26 votes

Justice (Part 1)

12 comments

  1. [3]
    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    Another great video from her (as always). I'm looking forward to part 2 and Spoilers the return of one of her most iconic characters! I think Tabby is going to have a lot to say about everything...

    Another great video from her (as always). I'm looking forward to part 2 and

    Spoilers

    the return of one of her most iconic characters! I think Tabby is going to have a lot to say about everything going on right now.

    Now for my serious thoughts: I recently read Be the Bridge by Latasha Morrison, which is a faith-based book about racism. One of the things that stood out to me in reading it was that there was a very strong focus on reconciliation and forgiveness, which has been pretty much absent from a lot of the other texts I've read. Though I am not a Christian myself, I was raised in the Christian church and with Christian values, some of which I have since discarded and some of which I still carry with me and consider foundational to my principles. The importance and sanctity of forgiveness is one of these.

    Forgiveness is a tough sell in this day and age. We're a very quid-pro-quo type of people. As N(y)atalie identifies, we like "an eye for an eye". Retributive justice is simple, proportional, balanced, karmic, and I think her phrase for it was "metaphysically beautiful". Meanwhile, forgiveness is easily exploitable and corruptible. Bad actors and even entire cultures can lean on an obligation for forgiveness as a way of escaping the consequences of their actions. Forgiveness can become a way of putting the burden for reconciliation on victims rather than aggressors. Morrison talks about this directly with regards to the racially motivated mass murder committed by white supremacist Dylann Roof:

    Days after the murder, Roof was led to court for his arraignment. There family members and friends of those slaughtered were given an opportunity to face him. Like many around the country, I was shocked when I read what happened at the arraignment. County Magistrate James Gosnell Jr. opened the proceeding by indicating that though there were nine victims in the church, there were “victims on this young man’s side of the family. No one would have ever thrown them into the whirlwind of events that they have been thrown into.” He added, “We must find it in our heart, at some point in time, not only to help those that are victims but to also help his family as well.”

    Huh?

    Why would he shift the focus from those who were grieving the loss of their family members and friends (and the broader African American community) to Roof’s family? My heart sank. My skin caught fire. Even there, on one of the darkest days in the Black community, we were supposed to recognize a murderer’s friends and family members as equal victims?

    [...]

    Days later, the judge took to the air and seemed to double down on his comments. “I set the tone of my court,” he said. “I’m a Charlestonian. Our community is hurt…. People have to reach out and tell them [the victims]: It’s good to grieve, it’s best to learn how to forgive.”

    Really?

    Like many in the African American community, I was outraged. First, the judge had centered a mass-murderer’s story, and now he was asking the Charleston community (a Black community that had suffered years of injustice, no less) to move quickly to forgiveness. And though some of the family members extended forgiveness, for others it was too soon, too fresh. It felt like one more example of how majority culture calls for forgiveness in the midst of Black pain. That call to forgiveness from someone outside the Black community, along with the ongoing admonition to stop stirring up the past of our nation’s racist history, contained echoes of our past. Echoes of the days when slaves were not allowed to show any emotion when their children or spouses were sold. Echoes of the days when we were whipped for showing any hostility, rage, despair, or anguish.

    Forgiveness here, as an obligation, feels coercive and dishonest. It deliberately glosses over root issues and causes and responsibilities and instead becomes another harm done to already harmed people who were not even given the courtesy to grieve in the aftermath of abrupt and terrible loss.

    However, this isn't all Morrison shares about forgiveness. The passages I'm about to quote are so personally powerful to me that I have tears in my eyes and goosebumps on my arms right now as I revisit them:

    After his tone-deaf comments, Gosnell gave the floor to the family members of those killed at Mother Emanuel. I read on, hoping those victims had given the judge a piece of their mind. But that’s not what happened.

    Instead, Nadine Collier, whose mother was one of the nine church members killed, said, “I forgive you. You took something really precious away from me. I will never talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again. But I forgive you and have mercy on your soul. It hurts me, it hurts a lot of people but God forgive you and I forgive you.”

