Public apologies have become increasingly common scenes and representative moments in what appears to be a global process of forgiveness. The apology-forgiveness dynamic is familiar to all of us, but what do these rituals of atonement mean when they are applied to political and historical events?
In his timely, topical, and incisive book A Guilted Age, Ashraf Rushdy argues that the proliferation of apologies by politicians, nations, and churches for past events—such as American slavery or the Holocaust—can be understood as a historical phenomenon. In our post–World War II world, Rushdy claims that we live in a “guilted age.”
A Guilted Age identifies the two major forms of apologies—political and historical—and Rushdy defines the dynamics and strategies of each, showing how the evolution of one led to the other. In doing so, he reveals what apology and forgiveness do to the past events they respectively apologize for and forgive—and what happens when they fail.
“In The Price of Racial Reconciliation, Ronald Walters offers an abundance of riches. This book provides an extraordinarily comprehensive and persuasive set of arguments for reparations, and will be the lens through which meaningful opportunities for reconciliation are viewed in the future. If this book does not lead to the success of the reparations movement, nothing will.”
—Charles J. Ogletree, Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
“The Price of Racial Reconciliation is a seminal study of comparative histories and race(ism) in the formation of state structures that prefigure(d) socioeconomic positions of Black peoples in South Africa and the United States. The scholarship is meticulous in brilliantly constructed analysis of the politics of memory, reparations as an immutable principle of justice, imperative for nonracial(ist) democracy, and a regime of racial reconciliation.”
—James Turner, Professor of African and African American Studies and Founder, Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University
“A fascinating and pathbreaking analysis of the attempt at racial reconciliation in South Africa which asks if that model is relevant to the contemporary American racial dilemma. An engaging multidisciplinary approach relevant to philosophy, sociology, history, and political science.”
—William Strickland, Associate Professor of Political Science, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst
The issue of reparations in America provokes a lot of interest, but the public debate usually occurs at the level of historical accounting: “Who owes what for slavery?” This book attempts to get past that question to address racial restitution within the framework of larger societal interests. For example, the answer to the “why reparations?” question is more than the moral of payment for an injustice done in the past. Ronald Walters suggests that, insofar as the impact of slavery is still very much with us today and has been reinforced by forms of postslavery oppression, the objective of racial harmony will be disrupted unless it is recognized with the solemnity and amelioration it deserves. The author concludes that the grand narrative of black oppression in the United States—which contains the past and present summary of the black experience—prevents racial reconciliation as long as some substantial form of racial restitution is not seriously considered. This is “the price” of reconciliation.
The method for achieving this finding is grounded in comparative politics, where the analyses of institutions and political behaviors are standard approaches. The author presents the conceptual difficulties involved in the project of racial reconciliation by comparing South African Truth and Reconciliation and the demand for reparations in the United States.
Ronald Walters is Distinguished Leadership Scholar and Director, African American Leadership Program and Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland.
Written by activists and scholars of law, political science, African American studies, philosophy, economics, and history, the twenty-six essays include both previously published articles and pieces written specifically for this volume. Essays theorize the historical and legal bases of claims for redress; examine the history, strengths, and limitations of the reparations movement; and explore its relation to human rights and social justice movements in the United States and abroad. Other essays evaluate the movement’s primary strategies: legislation, litigation, and mobilization. While all of the contributors support the campaign for redress in one way or another, some of them engage with arguments against reparations.
Among the fifty-three primary documents included in the volume are federal, state, and municipal acts and resolutions; declarations and statements from organizations including the Black Panther Party and the NAACP; legal briefs and opinions; and findings and directives related to the provision of redress, from the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 to the mandate for the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Redress for Historical Injustices in the United States is a thorough assessment of the past, present, and future of the modern reparations movement.
Contributors. Richard F. America, Sam Anderson, Martha Biondi, Boris L. Bittker, James Bolner, Roy L. Brooks, Michael K. Brown, Robert S. Browne, Martin Carnoy, Chiquita Collins, J. Angelo Corlett, Elliott Currie, William A. Darity, Jr., Adrienne Davis, Michael C. Dawson, Troy Duster, Dania Frank, Robert Fullinwider, Charles P. Henry, Gerald C. Horne, Robert Johnson, Jr., Robin D. G. Kelley, Jeffrey R. Kerr-Ritchie, Theodore Kornweibel, Jr., David Lyons, Michael T. Martin, Douglas S. Massey , Muntu Matsimela , C. J. Munford, Yusuf Nuruddin, Charles J. Ogletree Jr., Melvin L. Oliver, David B. Oppenheimer, Rovana Popoff, Thomas M. Shapiro, Marjorie M. Shultz, Alan Singer, David Wellman, David R. Williams, Eric K. Yamamoto, Marilyn Yaquinto
Sharing a focus on reparations as an issue of justice, the contributors provide a historical primer of the movement; introduce the philosophical, political, economic, legal and ethical issues surrounding reparations; explain why government, corporations, universities, and other institutions must take steps to rehabilitate, compensate, and commemorate African Americans; call for the restoration of Black people’s human and civil rights and material and psychological well-being; lay out specific ideas about how reparations can and should be paid; and advance cutting-edge interpretations of the complex long-lasting effects that enslavement, police and vigilante actions, economic discrimination, and other behaviors have had on people of African descent.
Groundbreaking and innovative, Reparations and Reparatory Justice offers a multifaceted resource to anyone wishing to explore a defining moral issue of our time.
Contributors: Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, Hilary McDonald Beckles, Mary Frances Berry, Sundiata Keita Cha-Jua, Chuck Collins, Ron Daniels, V. P. Franklin, Danny Glover, Adom Gretachew, Charles Henry, Kamm Howard, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Jesse Jackson, Sr., Brian Jones, Sheila Jackson Lee, James B. Stewart, the Movement 4 Black Lives, the National African American Reparations Commission, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, the New Afrikan Peoples Organization/Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
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