Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The hard work of compassion

Anyone who seeks to understand goodness needs to read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ post about the “hard work of compassion.” He is an African-American engaged in the not-so-mundane task of reading Mothers Of Invention, a history of women in slaveholding families during the Civil War. He writes:

For me to seriously consider the words of the slave-holder, which is to say the mind of the slave-holder, for me to see them as human beings, as full and as complicated as anyone else I know, a strange transcendence is requested. I am losing my earned, righteous skin. I know that beef is our birthright, that all our grievance is just. But for want of seeing more, I am compelled to let it go.

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