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Can the Oppressed Afford to Be Humble?: Avoiding Vice While Resisting Domination

photograph from courtyard of crowded apartment building

Humility is one of the premier virtues. Alongside other virtues like honesty, courage, integrity, and generosity, it is widely accepted that we should all strive to be humble people.

But what if humility isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? Think, for example, of an immigrant who is being harassed by a white supremacist, or a slave who is being ordered around by their oppressor. In these situations, humility seems more like a vice than a virtue. If the immigrant or the slave were humble, wouldn’t this just lead to more control and subjugation?

Despite some popular misconceptions, humility isn’t fundamentally about being servile. Humility doesn’t require being a doormat for whoever wants to take advantage of us. Instead, humility helps us avoid being distracted by our own egos, a trait that is valuable for those from all walks of life.

Humility undoubtedly has its benefits. Being humble can help us learn from others and become aware of our weaknesses. Those who are humble are less likely to make decisions blinded by overconfidence. The world would undoubtedly be a better place if it were filled with humble politicians, leaders, and CEOs.

But humility is not always obviously beneficial. If someone is experiencing domestic abuse, or being gaslit into doubting their own thoughts and feelings, then humility might just make things worse. For a person who is full of doubt or lacks the confidence to advocate for themselves, focusing on their weaknesses and shortcomings is liable to exacerbate those issues.

These examples make it clear why humility can be bad for the marginalized and oppressed. As Frederick Douglass said, “I have met, at the south, many good, religious colored people who were under the delusion that God required them to submit to slavery and to wear their chains with meekness and humility. I could entertain no such nonsense as this.” For Douglass, encouraging humility for slaves, or for other oppressed peoples, is simply nonsensical.

Because of these issues, a number of philosophers have questioned whether humility is actually a virtue. Vrinda Dalmiya, a professor at the University of Hawaii, takes it that humility can “entrench exploitative structures.” And Robin Dillon, professor emeritus at Lehigh University, has argued that humility is not a virtue “inasmuch as humility reinforces subordination.” Maybe we shouldn’t hold up humility as a virtue after all?

Nevertheless, it is clear that humility can sometimes be a virtue. If someone is arrogant, or doesn’t recognize their weaknesses and limitations, then a dose of humility would likely do them some good. As we’ve already discussed, we would all be better off if the privileged and the powerful were a bit more humble.

But is humility a virtue only for the privileged and the powerful? Laura Callahan, a philosophy professor at the University of Notre Dame, has recently made the case that humility can be a virtue for everyone. On her view, humility doesn’t make us a doormat. Instead, being humble sets us free from the distractions of pride.

Think of the most arrogant person you know. That person is likely very into… themselves! They probably think very highly of themselves and, as a result, don’t pay much attention to the strengths, contributions, and ideas of others.

Such arrogance can obviously be a distraction. A continual focus on ourselves and our own egos can pull us away from what we should be paying attention to. If I am obsessed with defending my views and my ego, I can miss valuable insights from others. Constantly thinking about whether I am getting enough credit at work can divert my attention from what I need to get done.

And we all experience a natural temptation to think too well of ourselves. We all start out a bit biased in our own favor. Humility helps to counteract this instinctive attention to self, opening us up to others and helping us focus on what is truly important.

If humility is freedom from the distractions of pride, then being humble is a virtue for everyone. We are better at confronting daily challenges when we are less distracted, and the same is true for those facing various kinds of oppression.

Along with lamenting those that simply accepted slavery, Douglass also regretted that some were distracted by pride: “Slaves are like other people, and imbibe prejudices quite common to others. Many under the influence of this prejudice, think their own masters are better than the masters of other slaves… Indeed, it is not uncommon for slaves even to fall out and quarrel amongst themselves about the relative goodness of their masters.” According to Douglass, the enslaved are made worse off when they are caught up with pride and comparisons.

As bad as it is to be a victim of harassment or domination, it is worse to be distracted by one’s own ego while trying to deal with such pressing hardships. Distracting pride can undercut one’s effort to resist oppression, confirming that humility is a virtue not only for the privileged and the powerful but also for the oppressed. Humility doesn’t make us into people that think we are worthless. Rather, it reveals to us that there are many other things worth thinking about.

