Source: (2003) Rhetoric & Public Affairs. 6(4): 737-764.

Race relations "racial inequality and racial antagonism" remain a significant problem in the United States, writes John Hatch. Concurrently, there is an international trend toward interethnic and interracial reconciliation, as witnessed in South Africa, Australia, Ireland, and other countries. Initiatives to overcome ethnic and racial conflicts have included such measures as public confession, apology, forgiveness, and even reparation in some cases. One commentator on the subject of race, Mark Lawrence McPhail, has briefly noted the potential value and validity of racial reconciliation in light of his theory of "rhetoric as coherence." Yet, he has not explored this idea in depth. In response, Hatch in this article aims to show that public intergroup reconciliation can constitute a substantial "not merely verbal" rhetorical bridge between the reality of racism and McPhail's ideal of coherence. Hatch calls this coherent reconciliation --- reconciliation consisting not of mere rhetoric -- but of efforts to build a solidly grounded bridge from a racist past to a more just and harmonious interracial future.