Education, Compassion, and Action for Justice
Smiley and King express concerns about feeling versus action in interactions between white and black Americans. Smiley addresses what she considers the inappropriate admiration of Huck as a hero because he "acknowledge[s] that [his] poor sidekick is human" (Smiley 362). This acknowledgement does not deconstruct racism nor does it provide an example of how whites should treat blacks or discuss racism. Similarly, King criticizes the "white moderates" for accepting that racism will eventually end rather than working toward its end actively and fighting against the injustice currently in existence. Both King and Smiley also criticize those willing to look at the effects of racism and slavery without having a deeper conversation about its causes.
Both Kolvenbach and Morrison focus upon the solidarity and the education that must be achieved by the person or people in power to work toward justice. For Kolvenbach, direct experiences and real context are necessary to truly educate the whole person in social injustices. Likewise, Morrison indicates that Huck “has had a first-rate education in social and individual responsibility” that will allow him to go forward pursuing a more just world (Morrison 390).
Morrison and Kolvenbach express faith that with education, solidarity, and compassion for those being marginalized or oppressed, the person in power can and will begin acting toward a more just world. This contrasts King and Smiley who do not believe this education and compassion are enough and that action must follow. Morrison and Kolvenbach do not disagree with this but are focused upon the initial education and solidarity and seem to assume that action will follow. The four authors do not seem diametrically opposed but are looking at how justice can be achieved at different points in the journey to justice. All of the authors are in agreement that compassion and action are necessary to achieve a more just world.