By Chuck Thompson | Excerpted from the July 2015 Socionomist
Originally published under the title “Manifestations of Inclusion in US”
“A waxing positive social mood accompanies increased inclusionary tendencies in every aspect of society…” So said Robert Prechter (1999) in his landmark book, The Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior and the New Science of Socionomics.
Prechter’s insight is playing out in real-time. Here, Chuck Thompson explains that a positive social mood trend in the United States is driving expressions of inclusion in many aspects of society, including the racial, cultural and political.
Read an excerpt below.
The May issue reported that Austria had installed pedestrian crossing lights featuring same-sex couples and that the US Food and Drug Administration had recommended the lifting of a decades-old ban on blood donations by gay men. We followed up in June with a look at the Supreme Court’s rulings in favor of Obamacare and same-sex marriage. All of these events are expressions of inclusion, a manifestation of positive social mood.
The inclusionary trend is also manifest in the July 10 removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the South Carolina State House. Symbols of the Confederacy have polarized the American South for more than 150 years, and on the back of a large-degree positive mood trend, one of its most polarizing symbols was lowered for the final time from the State House grounds.
The decision to lower the flag followed a mass shooting at a Charleston church on June 17 which left nine African-Americans dead. The shooting itself is clearly far from a manifestation of inclusion or positive mood. It is a tragic event and a devastating one for the victims’ families and community. What is socionomically interesting is the community’s reaction to the tragedy and the subsequent turn in the political tide in favor of the flag’s removal. The accused shooter allegedly told authorities that he wanted to start a race war. But what happened instead? The victims’ families lined up at a bail hearing to express forgiveness. And within a month, Confederate symbols around the nation became candidates for removal:
- Walmart, Amazon, Sears and eBay announced they would stop selling Confederate flag merchandise.
- Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn called the Confederate flag “a point of offense that needs to be removed” from his state’s flag.
- US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis should be removed from the state house in his home state of Kentucky.
- A number of schools are thinking of changing Confederate-themed names and mascots.
- And some 12,500 people have signed a Moveon.org petition to alter the Confederate memorial on the side of Georgia’s Stone Mountain. Completed in 1970, the three-acre rock carving features Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. The petition would add the Atlanta hip-hop duo Outkast to the mountainside.
Regarding the flag’s removal in South Carolina, Governor Nikki Haley expressed inclusionary sentiment when she said (emphasis added), “It is a new day in South Carolina, a day we can all be proud of, a day that truly brings us all together as we continue to heal, as one people and one state.” Not all communities in recent memory have transformed tragedies into opportunities to express unity. The outbursts of violence and protests in Ferguson and Baltimore, for example, portend even more dramatic shows of discord to come when social mood turns more strongly negative.
On another front, a federal judge canceled the trademark of the Washington Redskins football team. In the July 8 ruling, Judge Gerald Bruce Lee said the team’s name may be disparaging to Native Americans. Attorney Jesse Witten, who represented Native Americans in the case, said the ruling was a “victory for human dignity.” And in Oregon, the state board of education ruled that 14 Oregon schools must drop their Native American-themed mascots and pick new ones by 2017.
And, on July 27, the Boy Scouts of America lifted its ban on openly gay adult leaders and employees. The change comes three years after the BSA opened the door for gay youth to become Scouts.
The strength of the inclusionary sentiment in the US is further illustrated in an academic paper that says that social workers should be educated on how to deal with people who self-identify as vampires. The paper is titled, “Do We Always Practice What We Preach? Real Vampires’ Fears of Coming Out of the Coffin to Social Workers and Helping Professionals.” It was written by D.J. Williams, an associate professor of social work at Idaho State University, and Emily E. Prior, an adjunct faculty member in the Sociology Department at the College of the Canyons.
Williams and Prior say it is important to remember that people with vampire identities “are just that, people.” They note that,
More education among social workers and helping professionals concerning alternative identities and practices is needed. We challenge social workers and helping professionals to consider embracing aspects of diversity, such as vampirism, which are not typically taught in social work curriculums.
Positive mood is the engine of America’s inclusionary trend. When the engine runs out of steam, the most likely result will be a return to an environment that will become dominated by exclusion, discord and divisiveness…
Read the remainder of this five-page “Mood Riffs” article to get the socionomic perspective on six other fascinating social developments across the globe, including Russia’s military resurgence, North Korea’s continued aggression, Ebola’s comeback in Western Africa, the US’s craving for increased roadway speeds, Disney’s live-action remakes of its classic films and the skyscraper boom in New York City.
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