What I’ve been researching . . . : Dale P. Andrews

I currently am studying issues of race and racism with pastoral and practical theological colleagues exploring theories of moral injury. My interests in this collaboration lies in what I would call white moral injury and how this concept might be useful in redressing both willful and passive violence of racism, even in our practical theology. How may moral injury help to understand and redress the dominant white culture’s resistance to moral and theological culpability for cultural, systemic, or institutional racism (oppression)? Does moral injury help us redress the backlash against anti-racism and justice-making? This approach wrestles with current concepts of moral injury with PTSD. Moral injury itself is constituted by one’s own violation of core moral beliefs. The trauma of one’s moral injury may be passive and lingering, but it emerges in further traumatizing wounds of selfhood and struggles deeply between systemic and personal agency. Meaningfulness as a moral agent is directly threatened, whether through one’s direct actions or failure to resist perpetuating violent actions. The researchers into moral injury include struggles with guilt, despair, or outrage. [Brock and Lettinni, Soul Repair. Boston: Beacon Press]. I relate this work on moral injury to the personal and public outrage expressed in resisting charges of cultural and systemic racism interpersonally, politically, and institutionally. These reactions of moral injury to anti-racism (anti-oppression) efforts can be observed in the outraged moral resistance to such things as affirmative action, problematic policing practices, the judicial system of imbalanced convictions and sentencing, unemployment, poverty, healthcare, . . . and the list goes on. I am struck by how the mirrored outrage of moral injury stems from white liberals when challenged along similar lines. I am researching then, How do the expressed white liberal outrage and defenses of moral core beliefs over questions of duplicitous or unreflective practices regarding cultural or systemic racism echo indistinguishably from white conservative outraged myths of level playing fields of meritocracy in our society of democratic freedom in personal thriving?

By |2015-02-28T00:40:24+00:00February 28th, 2015|What I've Been|2 Comments

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  1. Evelyn L. Parker February 28, 2015 at 7:40 am - Reply

    The concept of moral injury holds possibility for my work with marginalized young adults who struggle with despair and/or outrage. Thank you.

  2. Phillis I. Sheppard March 29, 2015 at 11:04 am - Reply

    I am including moral injury as a category for my Fall class “Evil, Aggression and Cultural Trauma”. We will look at moral injury as a cultural trauma-especially as it regards the loss of sites for idealizing, mirroring and kinship needs previously met by membership in, generally, large institutions, i.e. military, religious/faith bodies. The loss of membership in a body or the capacity to make meaning of an institution’s practices after we have already “committed” to the larger explicit vision, is a contributor to an individual’s sense of fragmentation, mourning and outrage.

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