The Humanist Response to Income and Racial Inequality

As Humanists we often talk far more about gods that don't exist rather than people that do.

This month's discussion is going to be on income and racial inequality in American Society.

In the last few years we have seen the Voting Rights Act stripped, the Supreme Court rule that the people of a state can decide when affirmative action is no longer applicable (tyranny of the majority), and an increase toward voting-registration policy making it more challenging for certain people to register. This has generated far less outrage than a few high profile individuals saying racist things. As a society, we are far more adept at attacking symptoms rather than problems.

We have also seen the call for an increased minimum wage that is half of that which would have been in place if it had kept up with inflation. This has manifest itself in fast food workers taking to the streets, doing symbolic flash-strikes. Yet, while places like Switzerland prepare themselves to increase cost-of-living minimum wages at $25 per hour, we argue that $10 is way too much and that comprehensive healthcare is undeserved.

These two things fall on the heels of the irony that those who would most-benefit are socially, the most vocal opponents of a higher minimum standard of living for those feeling a greater sympathy toward those who ride on those who ostensibly have their best interest at heart (the one percent).

We have a society in which there are those who face harsh burdens so certain people can be more comfortable and under the illusion of prosperity. We place a high value on low-density zoned, home ownership and high-mobility automobile ownership. We subsidize suburbs and white flight, while saying that those who aren't quite cutting it are lazy. Unlike other countries that consider poverty to be a depraved condition, Americans generally consider the poor to be depraved people. This is a dialogue on a derisive social-ill that we as Humanists need to begin to develop further.

As such, for June, we will be discussing:

•The Social Framing of the Issues: What leads us to think of what "the good life" is, what we find to be just and unjust distributions of wealth and aid (the welfare queens on Main Street or Wall Street), and how we think of particular groups in general.

•The actual conditions that lead toward concentrated wealth and concentrated racial-high density urban poverty.

•The moral implications of this situation, and what we should do about it.

The book club for this month is Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century. Let's get together and chat about this important issue.

-Please park in the underground level of the Joyce Beers Center.

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  • Douglas W.

    A very thought-provoking and honest discussion about the problems the world faces from the Humanist perspective.

    2 · June 15

  • Jason F.

    I will be sending out notes and a discussion format tomorrow. I apologize, but I am unable to attend.

    June 14

  • Jason F.

    This is going to be a series of discussions on this topic-there is a lot of ground to cover, so we are going to get the dialogue started and then come back to this topic later as well to discuss multiple aspects on it

    June 12

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