• Yemi S.

I've just finished a book written by an author whose views on many subjects differ from my own. This should be an altogether uncontroversial proposition.

If every book I read is a regurgitation of my own ideas or ideas I've read about and agree with in other books, I am unlikely to expand my own mind. I believe it's important to expose one's self to a wide range of thoughts and perspectives because one's view of the world is enhanced when it is formed not merely by the limited experiences available to any single person but also through visiting a broad scope of ideas.

My capacities for understanding are greatly enhance when I engage with differing ideas—not only my understanding of others' thinking but also my own. I can better recognize my blind spots and biases... and where I should pursue further insight. I grow in my ability to recognize how perspective is formed and whom may be more likely to hold specific vantage points.

We live in a time when it is increasingly seen as inappropriate or unnecessary to read the works of authors who hold varying and even opposing views to your own; but I say that when we read, we are less engaging with the author than we are with the text—and to cut one's self off from a textual perspective merely because of ad hominem concerns is to further dim the lights of one's own perspectives.

The read I've just completed doesn't dismiss my thoughts; rather, it enriches them. I am not threatened to know that there are ideas out there that run in some way counter to my own. I am informed by it.

  • Yemi S.

They prescribe thought... which is a hindrance to truth and not a facilitator of it. They prescribe lazy reasoning.

Labels are always a function of ego. Labels say, "I belong to this clique, and I will defend the group... regardless of any specific situational circumstance" — which in effect, is a rejection of the independence of thought necessary for avoiding the sins of groupthink.

Labels are manipulations of human psyche. They should be rigorously investigated and generally resisted... or risk losing your Self to the sway of the crowd; and the crowd is often directed by the worst impulses of humanity.

  • Yemi S.

How does your lens affect what you see?

Because you most certainly have a lens...

and your lens is informed by your identity (i.e. who you are)—

and your identity is a function of the sum total of your experiences and the many dimensions of your being and background.

What do you see?

This is an especially salient question for teachers.

How does who you are impact what you see?

If you can keep that question in mind, you will be much more likely to create in the ways that benefit all of your students... as in the ones whose identity-backgrounds match yours and also those who don't.

This is an essential responsibility of teaching in a 21st century multicultural society.