Peter J. Jessen

"Goals Per Action" Success Consultant · · 9931 SW 61st Ave., Portland, OR 97219 · Tel: 503.977.3240 · Fax: 503.977.3239

ApPlication of Peter Berger

Key Principles of Peter L. Berger: Vis a Vis Sociology of and the Sociology of Knowledge as they Relate to Social Roles, Social Stratification, Social Inequality, and Justice, Peter J. Jessen, Reader, 1993

Using Berger’s Policy approval vs. non-approval criteria of those evaluated as YESes and those as NOs

Excerpts from Solution Paper #33, 

The Positive Future Possibilities for Minneapolis:

Envisioning the Dream, Sustaining the Vision:

Not Asking Permission, Making No Apologies For Being Free


Chapter 16, Interlude 16, Chapter 17, and this Conclusion all open with propositions and theses of Peter Berger which should also be part of our calculus of deciding what public policies to advocate and support.

Chapter 5 suggests the policies for a “To Do” list of YESes and NOs for the future that everyone can work together to bring about. The first set of YESSES, simply put, centers on policies that would result in positive outcomes regarding education, children, and families:

  • YES to a better quality of life for ALL citizens
  • YES to a better quality education for all students; higher graduation rates for all schools
  • YES to a first-rate health care
  • YES to wider home ownership

Next are those policies that would result in positive outcomes for transportation, energy, and the environment:

  • YES to abundant natural resources, including clean water and clean air
  • YES to highways that keep up with the increase in cars
  • YES to energy policies that prevent a California in Minnesota

Finally, these policies would result in positive outcomes for the economy, jobs, wages, and business:

  • YES to low unemployment and wages that let full-time workers support their families
  • YES to contractors who do business with the City to hire minority workers (preferably all businesses, but at least those doing business with the City).
  • YES to business-friendly environment
  • YES to world-class corporate research and world-class university research
  • YES to rural-metro partnerships, not needless competition
  • YES to tax breaks for individuals and for companies
  • YES to a respect for property and laws and access to both for all
  • YES to equality of opportunity for all races, especially in terms of education and job training
  • YES to keeping our place among the top five states in income per capita in the USA
  • YES to keeping Fortune 500 Companies headquarters
  • YES to once again earning the "Most Livable State" award

Chapter 5 also has a corresponding list to consider for our collective NOs. The first set of NOs centers on policies that say NO to those outcomes that are negative for education, children, and families:

  • NO to only 17% of our African-American male high school students graduating
  • NO to 25% of 4 th graders today being unable to read at 4 th -grade level (of which the percentage rises to over 50% for Hispanics and over 60% for Blacks)
  • NO to minority students being kept in school systems where they are provided far fewer resources and score much lower than White students. They are our friends and our neighbors, and they too will join us as part of tomorrow's work force. They should have the same opportunities.
  • NO to hunger and children living in garbage

Then there are policies to say NO to that result in negative outcomes for transportation, energy, and the environment:

  • NO to highway construction that does not keep up with the increase in cars
  • NO to an energy policy that is not adequate for the future

Finally, there are policies to say NO to that result in negative outcomes for the economy, jobs, wages, and business:

  • NO to having people work full time for wages that won't support their families
  • NO to 25% of our citizens not being able to afford to own their own homes
  • NO to companies contracting to government agencies who don't hire minorities
  • NO to maintaining a conflict between rural and metro areas, and instead form partnerships
  • NO to doing nothing to keep companies and their jobs from leaving Minnesota
  • NO to our taxes becoming too high for the return we get in services
  • NO to terror and totalitarianism
  • NO to not being willing to evaluate programs for their true consequences, so that we can be prepared to change policies that result in high pain and low meaning, whether for individuals, schools, or companies

Finally, let us revisit the notion of "talking the walk" and "walking the talk." What is the "talk" to be walked? Several outlines have been suggested. Here I put them all together.

Interlude 8 suggests that A National Commissionof Reconciliation and Reparations should be established to investigate and work out the payments that would be involved for the land and wealth stolen from Blacks. This basis for reparations is also stated in Chapters 9, 12, 13, 16, 17, and the Preface.

Chapter 9 offers a list of stepsto take to correct oppression of Black people in going before various official bodies, agencies, and investigations:

  • Certainly try to get the numbers, but have them certified; don't take their word for it. 
  • Join with those who would unite and demand a Federal grand jury investigation. 
  • Present the wealth of information already available to City Hall to let them know you know what you are talking about. 
  • Demand, politely or through legal injunction, to get the city to state why they allow projects to continue that are not in compliance. 
  • Demand, politely or through legal injunction, to get the city to state why they hire contractors with records of not being in compliance. 
  • Continue to hold public forums. 
  • Continue to come up with plans of action to foster success. 
  • Continue to agree on who will carry out the various steps of the plan and then do so. 
  • Stop being patient with practices that have gone on since the 1960s.