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Race and Reconciliation in the Context of Irreparable Harms in America

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Conflict Resolution Institute

David Anderson Hooker speaks as Keynote at CRI Conference

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David Anderson Hooker Talking

Race and the Reconciliation in the Context of Irreparable Harms in America was the focus of the keynote address by David Anderson Hooker. Professor Hooker teaches the Practice of Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame, and is the President and Principal Consultant of Counter Stories Consulting.

Race is a fiction designed to assign differentials of value, said Hooker. It has no natural or biological origination. Racism, on the other hand, is very real because it has become embedded into the systems, organizations, and ecosystems in which we live. Many narratives around race have only been viewed as the truth because we have organized our lives around them—it is our work, Hooker contended, to heal trauma through the reconstruction of meaning and narratives of race.

Hooker defines peacebuilding as an interwoven set of practices that share the aim of establishing what he called RADICL identities: Identities that are "Relationally constructed, Authentic, Dignified, Interconnected (and intersectional), and Legitimated." Forming RADICL identities requires the elimination of many of the foundations that have widely been accepted as the truth.

"Each one of us exists in the moment as a collective of pure possibility," Hooker concluded. As soon as we begin to narrate and name each other, we limit this possibility. Relationships are ultimately the mechanism through which power is distributed. The task, he claimed, is to develop a narrative of a shared future, not a shared narrative of the future.

~Samantha Haas, MA 2016