"Kaya Oakes challenges those slippery, PR-constructed apologies that leave us rolling our eyes. But she does more than that. Throughout Not So Sorry, Kaya Oakes listens to the voices of victims, allows us to wrestle with our assumptions, and leads us on a path to restore justice."
Not So Sorry
Abusers, False Apologies, and the Limits of Forgiveness
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Available July 30, 2024
It's time for a nuanced discussion about forgiveness.
From religious communities to therapeutic spaces, the importance of forgiving those who've wronged us is often enshrined as an unqualified good. But what about horrifying cases of abuse, predatory behavior, or systemic wrong? Too often, when predators or abusers are exposed, the chorus comes immediately: "What about forgiveness?" In these cases, forgiveness places the onus on victims, diminishes real hurt and anger, lets perpetrators off the hook, and prevents justice from being done.
In Not So Sorry, journalist and culture critic Kaya Oakes tackles these questions with intelligence, nuance, and a bit of righteous anger. Ranging effortlessly from Christian theology and world history to psychology and pop culture, Oakes takes us on a whirlwind tour of the many abuses of the concept of forgiveness, including the abuse scandals of the Catholic church, the outing of high-profile abusers like Larry Nassar, and white America's obsession with false narratives of marginalized peoples granting forgiveness to oppressors. Ultimately, Oakes dares us to ask the necessary question: Is it ever better not to forgive?