Critical thinking is...critical! Let's teach folks how to do it.




Did y’all see our forever FLOTUS and BFF in my mind, Michelle Obama drop the mic at the first night of the Democratic National Convention? No matter your political leanings, you have to acknowledge the brilliance, grace and beauty that oozes when Michelle speaks. More importantly, she speaks the truth! Knowing, we are entering what is likely the most important election cycle in our lifetime, we need to talk about the often underutilized skill of critical thinking.


Far too many people rely on talking points, assumptions and innuendos to select who they are going to support or what they are going to believe. But fear not, we are here to help all of us remember how to think and ask the right questions (and how to help others do the same).


Below are the top 50 questions to ask yourself when you hear a new piece of information. Keep in mind, these may have been written with the election cycle in mind, the truth is, we can benefit from these all the time. So here goes, here are 50 questions to ask so no one automatically believes things like injecting bleach to cure Covid-19 or that it has to take 50 years to clsoe the wage gap Black women experience.


WHO:

  • benefits from this

  • is hurt by this

  • makes the final decision about this

  • is most directly affected

  • deserves acknowledgement for this

  • will be the key people involved

  • would be the best person to consult

  • else is discussing this


WHERE:

  • are there similar concepts or situations

  • would we see this in practice

  • is there the most need for this

  • is this an actual problem

  • can we get more information

  • are areas of improvement

  • will this idea take us

  • can we go for help with this


WHAT:

  • are the strengths and weaknesses

  • is another perspective

  • is an alternative

  • is the counterargument

  • is the best- and worst-case scenarios

  • is most or least important about this

  • is getting in the way of taking action

  • can we do to make a positive change

WHEN:

  • would this benefit our society

  • is this acceptable or unacceptable

  • would this cause a problem

  • is the best time to take action

  • will we know if we’ve succeeded

  • has this been an issue in the past

  • can we expect this to change

  • should we ask for help with this

HOW:

  • is this similar to …

  • can we change this for our good

  • does this disrupt things

  • do we know the truth about this

  • do we see thins impacting our future

  • does this harm us and others

  • sill we approach this sagely

  • does this benefit us and others

WHY:

  • is this a problem or challenge

  • is there a need for this today

  • is it relevant to me or others

  • have we allowed this to happy

  • is this the best course of action

  • has it been this way for so long

  • are people influenced by this

  • should people know about this

BONUS:

  • Who is spending money to support this / make it happen?

  • Who is trying to hide it?


You don’t need to ask all 50 questions. Pick one or two from each category to check your gut feeling about something. You can use these questions anytime you encounter new information or if you want to challenge someone to re-think their opinion (that last part is my personal favorite). Let’s all be more critical of information we consume…and let’s do what we have always done…help educate those around us. Time to save the people from ignorance. Hopefully these questions help.


Author and Our Truths founder, Christy Pruitt-Haynes combined her 20 years of leadership in organizations including The Memphis Grizzlies, MTV Networks and Infiniti with an education in Human Resources and Organizational Development to create Christy Pruitt-Haynes Consulting and change the professional landscape for women and people of color while helping organizations achieve excellence.  This TEDx talk giving executive, wife, mother, aunt, daughter, sister and friend loves travel, laughing uncontrollably and losing herself in great music.

Theme song: I was here by Beyoncé

Superpower: Resourcefulness

Proudest moments: The births of my daughter Christiana, niece Nia and organization Our Truths