This Restorative Justice Life

104. Restorative Reflection of "The Slap" w/ DeMointé Wesley

December 08, 2022 David Ryan Castro-Harris
This Restorative Justice Life
104. Restorative Reflection of "The Slap" w/ DeMointé Wesley
Show Notes Transcript

Hey everyone, trying out a new format for this week's episode. DeMointé and David reflect on "The Slap" through a restorative lens. Let us know if you like this podcast formatting!

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David (he/him): Welcome to this restorative justice life. We're having a little bit of a different conversation today. Here with us, I have DeMointé Wesley one of our facilitators at Amplify. Rj say, hi DeMointé . Hey, y'all. Today we're going to be reacting to something that happened a while ago. When I think about this restorative justice life, it's not just about our, our jobs or the things that are going on in our personal lives.

It is about how we interact with things that are happening in the world, our thought patterns, right this way of being permeates. All of what we do and much earlier this year. Academy Awards. There was what we all have come to know as the slap where Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith came up on stage, slapped him in the face said, keep my wife's name out your mouth.

And the whole fallout from that became like a big, big media storm. A lot of outrage, culture calling for cancellations, calling for bands. There was a whole conversation about whether or not violence is right or wrong. Or appropriate in any given moment, people telling white people to sit this conversation out.

And I don't wanna participate in that part of the discussion. The reason that we're having this conversation right now is this conversation has been in the back of my mind for a little bit. And one of the things that I want to do with this restorative justice life, or at least this platform, is examine the way that we think about violence and conflict as a culture and start to think about how we can apply some of the, these things to our lives.

Right? Will Smith is out promoting his new movie Emancipation and because he's doing press for it conversations about the slap and the fallout from that have been coming up. One of these conversations was on Trevor Noah the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and they had a really interesting conversation.

So we're gonna play a clip of that. And then Demointe and I are going to dive in and discuss. So here we go. 

Trevor Noah: Great. Seeing you again. You know, it's, it's been a while since I lost, so it's been a while since many people have seen you.

Will Smith: Yeah. You know I've been away. What, what y'all been doing? 

Thank you baby. You know what's, it's yeah. It's, it's, it's been, I can only imagine what it's been like for you Yeah. Because it has been weird for many of us. Yeah. You know? Yeah. Yeah. You, you're will Smith. You know you are, 

you'll Smith. 

Trevor Noah: Yeah. You are. You are one of the biggest movie stars that has ever existed.

You know, one of my favorite people that I've ever seen inhabit a screen. Thank you, man. You know, and then you, you had the Oscars. Yeah. Where in one 

Will Smith: night you, I have no independent recollection of the, I can only imagine because you, you know, you, 

Trevor Noah: you, you won, you know, you won your first Oscar that night.

Well deserved Oscar that night. But it is, it is simultaneously in many ways, not the worst. I won't say the worst cause I know the life you've lived. I've read the book, but it is one of the best days of your life and one of the worst days of your life. And I, I would, I'd love to know, I mean, just, you know, us talking, first of all, what has the journey been like since that day?

Like, because we, we, everyone speculates, everyone just sees it and goes, I think this, I think that, I think this, I think that What has it been like for you? Yeah. That, 

Will Smith: that was that was a horrific night. As you can imagine You know, there's many nuances and, and complexities to it, you know? But at the end of the day, I just, I lost it, you know?

And I guess what I would say, you just never know what somebody's going through. You know, you know, in the, in the audience right now, you know, you're sitting next to strangers, you know. Somebody's mother died last week, you know somebody's child is sick, you know somebody just lost their job.

Somebody just found out their spouse cheated. You know, there's, it's like, there's all these things and these, there's strangers and you just don't know what's going on with people, you know. There's, I was going through something that night, you know, and not that that, you know, justifies my behavior at all.

I would just say, you know, you're asking, what did I learn? And it's that we just gotta be nice to each other, man. You know? It's like, it's hard. And I guess the thing that was most painful for me is I took my hard and made it hard for other, You know? Right. And it's like I understood the idea where they say, hurt people, hurt people.

