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Clearly, Jesse Jackson’s intent in his speech to the APA was to encourage, even inflame, his audience, and the APA as a whole, to actively and aggressively pursue his perception of social, racial and economic justice in the United States (Jackson, 2000). He highlighted economic inequalities, racial injustices and universal healthcare for all as the focal points of his speech and repeatedly stressed democratic solutions to these issues (Jackson, 2000). One of his most egregious claims was in his use of the biblical phrase “the least of these” in conjunction with an inaccurate reference to the biblical parable of the lost sheep (see Luke 15, Matthew 25). The principle Jackson (2000) was attempting to attach to his reference of the “least of these” was that it was not simply the responsibility but the central mandate of the psychological community to research, understand, address and, if possible, solve issues of economic, racial and social justice. Jackson (2000) all but demanded that psychologists focus their attentions on these issues both in the present and in the future.
I do not have the time, nor do I feel the need, to refute the numerous inaccuracies, misrepresentations, false equivocations and ideological assumptions inherent in Jackson’s (2000) speech to the APA. Instead, I will focus on a more generalized disagreement with his ideological and political assertions concerning the United States and its future. The moral high ground Jackson (2000) proclaims to espouse is simultaneously above reproach and built upon false conclusions and inaccurate information. Jackson (2000) is correct in his assertion that the culture and society of Unite States of America has its social, racial and economic problems. However, his conclusion of social, racial and economic injustice and his solutions are both illogical and unfeasible.
Jackson, J. (2000). What ought psychology to do? American Psychologist, 55(3), 328–330. doi: 10.1037/0003-066x.55.3.328
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