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racism, restorative justice, racial reconciliation, reparations, social work, white privilege
The United States is a divided nation on many fronts; but, race seems to be particularly divisive. This is not surprising since race was created to divide the masses to be conquered by the few. This conquest allowed the foundation of the nation’s social, political, and economic structures to be rooted in the institution of a unique form of slavery based on the fabricated characteristic of race. Racism (i.e., racial oppression and white racial privilege) is a dehumanizing force. When one is dehumanized, all are dehumanized. To restore the promise of life, liberty and justice for all, racial reconciliation efforts must restore humanity by addressing the harm in racial disharmony. In considering the issue of racial reconciliation in the US and focusing on social work responses within a Christian context, this paper: 1) explores foundational concepts pertinent to developing a rigorous and coherent definition of racial reconciliation; 2) develops the steps for the process of racial reconciliation efforts grounded in the conceptual model of anti-racism critical transformative potential (TP), and framed by restorative justice principles; and 3) examines how Christian and/or social work practitioners can participate in racial reconciliation efforts.
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