Yeah, yeah. You know, and it's like, you know, it's, 

Trevor Noah: it's interesting. I remember again, everybody was speculating. One of my friends called me and were talking, we're talking, everyone's got these opinions and then someone said, mm-hmm. . I feel like we saw the real Will Smith in that moment. Cause there's a guy who's so full of love and so positive.

But I feel like in that moment we saw the real Will Smith and, and I said, and not because I know you, you know, but, but I said, honestly, I said no. If anything, I feel like it was the opposite. Like, you know, you talk in your book about growing up so afraid of conflict. You grow up in your book talking about how you always afraid to fight with how you were afraid to.

For me, it felt like in watching that moment I felt. you were like, is, it's like in a weird way, it's like you stood up for the wrong thing at the wrong time in a way. Yeah. You know, do you know what I'm saying? It felt like you're taking everything. Cause here we are, you know, human to human, man to man.

People have said some shitty things about you and your family. Absolutely. You know, you're a human being. It, it felt like, and I, I would say this to people, I was like, it is, it's becoming relentlessly shitty now. Yeah, yeah. And people think it's okay. Yes. That's the thing. People think it's okay. And not Chris, by the way.

Yeah. I'm talking about people, the internet, et cetera. But it, it, it felt like this was Will Smith for the first time going, okay, is this how you want me to respond? 

Will Smith: Yeah. No, it, it was, you know, it was a lot of things. It was the, the, the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, you know, it's a, you know, all of that just bubbled up.

Yeah. In, in, in that moment. You know, I just, that's not who I wanna be. Right. You know, you've known me for a long time, so you know me personally. Mm-hmm. so but you know, y'all might not know . Oh, you want, you know, you know, it's like that, that, that is, that, that's not who I want to be, man. I'm trying to, you know, I'm trying to put, I 

Trevor Noah: also think that's not who you are.

I'll be honest with you. I think it's not who you are. I think everybody can make a mistake. Mm-hmm. . And I think, I think in my honest opinion, 

DeMointé (they/them): I think 

Trevor Noah: how I, how I think of living my life is the same Now, now I'm 

Will Smith: crying. For real. No, no. It was here. I mean, but 

Trevor Noah: I mean this, I mean this. I'll tell you why. I'll tell you why.

I'll tell you why. I'll tell you why. Because, so. On my side as a human being. I go, the reason it was shocking is because that's not who you are. Yeah. Does that make sense? Exactly. Like I, like I saw, for instance, there was an, there was an article that was written, I think it was a Hollywood report or whatever.

They had a list of like problematic actors or whatever. I was personally offended for you and Letitia, funny enough for a different reason, but. They had you guys on the list where I was like, wait, some of these people are here for sleeping with underage kids. These people are here for abusing their spouses.

And again, what you did was . I always tell you that I love Chris. I'm friends with him. I love you. I'm friends with him. But I was like, this is . But I was like, but it's not the same world. Yeah. And that's where it was weird, especially I find, you know, because there were all these dynamics. So I know that as black people, black people will be together and be like, what was Will doing?

What the hell happened here? Yeah. But then I know a lot of black people were like, you know, when people came out and they were like, he should go to jail. And we were like, you need to relax yourself. . It, it, it was a weird, like some people were overreacting. Yeah, yeah. Which made some people underreact. Yeah.

Will Smith: Yeah. You know, now it's, it's the, I understand, you know, how shocking that was for people, man. Right. You know? 

Trevor Noah: You shocked when that stage, you seemed, you seemed a little dazed afterwards. 

Will Smith: I'm gonna lie. Yeah. I, I was gone dude. I was gone. I was gone. I was you know, that was, of rage that had been bottled for a really long time.