Trans Panic and the Philosophy of Fear

image of storm clouds gathering

As a trans person living in the U.S. right now, how can you both stay apprised of dangers to your health and political rights and not become paralyzed by the overwhelming quantity of anti-trans legislation and sentiment? When is the fear that you feel appropriate? When does it become something that is more hurtful than helpful?

These are difficult questions, because the dangers to trans people are very real, whether that be a lack of affordable access to gender-affirming medical care, an inability to get contraceptives or access to abortion, or an overturning of other rights using the reasoning given in Dobbs that they are not “deeply rooted in our history or traditions.”

There are two traps that it is easy to fall into, either ignoring these threats and failing to do anything to prevent them or becoming obsessed with anti-trans news at the expense of your health.

These responses are understandable given the near constant onslaught of anti-trans legislation and rhetoric, but they may not be the most helpful.

In what follows, I do not intend to identify one perfect way to react in the face of oppression. Instead, I’d like to make several distinctions between different kinds of fear so that we can collectively be more reflective about the emotions we are feeling in this time and have more options in choosing how to respond to them.

First, who are you feeling fear for? Is it just for yourself? Do you only care about things that threaten you? Is it just for you and members of your community? Do you only care about the dangers that face your friends or people who are a part of the same group? Or do you feel fear for yourself and others when they are threatened, whether they are in your group or not?

It makes sense that we would be more fearful for ourselves and for those close to us, but there is a danger in failing to recognize the dangers that are present to other marginalized communities.

Just as Myisha Cherry argues that rage is more productive when it is felt in response to an injustice, it seems that fear is more appropriate when it is felt in solidarity with others.

If, as a white, abled, trans person, you only feel fear in response to threats to trans people and not to people of color or people with disabilities, something has gone wrong.

The purpose of fear seems to be to remind us to attend to certain dangers or risks, so that we can prevent those things from happening. Unlike anger, which is backward-looking and responds to past injustice, fear is forward-looking and responds to potential injustice. If we just attend to what could happen to us, we will miss the perils that threaten others and fail to counteract them before it is too late.

Second, is the fear that you feel constant and unchanging? Or is it responsive to features of the situation? For example, do your fears start to resolve if anti-trans legislation slows down and trans rights are being secured? Or do you remain stuck in high alert even after the danger has passed?

One of the difficulties of the experience of sustained danger to one’s safety is that it often leads to complex trauma that makes it easy to be hyper-aware of any potential danger but hard to gauge which threats can be ignored.

We can see this now in the responses that many people are having in these later stages of the pandemic, where they might find themselves having a panic attack after being in a small, crowded room, even though the collective dangers to health have shifted dramatically as more people have gained access to the vaccine.

These kinds of trauma reactions are certainly understandable, but a fear that does not respond to the situation can lead to actions that do not actually address the problem at hand. Unresponsive fear can also interfere with being able to feel safe, to enjoy relaxing, or to go out and participate in meaningful social activities. As much as it is important to attend to dangers to trans rights, it is equally, if not more, important to preserve trans joy.

Third, is the fear helping us to act in ways that address the danger? Though fear can prompt action that is targeted and useful, it can also make us paralyzed, more suspicious and paranoid, and less calm and deliberate in our thinking. When we are collectively afraid, we can easily begin to fight among ourselves because emotions are high. This can lead to a cycle in which effective action seems less and less possible, which can further reinforce a collective paralysis.

To avoid this outcome, it seems important to recognize the ways that fear operates and give space to individuals to express those fears, work through them collectively, and ensure that the most pressing danger is being targeted. Likewise, we must remember to be in solidarity with others and the particular threats that are pertinent to them. If we can band together to protect each other from the threats that we face, we will have a better chance of mounting an effective response.

Fear has a bad reputation as a negative emotion that must be overcome or avoided.

See, for instance, Master Yoda’s words that “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Or the famous Dune quote: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.” I am unconvinced, however, that fear is always something to be avoided. Since fear draws our attention to dangers that often need to be attended to, it seems helpful and even good in certain circumstances.

But why not just say that the feeling of fear itself is something bad that needs to be overcome? Perhaps it points us in the right direction at first, but surely the feeling of fear is something to be overcome. There are two things to say in response. First, courage is often taken to involve acting despite fear; without fear, an action doesn’t seem nearly as courageous. So, at the very least, fear can give meaning to certain kinds of actions.

