, 14 tweets, 3 min read
So, regarding this, you see it in action in calls for forgiveness for young men who rape women---all the "what about their FUTURE?"ing. That unlike the women they've traumatized, THEIR futures are too valuable to be interrupted by consequences for their behavior. (1/x)
Someone pointed out how much the media--and people in general--LOVE stories about Black victims, or the families of Black victims, forgiving white perpetrators, but there's curious silence about white victims forgiving Black perpetrators. Why is that? (2/x)
So, first off, I'm 100% sure it happens. Does it happen as often? No idea. The question I'm interested in is why, as a society, we don't seem as interested in that narrative.

And I think it has to do with that "forgiveness as smooth return to normalcy" bit.
And normalcy, in America, is that (generally) Black people tend to be held very accountable for any crimes they commit (and for simply existing) while white people tend to be held less accountable. (Discrepancies in sentencing, arrests, media portrayal, etc.)
So, I think for all the talk about it being beautiful & noble & all that, the reason our society loves narratives about Black victims of crimes forgiving white perpetrators is because (regardless of how the forgivers mean it) it reassures us that they're ok with the status quo.
People lower in a hierarchy don't really have a choice about what's done to them, and don't usually have any power to enforce consequences for the people above them in that hierarchy, obviously.
But it's never *enough* for people in power to merely have the means to enforce their will through violence or the threat of violence. They don't just want compliance--they want *acceptance*.
So regardless of how the forgivers in these situations mean their forgiveness--as healing for themselves, as being better people than the perpetrator, as compassion--I think the reason society loves these stories is because we (consciously or not) see it as acceptance.
(Same deal with women forgiving their rapists, obviously.)
And I am completely in favor of victims of crimes doing whatever they want to do--forgive, don't forgive, plead for leniency, demand a maximum sentence.

The rest of us, however, *shouldn't* be "forgiving."

First off, we can't.
We can't, as a society, forgive perpetrators of crimes. The only people who can do that are the victims. We can't forgive on their behalf.

Our capabilities, as a society, are limited to holding them accountable, or not, and what we *say* about them.
So, we need to get the language of forgiveness, for crimes that weren't committed against us specifically, out of our mouths. Both because it's wrong in the abstract, and because, when it comes to crimes that partake of institutional, systemic power relations...
...all of that "forgiveness" language is preventing us from addressing the problems.

It's up to the victims to forgive, or not, as they see fit, and *no one* has any standing to tell them what they should or shouldn't do there.

It's up to the rest of us to hold the perpetrators--and ourselves--accountable.
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