George Herbert Mead's Theory of Pragmatism Asserts an Individual's Reality is Based on Their Interaction with the World

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George Herbert Mead’s theory of pragmatism operates on the assertion that there is no intrinsic fundamental truth to reality for society as a whole. Pragmatism more so enquires that reality is based on an individual’s interactions with the world around them and thus reality and truth is capsulated within the mind of the individual. “If a thing is not recognized as true, then it does not function as true in the community.” As such, pragmatism is a never-ending process for the individual throughout his/her life cycle. Consciousness and consensus are gradually developed allowing one to descry themselves, their values, morals and ethics--their truth. Ideologies and objects are negotiated within the self through perceptual and social interaction. Thus, an individual of color makes observations by how those around them socially interact with them. Because of an objective and visible difference in skin tone, subjectivity is assembled. Unfortunately, this subjectivity can be a cold, hard cage to grow in for anyone outside of the normative. This white mirror reflects a distorted image of one’s self. The bourgeoisie being built upon predominately Anglo-Saxon heritage, there is little room for differentiation without some sort of oppression. Pragmatism insists that the good of the majority and general is primary to society’s truth--other variables are marginalized. Observing an individual of another race produces responses based on the objective information one has. This is Mead’s symbolic interaction in action in response to race and ethnicity. Symbolically, this differentiation is inherently an oddity. How does society interact with an oddity in a generalized and how does that oddity interact with a society that has trouble folding them ... ... middle of paper ... ...ugh new kinds of social interaction, contributions that richen society and add to the democratic process. This is speaking idealistically of course; however, DuBois himself became disheartened by the lack of change within society. As it would seem, the exploitive nature of capitalism is not a broken system. It is a system purposefully constructed to function in the oppressive manner that it does. It is pragmatic and uses oppression against ethnic groups as a tool for its vitality. The degradation and vilification of minorities through “lies agreed upon” for capitalistic gain and white prosperity is learned through symbolic interaction and role-taking. The key to changing this circumstance is by altering the grand narrative and identifying the multiplicity of cultures within society: Representation and formulation of history as a moral guide for future generations.

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