Juneteenth Book Report: Race, Systemic Violence, and Retrospective Justice by Harold Weaver
Happy Juneteenth! I wanted to tell you about a short, activating, and _uplifting_ pamphlet that I read Race, Systemic Violence, and Retrospective Justice. It is NOT what you might expect and I hope you consider reading its 30 pages. The author Harold Weaver is a part of The Black Quaker Project and started one of the first Black Studies programs in America. (theblackquakerproject.org) I am a white man who grew up in a decidedly un-diverse place. I know I have a lot to learn and am constantly, painfully, enlightened to American racism. I welcomed this quick read and continue to be informed by my thinking drawn from it. Weaver starts with the dynamics of Quakers and racism + slavery. This is interesting to me and fellow Quakers. I think it helps one see another angle on the historic story of racism in America. (its complicated!) If you are not interested, read on! It gets more universal on p14.
The title of this pamphlet is far from catchy. and what is “retrospective justice?” Weaver offers it as a deeper, more thoughtful counterpoint to conversations on raparations. It is for when “retributive justice, or punishing…those responsible…is no longer possible.”
I really appreciate Weaver’s walking us through institutional violence versus individual violence. That institutional violence fosters direct individual violence, that it is a “symptom.”
On p16, Weaver quotes a letter Mahatma Ghandhi wrote to WEB DuBois (!) in 1929 that ends in a universally compeling phrase Truth ever is, untruth never was.”
I found the story of Brown University’s Slavery and Justice Report very interesting (slaveryandjustice.brown.edu)
A question that rises for me as we consider how damage spreads across generations and now structural violence which we as individuals did not actively do. As a participant in a community, how do you deal with unquenchable sorrow?
You can get the pamphlet Race, Systemic Violence, and Retrospective Justice: An African American Quaker Scholar-Activist Challenges Conventional Narratives for $7.50 that contributes to Weaver and Pendle Hill Get old school in your reading! (pendlehill.org/product/race-s…)