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Structural Violence: the Stranger

Structural Violence: the Stranger

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: July 17, 1999; June 9, 2001
Latest update: August 10, 2005
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Our 1998 Definition of Forgiveness

"Corporate Culture, Downsizing and Forgiveness"
Dr. Kim Cameron, Case Western Reserve University
Link added on June 21, 1999.

Review of Kissinger's Years of Renewal

  • forgiveness

    Forgiveness becomes an issue whenever we undertake public discourse. Past deceptions, past bad faith, past refusal or mere insensitivity to hearing claims in good faith make us unwilling to trust. A belief that ours is the "only possible right way" makes it hard for us to trust. And often those who have different validity claims have never been taught to express them in ways that we can hear past the wicked little unstated assumptions of privilege.

    Thus, forgiveness may take many forms in our class focus:

    • A willingness to grant that the Other does have some claim in which he or she believes, even if we cannot understand it as presented. (Forgiving the Other for lacking skills of communication in which we have been trained, and which we assume are shared by all. We weren't even aware of the training. See Peggy McIntosh's list of ways in which privilege advantage us. pp.207-216 in Images of Color.)

    • A willingness to understand that we may not be able to understand another's claim because of unstated assumptions we are making. (Forgiving ourselves for the advantages we unwillingly, and without the asking, possess.

    The Definition We Started With in 1998

    Forgiveness is essential to good faith listening. Past indiscretions of bad faith must be forgiven, somehow allowed to fade into the past, that we may go on with the public discourse leading to communicative action. But how do we forgive? How do we forgive if the anger is still hot within? What kind of forgiveness is essential?

    On this site we will speak of "cheap forgiveness," a theological term used by L.Gregory Jones, especially to connote the need for genuine atonement to produce more just transactions in the future. We also speak of Bad Faith and Antiblack Racism, as put forth so clearly by Lewis R. Gordon. We have and discuss many of these books. Most are not freely available online. We try to direct you to where they are available, and we try to summarize some of the conceptual arguments. That's a lot of work. Faculty on the Site have all served as Chairs of Departments in the last three years. We are a little tired and slow. Be patient and all the sources mentioned will go up on the site. But do not hesitate to e-mail us if you have a particular interest in one that we have not put up yet. We can alter the order in which they go up, and will be happy to do so.

    Better yet. What a wonderful way to begin publishing. Find one of the books that intrigues you, and write some notes on it for the site. The faculty will appreciate it. Your fellow students will appreciate it. And the Web community that shares our interests will appreciate it. And you'll have a publication for your resume. Remember what Allen Ginsberg said, you don't have to be right, just honest. Discourse, full-fledged discourse that could lead to communicative action in redefining education cannot happen without the good faith participation of and listening to students. Join us in making our colleges better places to embrace learning.

    Review of Kissinger's Years of Renewal

    The New York Times Book Review, on Sunday, March 21, 1999. Review by John Lewis Gaddis on Henry Kissinger's Years of Renewal. This paragraph appears in the review. It says much about forgiveness and multiple perspectives. John Lewis Gaddis is Prof. of History at Yale. I think you know who Kissinger is.

    "Kissinger's accounts of his meetings with dictators do not exactly resonate, it is true, with moral authority. My students wonder how he could possibly have shaken the hand, much less enjoyed the company, of Mao Zedong, whose policies had caused the deaths of at least 30 million people. But Kissinger wonders, with equal puzzlement, how those Americans who demanded an unconditional withdrawal from Southeast Asia could so easily have anesthetized themselves to the fate of South Vietnamese and Cambodians whose only crime was to have sided with the United States. Both are excellent questions."

  • "Restorative Justice and the Common Good: Creating a Culture of Forgiveness and Reconciliation." by Tom Cavangh. The full text of the artice can be found at: