Name it and Blame it

Have you noticed how people love to put a name on something, then hate or love it, then try to get others to join them in their hate or love? Critical Race Theory is the most recent example.

Critical thinking requires a further step beyond reacting to a name. The name is pointing at something. That something is what we could be talking about. Forget the name and call it what you will. If we need to learn about race, systemic injustice, and inequity, go ahead and make up your own name for that, as long as it does not detract from that to which it refers. Make sense? Who can argue that human beings need education in the subject of social justice? But you can argue all day long about the name of a theory.

A teaching attributed to Buddha tells about his pointing to the moon, asking people to study the moon. But, he said, “you are studying my finger, not that to which it points!” Grabbing onto a teaching or teacher, rather than the subject of the teaching or teacher is an example of lazy reaction rather than critical thinking.

It is so easy to spread anger, ideology, belief, bias, and to incite judgemental behavior, just by getting people to focus on the name of a problem, rather than on the problem at hand. Frankly, I find it maddening.

Come on people. Can we not do better?

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