The example presented of a community and willful blindness is concrete enough to be useful for a conversation I believe, and to mean something to readers in general. There is the risk the term ‘willful blindness’ be bandied about and misused as happened in prior years with the term ‘cognitive dissonance’, a term thrown like little lightning bolts in conversation, or applied to points of view only contrary to one’s own, but it is something we all do to some extent. On the other hand, there are times when such ‘willful blindness’ is readily apparent as evidence mounts up…keeping evidence under wraps is another avenue to ignorance.
Gayla Benefield was just doing her job — until she uncovered an awful secret about her hometown that meant its mortality rate was 80 times higher than anywhere else in the U.S. But when she tried to tell people about it, she learned an even more shocking truth: People didn’t want to know. In a talk that’s part history lesson, part call-to-action, Margaret Heffernan demonstrates the danger of “willful blindness” and praises ordinary people like Benefield who are willing to speak up.
14 minutes from a Ted talk is here.