Hi Marley,

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I think you made some fair points. I agree with many of the things you are saying. I believe that evil is entirely a human enterprise. When evil is fueled by systemic power it is devastating for those who are the targets of such evil. I am also in full agreement with you about the evils of mostly white men who racialized our culture for the sole purpose of exploitation and oppression.

I, however, do not believe that evil is located only in a certain race of people. We see in racially homogeneous cultures that evil gets perpetuated on other lines of difference (e.g., China, India, Iraq, Rwanda, etc.) I believe dehumanization processes are something we all should be concerned about. Decades of social psychological research demonstrates that we all are vulnerable to wrecking evil onto the world — but I agree that social power and privilege aggravates these potential outcomes. If a person has more social power, then the evil inflicted can extend to macro-level outcomes.

I’m not asking you to have compassion for Trump or even kindness. I couldn’t really do it myself, honestly. I was speaking about an interesting process I went through — but I see an error in my writing. And you are right — I did have a white-centric vibe at this part. I am white and this affords me a privileged perspective in this whole arrangement. For me, to simply see him as a monster dismisses the real possibility that I, too, could become him (perhaps not to the same impact but a vulnerability none-the-less) if I do not work to improve myself. As a white person and why I fight hard to break down other white peoples racial socialization, I believe that white people should not look to Trump as some exception but see him as the natural outcome of the system we built.

I appreciate your perspective, as a person of color, in terms of how my words at the end landed. This was helpful for me to reflect on and realized that my white socialization pounded too heavy on that part. I try the best of my ability to remain humble on this journey. Continue to keep challenging me and others to see things from multiple perspectives.

~Justin

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Dr. Justin D. Henderson is a counseling psychologist, counselor educator, meditation teacher, clinic director, and assistant professor.

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