Racial Reconciliation

Globally, reconciliation has offered a powerful path toward political and cultural progress. Most visibly, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa directly confronted the denial of Black humanity by the white state. “Reconciliation required acknowledging and atoning for the wrong done — asking for their victims’ forgiveness while resolving never to repeat the wrongs and working to restore their victims to full humanity as fellow citizens,” notes Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò, professor and chair of the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University.


But what happens if a government never comes to terms with its structural racism, past and present? In the wake of continuous violence perpetrated by the U.S. state, reconciliation has surged as a critical strategy t [...]

Examples

Title
Author
Organization
California Truth & Healing Council
The Governor’s Office of the Tribal Advisor
Maryland Lynching Memorial Project
Racial Equity and Reconciliation Initiative: Initial Report
City of Long Beach, CA
Is It Time for Truth and Reconciliation in the U.S.?
Yasmeen Wafai
YES! Magazine
The Black Women’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Sexual Assault
Farah Tannis, Sevonna Brown, et al.
Black Women’s Blueprint: Building Power With Black Women & Girls
Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Reports
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation: Greater Chicago Strategic Framework Synopsis
TRHT Greater Chicago’s Design Teams, Leadership Advisory Committee, Consultant Team, and Woods Fund Chicago
We Are the People We Have Been Waiting For: Equipping Communities to Heal Themselves
William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, University of Mississippi
Challenging the Conventional: Can Truth Commissions Strengthen Peace Processes?
Eduardo González, Elena Naughton, and Félix Reátegui
International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ); Kofi Annan Foundation
Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report: Executive Summary
C. Brown, P. Clark, Dr. M. Jost, et al.
Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Lessons in Truth Seeking: International Experiences Informing U.S. Initiatives
Lisa Magarrell and Blaz Gutierrez
International Center for Transitional Justice
Monument Avenue Commission Report
Office of the Mayor and City Council, City of Richmond, VA
Response of Brown University to the Report of the Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice
Brown University
Slavery and Justice
Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice
Brown University
Southern Truth And Reconciliation: Narrative Summaries & Chart
Lenehn Ricks, Courtney Glass, Jeremy Skinner, and Sylvia Dove
University of Maryland School of Law

Practices

Title
Author
Organization
What Truth and Reconciliation Looks Like in Practice
Valerie Vande Panne
Next City
Bryan Stevenson on How America Can Heal
Ezra Klein
Vox
Community Reconciliation Through Facilitated Dialogue & Restorative Justice
Julie Andrus, Ken Dowes, and Mark Umbreit
Andrus Family Fund, Board Exploration Triad (BET) H
Community Reconciliation: Promising Practices & Strategic Choices
Juan Sepulveda, Carra Cote, Ann Williams, and Peter Voorhees
Andrus Family Fund, Board Exploration Triad (BET) G
Re-imagining and Restoring Justice: Toward a Truth and Reconciliation Process to Address Violence Against African-Americans in the United States
Fania Davis with Carl Stauffer
Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice
Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation
W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U)

Resources

Title
Author
Organization
Repairing the Past: What the United States Can Learn from the Global Transitional Justice Movement
Fernando Travesí
Skoll
We Have to Let White Supremacy Die in Order to Truly Live
George Yancy
Truthout
Can a Strong Message of Justice and Inclusion Lead to a Political Transition in Venezuela?
Cristián Correa
International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)
The Best Way to Respond to Our History of Racism? A Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò
The Washington Post
Position Statement on Reconciliation
William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation
Truth and Reconciliation Efforts in the United States
Lenehn Ricks, Courtney Glass, Jeremy Skinner, and Sylvia Dove
University of Maryland School of Law

Tools

Title
Author
Organization
Racial Truth & Reconciliation: Resources & Definitions
Chloe Edwards
Voices for Virginia’s Children
Confronting Slavery in Your Family’s History
Susan Hutchison
Coming to the Table
Healing Together: Addressing Slavery In Our Family’s History
Ann Holmes Redding, Ph.D., and Pat Russell, Psy. D.
Coming to the Table
Oral History Guidelines
April Grayson
Revisiting The History Of Enslavement In The United States: A Curriculum Guide For Engagement And Transformation
Ann Holmes Redding, Ph.D., and Pat Russell, Psy. D.
Coming to the Table
The Closer to the Truth Project: Facilitation and Dialogue Guide
Active Voice; Longnook Pictures
Transforming Historical Harms
David Anderson Hooker and Amy Potter Czajkowski
Coming to the Table
Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation: Creating Public Sentiment
Gail C. Christopher
National Civic Review; W. K. Kellogg Foundation