    Anthony Thompson, family member of victim Myra Thompson, said, “I forgive you, and my family forgives you. We would like you to take this opportunity to repent. Repent. Confess. Give your life to the one who matters the most, Christ, so he can change your ways no matter what happens to you.”

    The sister of DePayne Middleton-Doctor said, “I’m a work in progress, and I acknowledge that I am very angry. She taught me that we are the family that love built. We have no room for hate so we have to forgive.”

    The statements by the family members were bold and beautiful, a true example of the forgiveness of Christ.

    I don't think it's necessary to believe in Christ and His forgiveness to find these words powerful. Hearing the family members personally choose to offer forgiveness to someone who has caused them such pain and irreparable damage is incredible to me even as an unbeliever. It's absolutely flooring.

    If we look at it through a quid-pro-quo lens, these people look like saps who got played -- someone took their loved ones from them and they're letting him get away with it! Why aren't they making him pay?! I get how someone can see things that way, but I think it's a deeply unfair way to look at an admittedly already deeply unfair situation. I think the power of these stories comes from the fact that their forgiveness was given freely even within that unfairness, and even from within the depths of their own sorrow and anger.

    Forgiveness is an incredibly powerful force. I cannot really articulate it well in words. Natalie comes close, when she talks about Job and shows that it's a way of allowing oneself a type of freedom from burden in an unjust world. It is a way of casting off the difficulty of living under those situations by essentially acknowledging but discarding the injustice rather than, as the internet would say, letting it live in your head rent-free.

    But I think that's a one-sided view of forgiveness, and what gives it its power is that it is interpersonal by its very nature. I don't think the people stepping up to forgive Roof were doing it simply to live without the weight of his actions, which would be an impossibility for them anyhow, especially considering how raw their wounds still were. I think they were doing it because forgiveness, to them, represents a higher ideal about what it means to be human and live in this shared world we all inhabit. I look at those people choosing to forgive and I see an undistilled goodness of character and adherence to positive ideals that I don't think exists within me. Were I in their place, I don't think I would be able to am certain I wouldn't be able to do what they did.

    I grew up in a homophobic household and culture, with parents who disowned me after I came out. We are now back on good terms, but it has taken us a lot of time and effort to get there, and I think part of that process has been because both they and I withheld forgiveness for so long. To this day, I'm still not sure that I fully have forgiven them, but I also live with the simultaneous and contradictory understanding that I would personally feel better if I did. Full, genuine, honest forgiveness would improve things for us, but it also feels like giving up some of the claim to the hurt that I felt that they were directly responsible for.

    That's why, when I look at these examples of forgiveness, I'm seeing people who are demonstrating breathtaking fortitude and power -- something I can't muster up within myself even years later where the harm done to me was less, and the sharpness of my pain has been significantly dulled by time.

    I realize this video wasn't explicitly about forgiveness, but I think it runs alongside justice, and I think it's hard to talk about one without the other. I also think I see a lot of discussion about justice, but very little about forgiveness. I was honestly surprised when Morrison started talking about it in her book, and as soon as she did it felt like the missing piece of a large and complicated puzzle had fallen into place for me. There is an importance, relevance, and power to forgiveness that I both can't put into words nor fully access personally. I have the fullest and utmost admiration for those who can.

    12 votes
    1. [2]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      I was mildly irritated that this was a two-part video largely because of what you're describing. There is another kind of justice which I'm sure we'll see in part two called restorative justice....

      I was mildly irritated that this was a two-part video largely because of what you're describing. There is another kind of justice which I'm sure we'll see in part two called restorative justice. She was so close to bringing it up when she was talking about Utilitarianism!

      An interesting thing about restorative justice is that it does have a lot of overlap with faith groups. If you checked the group who made the page I linked to you might have noticed that it was made by a faith-based organization. But the processes they are advocating can easily be faith-agnostic.

      5 votes
      1. kfwyre
        Link Parent
        I was also expecting her to build towards restorative justice, and I'm sure she'll get there next time -- or maybe the one after that? This topic is big enough that I could see "Part 2" not being...

        I was also expecting her to build towards restorative justice, and I'm sure she'll get there next time -- or maybe the one after that? This topic is big enough that I could see "Part 2" not being enough and we get a 3 or 4 too.

