Sages from Cicero to Oprah have told us that forgiveness requires us to let go of negative emotions and that it has a unique power to heal our wounds.
In Failures of Forgiveness, Myisha Cherry argues that these beliefs couldn’t be more wrong — and that the ways we think about and use forgiveness, personally and as a society, can often do more harm than good. She presents a new and healthier understanding of forgiveness — one that will give us a better chance to recover from wrongdoing and move toward “radical repair.”
Cherry began exploring forgiveness after relatives of the victims of the mass shooting at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina, forgave what seemed unforgivable. It appeared to her that many people were more inspired by these acts of forgiveness than they were motivated to confront the racial hatred that led to the killings. She was determined to better understand forgiveness and its role in creating radical change.
In a conversation with José Jorge Mendoza, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Washington, Cherry will explore the facets of forgiveness. Using concepts from her book, Cherry examines how forgiveness can go wrong in families, between friends, at work, and in the media, politics, and beyond. By showing how to forgive differently, Cherry wants to transform how people deal with wrongdoing and open a new path to true healing and reconciliation.
Myisha Cherry is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of California, Riverside, where she also directs the Emotion and Society Lab. She is the author of The Case for Rage: Why Anger Is Essential to Anti-Racist Struggle and UnMuted: Conversations on Prejudice, Oppression, and Social Justice, which draws on her popular podcast UnMute. She has been widely featured in the media, including the Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, the Atlantic, BET, and the podcast Pod Save the People.
José Jorge Mendoza is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Washington. He is an editor at Radical Philosophy Review and the author of The Moral and Political Philosophy of Immigration: Liberty, Security, and Equality(Lexington Books 2017). His current research deals with issues concerning migration ethics, Latinx identity, and racial justice.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.