R Drew Smith


Today a sharp divide exists between Americans. Although they agree that racial harm occurred in this country’s history, they disagree about the extent of harm to be acknowledged and the means of repair to achieve justice and social healing. The United States’ history of (attempted) racial reconciliation includes initiatives by white Christians since the 1950s that formally acknowledged the sin of racism but mostly lacked corresponding political activism. The tensions and divergences between attitudinal and structural approaches to interracial cooperation that existed a half-century ago persist today. This article seeks to provide a broader, global perspective to the United States’ racial reconciliation by comparison with Rwanda and South Africa. These two countries have pursued formal expressions of remorse and acts of repair with social–healing benefits that could potentially be applied in the United States.

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