Source: (2000) Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law. 7:195.
Though race relations have improved in the last century in the United States, attitudes about race remain one of the most daunting challenges for the country. Jamie Wacks asserts that the federal government should create a distinct forum in which individuals can tell their own stories about race. The aim would be to uncover ideas about racism and to acknowledge the pain and harm resulting from racism. This public effort to acknowledge racism and its effects would facilitate reconciliation between individuals of different races. Design of the forum should draw from some of the psychological and narrative theories that in part influenced the design of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In this paper, Wacks describes the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, with emphasis on psychological and narrative theories behind its design; explains the need for an extralegal forum in the U.S. for dealing with racism; and proposes how such a forum would operate.
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