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Considering Hate: Violence, Goodness, and…
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Considering Hate: Violence, Goodness, and Justice in American Culture and… (udgave 2015)

af Kay Whitlock, Michael Bronski

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
4717422,495 (3.56)2
A provocative book about rethinking hatred and violence in America Over the centuries American society has been plagued by brutality fueled by disregard for the humanity of others- systemic violence against Native peoples, black people, and immigrants. More recent examples include the Steubenville rape case and the murders of Matthew Shepard, Jennifer Daugherty, Marcelo Lucero, and Trayvon Martin. Most Americans see such acts as driven by hate. But is this right? Longtime activists and political theorists Kay Whitlock and Michael Bronski boldly assert that American society's reliance on the framework of hate to explain these acts is wrongheaded, misleading, and ultimately harmful. All too often Americans choose to believe that terrible cruelty is aberrant, caused primarily by "extremists" and misfits. The inevitable remedy of intensified government-based policing, increased surveillance, and harsher punishments has never worked and does not work now. Stand-your-ground laws; the US prison system; police harassment of people of color, women, and LGBT people; and the so-called war on terror demonstrate that the remedies themselves are forms of institutionalized violence. Considering Hatechallenges easy assumptions and failed solutions, arguing that "hate violence" reflects existing cultural norms. Drawing upon social science, philosophy, theology, film, and literature, the authors examine how hate and common, even ordinary, forms of individual and group violence are excused and normalized in popular culture and political discussion. This massive denial of brutal reality profoundly warps society's ideas about goodness and justice. Whitlock and Bronski invite readers to radically reimagine the meaning and structures of justice within a new framework of community wholeness, collective responsibility, and civic goodness.… (mere)
Medlem:Christopher_High
Titel:Considering Hate: Violence, Goodness, and Justice in American Culture and Politics
Forfattere:Kay Whitlock
Andre forfattere:Michael Bronski
Info:Beacon Press (2015), Hardcover, 184 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:****
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Considering Hate: Violence, Goodness, and Justice in American Culture and Politics af Kay Whitlock

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Viser 1-5 af 18 (næste | vis alle)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Considering Hate is a meditation on restorative justice—that justice that “seeks to replace the adversarial nature of legal proceedings with a survivor-centered focus on the harm that has been done,” that allows “those who do harm [to] acknowledge the full impact of their actions, and agree to make amends or repair the harm to the extent possible.” In other words, restorative justice is about abandoning vengeance as the model for healing the wounds of those who are wronged.

Hatred is a consequence not a cause, they assert. More than half the text is devoted to expanding on that simple, but surprisingly novel idea. The authors explore the nature of hate and haters and how politicians and others in powerful positions exploit fear to gain and hold on to power—and how that fear cripples justice. The implication is that human nature is itself a collaborator in the unfairness that permeates our society: “People have always more easily motivated themselves and others through fear than through positive visions of change,” they write. Their history and analysis of hatred includes a careful and illuminating examination of a changing American culture and how it has been expressed in film and influenced by shifts in political power.

Whitlock and Bronski make several points that inspire me to revise my thinking. For one, they have reframed for me the meaning of “public lands.” I have othered “the government”—separated myself from it—for so long that I have forgotten the obvious: public lands belong to the people—to me and my family and my friends and all those people who shop at my grocery store and everyone who sends their children to the school near my house.

This point is intimately related to another very important one, that “privatizing public holdings and services” stifle the collective rights of ordinary citizens—you, me, us! Would I be so complacent if they were to seize my front yard? I’m not referring to eminent domain, where my land is put to use for the good of my wider community; I’m talking about selling my land to someone who has greater financial resources than I have so that they can profit from it. (The notion that the benefit will eventually “trickle down” to me has lost its shine; even those who use the argument have become aware of its transition from a not-too-well-thought-out welfare strategy to a sly power ploy.)

As an example, the authors relate the case of Pinochet’s 1973 seizure of control of Chile’s government from legally elected socialist Allende. Supported by a US government fearful of a trend toward nationalizing natural-resource extraction industries (such as mining and oil), Pinochet authorized a group of young Chileans who had studied free-market economics at the University of Chicago to design and implement a new economic policy for Chile. The end result, write Whitlock and Bronsky, was “dismantling labor unions, reducing wages, making draconian cuts in public employment, and privatizing public holdings and services.” And, “the result was a highly effective engine of upward redistribution, transferring public resources to private hands and encouraging the accumulation of wealth by a few at the expense of others.

In this era when the redistribution of wealth is a major political issue, this term—upward redistribution—called my attention to the very important fact that redistribution is not just about taking from the rich and giving to the poor. There exists a mirror image. Seizing public assets with the supposition that people who already have more are better equipped to use it properly is simply taking from the poor and giving to the rich. It’s not a new notion, but rather somewhat reminiscent of the model of European colonization. During the nineteenth century, in search of more land for crops and pastureland to feed Western civilization, European colonists seized real estate in distant lands, where they systematically murdered the people they found living there and using it in common freehold. One such British “farmer” was reported to have said that exterminating the locals was a shame, but necessary since they didn’t know how to put their land to good use and interfered with those who did.

The solutions the authors propose suggest a balance that can be accomplished through mob accountability, or collective responsibility, as Whitlock and Bronsky term it—no small task in a litigious American culture, where admitting error or wrongdoing results in swift action to correct your sin by legalistic economic ruin.

