Dear Cornel West,
I am writing ask about the concept of "reasonable progress:" when we can reasonably expect progress to arrive?
When stuff moves forward -- justice through judicial decisions, paperwork by deadlines -- we may think that the forward motion was in a reasonable amount of time. Yet, reasonable is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. Whereas time is not in the eye of the beholder, progress, measured by time, is in the eye of the beholder. Thus, reasonable progress is an inherently subjective phenomenon made up of two "eye of the beholder" concepts -- reasonable and progress.
Progress, let's say, is when a positive thing happens. We elect a Black president. There is greater acceptance of migrants and other marginalized groups in the mainstream of society. Reasonable modifies that progress. "Reasonable" suggests that there was some reached milestone. And who has set that milestone? That we consider something to be reasonable is dependent on the power relations between unequal power holders. One group has more power than the other group. The group with power sets the milestones of progress. The other group may reach that milestone (or, not).
Thus, reasonable progress is a power play. Those with greater power set the milestones to progress.
This suggests that we would know progress when we see it. Indeed, I think we do. However, people differ mightily on what is reasonable: reasonable is the product of time and expectation.
It has been too long for some progress to arrive. Perhaps we wait, in a docile state, for progress. "Good things come to those who wait," the saying goes. But perhaps docility is the wrong state to be in. Perhaps docility is what tethers us to unrealistic expectations of how long progress should take to get here.
Unfortunately, progress, too, is subjective. We know it when we see it, but what we know is rooted in our position in the structures of power and enforced by institutions. We may differ in what constitutes progress.
I suppose this is a sliver of what you mean by hegemonic and counterhegemonic forces.
What do you think of the concept of "reasonable progress"? Has progress, for you, for society, ever arrived in a reasonable amount of time?