A Tale of Two Ethical Imaginations

by intersectionalstranger

Two starkly contrasting sorts of responses to movements for justice and equality say a great deal about the kinds of ethical imaginations modeled by Westmont College.

In a report by Inside Higher Education on how CCCU presidents are responding to calls for equality by LGBTQIA students and alumni, Westmont College’s president is quoted thus: “It’s a conversation that’s here to stay, and we want the conversation to be both honest and fair,” said Gayle Beebe, president of Westmont College. The article then goes on to say that Beebe argued that “too much focus on sexuality of any kind is a distraction and prevents students from becoming well-adjusted people.”

Compare that response with the one offered by Amanda Sutter, a member of the class of 2014. An excerpt:

“We cannot fully know God without getting to know each other; we cannot know each other if we do not see each other as equal; and we cannot see each other as equal until we admit the ways in which we have wronged or dehumanized each other.

How many times have my actions or words been hurtful, coming from a place I have yet to acknowledge? Though race and ethnicity was a major focus of my studies in my last two years at Westmont, daily I become more aware of the place of extreme privilege from which I come….

But I know that I still don’t see everything, and I know that I still hurt others (microaggressions?), and for this I apologize. I apologize for my pedestal. I apologize for all those times I thought that I understood. I apologize for thinking that because I am more educated than another, I am somehow never in the wrong. I apologize for not listening enough. I apologize for sometimes believing stereotypes. I apologize for when I failed to speak out against injustice. I apologize for all the times I had discussions about racial injustice, but failed to protest against it. And I apologize for all the times in the future that I will fail again.”

Go read the entirety of Amanda’s blog post here and Know Hope.