Kenji Yoshino: What is your counsel?

Kenji Yoshino:  The one plea that I really have that we should do more of is to start trying to think about ways in which we can come together and think collectively rather than thinking in very simplistic, group-based identity politics terms. So what do I mean by that? I mean again that if we continue to think in terms of, say, racial groups . . . So if there is African Americans, and Latinos, and Asian Americans, and the various multiracial permutations . . . and Native-Americans and what have you, then it’s gonna be increasingly hard for us to make common cause. That’s just math, right? That’s just these groups are gonna proliferate. People are gonna ask for ever more fine-grained distinctions, as we see with the 63 groups on the census. I think religion is an even better example of this because we can think of an actually infinite number of religions with immigration and coming into this country. And this is the Diana Eck phenomenon I was describing earlier. So what do we do in a polity where it seems like if we affiliate ourselves along these traditional lines – like I have this race; I have this sexual orientation; I have this religion; you know I have this particular disability – we’re only gonna break apart more and more. What do we do? And I think the answer to that is to say stop thinking in terms of civil rights. Start thinking in terms of human rights. Start thinking about the things that we all need as human beings regardless of which of these groups we belong to and try to translate whatever argument you’re trying to make an equality rubric into a liberty-based argument. So don’t talk about, “Build me a wheelchair access ramp because your steps are not good for me.” Argue about how we all have a right to access the court. Don’t argue about, “Oh, gays should have the right to get married.” Argue about don’t you think everybody in this country, to live a good life, needs to be able to make a commitment to the one person they love. You know so that’s really the message that I would have, because it focuses on what binds us together as a people rather than what drives us apart. So what I would love is to see a coalition. I mean it’s not to say . . . Organizing around rights doesn’t mean that you can’t organize around groups because you could have groups that organize themselves around rights. So you could have a right to education movement in this country that cut across very many different kinds of traditional groups like individuals who are indigent; individuals who are racial minorities; individuals who are immigrants; or for other reasons who are not getting good educations. No one would be happier to see that than I would, because what that would mean is that we would understand that what we’re arguing for is something that we want by dint of the fact that we’re human beings rather than by dint of our membership in a particular subset of humanity.

Recorded on: 11/11/07

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try seeing beyond your traditional affiliations.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

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Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

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Why do people quit their jobs? Surely, there are a ton of factors: money, hours, location, lack of interest, etc. For Alison McMahon, an HR specialist and the CEO of TwoFold, the biggest reason employees jump ship is that they're tired of working for lousy bosses.

By and large, she says, people are willing to put up with certain negatives as long as they enjoy who they're working for. When that's just not the case, there's no reason to stick around:

Nine times out of ten, when an employee says they're leaving for more money, it's simply not true. It's just too uncomfortable to tell the truth.

Whether that's true is certainly debatable, though it's not a stretch to say that an inconsiderate and/or incompetent boss isn't much of a leader. If you run an organization or company, your values and actions need to guide and inspire your team. When you fail to do that, you set the table for poor productivity and turnover.

McMahon offers a few suggestions for those who want to hone their leadership abilities, though it seems that these things are more innate qualities than acquired skills. For example, actually caring about your workers or not depending wholly on HR thinking they can do your job for you.

It's the nature of promotions that, inevitably, a good employee without leadership skills will get thrust into a supervisory position. McMahon says this is a chronic problem that many organizations need to avoid, or at least make the time to properly evaluate and assist with the transition.

But since they often don't, they end up with uninspired workers. And uninspired workers who don't have a reason to stay won't stick around for long.

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Think you’re bad at math? You may suffer from ‘math trauma’

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I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.

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