Philosopher Hannah Arendt, they point out, wrote that our common humanity “has the very serious consequence that in one form or another men must assume responsibility for all crimes committed by men and that all nations share in the onus of evil committed by all others.”

“Responsibility must be separated from punishment,” these authors write. “To do so opens new understandings of collective moral engagement and agency rooted in an ethic of interdependence rather than of retribution. . . . Rather than emphasizing guilt and blame, public focus might usefully shift to such concepts as societal accountability, healing, and redress.”

Considering Hate is an important contribution to the body of literature that calls us to examine our thinking about violence and vengeance as a path to a better society—the notion that a bigger war is the remedy for war—and to consider the common-sense approach of abandoning revenge as a viable tactic in addressing injustice, poverty, and all the other ills of human society.
  bookcrazed | Jul 13, 2019 |
I won this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. As a reader with a graduate background in political theory, I figured this book sounded like it could easily have been assigned reading for one of my courses, and actually I have read books by these authors for a gender and public policy political theory course. So, I had some idea what to expect.

I liked the central questions in this book, especially the notion of looking beyond hate to find more complex, more approachable roots for hate behavior. I was not entirely convinced about the authors' definitions for goodness and justice, and I was annoyed that hate was never actually defined. Still, this book raises interesting questions for discussion.

My biggest issue with this book is structural. I had the feeling that the authors, and maybe their test readers as well, were so close to their subject that they could supply the thesis sentences for each section out of their own existing knowledge of their subject. Certainly, with enough effort I could put together what the thesis statements ought to be for each section, but quite often throughout this book the text launches into the middle of each argument without actually stating clearly what the point is, let alone restating clearly the primary arguments in each section and chapter as conclusion paragraphs. Since this book also has very few subheadings, and it rambles and babbles along towards its general theme, it is easy to get lost.

In addition, many of the assertions I found most in need of support citations had none, so while the authors did a fair job of balancing the needs of academic readers and the general public, there were quite a few vague generalities and bold but debatable assertions mixed in with the film analyses that bugged me. I found the segment in which the authors attempt to take on 'free-market' ideas and libertarianism particularly bothersome, because from this text it did not seem that the authors understand the difference between free-market libertarianism and crony capitalism, yet the economist they address is a libertarian, while the 'free-markey' capitalist changes they discuss in Chile sound more like some other flavor of pseudo-capitalism. Perhaps the authors could have made their case more convincing, but as it stands I was turned off by this sort of analysis, wanting a bit more precision and evidence of more nuanced understanding.

So, while I had too many issues with this book to rate it a 5, I did like enough of this book to rate it a 4, and I could see how it could be useful for political science and sociology courses. The writing style is decidedly academic, even without more complete in-text citations, so not all reders in the general public will appreciate this book, but most readers could get through this one if they read slower, in chunks, with a pencil in hand to make notes in the margins, and with a dictionary handy. ( )
1 stem JBarringer | Dec 30, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I really wanted to like this book. Violence and hatred are significant problems, and one that I am constantly trying to refine my ability to discuss with my high school students. This book was frustrating because it would begin to discuss a question, but never entered into any real depth. Now, that could be understood as simply part of its genre as an introductory text; however, I would have liked to have seen a more comprehensive bibliography. The very, very short list of recommended books didn't begin to list the materials that I know to be available on the subject.
In sum, this book could be a helpful starting to begin a conversation about violence, racism, and social justice, but it isn't a resource to extend that conversation beyond the most superficial of levels. ( )
  krasiviye.slova | Aug 6, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a very hard review to write. It was a good book, but very dry at times. Sort of depressing too. ( )
  pwagner2 | Feb 25, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received the book and have read it. The book was very well written, but it didn't hold my interest very long. It is a perfect book for people who are interested the subject matter.
  LauraNicolePerry | Feb 1, 2016 |
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A provocative book about rethinking hatred and violence in America Over the centuries American society has been plagued by brutality fueled by disregard for the humanity of others- systemic violence against Native peoples, black people, and immigrants. More recent examples include the Steubenville rape case and the murders of Matthew Shepard, Jennifer Daugherty, Marcelo Lucero, and Trayvon Martin. Most Americans see such acts as driven by hate. But is this right? Longtime activists and political theorists Kay Whitlock and Michael Bronski boldly assert that American society's reliance on the framework of hate to explain these acts is wrongheaded, misleading, and ultimately harmful. All too often Americans choose to believe that terrible cruelty is aberrant, caused primarily by "extremists" and misfits. The inevitable remedy of intensified government-based policing, increased surveillance, and harsher punishments has never worked and does not work now. Stand-your-ground laws; the US prison system; police harassment of people of color, women, and LGBT people; and the so-called war on terror demonstrate that the remedies themselves are forms of institutionalized violence. Considering Hatechallenges easy assumptions and failed solutions, arguing that "hate violence" reflects existing cultural norms. Drawing upon social science, philosophy, theology, film, and literature, the authors examine how hate and common, even ordinary, forms of individual and group violence are excused and normalized in popular culture and political discussion. This massive denial of brutal reality profoundly warps society's ideas about goodness and justice. Whitlock and Bronski invite readers to radically reimagine the meaning and structures of justice within a new framework of community wholeness, collective responsibility, and civic goodness.

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