Racial Pain, Recovery Rhetoric, and the Pedagogy of Healing -- 2nd Edition
A Personal Preface: The Dance of Agency in the 21st Century
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The Dance of Agency in the 21st Century
USA—God Bless Her… We’ll Defend Her.
Anonymous 9/11 slogan
What does agency mean? What is its relevance for the new century in American society? These questions are at the core of this book. But because the subject matter—race, identity, power, and healing—is not immediately understood in terms of agency, I want to use this preface to introduce both the subject matter and the intention of America’s Atonement.
Simply put, agency is the primal cry I am somebody! Look up the term in, say, Webster’s II New World College Dictionary, and you will see that the word comes from the Latin, agens, and means “effective,” “action,” “power.” The difference between my simple definition and the more official idea is important: my own, which hints at Jesse Jackson’s mantra for black Americans of another generation, represents a recent effort by some in American society to insist that the average person, Everyman, has a voice and a personal motive and agenda. The dictionary term harks back to when one acted on behalf of another in whom power and authority resided.
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