Source: (2006) Rhetoric & Public Affairs. 9(2):259-278.

When I wrote “Reconciliation: Building a Bridge from Complicity to Coherence in the Rhetoric of Race Relations,” I hoped it would help spark a conversation about reconciliation among rhetoricians, so I was very gratified when it appeared as a forum piece in this journal. The gratification multiplied with the publication of responses from three eminent scholars of the rhetoric of race relations and reconciliation. I consider the affirmations and critiques offered by Kirt H. Wilson, Erik Doxtader, and Mark Lawrence McPhail essential complements and clarifications to my initial sketching of the rhetorical nature and value of reconciliation. My response to them will be twofold. On a theoretical level, I will suggest how the approach I proposed and the perspectives my respondents presented complement one another within reconciliation as a coherent tragicomic praxis; I will also respond to specific critiques of the perspective I offered and further flesh out that perspective. Parallel to this theoretical response, I will consider several proposed and actual examples of racial reconciliation’s practice, including Roy L. Brooks’s Atonement and Forgiveness: A New Model for Black Reparations. I will conclude by considering reconciliation’s hope in the United States. (excerpt)