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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 7. Toward a Psychopedagogy of Healing: Mourning and Mending Difference in the New Millennium


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Mourning and Mending Difference in the New Millennium

These sentiments are grounded in a fundamentally optimistic view of human history and character, a belief in our potential as a species to overcome through discourse the divisions and differences that separate us from our better natures, and from the spiritual and material coherence of beloved community. That potential, however, realized perhaps most powerfully in the possibility of racial reconciliation, remains elusive: indeed, the shift from traditional to modern or symbolic racism, from the rhetorics of redemption and reconciliation that destroyed the nation’s first reconstruction and derailed its second, to the more subtle and insidious rhetorics of racial recovery, reversal and resistance, that have come to dominate public discourse on the subject of race, compels us to revisit the rhetoric of racism and rethink the politics of complicity.

– Mark Lawrence McPhail (2009: 2)

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