inequality

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Hacker and Roberts open with what for me is a very prescient idea, the idea of victim-blaming in an organization, and indeed in most Western modern societies, rather than looking for solutions and rising to challenges that can teach one to be stronger.  Their John Stewart Mill quote speaks to current events in government that always seem to be current no matter the year, the decade, or the century, “A state which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for beneficial purposes–will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished.”  What have we wrought when each of our mind-sets chain us to ideas of a past and a present that we cannot, nay refuse to (r)evolvolve from?  Mind sets are formulated from life experiences, yes, as Hacker and Roberts indicate, but those same life experiences can force an individual to realize that change is necessary when it prohibits growth.

Yes, some mind-sets cannot be changed because people refuse to change but others are ready to change, forcing it, fearing it but welcoming it, or seeking it. Transformational leadership can and will exploit people in within their evolutionary stage to benefit the organization and the individuals involved, understand where each individual is, and what is best for that individual. Hacker and Roberts indicate the above and four additional mind-sets that inhibit growth, individuals concerned with self-image, the self-absorbed, and the detached and emphasize what is needed to jump start each individual’s evolutionary growth.  The process reminds me of the positive affirmations that I do each morning before meditation to start my day.

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I know there are” ideal” companies to work for, not because I have worked for them (because I haven’t), but because very few friends have mentioned their work environments and their ideal supervisors and because I have read about them occasionally in the news pages.  But now that I have read Hacker and Robert’s analysis of when great managers fail to become great leaders.  In point of fact, I have rarely encountered what I consider a great manager, and when I have, they moved on shortly thereafter or I did.  I suspect that most managers, and frankly most front line employees, according to Hacker and Roberts’ description, don’t receive proper mentoring or training to be managers or leaders.  On that level, this book is rather enlightening and if all companies don’t need to read and apply this, most do.

I have worked in several industries for several companies, and I have no interest in working for any more companies any more than I have to.  I am more interested in working for myself teaching and learning from others and helping them individually and in small groups find their life’s passion in their local environment.  Given that this is a corporate-slanted text, I am surprised and impressed to see a whole chapter devoted to creating a life of meaning.  This concept has puzzled my family since they felt I should be doing one thing from the beginning of my working life to the end of my working life and I did not because I did not and still do not feel that I fit a mold or stereotype that they forced themselves into.  Retirement is a social construct designed to give people a false impression that they cannot do what they love and do something instead that they are obligated to do for family, for society, for security until they are too tired to continue doing it. When did this happen? In the not to distant past, each of our ancestors, wherever they were, worked the land, worked with their hands, worked with their brains to offer local wisdom to heal.  In a manner of speaking, a career was something that you simply were, rather than something you did temporarily. I have no intention of retiring. I don’t know what that would look like, and it certainly would literally bore me to death.

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The intersection of power, leadership, and multicultural inclusion into such a flexible dynamic is intriguing, not because it is generally overlooked by those in power who prefer to label multiculturalism as Minority, but because it may be the first time I have seen it considered seriously on such a scale.  This puts some power into the hands of those most negatively affected by policy and allows them to take part in effecting change.  In particular the APA multicultural guidelines call for activism by psychologists to effect change and achieve equality for all peoples affected by treatment of the so-called majority in various settings.  Since I view objectivity, except in exceptional cases, generally impossible, it is refreshing to see activism and change agents at the professional level.

At the heart of the APA Multicultural guidelines is acknowledgement that the ethnic and cultural makeups of the United States population are changing and have been changing for several years.  Living in Texas and California for a time, I realized that the so-called white majority was no longer a majority in either state.  This was acknowledged by the census a few years ago, but while I was living in Texas, a local community radio station that was supposed to reflect the diversity of Austin did not and fought to keep control of the station and the board even while professing to be diverse and liberal. An attempt to create a diversity committee was not successful.  In hindsight, I wonder if some aspects of community psychology would be beneficial?

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This reflection may be filled with more questions than analysis, though it will certainly include that.  However, I see this as an incomplete assessment only. According to the abstract, it contains a toolkit for “assessing various aspects of community food security.”  Nowhere do I see steps to improve the food security and access food security in each community.  With the realities of malnutrition, poverty, unhealthy eating habits, and the woefully inadequate monthly allotment of Food Stamps to eat as healthily as possible that is regularly reported in the news media, I would have liked to see more plans of action, especially ones that involved homesteading.

Overview of Food Insecurity and Hunger.  While initiatives to connect farmers to urban consumers, there is no mention of farm-to-table or farm-to-school initiatives such as farm co-ops just outside of large urban centers and no mention of local farmer’s markets as they exist in several locations across the country (http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/) until much later in the document in a later section, but there is mention of lack of grocery stores in strategic locations.  While this latter point is important, it does not address the issue of healthy food products.  Food insecurity is defined here as access, financial means and prices.  There is discussion of unavailability of local food resources and inadequate food assistance resources, but, again, there is no discussion or plan to address the inadequate allotment of food stamps to enable families and individuals to eat as healthy as possible.

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(Possibly part of an ongoing series.  Stay tuned)

Beginning this I had thought that it should be, “I am a feminist because…” primarily because feminism has been on my mind for the last several years probably without placing the label on it, and quite possibly due to the roles that my grandmother and my aunt have played in my life.  My life is an evolutionary process and, thus, I am learning, and programming thoughts in my life on a daily basis.

So the fact is I need feminism because, I become irritated and angry when human beings are treated as inferior because their socially constructed gender, race, or “acceptable” or “unacceptable” appearance does not conform to the so-called majority.  I need it because my grandmother and my aunt were THE strong and intelligent family leaders in my immediate and extended family, and my father, who immigrated from a heavily male-dominated society, Italy, was the most obvious sexist in my life.  Juxtaposing those two contrasts disturbed me enough to think about equality and feminism without placing a label on it until later

For me, the subject of propaganda will come up many times in this class, because it is a subject that fascinates me as a neutral term, rather than a negative one.  It is the intention and the effects that can be either positive or negative.  But I also see a very strong relation between feminism and propaganda texts (either feminist or sexist, but primarily sexist) used within advertising, television programming and motion pictures, newspaper articles and op-ed pieces.  Make no mistake that I see the overt propaganda in all media, but the sexist textual context is something I obviously need to learn more about, so yes, I need feminism because. The conversations that I have with friends and acquaintances and conversations that I overhear where human beings are prejudged as either superior, equal, or inferior based on part or all of their appearance kept me silent but disturbed until recently when I have reached the end of my patience, which can only turn me into a better activist for equality.  People who assume the inferiority of a person based solely on their gender, color, and body modifications particularly disturb me.  The psychological effects can be debilitating and superficially unnoticeable.

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