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What Can You Say?America's National Conversation on Race$
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John Hartigan Jr.

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780804763363

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804763363.001.0001

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Conversation Stoppers

Conversation Stoppers

Apologies All Around

(p.141) 5 Conversation Stoppers
What Can You Say?
Stanford University Press

This chapter centers on the role of the apology, which is considered as one of the problems with the way national conversation is played out that is most prone to change. It shows that the apology may possibly be something that people can change (i.e. through responses and expectations of people). It cites two instances that show the apparent drawbacks and dangers when people try to do something more than apologize. The first case shows the difficulty of expecting anything other than an expression of regret, while the second case studies a case when a commentator tried talking about white racism, which resulted in him being criticized for being a white racist. After looking at these two cases, the discussion then turns to the mechanics of the two apologies that were made and the grilling that resulted from these apologies. It also studies Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s model that shows how people can connect to the racial aspects of public discourse in such a way that makes it easier to understand racial thinking.

Keywords:   apology, expression of regret, white racism, white racist, Henry Louis Gates Jr, racial aspects, public discourse, racial thinking

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