Second, fear can often prompt us to act and take measures to ensure our safety in the future. For example, if I am afraid of leaving the stove on when I go on a trip, I might check it again before I leave to ensure that it is off. Or, if I am afraid that a law will pass, I might organize my friends and family to contact their legislators to prevent it from passing. What needs to be overcome is not necessarily fear, but paralysis.

So long as our fear moves us to act in ways that are appropriate and doesn’t get in the way of being able to flourish, it seems straightforwardly helpful. Of course, living under oppression isn’t so easy, and the constant terrorism can interfere with feeling safe and happy. The answer, however, isn’t to get rid of fear; it’s to contextualize it.

Under Discussion: Right to Riot?

photograph of broken storefront window

This piece is part of an Under Discussion series. To read more about this week’s topic and see more pieces from this series visit Under Discussion: Law and Order.

The climactic moment of Spike Lee’s seminal 1989 film, “Do the Right Thing,” comes when its protagonist, Mookie, hurls a trash can through the window of a Bed-Stuy pizza parlor owned and operated by Italian Americans, setting off a frenzy of destruction that destroys the restaurant. It’s an action that seems inevitable, given the simmering hostility between the parlor’s owners and certain members of the majority African-American community that the film documents in brilliant and searing detail. Yet the title of the film tells us that what looks inevitable is actually a moral choice; the question we’re left with is whether Mookie did, after all, do the right thing. Is destroying private property a legitimate, or at least excusable, form of political expression?

Joe Biden recently articulated the standard argument for the negative answer to this question, saying that “rioting is not protesting…it’s wrong in every way…it divides instead of unites. [I]t destroys businesses [and] only hurts the working families that serve the community.” An American politician’s hostility to rioting must strike us as at least a little ironic, given that we celebrate political acts of property destruction as part of our national mythos — the Boston Tea Party being perhaps the most prominent example. This example alone also shows that it is a mistake to deny that rioting can be a form of political protest. When people destroy private property in order to express their political views, that is a form of protest. Still, it is a further question whether rioting-as-protest is justified or excused. 

A more sympathetic view of rioting can be found in Martin Luther King Jr.’s now-famous line that “rioting is the voice of the unheard.” There are many ways to interpret King’s remark, but I will try to extract two arguments that might be consistent with it. The first goes like this. To begin with, we cannot reasonably expect any community to live under conditions of oppression without resorting to destructive means as a way of expressing their discontent with the situation. By “oppression” I mean a condition in which agents of government and society commit injustices against a community in a persistent, widespread, and systematic fashion. If we cannot reasonably expect this, then those who do it are blameless, or at least less blameworthy than they would be were they under different conditions. In other words, on this reading King is saying that rioters are excused, or less blameworthy, because of the conditions in which they find themselves. Notice that this argument, if accepted, might have major implications for how the justice system ought to treat rioters. It does not, however, strictly contradict Biden’s claim that rioting is wrong: an excused act is, almost by definition, a wrongful one.

One problem with analogizing rioting to action under duress is that the reason we do not blame people who act under duress is because they are faced with a choice between a wrongful option and an option that isn’t reasonable from the point of view of their own well-being — for example, allowing themselves to die or become seriously injured, or allowing someone they love to suffer the same fate. It’s not clear that not destroying property is unreasonable in this sense for members of oppressed communities: while some members of the community literally face a choice between death or serious injury at the hands of government agents and violent protest, many do not. Furthermore, unlike in cases of duress, the choice of destructive protest does not ensure that the oppression will cease. For these reasons, it is unlikely that a case for mitigated blameworthiness due to duress can be made out for most protestors who are engaged in the destruction of property.

The second argument is more ambitious in that it purports to show that rioting is morally justified. The legal system that protects private property is a part of the same system that oppresses the community. So, to attack private property is to attack that system. Furthermore, as King claims, to attack the system at this point and with these means is the only option available to people living under conditions of oppression. Every person has a moral right to try to alter the oppressive conditions in which they live by morally legitimate means. Finally, if you have a right to do X, and Y is a necessary means to X, you have a right to do Y — Y is a morally legitimate means. Therefore, members of oppressed groups have a right to riot (in order to attack the system).

