This literary, ethical, spiritual and philosophical tradition is compelling for two reasons: first, it offers a profound critique of the systemic and cultural distortions and costs of racism that whites need to hear and understand. Second, it provides narratives of engaged goodness: there are no heroic pretensions, no grand narratives of certain triumph but a life-affirming refusal to submit to cynicism, alienation, and despair.
The first reason is straightforward: there are differences in this tradition, new and challenging insights that people of my race and class need to hear. The second reason, though, has a different tone. These narratives, though startling in their critique of dominant power and ethics, are also as familiar as breath. This is the shape of “nonheroic goodness” that I have seen in my family, friends, and in parts of my communities. These are the textures of their moral and spiritual lives. These are not narratives of alienation, isolation, and suspicion but testimonies to the power of lives lived in connection and, from that connection, lives lived for justice, for beauty, for compassion.
— Sharon D. Welch on the Womanist tradition as it relates to her ethic of risk in A Feminist Ethic of Risk
JK-S »> As a narrative therapist, these are the kinds of life narratives I’m always looking and listening for as I sit with people. In fact, some conversations are like rescue missions where we are seeking to reunite these narratives with a historical record of memory. When I’m thinking about concepts like “engaged goodness” and “the power of lives lived in connection” I’m more inclined to notice the ways these narratives are multistoried and richly peopled. The aim of all this is not so much about reaching particular outcomes or goals as it is about pursuing possibilities.