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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Let's Have a Talk About Justice

The Starbucks corporation tried, I believe sincerely, to do something right with it's "Race Together" initiative through which their employees would attempt to engage customers in a discussion about race relations in the U.S.

This ill-fated attempt to dialogue about the racial divide in America that has been exacerbated by police killings of unarmed black American died a quick death.  People simply did not wish to talk about social issues while they waiting for their morning Joe fix. 

Howard Schultz, of course, is not the only person who wishes we could talk more about inequality and shout less at one another.  However, I feel that the focus in this matter is all wrong.  Conversations about race, entitlement, racial privilege, welfare, not to mention immigration and sexual identity issues have the unfortunate effect of dividing us along battle lines.  Is there any type of conversation that through which we can achieve some sort of unity and consensus?  

I believe that there is at least one possible conversation that can do so.  We should be having a conversation about justice. Justice, after all, should be the goal of any community. It is the one quality upon which we can all agree is a universal good. We all want a nation based on justice, and this should be the focus of our national dialogue.

One of the first aspects we should talk about is what do we mean by the word "justice?"  When we stand with hand over heart pledging "justice for all," just what do we mean?  

That is what I will discuss in my next post.  Tell me what you think justice means.

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