The weakest link in this argument, I think, is the claim that rioting is a means to attacking the system that oppresses the community. By this logic, attacking any part of the system is a reasonable means to attacking the parts of the system that do the work of oppression. But there are clearly parts of the system that are very far removed from the parts that, for example, oppress communities of color. Would it make sense to burn down National Park Service buildings as a means of relieving their oppression? It seems doubtful. But then it can be argued that attacking others’ private property is like attacking Park Service buildings.

One response to this objection is to claim that attacking private property is a form of political expression aimed at bringing attention to conditions of oppression, rather than a means of directly attacking the system. With that amendment, we enter into the empirical discussion of whether destroying private property is a reasonably adequate means of altering oppressive conditions. Is the kind of consciousness-raising that rioting accomplishes useful, or is it counter-productive? Here is where political scientists may be able to help us, and where philosophers must take a back seat.

We might also question how far the conclusion of the argument gets supporters of rioting. Even if it establishes that members of oppressed groups have a right to riot, having a right to do X does not necessarily make doing X right. What it is for me to have a right to do something is for others to have a duty not to interfere in my doing it, but that does not mean I ought to do it. For example, I may have the moral right to verbally castigate someone who has committed a minor wrong, but it does not necessarily follow that I ought to do that. And here is where Biden’s point about the effects of rioting are relevant. Perhaps members of oppressed groups have a right to riot, but the detrimental effects of rioting — the destruction of community businesses and livelihoods — make it something that no one ought to do. At the end of “Do the Right Thing,” with the pizza parlor in ruins, one cannot help but feel that the neighborhood has suffered a real loss; the loss of the parlor feels like a tragedy. Perhaps, then, we ought to say that Mookie had the right to do what he did, but that what he did was not right.

Racial Health Disparities and Social Predispositions

photograph of Surgeon General Adams at podium during coronavirus briefing

Remarks made by U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams at last week’s coronavirus press briefing have sparked a heated debate. Most of the commentary surrounding those remarks has focused on accusations of patronizing language or, alternatively, the ever-expanding grip of PC culture. But the real controversy lies elsewhere. The true significance of the Surgeon General’s words rests in parsing ambiguous language; we need to know what is meant by the observation that people of color are “socially predisposed” to COVID-19 exposure, infection, and death.

The Surgeon General’s comments were aimed at addressing a troubling trend. Statistics continue to pour in underscoring racial health disparities: The population of Chicago is 30% Black, but Black people make up 70% of the city’s coronavirus deaths. Similarly, in Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County, African Americans make up 25 percent of the population, but 75 percent of the confirmed deaths. In Louisiana, Black people make up 33 percent of the population, but account for 70 percent of deaths.

What could explain these figures? Adams highlighted several of the underlying factors placing Black Americans at greater risk: they are more likely to have complicating conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, as well as being more likely to lack access to health care. All of these factors mean that Black Americans are “less resilient to the ravages of COVID-19.”

What is more, people of color, generally, are also more likely to be exposed to infection in the first place. They are more likely to live in multi-generational homes, reside in high-density housing, and make up “a disproportionate share of the front-line workers still going to their jobs.” As Jamelle Bouie explains,

“Race […] still answers the question of ‘who.’ Who will live in crowded, segregated neighborhoods? Who will be exposed to lead-poisoned pipes and toxic waste? Who will live with polluted air and suffer disproportionately from maladies like asthma and heart disease? And when disease comes, who will be the first to succumb in large numbers?”

Skeptics continue to contend that it is reductionist to blame racism for these inequities, and offer in its stead the familiar trope of private behavior and individual choice. But casting the problem as one of personal responsibility not only overlooks the history of systemic racism and structural socioeconomic oppression — that define things like one’s housing and job opportunities which in turn determine one’s relation to this disease — it perpetuates the false narrative that the sufferer is responsible for her suffering.

And that is the problem of the language of “social predisposition,” and the subtle claim that word choice makes in regards to responsibility for racial health disparities. (If you were biologically or genetically predisposed to infection how much responsibility would you bear for contracting it? How much responsibility do you bear by being “socially predisposed”?)

One the one hand, “social predisposition” can be read as vaguely acknowledging the history of institutional racism and the consequences it has wrought (and continues to work). Structural forces have conspired (consciously and unconsciously) to disadvantage minorities and enshrine differential access to goods and opportunities on the basis of skin color. On the other hand, “social predisposition” can just as easily be understood as gesturing at social habits, predilections, and weaknesses.

