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America's Atonement

Racial Pain, Recovery Rhetoric, and the Pedagogy of Healing -- 2nd Edition


Aaron David Gresson III

The second edition of America’s Atonement: Racial Pain, Recovery Rhetoric, and the Pedagogy of Healing argues that racial pain is a driving force in contemporary race relations and is especially prevalent in social discourses on identity, fairness, and social justice. Despite its importance, racial pain is too often glossed over as mundane or disingenuous. For this reason, social justice activism and education are in danger of undermining the needs and opportunities to more effectively convey what has been called «difficult knowledge». This book highlights emergent examples of psychic and relational healing.
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Chapter 5. Mediating White Pain: Ritual Recovery, Yellow Ribbons, and Patriotic Wars


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Ritual Recovery, Yellow Ribbons, and Patriotic Wars

The war in Vietnam threatened to tear our society apart. And the political and philosophical disagreements that animated each side continue to some extent. It has been said that these memorials reflect a hunger for healing. Well, I don’t know if perfect healing ever occurs, but I know that sometimes when a bone is broken, if it knits together well, it will in the end be stronger than if it had not been broken. I believe that in the decade since Vietnam the healing has begun. And I hope that before my days as Commander in Chief are over the process will be complete.

– Ronald Reagan (1984: 1825–1826)

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