Focus On Whether Perpetrators Repent, Not If Victims Forgive

The Washington Post ran a recent story that set my teeth on edge, “He was assaulted and called un-American at a Trump rally. Can he forgive the man who did it?” This is an awful story. The issue isn’t whether the victim forgives the perpetrator, it is does the perpetrator repent for the wrong he has done? It’s pretty clear from the article, the perpetrator has not do so: at one point, he wonders if he is the victim of racism.

That’s not repentance. Asking for forgiveness without accepting the consequences of your actions, making restitution, and accepting how you are responsible for what happened is meaningless*.

In this specific case, it’s another instance of black people being asked to do the work of fixing bigoted white people. In a larger context, it’s important that we emphasize what the person who did wrong needs to do. If we get through the other side of the Trump administration, there are going to be needleesly hurt people. It will not be their jobs to forgive, it will be the task of those who did wrong to repent fully. Time for personal responsibility to be the purview of all Americans, not just the disadvantaged.

*And, if placed in a similar situation again, you don’t commit the same action.

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One Response to Focus On Whether Perpetrators Repent, Not If Victims Forgive

  1. Vickie Feminist says:

    Thanks. I too thought the title and framing odd. And yes, the white old racist never apologizes. The young man who was hit really does rise above the situaion.

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