Does such fine analysis of the Surgeon General’s comments make a mountain of a molehill? John McWhorter of The Atlantic, for example, describes this type of criticism of Adams’ remarks as overblown. It is inappropriate and impractical, McWhorter argues, to insist that every talking head reference the prescribed origin story whenever a racial disparity arises. “Members of a certain highly educated cohort,” McWhorter writes, “consider it sacrosanct that those speaking for or to black people always and eternally stress structural flaws in America’s sociopolitical fabric past and present as the cause of black ills.” What’s worse, “writers and thinkers give an impression that their take is simple truth, when it has actually devolved into a reflexive, menacing brand of language policing.”

But the Surgeon General’s remarks cannot themselves be regarded as neutral. The message behind “social predisposition” is ambiguous without context. But when it gets coupled with a plea aimed directly at people of color to change their habits concerning drugs and alcohol because “we need you to step up,” it starts to sound a lot less ambiguous. It threatens to transform the claim about “social predisposition” from a statement about constraining factors to a question of volition. It moves from the language of preexisting conditions to elective tendencies. It reduces structural injustice to a matter of choice.

It also changes our conversation about the link between race and health outcomes from one of correlation to one of causation. Thus, it seems only fair that other potential “causes” should get a hearing. It may not be within the Surgeon General’s purview as a public servant for national health to comment on the root cause of social injustices, but then it can’t be within his purview to subvert that project either. Even if his intention was merely to offer “wise counsel in hard times,” it matters how that advice gets heard and who all hears it.

Institutions’ Right to Block: ICAO vs. Taiwan

photograph of green board game piece isolated from huddled, red board game pieces

In the last few days, the Twitter account of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the civil aviation safety body of the United Nations, has been systematically blocking users—including analysts and academics—who raised questions about ICAO’s practice of excluding Taiwan from international cooperation, especially while the current novel coronavirus crisis is developing. Indeed, this behavior is not new to ICAO: in March 2019, its Twitter account also systematically blocked users who criticized its environmental policies.

ICAO’s Twitter behavior has been condemned by many, including the United States House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs. In response to these condemnations and in response to inquiries from media, ICAO’s chief of communications Anthony Philbin has justified the systematic blocking of questioners and critics on the ground that doing so is necessary for “defend[ing] the integrity of the information and discussions our followers should reasonably expect from our feeds.” As a philosopher interested in the intersection of language and power, this ongoing dispute raises an interesting question: when is it morally permissible for governmental or public institutions to block users on social media?

We can start answering the question by examining the work that blocking does. To block a user is to refuse to be an audience for that user’s speech. In this respect, blocking is akin to other moves that might be made on social media, such as muting a user or simply saying “don’t @ me”. However, blocking is also more powerful than these other moves in that it not only refuses the user of an audience for their speech, it also excludes the user from a conversation. While muting someone makes their speech unavailable to you, blocking someone makes your speech unavailable to them—including, for example, their inclusion of your speech in other conversations.

Although it is tempting to condemn ICAO for not valuing free speech, that line of criticism is fundamentally misguided. In general, no one is owed an audience for their speech. In fact, as philosopher Rae Langton has argued, the refusal to accommodate a speaker—“blocking”, in her technical sense—can be a powerful tool in responding to harmful speech. And many individual Twitter users, especially those from marginalized backgrounds, know this to be true from their daily experience. Given the harassment problems that continue to plague the platform, blocking is a perfectly reasonable, and undoubtedly permissible, move that private citizens can make to protect their time, their attention, and their mental health. In SlateMary Elizabeth Williams has responded to free speech considerations, and concluded that it is permissible (for a private citizen) to block any user for any reason.

However, even if we accept that blocking is compatible with free speech and permissible for social media accounts of private citizens, we need not thereby also accept that blocking is just as permissible for social media accounts of governmental or public institutions. Indeed, this is a point on which Donald J. Trump’s lawyers and I agree. In defending Trump’s (legal) right to exclude people from conversations that involve his speech, his lawyers rested their defense on the claim that Trump is tweeting from a personal, and not governmental, capacity. (Appeals court judge Barrington D. Parker was ultimately unpersuaded by this claim, and ruled Trump’s social media blocking of users to be unconstitutional.)