Right, right. And, you know, but it's, it's, I understand the pain, you know, it was like my little, my nephew Dom is nine and he is the sweetest little boy. He's like, you know, we came home and it's like he had stayed up late to see his uncle Will, you know, and we're sitting in my kitchen. And he's on my lap and he's holding the Oscar, and he's just like, why did you hit that man, uncle will? You know, damn it. Why you trying to Oprah? Me

Trevor Noah: Yeah. And he's, he's sitting on your lap 

Will Smith: and Yeah. You know, so yeah. It, it you know, it, I was like, ah. It, it was a mess. You know, I don't want to go too far into it to give people more to 

Trevor Noah: misunderstand. So is is it, is it, is it hard? You know, you, you have lived, I realized this morning when I was thinking about you coming on the show.

You are one of the rare breed of human who has lived more of your life. In the spotlight then out of it. Yeah. You got into this industry as a kid. Mm-hmm. , you know, you grew up and blew up into it as a young man. Yeah. You had your tax issues, you had your life, you had your family, you had, you know, but you have lived in this world for, so it's, it's funny, again, I realize chatting to friends and I was like, you know what's interesting here is.

For us. This is the Oscars. Yeah. Yeah. For Will Smith. This is like a cookout, right? . And I'm not diminishing the the Oscars, but I know like those are your people. That's your world. This is like the, you know, and I was like, I was saying, I think that is part of the reason many of us were that truck. Cause you go like, You, it's this lauded event.

It's, it's bigger than life, whereas many movie stars are at Austin. Like, oh, nice to see you again. Hey, good to be here, good to, good to be back. And I feel like that, that was part of the disconnect. I feel like that was part of, but, but what I, what I, yeah. The 

Will Smith: one thing that's killing me you know, so emancipation is Antoine's masterpiece.

That's what I wanna ask you about. Yeah. He has created an absolute masterpiece. Bob Richardson, the DP and Ben Foster, and just all, all the way down, it's like these top. In the world have done some of the best work of their career. Yeah. And the idea that they might be denied because of me is like, Ugh.

You know, it's like that, that, that is, is killing me dead. You know? And it's like the, the, the thing that is so critical for me is that, you know, these people came and they trusted me and they were down Right. For me, and, you know, I just, I, I, I hope that their work will be honored and their work will not be tainted based on, you know, a horrific decision on my part.

Trevor Noah: I, I, I, I honestly hope, and I don't think that that'll happen. I I, you know, I have conversations with people all the time about. Really restorative justice. I know , you know, you have conversations with people, you know, but about restorative justice, about like atonement, about, we have all these conversations.

We have them at the highest levels often, and what I realize is we, we often don't have these conversations as they pertain to daily life. You know, what somebody says what somebody does, and, and especially in isolation, I don't, that's why I say the sum of a person is oftentimes how I define them as opposed to a moment.

Mm-hmm. , you know, and. On a personal level, you know, I think I speak for many people if I don't forgive me, but you know, obviously people were hurt. Yeah. Because we, we love you and we love what you. People were shocked because, you know, will Smith is Chris Rocks, you know? Yeah. You know, Oscars, all these things.

But I, I also think, I speak for people when I say like, I don't want that to define you. I don't think it should define you. You know what I mean? Yeah. I don't think, 

Will Smith: yeah. 

Trevor Noah: I don't think any one of us, 

I don't think any one of us in life. Deserves to be defined by our like the . You know, if anything, I mean, like you, you and Chris have the biggest story to, to handle on your own.

It's not our, you know, our, our foray. But, but yeah, man, I I hope you don't stay hidden forever. No, I hope you know that you don't always have to bottle it up. I hope you know that you, you, you, you not being perfect is what'll make you, you're will Smith man. Yeah. Do you know what I mean? 

You, that dude, we love you for real.

You, that dude, you know, 

Will Smith: that was, that was one of the big things for me over this last couple of months, you know, that I had to forgive myself for being human, you know? And it's, . Trust me, there's nobody that hates the fact that I'm human more than me. Yeah. I know that. 

Trevor Noah: No, but I know that. 

