Evaluation of an Intergroup Apology and Conflict Resolution
This work extends research on intergroup apology by examining the influence of an apology on the willingness of low status group members to seek assistance from the high status outgroup. In line with our hypothesis, we found that under unstable status relations, Israeli Arab participants (i.e., low-status group) reported less willingness to seek dependency-oriented help from Israeli Jews (high-status group), following a formal apology by a Jewish representative. This finding is consistent with previous research reporting the reluctance to seek dependency-oriented help under unstable status relations (Halabi, Dovidio & Nadler, 2013), and research revealing that when status relations are perceived as unstable, apology by a representative of an advantaged group can arouse suspicion and mistrust among members of a disadvantaged group (Shnabel et al., 2015). Furthermore, we demonstrated that offering a formal apology might not be enough to establish intergroup relations of cooperation and trust. This is consistent with Hornsey et al., (2015), who found that victimized groups were well aware of the context and changes in the status quo that may have persuaded the perpetrator group to offer such an apology. Our results suggest that when such changes occur, offering a formal apology may be only a first step in the process of reconciliation, but certainly not an exclusive step leading to genuine change.
The present findings demonstrate further the consequences of such an apology for the type of help sought by members of a low status group, with implications for power relations between the groups. In that, they integrate previous research on the impact of an intergroup apology (Wohl, Hornsey, & Bennet, 2012) and the relation between intergroup helping and power relations (Nadler & Halabi, 2006, 2015).
Previous literature addressing the effectiveness of a formal apology in relations between victim and perpetrator groups has produced mixed findings (Blatz & Philpot, 2010; Hornsey, Wohl, & Philpot, 2015). The current findings raise more doubt regarding the role of apologies, suggesting that structural variables that may motivate high status groups to apologize (i.e., instability of hierarchy) are the same ones that may undermine the effectiveness of such apology (Shnabel et al., 2015). Formal apologies under unstable status relations where low-status group members believe they can change the existing hierarchy do not necessarily repair relationships. On the contrary, such apologies may raise suspicion of the low-status group, leading to greater reluctance to seek help from the high-status group, and to more negative reactions as a result of receiving such help.
Theoretically, a formal apology and the perceived stability of intergroup relations could combine to affect the type of assistance sought in two not mutually exclusive ways. One possibility is that when status relations are stable, members of a low status group may accept an apology from a representative of a high status group and respond in a particularly positive way. This result might occur when status relations are stable because members of a low status group may see the apology as genuine rather than manipulative. Under these conditions, in which changes in relative group status are unlikely, low status group members may be less suspicious of the motives of the high status group, and view the apology as a gesture of support and solidarity, which, as previously shown (Chernyak-Hai, Halabi, & Nadler, 2014), could make them less reluctant to seek dependency-oriented help and less motivated to pursue autonomy-oriented assistance.
The substantial difference we observed in responses to an apology as a function of the stability of group relations could also involve a particularly negative reaction to the apology when status relations are unstable. Because members of low status groups are highly vigilant to cues of bias (Vorauer, 2006) and skeptic of apologies specifically (Shnabel et al., 2015), an apology offered when status relations are unstable may exacerbate the avoidance of dependency-oriented help and preference of autonomy-oriented help, as specified by the Intergroup Helping as Status Relations model (Nadler & Halabi, 2006, 2015).
Although one would expect that an apology would ameliorate such negative consequences of intergroup helping by creating social proximity between group members that may invoke more empathic concerns that can, in turn, motivate more help giving and seeking, our study suggests a less optimistic outcome. The combination of apology with the belief that social hierarchies can be changed seems to drive the disadvantaged group to resent reliance on the advantaged outgroup’s help. Positive gestures from the advantaged group – including both apology and help – might elicit feelings of anger among them and be rejected (Harth, Hornsey, & Barlow, 2011). In that sense, the picture becomes more complicated. On one hand, we would expect that the perpetrator group to be more “ready” to offer an apology when it sees that reality is changing in terms of intergroup power relations. On the other hand, however, this apology might be perceived as a way of coping with the reality of this change, which in turn undermines the perceived sincerity of such an apology. In our view, in order for an apology to be effective in terms of facilitating genuine cooperation between groups, trust must first be established (Wohl, Hornsey, & Bennett, 2011; Halabi, Dovidio & Nadler, 2013). With trust, the apology may be perceived as more sincere, and thus generate more positive intergroup relations.
