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America Needs A Memorial To Slavery

3571 words - 14 pages

America Needs a Memorial to Slavery

Slavery in the United States is one of the major atrocity incidents in American history. Slavery has been abolished many, many years ago but the effects of slavery still linger in American society today. I believe America needs to reconcile for the effects of slavery, rather than slavery in general.

All around the world, there have been many atrocities devastating many people. We all understand that atrocities are horrid and inhumane, but there are few benefits from them even though this may sound disrespectful; it increases the awareness in degrees in harm if one individual possess power and how those powers are used unconsciously, by other societies. In order for victims, bystanders, and perpetrators to reconcile, it is helpful if there were some speech act used as a catalyst. The most important aspect of succeeding in a speech act is communication. The factual information must be concise, credible, and most importantly, true. For a speech act to reach out to reconciling society, it must directly change social relationships between the victimized, the world, and the perpetrator. It also needs to re-integrates the whole society, gains public acknowledgement, and provide personal and collective healing.

There are five available speech acts that we know of as of right now. They are: amnesty, storytelling, memorial, apology, and accusation in a trial. From this list, I choose memorial as the speech act towards racial reconciliation on slavery in the United States. However, all of the speech acts will not work if the majority of the countries with the atrocity are the perpetrators. Who controls the country has a significant role in societal change. Other problems might be cultural difference, willingness to succeed and listen, and the societal differences. There are many reasons why I chose memorial over the other five speech acts. I will attempt to explain why the other five acts will not succeed in accomplishing reconciliation.

Amnesty is defined as "forgiving the perpetrators on the acts they have committed". Amnesty might make perpetrators feel relieved that they are off the hook, but we, as people trying to reconcile as a whole, have to think about the victims. Amnesty not only forgives the perpetrators, it also lets them walk off as free, innocent human beings. By using amnesty, who knows if another horrible atrocity will occur in the future? The victims will not be able to completely heal themselves emotionally, and that is one big aspect we want speech acts to produce.

Amnesty, in a way, seems to pardon the perpetrator but there's a clear difference between being amnestied and pardoned. During Vietnam War, many American citizens were drafted to war. Some people resisted, and fled across the U.S. border to Canada. Those people are amnestied because the only wrong thing they did was to not fight for their country. On the other hand, Argentina's proposal of an amnesty or a pardon did not...

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