I think a lot of people misinterpret my focus on redemption and empathy as brushing abusive behavior under the rug, and I want to clarify my perspective on that.

I think there’s a huge, huge difference between “this person fucked up, but we’re going to try to help them move forward” and “this person did nothing wrong”. I spend a lot of time thinking about criminals’ rights and how we can reintegrate wrongdoers in a dignified and productive way. Like, a lot. That doesn’t mean I forget for a second that they have, in fact, done something wrong.

It’s not that I believe abusive people are perfect angels who have done no wrong. It’s that I believe in a society where doing wrong is something you can come back from. And I think that’s very difficult to grasp when you subscribe to an angel/demon dichotomy. Either you’ve completely absolved a person or you’ve shunned them forever, so if you’re not doing the latter, then clearly you’re doing the former. Which is not at all what I’m striving for.

You can acknowledge that someone did something really, really shitty, or even a lot of somethings, and still desire a world that treats criminals in a more empathetic way. You don’t have to sugarcoat the abhorrent things that a lot of criminals have done to believe in their inherent dignity. I’m not for prison reform because I believe criminals are blameless. I’m for it because I think blamelessness is irrelevant to whether you should be treated like a human.

This is basically the thing I keep trying to explain about Kintsugi.


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