A Few Random Notes on Some “Secondary Reads”

These works are not directly related to my research, but may prove helpful background information or side information. In other words, they are not a direct priority to read, but they deserve a place on the backburner. Hopefully I will get to them soon.

Glaude, Jr., Eddie S. Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul. New York, NY: Broadway Books, 2017. Thesis: “…the value gap (the belief that white people are valued more than others) and racial habits (the things we do, without thinking, that sustain the value gap) undergird racial inequality, and how white and black fears block the way to racial justice in this country.” 6. “Inequality and racial habits are part of the American Idea.” 9. Calls for a “reimagining of black politics and a remaking of American democracy.” 8. Part of the reimaging involves “burying, once for all, ‘Negroes,’ ‘niggers,’ their cousins (thugs, welfare queens, absent fathers, and all other ugly names and stereotypes), and the white people who invented them.” 232.  Could not agree more. In order to lift up those in the image of God we need to bury words forever and if they ever rear their ugly heads again we need to beat them back down. He also writes, “Black people cannot be afforded special moral status because we’re black. There is nothing about who we are that makes us any more capable of love and compassion, or of hatred and violence. Our stories lift up the values and virtues of ‘the least of these,’ but in our practice we often fall short. We are human beings like everyone else – just with a particular history of dealing with the deadly insecurities of white folk. The ugliness and evil that human beings are capable of can as easily be found among and between us. Insisting on the fullness of our humanity in light of all our complex differences involves, ironically enough, convincing black people of that fact too. It makes up part of the terrain of a revitalized black politics: we have to change our view of ourselves.” 234-235, emphasis his. NOTE: I have this on Kindle. Quotes Dubois, “a hope not hopeless but unhopeful.” Good quote

Lincoln, C. Eric. And Lawrence H. Mamiya. The Black Church in the African American Experience. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1990. Sociological history of black churches. We know people by studying their religion. Work is cheap on Kindle, but I’d really prefer a hardcopy for such an important work as this. Wish it wasn’t so expensive… Really need to prioritize this in the next year or so.

The following two are more general. They focus on the nature of justice. Justice is tightly related to the imago dei. Genesis 9:6 God ties together justice and the imago dei.

Sandel, Michael J. Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009. What is justice? How does virtue and morality play into justice? How does justice compel us to live well? “To ask whether a society is just is to ask how it distributes the things we prize – income and wealth, duties and rights, powers and opportunities, offices and honors. A just society distributes these goods in the right way; it gives each person his or her due. The hard questions begin when we ask what people are due, and why.” 19. Looks at utilitarianism, libertarianism, and virtue theories. 19-20. May help look at the broader categories of oppression from a 30,000 foot view.

Stevenson, Bryan. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. New York, NY: Spiegel & Grau, 2014. It’s a personal memoir of his growth and experiences as a lawyer, specifically dealing with an inmate on death row. Focus is on mass incarceration and what he defines as extreme forms of punishment. “This book is about getting closer to mass incarceration and extreme punishment in America. It is about how easily we condemn people in this country and the injustice we create when we allow fear, anger, and distance to shape the way we treat the most vulnerable among us.” 14. Proximity is his teacher, specifically “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.” 17-18.  “My work with the poor and incarcerated has persuaded me that the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice. Finally, I’ve come to believe that the true measure of our commitment to justice, the character of our society, our commitment to the rule of law, fairness, and equality cannot be measured by how we treat the rich, the powerful, the privileged, and the respected among us. The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned.” 18. “We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated. An absence of compassion can corrupt the decency of a community, a state, a nation. Fear and anger can make us vindictive and abusive, unjust and unfair, until we all suffer from the absence of mercy and we condemn ourselves as much as we victimize others. The closer we get to mass incarceration and extreme levels of punishment, the more I believe it’s necessary to recognize that we all need mercy, we all need justice, and – perhaps – we all need some measure of unmerited grace.” 18 Shows the value of relationships for justice and racial reconciliation. When we know each other things change. We begin to treat each other with respect, kindness, etc. This remains one of the greatest hindrances toward reconciliation. We simply do not know one another. We remain segregated and separate on just about all levels of life.

 

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