“I can not teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.” – Socrates

The Socratic Project is grassroots community building. In the fall of 2011, I (Cindy) came across a web series called Los Americans, about a middle-class, Mexican-American family, the Valenzuelas, living in Los Angeles.

The series covers a number of topics–the meaning of family, job loss, alcoholism, teen pregnancy–and I realized that, while being Mexican-American was an aspect of the story, the story itself applied to every family, including mine. (My family is Caucasian and Asian.)

I watched the series thinking, “I wish someone would create a safe place to talk about these things, where people could calmly discuss ideas without being verbally attacked.”
Then a little voice in my head said, “Maybe it should be me.”
I ignored that voice for several days, but it would not go away, so I gave in and created The Socratic Project.

The Project is named after the Socratic method of teaching, which uses questions to examine ideas and beliefs.

For example, my first semester of law school, my Criminal Law professor called on me to explain the difference between burglary and robbery. I replied that burglary is entering a building with the intent to take property that belongs to someone else, while robbery is the taking of a person’s property from him or her by the threat or use of force.

The Socratic dialogue that followed went like this:

Professor: What do you mean by threat?
Moy: Telling the person that you will harm them if they do not give you what you want.
Professor: What do you mean by harm?
Moy: Harm is injury to the person.
Professor: What do you mean by injury?
Moy: Something that will hurt.
Professor: What do you mean by hurt?

That went on until I became confused, at which point the professor called on the next victim. (I mean, student.)

The mission of The Socratic Project is to promote respectful and constructive discussion about race, religion, and culture. All comments will be moderated. I hope that you will be a part of that conversation.