Will Smith: Yeah. You know and just, you know, finding that space for myself mm-hmm.

within myself to be human, you know? Right. It's like I want, I, I've always wanted to be Superman. I've always wanted to swoop in and save the, the damsel in distress, you know? , I had to humble down, you know, and realize that, that I'm, I'm a, I'm a flawed human. And I still have an opportunity, you know, to go out in the world and, and contribute in, in a way that fills my heart and hopefully helps other people, you know.

David (he/him): So a lot to unpack there De Mointe what comes up for you one with all of these months of context and thought and the conversation that you just witnessed right now? 

DeMointé (they/them): Yeah, so I think that what I'm thinking about right now is like, My reaction to the slap in the moment, like as a restorative justice practitioner and abolitionist in the moment.

And like how I'm thinking about things now as a person who is sort of witnessing this, this spectacle. And I think in the moment, like we were having a conversation and I said something about the fact that like, you know, sometimes you just. You gotta get your chin checked, you gotta get slapped, and then we can enter into a reparative process afterwards.

But I think like what I'm really sitting with now, This notion of how like living in a culture of violence like we do in the United States, like violence is endemic. How much that sort of colors and informs how we show up in relationship, right? How we show up in conflict, both interpersonally and societally and how violence.

Informs how we think about violence. I think that violence at its core is really a, a crisis of imagination and conviction. Even, even this take of like violence is never the answer. Right is colored and informed by that same culture. It's a like a moralistic statement. That really doesn't offer us any pathways to like, okay, how do we deal with violence when it happens?

And how do we build a culture in which violence doesn't happen and isn't an answer for ourselves or the ones that we love? Yeah, I think that's sort of what's ruminating for me now. 

David (he/him): Yeah, definitely. And you know, again, this is not a prescriptive conversation about this is what should have happened in this circumstance.

Right? You or I are not impacted parties in this at all. There's lots of impact from what has happened. But, you know, having the broader conversation about, you know, the role of violence, the role of, you know, Unhealthy masculinity that you know is present due to, you know, this, these ideas around violence and domination needing to defend your woman, right?

Or, and like, you know, the creative ways to think about how, how could I go about addressing that harm in that moment or later, right? We're lacking in that, in that space, right. Chris Rock is someone who's missing from this particular conversation, right? And the way that he's chosen to deal with all of this has been to make fun of this situation, right.

And has in many ways used it to promote himself. Like he's talking about it in his standup, he, him refusing to engage in. In dialogue around this. Is both, you can argue like self-protective. Someone who has been harmed in any given situation does not necessarily, it is not a requirement for them in a restorative way to like sit down and have dialogue with a person who caused them harm.

But there is lots of space for imagination for how to deal with that. And, you know, he's chosen to deal with that in his own way, still in many ways rooted in the, the defensiveness, self-protection. And all that. I think it's really interesting though that we have, you know, Trevor Noah who is at least showbiz friends with both people,

It was, it was striking to me that the words restorative justice were said in a daily show interview. And I, you know, this is me putting it out there to one day, have a conversation with Trevor Noah spit specifically about restorative justice, knowing that he grew up in post-apartheid South Africa, where some semblance of a restorative process happened.

But the truth in the reconciliation commission I know that, you know, Trevor and many others could be critical of what that actually did. And, you know, it didn't balance out like all of the inequity that happened, that that still exists between white and black and colored people in South Africa.

But, you know, Trevor, bringing in this. The word invoking the word restorative justice and thinking about what reconciliation looks like, not just on a apartheid level, but like in our day to day human interactions is, is really important for us to think about because, you know, when Will talks about, you know, all of the impact of the harm that has come from this, right?

Both to himself, reputationally, his family, reputationally, but you know, between him and his little nephew, right? Between him and all of his future collaborators who are gonna have to. Answering questions about like, why are you working with this like, violent, angry black man? Right? Like there, there's a lot of things that are, I'll say, natural consequences due to the culture that we live in, right?

