intervention point into the complex web of opportunity Housing is a component of a larger set of interrelated structures that are both affected by housing and have impacts on the attainment of safe, stable housing. Fiscal Policies Housing Childcare Incarceration/ juvenile justice Education Health Employment Transportation
    40. 40.
    41. 41.
    42. 42. playgrounds, parks, arts…
    43. 43. Put these together, you can imagine a structure
    44. 44. Systems view <ul><li>The application of a systems theory model changes our analysis of responsibility and response to harms. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider global warming: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Caused by cumulative and mutual actions of many actors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need for collective action </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No need to show intent before responding </li></ul></ul>
    45. 45. Changes, Challenges and Opportunities Facing our Society <ul><li>Our world today is more complex and interconnected </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Global labor market </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Global financial market </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Global credit market </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Global climate change </li></ul></ul>
    46. 46. Reassess our Assumptions <ul><li>Are unfettered markets good? </li></ul><ul><li>Is government action inherently bad? </li></ul><ul><li>Who wins and who loses? </li></ul>Source: United for a Fair Economy
    47. 47. More than ‘thinking globally’ and ‘acting locally’ <ul><li>Our global economy requires affirmative, deliberate collective action, across multiple domains, and at a regional level </li></ul><ul><li>How can we affirmatively incorporate our marginalized communities into the mainstream economy? </li></ul>
    48. 48. Dr. King on Economic Justice <ul><li>Called for an “economic bill of rights” and a massive jobs program and worked on the Poor People’s campaign </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ It must not be just black people…We must include American Indians, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and even poor whites.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In 1968, Dr. King supported a sanitation workers strike in Memphis </li></ul><ul><li>“ Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. </li></ul>
    49. 49. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. <ul><li>“ Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. </li></ul></ul>
    50. 50. For more information: www.KirwanInstitute.org
    51. 51. Appendix
    52. 52.
    53. 53. Cherished American ideals vs. reality <ul><li>Representation : Public institutions do not reflect their constituents </li></ul><ul><li>Equality: A race-based social hierarchy predominates </li></ul><ul><li>Non-discrimination: Unresolved tensions between the public ideal (colorblindness) and reality (inequality) </li></ul><ul><li>Citizenship: Membership in society conferred unequally </li></ul><ul><li>Dominant ideologies in America such as open opportunity and individualism are hollow </li></ul><ul><li>People in poverty cannot fully exercise their freedoms </li></ul><ul><li>Cumulatively these represent a deficit in democracy </li></ul>
    54. 54. Positive Feedback: Cycle of Segregation Lower Educational Outcomes for Urban School Districts Increased Flight of Affluent Families from Urban Areas Neighborhood (Housing) Segregation School Segregation
    55. 55. Negative Feedback Loops
    56. 56. The Enlightenment: “A Science of Man” <ul><li>Since Newton had proved that the universe worked according to certain laws, discovered via the scientific method, shouldn't man, society, government work according to universal laws, too? </li></ul><ul><li>This is the birth of the social sciences: sociology, economics, psychology, anthropology… </li></ul>David Hume: The Newton of the “Moral Sciences.”
    57. 57. Enlightenment Jurisprudence <ul><li>Modern jurisprudence has been an attempt to make the law more scientific: Objective, neutral, mechanical, certain. </li></ul>Hugo Grotius: “The Galileo of law” Francis Bacon Blackstone Montesquieu
    58. 58. Enlightenment Objectivity <ul><li>Assumed intrinsic separability of the knower and known , subject and object (Cartesian cut) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Observer could view world without affecting it. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Quantum Physics calls into question the limits of possible objectivity and certainty . </li></ul><ul><li>Uncertainty Principle: in measuring the characteristics of a particle, we necessarily disturb its pre-measurement values. </li></ul>

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