One of the oldest meanings of the word, “reconciliation” is “a place of meeting.” This stresses that overcoming alienation requires coming together. If we are to deepen understanding so that processes of reconciliation might begin, we must establish and come together in public and private places.
This emphasis on being present and interactive with one another reminds us that we cannot approach the overcoming alienation only by reading books or viewing documentaries about race and racism. When people have not had relationships with persons from another racial group, their understanding is impersonal. Knowledge about another is then formed through positive and negative impressions based on reports. The knowledge may be laudatory of another race still it fails to capture a deeper knowing that comes from sustained interpersonal communication – a knowing that is fundamental to personal and systemic transformation.
From “Living Into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism in America” by Catherine Meeks – Morehouse Publishing