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Black and White

Lofton, Wanda. Systematic Forgiveness: A Possibility for African Americans? MCS Conciliation Quarterly. Summer 1995. Pp. 5-6.

A question posed by a white woman, "Can the African American community forgive European Americans?", brought a lot of emotions at first and then a conclusion that the question was irrelevant in the mind of Wanda Lofton. She believes that African Americans have created a culture of systematic forgiveness.

The isolated incidents of racial hatred usually get a lot of media coverage, but exaggerate the role hatred plays among African Americans. According to Peter J. Paris (Wanda Lofton provides a quote from his book "The Spirituality of African People"), African people were able to overcome resentment and hatred toward Europeans because of their value of community. Building community implies forgiveness becoming an important part of people's lives.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. put forgiveness and reconciliation at the core of his ideology of civil rights movement. This was not a struggle against white people, but a struggle for a better future for both races, for the values of democracy and shared community.

Wanda Lofton hopes that while asking for forgiveness, white people will engage in systematic repentance. African Americans, by granting systematic forgiveness to European Americans, came close to reconciliation. For reconciliation to happen, European Americans should be able "to challenge themselves to repentance."

Summary by Mariya Yevsyukova


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