On U.s. Lynching: Remembrance, apology, and reconciliation
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy in the Contemporary World 14 (1):88-98 (2007)
This paper considers the philosophical links between remembrance, apology, and reconciliation, as they pertain to Senate Resolution 39, which apologizes to the victims of lynching and their descendants. Although S. Res. 39 is admirable in its attempts to remember the senate’s role in supporting lynching by its failure to enact legislation, the resolution fails as an apology because it does not adequately support reconciliation. An adequate apology would require acts to ameliorate the harms that the past failures created, but S. Res. 39 is written in such a way that no action is required of the senate. This paper concludes by considering Congressman John Conyers, Jr.’s bill, H.R. 40: Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act. This bill takes the necessary steps to normalize American race relations, and if considered alongside of S. Res. 39, these two bills could lead to a more adequate understanding of the connection between remembrance, apology, and reconciliation
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