4. The Anatomy of An Apology
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”--the misguided notion that love eliminates the need for apology. In politics, the love that mutes apologies is often same-party affinity--as in, “we know we’re on the same side” so accountability is unnecessary. Yet it’s more likely that the contrary is true: love as well as coalition demand an openness to saying “I’m sorry,” for without it, justice is impotent.
But what are the consequences when apologies don’t materialize? Is letting it go really the only way to think about healing, both emotionally and politically?
In this episode of Intersectionality Matters, host Kimberlé Crenshaw talks to Tony award-winning playwright and activist Eve Ensler about her groundbreaking new book The Apology and how the withholding that is the touchstone of the inviolable code of silence among men can be broken. Ensler discusses the journey she traveled to conjure the apology she needed from her late father for sexual and physical abuse.
We also hear from philosopher Kate Manne on himpathy, the term she coined to describe the disproportionate and inappropriate sympathy powerful men often receive in cases of sexual assault and other forms of gendered violence. Himpathy, she explains, may help us understand how some women who stood by Anita Hill are now embracing Joe Biden’s candidacy despite his failure to fully come to terms with his role in in her heinous treatment during Clarence Thomas’s senate confirmation hearings in 1991.
Both Manne’s and Ensler’s interviews illustrate the grim reality that men are often socialized to deny their commission of gender-based harm, and that many of us are socialized to condone that very inability to accept blame— sometimes to the degree that we position men who have victimized others as victims themselves. Tune in for a thought-provoking exploration of what it could mean for perpetrators and bystanders to genuinely confront and atone for violence they’ve either committed or enabled.
Hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw (@sandylocks)
Produced and Edited by Julia Sharpe Levine
Recorded by UCLA and Cornell University
Music by Blue Dot Sessions
With: Eve Ensler, (@vday, @eveensler) Kate Manne (@kate_manne)
Intersectionality Matters: ig: @intersectionalitymatters, twitter: @IMKC_podcast
Additional support from G'Ra Asim, Michael Kramer, Kevin Minofu, Naimah Hakim, Madeline Cameron Wardleworth