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Scripture’s Reversal: Recognizing the Scapegoat with René Girard and Flannery ... - page 8 / 8

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sexist, elitist wart hog if you wanted. But you did not. I am not a racist. I am not sexist. I am not elitist.” It was at that moment that I realized that violence is in my own heart.

In O’Connor’s short story, there is a subtle genius in the way that we may come to be involved in it and brought to a moment of recognition where we can see the contours of the scapegoat mechanism vividly displayed in our own heart. It seems to me that such recognition is what Girard appreciates about some scriptural texts like the Joseph cycle. This model of recognition provides an example of a preparatory step that may be necessary before listening to stories of privilege, oppression, and exclusion that comprise a history of injustice. Narratives such as O’Connor’s story and the Joseph story in Genesis are texts that can bring about such recognition. If we are to begin to understand our national history, which we certainly must do in the wake of The Civil Rights Movement, Jim-Crow, slavery, racism and the demise of white privilege, such moments of recognition will prove to be of the greatest ethical importance.

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