AnonymousDeleted UserDecember 4, 2020 at 11:14 am
Many great points here, Ellie, especially about the primary goal being the dismantling of pervasive systemic oppression. A few scattered thoughts;
On tone: I wonder if it may be helpful to separate the question of tone from other questions you’re raising, like the one about leaving/making room for white voices. The latter is one we need to put as much energy as possible into addressing. Tone seems to me to be trickier, governed by too many different cultural norms, multivalent meanings, and therefore subject to all kinds of misinterpretation and misunderstanding.
On reconciliation, James Baldwin’s oft-quoted response comes to mind: “We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.”
I also look forward to bringing in chapter 10 of Cone into this conversation, especially his interrogation of the notion of reconciliation. He writes, “Garnet’s reply to Maria Chapman’s attack on his perspective should be stamped on the consciousness of all blacks [and everyone else, I’d add] who are optimistic about black-white reconciliation.” The entire response should be read and taken seriously (the block quote on p 220), but this part especially haunts me: “…I do not hesitate to say that your abolitionism is abject slavery.” Too often, the peace or reconciliation the white church offers is “abject slavery,” which makes reconciliation difficult if not impossible. To be clear, I’m not hearing this from you or anyone else here, but it will be necessary for us to define not only reconciliation but the sins and conflicts that require reconciliation.
Let’s keep talking and unpacking these questions!