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Mark Clavier describes coming to terms with the fact that he is a white Southerner descended from enslaved Africans who subsequently became slave-owners. Reflecting on an ancestry containing triumph and shame, he discovers how closely the commendable and corrupt can be intertwined.
The censorship of slavery no longer dictates Huck’s morality. Unlike Tom, Huck has begun to question his society’s standards, to weigh and consider what is just and right, and I hope that by reading this story, my students may follow him in this difficult endeavor.
This is the humbling gift our children offer. If we seek to shape their character, at some point in the journey we’ll find ourselves backed into a corner, faced with our own hypocrisy.
On the heels of a consequential election, and the accompanying commentary demonstrating the continued pervasiveness of race-thinking, Barzun’s message of honoring each human individual’s value while recognizing our shared common humanity is a timely and timeless message.
Much of the novel reads like this sentence—the internal struggle of someone who wants—not forgiveness, nor salvation, really, but rather to not need to be forgiven, to not require salvation nor redemption, to maintain what dignity is possible, given irremediable forsakenness.
Drawing from both Baldwin and Berry allows us to see that the racist and imperial policies of the past continue to do immense social, economic, cultural, and ecological damage around the globe. Racial injustice is among other things an ecological issue.
It is a recognition of the beauty and goodness of ethnic diversity combined with a message of universal love and mercy that should be at the heart of a true Christian politics.
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