When someone when you know somebody has the potential to slap you, you're gonna be wary and hesitant of being around that person. But, you know, what are the ways actually back for people in relat? It doesn't look like a three minute apology video that he put out on his YouTube channel a couple months ago.

It doesn't necessarily look like these, these pr interviews that are like at the end of the day promoting his new movie. Like what does repair of harm look like in the situation? Yeah. 

DeMointé (they/them): What I'm thinking about as you're talking about that and like, you know, we talk about the iceberg and the ripples and a, a sort of another way of thinking about that.

The constellation of harm and the constellation of violence. So like you have this particular moment, but what is the surrounding context? Right. And I, I think like if there's a repair of harm process, does Chris Rock, like have a part? Like do we say that Chris Rock in making the joke has some repairing to do, right?

I think so. So I think that even as we're thinking about like how can restorative justice play in and how can repair of. Play, like play a part in this. How do we avoid this like overly individualistic view of like harm that says that Will Smith is the person who caused harm and is the person who who needs to make repair versus seeing this as a broader constellation of harm where there are people beyond Chris Rock and Will Smith who are impacted and sort of how do they play into that.

And with that, I also wanna caution us because I think that the world in which we live, where there's like para parasocial relationship where we think of ourselves as being in relationship with the people that we see on screen or in our phone to say that like, . Yes. While watching this moment might have like been jarring to us and maybe there's a broader conversation about like the impact that witnessing like violence has.

I think it's also important to like be very particular that like this instance is about Will Smith, Chris Rock, their family and loved ones, their future collaborators and it is not some sort. B, broader societal issue. Violence and harm are, but this particular issue are not, if that makes sense. And 

David (he/him): you know, there's a deeper conversation about, you know, separating the artist from their art that we don't have to necessarily get into right now.

But, you know, as we see these people, these people are public examples of. Societal problems manifest, like just on the, the large scale. And so, you know, as you think about when we are in conflict with each other, when, when conflict and harm happens, I, I hear that like, yeah, there are lots of other people who are impacted that we need to think about and, you know, how do you make those repairs?

I also think about, you know, Within the metaphor of the iceberg, the, there's a thing that happened on top, right? The slap and reaction to the joke. Underneath that is whatever is going on in the personal life of Will Smith that made him snap on that one day. But like, and you know, all the other things that might be going on in the iceberg.

You talked about constellations. I think about, you know, the water in which the iceberg sits, right? We talk about toxic masculinity like fragile male ego you know, the culture like. Lots of other things going on in the culture and like how do we address those to the listener right now? Like, how are those things manifesting in your life and how do they show up and how do we combat that?

I think some folks will talk about that as more of a transformative justice approach, right? Changing the conditions under which harm happens or, so we don't have that same harm happen again, but you know, what comes up when you think about application to your life and mind. 

DeMointé (they/them): Yeah. What comes up for.

And again, I wanna come back to my original reaction to the slap, which is to say that like, yeah, sometimes slap happened, like, like slap happened. We slap people. We maybe shouldn't or should, should, or should not, but I think, again, where I'm at now and I think maybe some of my, like studying around peace has impacted this.

If I want like a world, if I want a situation in which. Violence is, yeah. Not justified in its use against me or in its use against my loved ones. Then I think at a certain point I have to get really creative about my own approaches to to harm and conflict as it shows up in my life. Right. So I, I, I think even.

So a relationships between parents and children, right? Where violence often happens and we often justify that violence. I, I think we should just think more about like, okay, if violence is not an answer, how are we justifying violence in our own lives and how are we not getting really creative about how we can approach conflict and harm in a different way?

I, I think about that Ruth Wilson Gilmore quote, where life is precious. Life is precious, right? And so if I want a world in which life is precious, that means I have to contribute to building a world where life is precious, always. And for me, that means like I cannot contribute to the justification of violence.

And I have to get very creative about other ways to attend to harm that go outside of violence. Including in my own relationship. 