There is an important difference in power between private citizens and governmental and public institutions. More than a difference in power, though, there is also a difference between the way that private citizens and governmental and public institutions are embedded in our social reality, especially with respect to social structures of oppression.

Philosopher Iris Marion Young has argued that different groups can be oppressed in different, but related, ways: exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence. In this context, it is especially relevant that Taiwan has been historically marginalized in the international community, and a key mechanism of that marginalization is the exclusion of Taiwan from international institutions such as the World Health Organization and, of course, ICAO.

Yes, Twitter is not real life. But it is also not not-real-life either. The interactions on Twitter are not only shaped by our social reality, they also contribute to shaping our social reality. The condemnation of ICAO’s Twitter behavior on free speech grounds crucially ignores the fact that language moves are often more than “just speech”, but actions for modifying the social world. And it is from this perspective that we can most fully appreciate the significance of that subtle difference between blocking and muting. Remember, blocking does not merely refuse a user of an audience for their speech, it excludes them from the conversation altogether. As such, ICAO’s Twitter behavior should not be judged on its own, but contextualized in the ongoing international exclusion of Taiwan from many crucial conversations, such as ones about the current novel coronavirus crisis.

So, in the end, when is it morally permissible for governmental or public institutions to block users on social media? Like most other questions in philosophy, there is no simple answer to this one. However, if my foregoing argument is sound, then the answer will crucially depend on the social context—specifically, whether doing so contributes to ongoing oppressive structures in our social reality.

But there is a clear answer in the particular case that prompted our philosophical investigation. Given its own position of power and the sociohistorical context of Taiwan’s marginalization, it is impermissible for ICAO to exercise the exclusionary power of social media blocking to systematically excise questions and criticisms from relevant conversations.

Will Chief Black Elk’s Canonization Address Native American Oppression?

A photo of Catholic bishops during a 2014 canonization.

This past week, a Mass was held to formally open up potential sainthood for Chief Black Elk, a Lakota chief known for his life and work as a dedicated catechist. Black Elk was born sometime between 1858 and 1866, and died in 1950. He is known for combining Native American spirituality and Christianity, making it easier for his congregations to accept the Catholic Church. Bishop Robert D. Gruss from Rapid City, South Dakota, states that “for 50 years Black Elk led others to Christ often melding his Lakota culture into his Christian life.” Bill White, a diocese and member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on Pine Ridge Reservation, is leading Black Elk’s sainthood case.

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Feminism, Privilege, and Trans Inclusivity

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is known for advocating an understanding of feminist values that is inclusive and diverse. Race and gender play important roles in her largely personal works. Best-selling author of “Americanah” and “We Should All be Feminists,” she emphasizes that fundamental to feminism is that “’because you are a girl’ is never a reason for anything,” and that, “I matter. I matter equally.” Her focus in much of her writing, especially in her latest project, “Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions,” is how to raise a daughter and that feminism is a project that binds mothers and daughters (she discusses the shaming dialog with her mother surrounding her first period, for instance).

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When Oppressors Repent, Who Deserves Forgiveness?

Just before Christmas, prisoners serving long terms for human rights abuses during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile received a mass and asked for forgiveness from the families of their victims. Some families of the victims protested the mass, and many human rights advocates dismissed these moves by the prisoners as empty, and not genuine steps towards earning forgiveness.

Forgiveness is often seen as a virtue, a good-making feature of a life well lived. To forgive is to let go of the blame we feel towards those who wrong us. Letting go of negative feelings can seem like an obvious good, a move towards a more positive way of living. When we hurt each other and let one another down, we make amends, apologize, and aim to get past states of blame and hurt. When someone who harms us apologizes, forgiving them is how the relationship can move forward.

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Is It Acceptable to Joke about North Korea?

On November 4th, it was reported that two Australian men caused quite a stir in North Korea. Morgan Ruig and Evan Shay were already in China on a polo trip when they found out about the North Korean Golf Championships and decided to enter the competition. Though the pair did not explicitly claim to be members of the Australian team, they did not correct the North Koreans who assumed as much. While most are finding the men’s antics entertaining, others are concerned about their underlying mocking the North Korean people and government.

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