Reparations can never be made. For those of us agitating for reductions, eliminations in oppressions, injustices it absolutely will not do do hold onto our fear, our outrage, our frustration until after the injustice has ceased. We cannot remain angry until, for example, the patriarchy is over. Having expressed our critique, our pain (to the best of our abilities), it will not do to repeat the litany of complaints like a meditation in reverse, like a prayer of pain and hatred, like a talisman to keep the world at bay. No. Having addressed the world, all that there is left to do is to recognize it, release one's anger and begin the work of loving it.
For me, that can be difficult. Foolish and immature though it is, I (too) often feel that if I do not punish those who hurt me, then they will have 'gotten away with it', that my forgiveness and love will then condone their selfishness or meanness. I know that this is not true but it is difficult to feel that as well.
What does something like feminism look like without anger? What can be the impetus for change? Can love work better than sustained outrage?
This is related to being able to hold simultaneously multiple, not fully compatible kinds of knowledge - acknowledging, for example that, yes, 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted while also refusing to see every man as a potential assaulter. Or, acknowledging that there are real, deep and pervasive racisms that can be found everywhere while also intentionally relating to everyone as though they were anti-racism.
Feminism (as have many of the other progressive '-isms') has done an apt job of pointing out grievous wrongs and wounds in our world. We've discussed the difficulty of 'dismantling the master's house' but where have we developed sustained thinking and acting to creating a really new one? To paraphrase Igor Stravinsky (with echoes of Shakespeare), what would be more powerful than love in creating our brave new world, peopled by such people as we would like to become, as we could possibly love?
If we continue to focus on hurt, doesn't that hurt then become our world? This does not mean we can make ourselves blind and therefore not act. Or, we must not then become morally blind and hardened to suffering. But couldn't there be an ethical blindness, one that can (somehow, I certainly don't know how) critically and lovingly recognize wrongs, work to end them without becoming an instrument of them, without becoming an extension - even a critical one - of that pain?
I realize this all doesn't make a lot of sense. I'm okay with that. This is a kind of questioning to which I will be returning, so perhaps in time I can clarify myself. For me, however, it may be that where I am most hurt, I will become most silent.