A Strategy for Systems Thinking: Targeted Universalism
Targeted Universalism is an important concept to understand when working to implement socially just changes at the systems level.
Centering the voices, experiences, and concerns of folks with marginalized identities, and committing to prioritize addressing their concerns when attempting to solve social problems will benefit everyone.
Take a few minutes to listen to this video on Targeted Universalism from the haas institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.
In this video, the haas institute’s director john powell talks more about Targeted Universalism’s framework and impact.
“A targeted universal strategy is one that is inclusive of the needs of both the dominant and the marginal groups, but pays particular attention to the situation of the marginal group. For example, if the goal were to open up housing opportunity for low-income whites and non-whites, one would look at the different constraints for each group.
Targeted universalism rejects a blanket universal which is likely to be indifferent to the reality that different groups are situated differently relative to the institutions and resources of society. It also rejects the claim of formal equality that would treat all people the same as a way of denying difference. Any proposal would be evaluated by the outcome, not just the intent. While the effort would be universal for the poor, it would be especially sensitive to the most marginal groups.”
–john powell, excerpted from Post-Racialism or Targeted Universalism
From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins-Jones