meritocracy

mer·i·toc·ra·cy
merəˈtäkrəsē/
noun
  1. government or the holding of power by people selected on the basis of their ability.
  • a society governed by meritocracy. 

     plural noun: 

  • meritocracies: a ruling or influential class of educated or skilled people.  

While researching the concept of privilege, I came across the term “meritocracy.” More on privilege in my next post, but I’m attaching a link to a piece in The Economist that expands on the idea. Is it only ability, skill & hard work that determine our place in American society?

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Two Philosophies

For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson is not a social worker. He is an astrophysicist. Yet two main driving philosophies are mine, too. I have organized my life around both. They are my aspirations and my daily practice. At the end of each day, I consider myself accomplished if I’ve learned something new (or challenged myself) and if I’ve helped someone in need. I am infinitely fortunate that my profession gives me chance to do both (almost) every day.

Being Poor

All the academic-speak about intersectionality and environmental disparities can’t explain the visceral reality in this piece.

Whatever

Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs.

Being poor is getting angry at your kids for asking for all the crap they see on TV.

Being poor is having to keep buying $800 cars because they’re what you can afford, and then having the cars break down on you, because there’s not an $800 car in America that’s worth a damn.

Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.

Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends’ houses but never has friends over to yours.

Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch line so your friends will be ahead of you and won’t hear you say “I get free lunch” when you get to the cashier.

Being poor is living next to the freeway.

Being poor is coming back to the car with your children in the back seat, clutching…

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On Building a Social Work Consciousness

My perspective on social work has been shaped by my work roles, the agencies where I have worked and primarily, the clients I have served.

My first real job after my Bachelor’s degree was a Head Start teacher. I learned from 3 and 4 year olds that I could not teach if I couldn’t connect with and engage each child in my class. I learned to create an environment of collaboration so my classroom was supportive and fun. The Head Start model also includes the concept of “shared governance.” I learned from the parents–housekeepers, migrant farmworkers, people living in deep poverty–how to organize, lead and create a sense of community.

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A Seeker on the Path

“If I were really asked to define myself, I wouldn’t start with race; I wouldn’t start with blackness; I wouldn’t start with gender; I wouldn’t start with feminism. I would start with stripping down to what fundamentally informs my life, which is that I’m a seeker on the path. I think of feminism, and I think of anti-racist struggles as part of it. But where I stand spiritually is, steadfastly, on a path about love.”
Bell Hooks