Dr. Joy Leary is a social scientist and accordingly she takes a causation oriented view of behavior. In contrast to supernatural explanations she recognizes that there are causal determinants which lead people to behave as they do. In the black community this is a viewpoint which is under represented. The vast majority of public discussion by black Americans regarding behaviors by fellow black individuals which create problems for themselves and for those around them is void of social scientific causal frame work. Instead on the left we hear about racism and ongoing oppression by the white majority, and on the right we hear about the need for individual responsibility and the assertion that the blacks who have managed to succeed are proof that the claim that there continues to be racial barriers to success is false.
Leary’s work takes a more comprehensive view both acknowledging the intimate family cultural issues that result in perpetuating pain and suffering while also connecting it to the history that created those family dynamics, as well as the larger social issues which exist today. By reflecting on the challenges which continue to be faced by black Americans through the lens of psychology and sociology, Dr. Leary brings a level of rational analysis into the discussion that is desperately needed yet extremely rare. Rather than condemning white society, rather blaming black individuals, Leary stays clear of the partisanship; and, like a scientist, tries to describe what she observes as accurately as possible and without passing self-righteous judgments, she offers viable explanations for what she observes which are consistent with our best understanding of developmental psychology and various other fields of social science.
The result is powerful insights which do not alienate black or whites who listen close enough to get where she’s coming from. Understanding causation, rather than analyzing the situation with concern for who deserves blame, Leary leaps far over that anachronistic and essentially religious view, and brings a much needed level of rationality to a topic which is rarely discussed rationally. If for that alone, Dr. Joy Leary’s work should prominently featured and embraced by the freethought community, and yet one can additionally acknowledge that her work is based on sharp critical thinking, sound social science, and reason. Indeed, her explanations for the difficulties suffered by African Americans and her approach to ameliorating those difficulties stand in sharp contrast to those of almost all leaders in the black community who are faith-based.
This program is a newly edited repeat of a previously played aired discussion with Dr. Leary on Equal Time for Freethought.