“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

~ Maya Angelou, Poet, Author, and Activist
















SPOTLIGHT

Hawaii: The Stolen Paradise – Reel Truth History

Also in this section:
  • Addressing Trauma and Healing

  • Caucus and Affinity Groups

  • Community Organizing

  • Hate Crimes Prevention and Response

  • Narrative Change

  • Training and Popular Education

  • Advocacy

  • Community Building

  • Conflict Transformation and Restorative Justice

  • Leadership Development

  • Organizational Change Process

  • Youth Activism and Intergenerational Work

  • Arts and Culture

  • Community Engagement

  • Dialogue and Deliberation

  • Multicultural Competency

  • Policy and Legislative Change

GLOSSARY

Anti-Racist

An anti-racist is someone who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing antiracist ideas. This includes the expression of ideas that racial groups are equals and do not need developing, and supporting policies that reduce racial inequity. 


SOURCE:  Ibram X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist, Random House, 2019.

Caucusing (Affinity Groups)

A caucus is an intentionally created space for those who share an identity to convene for learning, support, and connections. Caucuses based on racial identity are often comprised, respectively, of people of color, white people, people who hold multiracial identities, or people who share specific racial or ethnic identities.


To advance racial equity, there is work for white people and people of color to do separately and together. Caucuses provide spaces for people to work within their own racial/ethnic groups. For white people, a caucus provides time and space to work explicitly and intentionally on understanding white culture and white privilege and to increase one’s critical analysis around these concepts. A white caucus also puts the onus on white people to teach each other about these ideas, rather than placing a burden on people of color to teach them. For people of color, a caucus is a place to work with peers to address the impact of racism, to interrupt experiences of internalized racism, and to create a space for healing and working for individual and collective liberation. At times, people of color may also break into more specific race-based caucuses, sometimes based on experiences with a particular issue, for example police violence, immigration, or land rights. Groups that use caucuses in their organizational racial equity work, especially in workplaces and coalitions, generally meet separately and create a process to rejoin and work together collectively.


SOURCE:  RacialEquityTools.org (ACT / Strategies / Caucus and Affinity Groups)


Related Resources:  Caucus and Affinity Groups

Location: ACT / Strategies

Implicit Bias

Also known as unconscious or hidden bias, implicit biases are negative associations that people unknowingly hold. They are expressed automatically, without conscious awareness. Many studies have indicated that implicit biases affect individuals’ attitudes and actions, thus creating real-world implications, even though individuals may not even be aware that those biases exist within themselves. Notably, implicit biases have been shown to trump individuals’ stated commitments to equality and fairness, thereby producing behavior that diverges from the explicit attitudes that many people profess. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) is often used to measure implicit biases with regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, and other topics.


SOURCE:  Cheryl Staats, State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review 2013, Kirwan Institute, The Ohio State University. 


Related Resources:  Implicit Bias

Location: ACT / Communicating

Microaggression

The everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.


SOURCE:  Derald Wing Sue, PhD, “Microaggressions: More than Just Race” (Psychology Today, 17 November 2010).


Related Resources:  Racism (scroll down alphabetically to the box for “Interpersonal Racism”)

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

Multicultural Competency

A process of learning about and becoming allies with people from other cultures, thereby broadening our own understanding and ability to participate in a multicultural process. The key element to becoming more culturally competent is respect for the ways that others live in and organize the world and an openness to learn from them.


SOURCE:  Paul Kivel, “Multicultural Competence” (2007).


Related Resources:  Multicultural Competency

Location: ACT / Strategies

Power

  1. Power is unequally distributed globally and in U.S. society; some individuals or groups wield greater power than others, thereby allowing them greater access and control over resources. Wealth, whiteness, citizenship, patriarchy, heterosexism, and education are a few key social mechanisms through which power operates. Although power is often conceptualized as power overother individuals or groups, other variations are power with (used in the context of building collective strength) and power within (which references an individual’s internal strength). Learning to “see” and understand relations of power is vital to organizing for progressive social change.

