But [Montrell Jackson’s [“ethic of mutuality”] ought to unsettle us too. In extending his offer of fellowship to “protesters, officers, friends, family,” he invited an exchange with those familiar to him and not—which is to say: with those who knew him and who thought they knew him. This is the sort of exchange that the Harvard political philosopher Danielle Allen has called ‘talking to strangers,’ a crossing of boundaries and borders that necessarily violates the parental wisdom that would keep us in our narrow precincts. And in the context of the United States, past and present, those spaces still remain defined largely by black and white.

Remembering Montrell Jackson’s ethic of mutuality | Gregory Laski. There’s another word for “an ethic of mutuality”: some of us call it Christianity. It seems that Professot Laski hasn’t heard of it, but it’s an interesting if perhaps marginal phonomenon, well worth investigating. The founder of that movement said a few words that might be even more relevant than those of “Harvard political philosopher Danielle Allen”: he said,

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunicb either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

I think an investigation of these words just might yield some insights into Montrell Jackson’s “ethic of mutuality.” They can be found on a number of sites on the internet.

(Seriously: the academic ignorance of and disdain for Christianity is both morally and intellectually regrettable. You do not understand people when you instantaneously translate their ideas and beliefs into your preferred academic dialect. The anthropological respect for the native moral languages of strange cultures always seems to disappear when Christianity is involved.)