Thought, Challeng-ed.

Last night I attended the second meeting of my newly founded book club, which I must say is quickly becoming the highlight of my social calendar.  It is a rare occasion that a group of women in their twenties can get together and inspire stimulating conversation that does not include an evaluation of whether or not 'he's just not that into you.'  (The minute someone suggests that book, I'm out!)

Anyway, this month's pick was a novel by Kathryn Stockett, The Help, which tells the story of three women living in Jackson, Mississippi, during the brink of the civil rights movement.  Two black maids and one white wanna-be journalist tell a heart-warming story about what it's like to live on the outside of social norms. I highly recommend it for its innovative treatment of a frequently visited topic and for its general humanistic appeal.

Throughout our discussion, the topic of activism vs. progressive came up (quite appropriate for the week of MLK's birthday).  We struggled to define both terms and essentially came up with the following:
  • An progressivist is a forward thinker, someone who challenges the status quot, but does not take action to change the behaviors of others.
  • An activist is one who takes a stand for his/her beliefs and works to change the attitude or behavior of others in order to reach a goal.
A ring of women sitting on couch pillows in a Manhattan apartment suddenly began to judge themselves.  Could any of them even consider themselves progressivists?  What were they doing in a world, that although changed since the time period of the current month's book selection, still harbors inequality in tiny pockets across its surface?  Sometimes we forget that just because we're one, we can't join together to create many.

What would you do if you had the power of many?

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