Sunday, February 28, 2021

The tension between ambitious outsiders and disillusioned insiders

 Our society has a lot of problems, and the problems you see depend of where you sit. I'm basically an 'insider' -- current American society works pretty well for me on a day to day level. One advantage of insider status is that I can get my hands on a lot of information and see the inner workings of the system. From this perspective, I see that we have lots of problems and that they won't be solved by slight reforms or simply trying harder. At its worst, I fear that our society is not sustainable and the perception that society 'works for me' is an illusion based on social constructs that could disappear over the course of a few years -- like my retirement account and health insurance.

One of the big factors prompting my concern with sustainability is that our society was built on the strategy of excluding and exploiting various people (esp. Black Americans), and while we have officially decided that we are no longer interested in excluding them, we have not done a good job of including them. This brings us to a phenomenon that I'll call 'the ambitious outsider'. This is basically a person who feels compelled to gain status/wealth/power as a way of supporting a marginalized community. This mentality is promoted by Stacy Abrams in her book "Lead from the Outside". This strategy has been getting a lot of attention recently among the anti-racist movement, where establishment liberals promote leaders from marginalized communities, and anti-racism often just seems like another strategy that a hypocrite can use for their own self promotion. (Note: One reason I respect Abrams is that after losing the Gubernatorial election in 2018 she turned her efforts to improving minority representation in government rather than simply looking for the next high office she could run for -- like U.S. Senate).

The tension between disillusioned insiders and ambitious outsiders arises from the recognition that status seeking and self-promotion are central to the problems of our current society. 

(I may finish this later. For now, this I all I can get onto the page).


No comments: