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The 'Forgiveness Pageant' Phenomenon

 
 
snood
 
Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2017 08:33 pm
I just saw the family of the man killed by the "Facebook Killer" on tv, proclaiming their forgiveness of the murderer. The daughter went so far as to say she wants to give him a hug.

This also happened right after the Emanuel Methodist Church murder in SC of 9 people at a prayer meeting. Within a few days the whole family made a public announcement that they forgave Dylann Roof. It was heart rending and difficult to watch family member after family member come to the microphone, turn to look at the young racist murderer, and pledge their forgiveness.

I understand the necessity to forgive wrongs done us. I know it is something that is done not for the person forgiven, but for the healing of the person giving forgiveness. I have personal experience with the healing potential of forgiveness. I even understand it being part of the public witness of their Christian faith - showing the world they are living their faith; letting their light shine,so to speak.

But - I find it deeply unsettling and offensive. It's always black people running to tell the world how much they have already opened their heart to the person who has just killed their loved ones. Before they have even had an opportunity to register the physical and emotional shock that has befallen them, they are somehow compelled to tell the murderer that he is forgiven. Before they get a chance to feel and process the overwhelming sorrow and anger, they have to offer forgiveness.

Here's the thing ... I think this phenomenon is partially a function of the systemic devaluation of black lives. I think it speaks to the extent to which the relative lack of worth that American society puts on black lives has permeated into black people's consciousness. I think to some degree black people are still EXPECTED to be the most forgiving, accommodating human beings that have ever lived, and some of this forgiveness pageant phenomenon is black people doing what's expected.

At least there was one relative of Robert Godwin who said this random thing was wrong, and that he was angry. That was the first comment that I really understood.
I know I have a ways to go.
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2017 09:16 pm
I agree with you, snood. I have long puzzled over the same thing. Your conclusion as to why it happens rings a bell.
0 Replies
 
Blickers
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2017 09:43 pm
@snood,
I don't know for sure why they do it. Blacks being more religious than whites as a group might have something to do with it. But I think blacks having a much lower social status throughout American history and not being able to become part of the normal society at all until things started changing a few decades ago is a big part of the reason. It's seems as if blacks fear that the general population won't care much about a black murder so they have to make the ultimate sacrifice and forgive the murderer so that the white population will finally be moved that the black person's murder really was a tragedy.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Apr, 2017 09:56 pm
In the past and in many situations today, a black person's very survival often depended on ingratiating themselves with the whites. After three hundred years some behavior is practically ingrained, even if it is not always necessary anymore.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Apr, 2017 02:04 am
@snood,
I think you're spot on. It's almost like they're being told they have to forgive because killing black people is such an understandable crime, what with black people being so scary and predisposed to criminal behaviour and all that, it's really their fault they get killed in the first place.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  2  
Reply Tue 18 Apr, 2017 02:28 am
Its a coping mechanism perpetuated by the church: turn this over to Jesus and my grief will be taken away.

Give it time.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Apr, 2017 07:22 am
@PUNKEY,
PUNKEY wrote:

Its a coping mechanism perpetuated by the church: turn this over to Jesus and my grief will be taken away.

Give it time.

Taken at face value, at least these recent groups of Christian families are practicing what they preach. Can't say that of most evangelical Trump supporters. The very nature of their supporting Trump is the gold standard of hypocrisy.
0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  3  
Reply Tue 18 Apr, 2017 07:47 am
@snood,
It is a bit disturbing, because as you said, they haven't had time to process the tragedy and it feels like they are doing it under the pressure of their religious leaders or family members.

But I also find it disturbing that people seem desperate to find some other motivationm for their actions rather that their core beliefs.

We've brainwashed them into believing 'black lives don't matter'? Please...
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Apr, 2017 07:50 am
@Leadfoot,
Leadfoot wrote:
We've brainwashed them into believing 'black lives don't matter'? Please...


Nobody has said that. That interpretation is all yours.
Leadfoot
 
  2  
Reply Tue 18 Apr, 2017 08:14 am
@izzythepush,
Quote:
It's almost like they're being told they have to forgive because killing black people is such an understandable crime

Please give me the correct interpretation of your quote.
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Tue 18 Apr, 2017 09:52 am
@Leadfoot,
They're not being brainwashed, they're being put under pressure to act in a certain way lest public sympathy, (what little there is of it,) is taken away.
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Tue 18 Apr, 2017 10:07 am
@snood,
snood wrote:
the relative lack of worth that American society puts on black lives has permeated into black people's consciousness.


I think a piece of it is behavioral epigenetics. There is a lot to answer for and to overcome.

It's a fascinating and disturbing area of research.


(lots of info out there - this one is good - https://newrepublic.com/article/120144/trauma-genetic-scientists-say-parents-are-passing-ptsd-kids - this is connected to the area that our former poster Dasha studies/teaches/writes about/workshops)
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Tue 18 Apr, 2017 10:17 am
@ehBeth,
A doorway into the science

http://discovermagazine.com/2013/may/13-grandmas-experiences-leave-epigenetic-mark-on-your-genes
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Apr, 2017 10:19 am
@Leadfoot,
Leadfoot wrote:
We've brainwashed them into believing 'black lives don't matter'?


more like genes have been altered so that people (black/white/pink/whatever) don't believe black lives matter
snood
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Apr, 2017 11:26 am
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

Leadfoot wrote:
We've brainwashed them into believing 'black lives don't matter'?


more like genes have been altered so that people (black/white/pink/whatever) don't believe black lives matter


I don't disclaim the science you cite, but I don't know if the changes I alluded to are a matter of actual altering of genetic makeup.
There has been research done on things like the effects of centuries of slavery, jim crow, segregation and systemic racism on the self-image of black children.

This assimilation of self-hatred is I believe closer to what I was thinking here.

http://www.naacpldf.org/brown-at-60-the-doll-test
https://abagond.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/the-clark-doll-experiment/
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f39c/4e6ec80d8622f7bd98c5eb72f92c039301d5.pdf
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  2  
Reply Tue 18 Apr, 2017 05:55 pm
Without knowing anything more than mentioned here, I would guess that the family is most likely very religious. "God willed it." "To forgive is divine." etc.

Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Apr, 2017 07:44 am
@McGentrix,
Thank you for a bit of sanity here.
Attributing it to societal conditioning, genetically transferred PTSD, etc. is absurd in the face of the much simpler explanation of religious beliefs as you said.

My previous comments are just my wondering why there is such high resistance to that simpler explanation. Coming from the non-religious, rejecting that seems 'odd'.
0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Apr, 2017 07:46 am
@izzythepush,
Quote:
They're not being brainwashed, they're being put under pressure to act in a certain way lest public sympathy, (what little there is of it,) is taken away.

Have we not both been guilty of using hyperbole?
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Apr, 2017 07:52 am
@Leadfoot,
Speak for yourself.
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  3  
Reply Wed 19 Apr, 2017 08:03 am
Okay, let's go for a moment with the assertion that the reason for their immediate, public, dramatic announcements of forgiveness come from their being "religious". How do you account for the fact that the only ones you see on tv making those personal absolutions of murderers are black people? Are white evangelical Christians somehow less religious? When a white person is murdered violently, do you ever see the FIRST reaction of white victim's families be to run out and pledge their forgiveness to the murderer? No, what we see are expressions of sorrow, and anger and a desire for justice. That is quite understandable, and human, and probably healthy.

These rushes to shower forgiveness on the perpetrators of violent crimes are not out of some self-nurturing religious faith.
 

 
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