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Introduction To Critical Thinking

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Joseph A. Bailey, II, M.D.
Late at night, on a well-lit street corner a man was on his hands and knees. A friend came by and asked: “what are you doing?”/ Man: “looking for my wallet”/ Friend: “where did you lose it?/ Man: “on the corner across the street”/ Friend: “then why are you here?”/ Man: “because this light is better!.”

This illustrates the first lesson of Critical Thinking—search thoroughly and deeply where the issue lies, no matter how poor the light. Typically, untrained minds are “stupid” (i.e. those with eyes but cannot see) because they leave the main point (where the wallet was actually lost)
and shift to a familiar location where they can “see” better (but where the wallet is not). Causes
of “stupidity” include a delusional mind; lack of a sound worldview; weak motivation; and vicious
cycles from bad habits. Effects of an untrained Right Brain and uncultivated Left Brain include
inviting failure by not knowing how to work or read or set goals and reach them or how to run a
business. Each contributes to mental poverty.

Struggling Black parents are often not able to handle their children’s mental poverty because the poverty is too complicated, too numerous in its aspects, and too overwhelming. Besides, most parents and community mentors are entangled in daily self-survival. Typical White teachers and administrators of Black youth are not able to address every problem because they have no concept of and/or perhaps little or no caring for the type, number, or magnitude of Blacks’ mental poverty.

To convert such mental poverty into mental wealth automatically brings up four major categories
(among others) of problems. First, despite ‘everybody’ using Critical Thinking daily, extremely few realize it. If you do not know what you have or what you do, then it is not available for your use at just the right time. Of the tiny few of the few who realize their Critical and Rational Thinking skills and have written about it in books or given courses on it, I have not seen any who
can meaningfully teach it to struggling Black youth (or to me). Second, racism placed many
mental layers of Delusions (similar to the leaves on a head of lettuce) on the Slaves—layers handed down and added to from generation to generation.

Third is the innumerable Slave Retentions (e.g. slow paced work) that worked well for the Slaves but are self-defeating in today’s world. Fourth is the inappropriate application of African “We” society Residuals (e.g. trusting interdependency) inside this USA “I” (Individualism) society. Every aspect in each of these four categories contributes to mental poverty.

Black teachers on the right path realize that educating Black students involves dealing with the student’s intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical, and social aspects. Students’ entire Selfhood must be interwoven with how they learn and what they must know (and not European’s
false information) in order to maneuver through the maze of the Black and White worlds. The very best teachers are Super-specialist who use Afrocentric Critical Thinking to impart good character, life-skills, and what it takes to earn a descent living. A relevant topic must be chosen
(e.g. African Ancestors) that comes more and more alive as it penetrates into the student’s mind.

Next, the proper method must be applied to find an opening in the student’s mind. A safe place to begin is with determining Options. Example: “How did African Ancestors receive assistance
when ill?” Options include: appealing directly to the ancestral spirits; to ones guardian spirit; to
invoking the assistance of a nature deity by proffering a gift; to consulting an herbalist for medication; to seeking out a ritual specialist; or to going to a priest. Options get the Right and Left Brains to work, develop, and progress well together. The best model is Ancient Africans, whose system still serves as the way to shed problems and achieve success. Barack Obama is a current example.

website: www.jablifeskills.com

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