  2. [9]
    paranoid_transdroid
    Link
    I haven't watched her vide0s in a while, but I really l0ve her c0ntent s0 much. Will try t0 watch this 0ne and give my 0pini0n if I d0. Btw, I'm new and my "o" key is br0ken, hell0!

    I haven't watched her vide0s in a while, but I really l0ve her c0ntent s0 much. Will try t0 watch this 0ne and give my 0pini0n if I d0.

    Btw, I'm new and my "o" key is br0ken, hell0!

    9 votes
    1. [6]
      RNG
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      If you are using Windows, I'd recommend trying Auto Hotkey as a bandaid for this issue. To treat "0" as "o", and allow Ctrl + 0 to make "0", try this script: 0::o +0::O ^0::0 You can grab AHK...

      If you are using Windows, I'd recommend trying Auto Hotkey as a bandaid for this issue.

      To treat "0" as "o", and allow Ctrl + 0 to make "0", try this script:

      0::o
      +0::O
      ^0::0
      

      You can grab AHK here. If you aren't using Windows or AHK doesn't work, message me, and I'll help find you a fix.

      8 votes
      1. [5]
        paranoid_transdroid
        Link Parent
        N0, I'm 0n Linux, a friend 0f mine menti0ned an alternative f0r Linux but I f0rg0t the name and l0st the c0nversati0n, I've been pr0castrinating fixing this, th0ugh, s0 fault is 0n me. Thank f0r...

        N0, I'm 0n Linux, a friend 0f mine menti0ned an alternative f0r Linux but I f0rg0t the name and l0st the c0nversati0n, I've been pr0castrinating fixing this, th0ugh, s0 fault is 0n me. Thank f0r trying t0 help me 0ut, th0ugh, if y0u can rec0mmend me an alternative f0r my 0S (preferably libre s0ftware(, I w0uld really appreciate it.

        2 votes
        1. [4]
          RNG
          Link Parent
          What distro and desktop environment? I use Pop!_OS exclusively and set all of my hotkeys and keybindings through Pop's custom settings in Gnome (though I have used Python w/pynput in the past.)...

          What distro and desktop environment? I use Pop!_OS exclusively and set all of my hotkeys and keybindings through Pop's custom settings in Gnome (though I have used Python w/pynput in the past.) Most distros should have something equivalent.

          1. [3]
            paranoid_transdroid
            Link Parent
            I'm using Elementary0S, and AFAIK it d0esn't have s0me s0ftware preinstalled t0 map keys.

            I'm using Elementary0S, and AFAIK it d0esn't have s0me s0ftware preinstalled t0 map keys.

            1. [2]
              RNG
              Link Parent
              Hmmm, are you a dev? There are some ways to do this in Python [1]. Otherwise, there is an open source version of AHK [2]. If that doesn't work for you, I'd recommend wiping the OS while preserving...

              Hmmm, are you a dev? There are some ways to do this in Python [1]. Otherwise, there is an open source version of AHK [2]. If that doesn't work for you, I'd recommend wiping the OS while preserving your home directory (/home/username) to Pop!_OS [3], as it supports keyboard rebinding out of the box.

              [1] https://nitratine.net/blog/post/how-to-make-hotkeys-in-python/

              [2] https://github.com/autokey/autokey

              [3] https://pop.system76.com/

              1. paranoid_transdroid
                Link Parent
                I'm n0t exactly a dev, but I'm learnign Pyth0n at my university s0 I may be able use it f0r this, if I can't, I'll try with the libre versi0n 0f AHK, but I will n0t h0p t0 0ther distr0, I really...

                I'm n0t exactly a dev, but I'm learnign Pyth0n at my university s0 I may be able use it f0r this, if I can't, I'll try with the libre versi0n 0f AHK, but I will n0t h0p t0 0ther distr0, I really l0ve e0S aesthetics, alth0ugh I've been thinking 0n installing P0p! 0n a sec0nd c0mputer (when I get my hands 0n s0me m0ney t0 buy 0ne( f0r gaming stuff.