David (he/him): Yes. And I mean, I think interrupting violence, we talk about like restorative justice happening, like when harm has stopped, right? You can't like necessarily like go into a restorative process when someone is actively being harmed.

Like, you know, lots of people critiqued. Chris Rock in the day is coming saying like, Hey, if somebody's walking up on you like that, like you better have your hands up. And I've heard Chris R say over the days, like he thought Will was just gonna grab the mic and say something. And if Will Smith had said like, Hey, that's not cool.

My wife has alopecia. Don't do that. Like, right. That is like, why didn't he have that imagination? Right? That ends up looking very different for everyone. I'm sure the comedy community would come out and say like, it's just jokes. She should be able to take it. This is woke, whatever, cancel culture, but Right.

That looks very differently. I think Will in some ways would've been able to get like his point across. Right. Just being able to like name harm, stop that and like, hey, even saying like, keep my wife's name out your motherfucking mouth, like in that moment without slapping someone. And there, there are lots of people who would've been like, yeah, that's right.

That's how you go about doing that. And I'm not saying whether or not that approach would've been right or wrong or within the character of either of those people for that moment. It's not about critiquing that specific situation. Right. But how is, how do we shift our mindset to like, Hey, what if we just name.

Right in a moment. Right. And I think about violence interruption techniques that people like right to be or other organizations talk about Right. When you're witnessing harm, right. You can interrupt, distract, delay. Oh, sorry. There are like five Ds, like delay, disrupt. Oh man, I should actually look this up.

five Ds of. Bystander intervention. It's you know, direct confrontation. It's delegating, hey, telling someone else in the situation, like, Hey, go get help. Hey, help me do this. Trying to delay by engaging either one of the parties and inviting. Them to, you know, Hey, what's the time? Can you gimme directions to su such and such?

Distract them with things similar or, you know, documenting it. Not necessarily needed in this case because the world thought this was on , the yeah, the world thought, but like what are the ways that you can engage and. You know, support people through that. Right. I think a lot about in this, in this case, not something that happened in the moment, but after, right.

Denzel going over and talking to Will Smith about counseling him, right. Trying to like deescalate, bring him bring him back to level. And so you could critique whether or not the. Show should have continued, will should have, whether or not Will, should have been able to stay and accept his award after the fact.

Right. But you know, Denzel's role in deescalating that situation, right? Because we know as restorative practitioners, people who cause harm and people who have been harmed both have means, right? You know, In that moment, I'm sure Chris didn't feel very supported. What are the things that could have gone on?

What are the things that people in the academy at the, who are running the event could have done to attend to his needs? Because, you know, Wanda Sykes, who was also hosting that night, went on the Ellen show and talked about how she. Was shooken distressed. Not only, I, I think like part of it was like defending her, her comedy brother, right?

But also like, as the host of that show, right? Like, what's going on here, , right? Like, how are we allowing this to go on And keep happening there. There are other needs in those moments that aren't being attended to and like if we're coming to situations of harm and conflict with those lenses, we might be able to mitigate some of the, the additional ripple effects that happen from from incidents like that.

Yeah, 

DeMointé (they/them): definitely. I think something that you just mentioned when you reference Denzel in this situation, again, it's like back to this parasocial relationship thing and how. How we should actually make more space for people to handle things within the context of relationship, right? Without this idea that this belongs to all of us.

This, this issue belongs to all of us. And of course I know it feels like that because again, we all board witness to it or saw it on Twitter or whatever the case may be. But these are actually living people with relationships. And I think like restorative justice, as I understand it, invites us first to think about like ourselves and our approach to harm and conflict and relationship.

So, yeah. Yeah. Maybe taking this moment like you're suggesting and thinking about how it applies to our own lives, but beyond that, also trusting that yeah, these people have relationship, will, has a relationship with Denzel, with his nephew that he mentioned in the interview. That, and he's accountable to that relationship, right.

Much more so than he's accountable to the random Twitter fingers. 

