Friday, August 9, 2019

Wu on Government Apologies Failing to Bring Closure

Another item of interest from the latest issue of the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal: Frank H. Wu (University of California, Hastings College of the Law), "Necessary But Not Sufficient: Two Case Studies of Government Apologies Failing to Bring Closure." Here's the first paragraph (citations omitted):
This short essay presents two case studies in obtaining a remedy for an historic wrong: the Congressional passage of the 1988 Civil Liberties Act, paying reparations to Japanese Americans who had been sent to internment camps during World War II; and the Senate and House issuance of Statements of Regret of 2011 and 2012, respectively, for the Chinese Exclusion Act. These examples show how a government can make progress toward its ideals by acknowledging prior errors. Yet they also reveal that such recognition, as necessary as it is for a diverse society, is not sufficient for a democratic one. Subsequent actions in each instance suggest that any lessons learned were ephemeral at best and illusory at worst.
Read on here.

-- Karen Tani