  2. Power may also be understood as the ability to influence others and impose one’s beliefs. All power is relational, and the different relationships either reinforce or disrupt one another. The importance of the concept of power to anti-racism is clear: racism cannot be understood without understanding that power is not only an individual relationship but a cultural one, and that power relationships are shifting constantly. Power can be used malignantly and intentionally, but need not be, and individuals within a culture may benefit from power of which they are unaware.

  3. (A) The ability to name or define. (B) The ability to decide. (C) The ability the set the rule, standard, or policy. (D) The ability to change the rule, standard, or policy to serve your needs, wants, or desires. (E) The ability to influence decision makers to make choices in favor of your cause, issue, or concern. Each of these definitions can manifest on personal, social, institutional, or structural levels:  

  • Personal Power - 1. Self-determination. 2. Power that an individual possesses or builds in their personal life and interpersonal relationships.  

  • Social Power - 1. Communal self-determination. 2. A grassroots collective organization of personal power. 3. Power that social groups possess or build among themselves to determine and shape their collective lives.  

  • Institutional Power - 1. Power to create and shape the rules, policies, and actions of an institution. 2. To have institutional power is to be a decision maker or to have great influence upon a decision maker of an institution.  

  • Structural Power - To have structural power is to create and shape the rules, policies, and actions that govern multiple and intersecting institutions or an industry.


SOURCE: 

  1. Intergroup Resources, “Power” (2012).

  2. Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre, “Racism and Power” (2018) / “CARED Glossary” (2020).

  3. Our Shared Language: Social Justice Glossary, YWCA (2016).

Racial Healing

To restore to health or soundness; to repair or set right; to restore to spiritual wholeness.


SOURCE:  Michael R. Wenger, Racial Equity Resource Guide (W.K. Kellogg Foundation, 2012).


Related Resources:  Addressing Trauma and Healing and Trauma, Violence, and Healing

Locations: ACT / Strategies and PLAN / Issues

Racial Reconciliation

Reconciliation involves three ideas. First, it recognizes that racism in America is both systemic and institutionalized, with far–reaching effects on both political engagement and economic opportunities for minorities. Second, reconciliation is engendered by empowering local communities through relationship-building and truth-telling. Lastly, justice is the essential component of the conciliatory process—justice that is best termed as restorative rather than retributive, while still maintaining its vital punitive character.


SOURCE:  The William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, Position Statement on Reconciliation (2014).


Related Resources:  Racial Reconciliation

Location: ACT / Strategies

Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice is a theory of justice that emphasizes repairing the harm caused by crime and conflict. It places decisions in the hands of those who have been most affected by a wrongdoing, and gives equal concern to the victim, the offender, and the surrounding community. Restorative responses are meant to repair harm, heal broken relationships, and address the underlying reasons for the offense. Restorative Justice emphasizes individual and collective accountability. Crime and conflict generate opportunities to build community and increase grassroots power when restorative practices are employed.


SOURCE:  The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), “Glossary.”


Related Resources:  Conflict Transformation and Restorative Justice

Location: ACT / Strategies

White Supremacy Culture

  1. White Supremacy Culture refers to the dominant, unquestioned standards of behavior and ways of functioning embodied by the vast majority of institutions in the United States. These standards may be seen as mainstream, dominant cultural practices; they have evolved from the United States’ history of white supremacy. Because it is so normalized it can be hard to see, which only adds to its powerful hold. In many ways, it is indistinguishable from what we might call U.S. culture or norms – a focus on individuals over groups, for example, or an emphasis on the written word as a form of professional communication. But it operates in even more subtle ways, by actually defining what “normal” is – and likewise, what “professional,” “effective,” or even “good” is. In turn, white culture also defines what is not good, “at risk,” or “unsustainable.” White culture values some ways of thinking, behaving, deciding, and knowing – ways that are more familiar and come more naturally to those from a white, western tradition – while devaluing or rendering invisible other ways. And it does this without ever having to explicitly say so...

  2. An artificial, historically constructed culture which expresses, justifies, and binds together the United States white supremacy system. It is the glue that binds together white-controlled institutions into systems and white-controlled systems into the global white supremacy system.


SOURCE:

1. Gita Gulati-Partee and Maggie Potapchuk, “Paying Attention to White Culture and Privilege: A Missing Link to Advancing Racial Equity” (The Foundation Review vol. 6: issue 1, 2014).

2. Sharon Martinas and the Challenging White Supremacy Workshop, 4th revision (1995).


Related Resources:  Organizational Change Process (see the first section: “Addressing White Dominant Culture”)

Location: ACT / Strategies