David (he/him): Yeah, . You know this is teasing a conversation that's gonna air in January with an author of this book coming out that I'm not gonna like spoil right now, but in the early 1990s Charles Barkley the former basketball player now commentator on tnt, came out with this Nike commercial talking about how he's not a role model, parents should be role models, athletes aren't role models, right.

And. That was critiqued in many circles like I. Lots of people like agreed with the sentiment that Right. You don't actually know these people, right? Like, why are you taking life advice from or like, why are you holding up celebrities as like models of, you know, how we think the world should be, right?

This is dangerous territory for me to say, but like, right. Like, why are people so upset with Dave Chappelle? Like, why are you listening to Dave Chappelle to be like, Arbiter of like morality and truth and like shs issues. When we think about the way that we generate these relationships with people who are in the public, right.

I think in some ways it's escapism from dealing with the things that are going on in our own context. And, you know, I had the, the reason that we're having this conversation about. This incident, you know, months, months, months after the fact is because, partially because like I'm not necessarily trying to clout chase like the public conversation.

I do think, however, like when we've gotten more time and space from this, like we can more easily look back and see like some of the context and the things that people have thought about since and learn, not, you know, how to deal with public shame, disgrace and humiliation after you slap someone on national tv, because that's not gonna be the reality.

Of most of our existence, but when we are either people who experience harm and are harmed or are witnessing harm as many of us do in, in everyday life, what are the things that we can draw from there? Yeah, 

DeMointé (they/them): I think that's absolutely right. Yeah. I, I, and to the point of like Chappelle or any other public person, I, I think that there is there's a place for like calling these things out as harmful.

And then there's another place again from that restorative justice lens of like looking at our own selves and our own relationships. How do these things show up in our own lives? How do we justify violence that we are a part of? How do we justify our casual transphobia and our casual racism every day?

I, I, I think what I'm suggesting, and perhaps what, what you maybe are suggesting is that these instances, these very like specul instances of violence or harm, , we should shift our lens maybe, or I suggest that we shift our lens from seeing these things as like causal to like symptomatic of the very things that are going on at the micro level.

Yeah. 

David (he/him): I don't think I was necessarily drawing that connection, but I'll, I'll take it and run with it. for sure. So when we're faced with all of these outrageous things, whether it is. War in Ukraine, whether it is celebrity scandal, whether it is things like the climate crisis or, or you know, the political day to day, like the day, the day to day politics of the United States.

Like what is within your locus of control. And what are you gonna do? Right. And I, I think 

DeMointé (they/them): it comes back to what we were sort of saying earlier, that it is one our own like actions in our day to day, but it's really what can we do within the context of our relationship, our, our various relationships. I think that that really determines the impact that we have on Yeah, these broader, these bigger issues, the broader systems and, and cultures of violence.

It's like, how do. Like move the needle towards the world that we want to see in, in just the relationships that we cultivate. I, I think, you know, something that Will Smith brought up in his conversation with Trevor Noah was how, like this instance of violence happened. Was in part rooted in his like, history of familial violence between his father and his mother, right?

Mm-hmm. . And so thinking about that, how, not to use that very trite phrase, but how violence begets violence, right? And especially violence within our most intimate relationships. How do we actually get serious about that? About the harm that happens there and attending to those things in a in a more restorative way, in a more way rooted in dignity.

I think that that's what we is within our locus 

David (he/him): of control. I'm debating in my head whether or not this contr, this contribution of conversation is, you know, furthering that like spectator culture or like just really using this as a moment of education. I really admire Instagram's terrible with search, but Richie Richa you know, shared a pretty nuanced transformative justice take about this right after the incident happened.

But, you know, I'm debating in my head whether or not this is contributing to like more of the noise or if this is actually instructive, so, or informative. So if you found value in this conversation and you want to hear more about or if you want to hear. More restorative takes and analysis of current events let us know.

We're trying out this new format in this new year. We're looking to expand the type of content that we're producing. And if this is something that resonates with you, we hope that you let us know. And so we can continue to amplify this work.