Dr Zee, Cogni Sutra Diva. Critical Thinking Questions Answered With Passionate Good Thinking, Sharp Thinking Skills, Good Ethics, Wit. On Islam, Animal Rights, Logic.
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DR ZEE, Cogni Sutra Diva -
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS - THE BEGINNING
Thinking about things - I can't remember when I didn't do that. I remember being 8, sitting with my father and a couple of his friends as they discussed the state of the world. Such big questions. Critical thinking questions. It felt so passionate. I loved it. Also, my father made me feel part of things.
There were massive Muslim protests over a Danish cartoon while there was a total lack of Muslim outrage at the massacre of Muslims by Muslims (some Muslims protested, but there was no huge outrage), and also there was widespread Western niceness in response to the Muslim outrage.
I wanted my questions answered. What was happening? Why was this happening? I wanted them answered, moreover, with good thinking.
I couldn't stand the pat answers: poor them, someone offended their religion. It didn't take many thinking skills to show their were huge gaps in that kind of answer.
I wrote one piece. Others soon followed:
Over and over, I had to deal with fears - colleagues encouraged me not to use my name, and my partner also thought it best to write under another name. So dealing with critical thinking questions is not some ivory tower thing, especially if one is speaking and not just thinking.
I thought back to the first time I spoke out - and wrote - against a popular liberal viewpoint. That was maybe a dozen years ago when I wrote about counter-prejudice. In some ways, that earlier time was scarier. There I was, someone who all her life had been strongly in favor of human rights, talking about ways the oppressed can be pretty nasty themselves. I was very low-key in my presentation of this stuff to students. And I was not surprised that it took a long time to find a publisher for the article.
But now back to - to The Idea Emporium and good thinking taking on critical thinking questions.
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* After a few months my attention shifted. Again I was watching something, a music video this time, and again something inside me went: this does not make sense!
* The next thing that grabbed my emotiuonal attention was animal rights. But the emotion was different. Tthe dog next door wanted to move in. I've always cared a lot about animals, have deeply loved a couple of my pets. I hate animal neglect and abuse. Again I started wrting. Out came ... Animal rights versus human rights - pets, ownership, slavery.
Then I went on to write about the first time I heard my inner sense of right and wrong. It had to do with animals. I remember the moment. I was reading a children's book of stories from the bible.
Animals and ethics - I still remember how sure I was that god had to be wrong (the god of that story, anyway). I haven't changed my mind.
* From the start, I've also cared about what I call stupid opinons. Other terms might be bad thinking, not thinking.
So from the start I've also looked at - and expressed myself strongly about - stupid unfounded opinions, and about walls in the mind.
* I've also explored gambling - because it occurred to me that, while I've always found gambling (lotteries, slot machines) wasteful and dangerous, I do so much on a gamble.
I gamble with my time, creating this site. I gamble writing the updates, never sure anyone wants to hear. I will be doing podcasts. Another gamble. I plan to set up an automated site so loads of people can upload creative works and good thinking. Again, a gamble. There's no guarantee in any of it.
Again, the goal has just been good thinking, clear thinking to get questions answered, questions brewing and stewing in my head.
I don't know what will next pull my attention.
I will end by going back to that first piece from about a dozen year ago, that first piece where I knew I'd raise the hackles of lots of good liberals. It was one of the first pieces where I motivated by my sense that something was wrong. I was teaching Women's Studies courses, and having a great time. But a couple of fellow teachers, white like me, were being hauled over the coals by non-white students, though both teachers were ultra against the slightest hint of racism. From my reading, I knew this was a common occurrence.
I sat down and wrote The Hurt/Counter-Hurt Cycle.
(Why did student not give me a hard time when other white teachers were being loudly criticized? From the first class on, I would make it clear that the class had to be a safe space for all kinds of diversities - class, race, sexual orientation, gender, occupation, and so on. I don't know if that was it, but I believe students were generally safe, and so was I - so vital.)
Back to the article. Writing was easy, but then I was faced with teaching the material.
I had to deal with loads of fears - fear of offending, fearing of hurting those already hurt, and fear of having rage turned on me. I spoke up all the same.
I still bring up counter-hostility and counter-prejudice in courses I now teach on Valuing Diversity, where I don't stay with safe stuff like, prejudice is wrong. It's easier now.
Students still find this much harder to talk about - they feel they are betraying someone, saying something they have no right to say. To mention prejudice is easy - racial prejudice, homophobia, prejudice against women (this one is a bit harder - women are still often afraid of being seen as anti-men). But counter-prejudice - even flagrant blatant examples - that's harder.
How do they come to talk? Slowly and hesitantly.
I've already mentioned the way black male students feel they have the right make sexual comments at white female students - most of all, when they're in a group.
How do I know this, as I'm not one of the students, but a teacher, not a target of the comments? When students feel safe enough, they will talk.
In one case, a white female student going out with one of the black male students, mentioned that, when she went past the area where the black male students hung out, she would joke with anyone she was with, "Time to put on the bullet-proof vests."
When this young woman spoke up - perhaps feeling she had more of a right than the others to speak, since she was going out with someone black and therefore relatively immune to accusations of being racist - then other white female students quietly nodded. In fact to say she spoke up is to overstate the case. She started by wondering something like, she wasn't sure it was okay to say what she was thinking of saying. I encouraged her to speak, said that any form of prejudice isn't okay, and that silence just helps people get away with things.
Anyway, after she spoke, a few other white female students revealed similar experiences. The others nodded.
And I asked myself, what's going on here? Actually, I knew what it was - it's very close to the fear of Westerners to speak out against Muslim rage. One has to face the fear that others will be angry, others will accuse us of being prejudiced, others will attack. Not easy. Much easier to be silent, and let things continue.
But if Rosa Parks wasn't willing to stay at the back of the bus, even if it meant prison, we too should be able to dare to speak up.
I like it, speaking up, speaking out.
Hope you get something out of my pieces,
All the best,
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Dr Zee, Cogni Sutra Diva.
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