1.21.2009

Next Question

I was going to do another post about "race" in America, race relations, justice, etc. It started this way:

"I'm sorry about slavery."

What does that statement mean? If I white person were to say it to a black person in America, could it possibly be offensive? Does it matter if the white person is acquainted with the black person? Is it like saying to someone who has stubbed their toe, "Sorry you stubbed your toe?" Or is it like saying to someone you've bumped into inconsiderately, "Sorry about bumping into you?" Or is it like saying to someone whose child you ran over while drunk driving, "Sorry I ran your child over while drunk driving?"

But I've decided that I'm through with it for a while, especially on my blog. Today I feel that I have not heard an earnest word spoken about race in my entire life -- least of all in academic discourse. It is a failed game of accusation and unapologetic refusal, or of innuendo and self-flagellation, or of grace and misunderstanding. I'm moving on until someone says something I need to hear.

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