Passion without thought or reason becomes emotionalism. Critical thinking helps people remained balanced in approach and opinion while pursuing their passions.
Vincent Ruggerio, in his book “Becoming a Critical Thinker,” describes thinking as two processes:
- Generation of ideas (Creative Thinking)
- Evaluation of ideas (Critical Thinking)
Recognizing and evaluating opinions is part of critical thinking. My previous post discussed President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize win. It was interesting to watch the opinions and arguments that transpired after the announcement.
I was challenging people to look at the entire story of the President’s win. There were other people of color who had accomplishments at the time of nominations. If you are fine with his win after getting more information on the entire story. I have no problem with that.
I also challenged people to evaluate what is ‘racism’. I know the President is experiencing a tremendous amount of racism as our leader. Racism is rooted in ignorance and ignorance is in abundant supply worldwide. The challenge I threw out to readers is to reflect on the criticism of Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell and make an informed opinion.
I was in a meeting recently where we were discussing issues of diversity. A fellow black woman made a comment that when the white reporter was rude to President Obama she was enraged. Shortly after that incident, Kanye West cut of Taylor Swift at the MTV movie awards and her first reaction was to make an excuse for him. She realized that if it was wrong for the reporter to be rude to the President then it was equally as wrong for Kanye West to do what he did to Taylor Swift. She empathized with Kanye because he was black.
When she spoke I thought that was the perfect example of how leaders need to maintain a critical thinking mindset. We must know our own biases, thoughts and attitudes. We must ask questions to get the full picture and recognize when we need to change our minds. We feel our emotions and make a conscious effort to control reactions. To maintain intellectual independence is a long standing effort of leaders.