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Friday, June 03, 2005

Talking to Strangers



Danielle S. Allen book: Talking to Strangers (Chicago University Press, 2004) claims that racial distrust is based more on retrospection than on personal experience.

Her investigation starts from the picture above: Elizabeth Eckford, one of the nine black students enrolled in the High School at Little Rock in 1965, being cursed by Hazel Bryan, a white student.

Racial congealed distrust is a symptom of erosion of democracy in Allen's view. Democracies should be based on discursive, constructive disagreements, whereas these fossilized perceptions of insurmountable barriers are typically non-dialectical: They are a refuse to talk to others.

Only the recognition that we "share a life" with other citizens, that we can talk to them, can contribute to develop a society of mutual trust.