Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

On the Limits of Goodwill, the Golden Rule, and Deontological Ethics: A Social Justice Activist’s Reflections

As we approach Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, I’ve been journaling on the limits of goodwill, the Golden Rule, and deontological ethics. The reflections below are consistent conversations I have with myself as I decolonize my own ethics, because, just like you, I am a product of a culture and a society where these limiting frameworks are prevalent. Some of the biggest obstacles in our quest toward achieving social justice are ideologies and people (which includes innumerable progressive folx) that only equate “real” harm (harm that should be taken seriously and acted upon to find a remedy to reduce the harm) with harm caused by malicious intent. These frameworks and ethical systems directly invalidate, devalue, and gaslight the concerns of those who’ve been harmed, which contribute to and perpetuate oppressive status quos. […]