Limitations and Future Directions
Although our findings are promising, this work has several limitations. First, the measurement used for seeking dependency- or autonomy-oriented help was based on self-report in a hypothetical situation. However, direct expressions of bias are often more evident when behaviors are spontaneous or when respondents experience a high level of cognitive load (Dovidio, Kawakami, Smoak, & Gaertner, 2009). This may help illuminate the underlying motivation of participants, particularly for seeking dependency-oriented assistance from a lower-status group. Future studies should measure help seeking using other measures, in addition to self-reports.
Second, this study has examined a situation where a formal apology is given, in contrast to no apology, without considering the type of apology presented (Halabi et al., 2018). Future studies could examine the effect of different types of apologies (i.e., intergroup and interpersonal apology) on the willingness to seek help and on reconciliation while considering the condition of actively not apologizing or a neutral condition in which no apology is offered.
In addition, we note that our focus in the current study was on Arabs and Jews in Israel, groups that have a long history of tension and conflict with unique historical, cultural, and religious elements that could potentially limit the generalizability of our research to other forms of intergroup relations. Therefore, future research could examine our hypotheses in a more neutral context of relations between high and low status groups, a context that does not involve real existential conflict.
Our findings shed light on the relationship between apology, intergroup status relations, and willingness to seek help from the high-status group. It turns out that apology does not always promote reconciliation, and that the positive and negative effects of an apology depend on the circumstances (e.g. status relations and the existing relationship between the groups). These findings support further research into the field of intergroup relations, conflicts, and reconciliation.
An Analysis of Literary Devices in Kevin Rudd’s Apology
“A stiff apology is a second insult … The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt” Gilbert K. Chesterton. The art of the apology is an extremely difficult art to master, which balances on a fine line between insincere and fake. This motion turned apology became an incredible way for Kevin Rudd, the prime minister at the time, to deliver an apology that appeals to many kinds of Australian peoples namely the indigenous groups present. This motion showcases many effective techniques for a good apology such as anaphora and empathetic tone, creating a very relatable and personable feel that closely relates to the ideas of beliefs, values, and education. The Prime Minister then followed this apology with a 20 min speech on compensation for indigenous peoples. The combination of speech and apology was extremely well received by the indigenous peoples as well as Australia citizens as it was televised publicly.
Before analyzing the text some information is required on why this apology was needed and who it was mainly directed to. On February 13th, 2008 Kevin Rudd, the prime minister of Australia presented the apology to indigenous Australians while also using it as a motion to be voted on by the house. This apology was more specifically directed to the stolen generation of Australia, the generations of children that were forcibly taken away from their aboriginal families by government agencies and church missions from the 1900’s to the 1970’s. Due to such atrocities supported by the government in the past, the prime minister prior to Rudd, John Howard of the Liberal coalition party, repeatedly rejected requests for a formal government apology in fear of suggesting that they would be admitting liability. Just eight days after Rudd was appointed Prime Minister over Howard, he announced that his government would make a formal apology to Indigenous Australians, the wording in direct discussion with aboriginal leaders, a move that actually received a bipartisan consensus. After Kevin Rudd’s apology and speech the opposition, leader of the Liberal coalition Brendan Nelson, delivered a controversial speech that downplayed some important issues that the Aboriginal communities faced and a visible difference could be seen between each speakers audience as crowds watching turned their backs to him part way through his speech.
Kevin Rudd is able to mitigate some aspects of his setting in a good way. Although a government issued apology that is presented to the house is usually meant to be more formal, it actually achieves a better balance of formality because it is being televised on giant screens outside of parliament house for crowds of people. This helps the apology sound more personable and empathetic as it addresses the general public rather than just a select few in parliament. On the other hand, this apology is also formal enough to be effectively presented as a motion before the house, which was passed unanimously.
One literary device really stands out in his apology, that device being anaphora. Throughout the address, Rudd uses anaphora to deliver the mechanisms needed to try and fix the relationship between Indigenous groups and the government. Using anaphora and actually a little bit of epistrophe the apology can be analyzed as a progression of thought processes and actions. He starts by using “We reflect” referencing the stolen generations and mistreatment the continues on to a “We apologise” getting a little more specific mentioning who performed these actions and what happened to the stolen generation. From there, he transitions to the bit of epistrophe outlining the people he is apologising to and ending each phrase with “we say sorry.”. The last instance of anaphora is a very large one as he uses “A future” in six lines, where he starts to shift his speech towards the basic goals of the motion. As seen by the progression of reflection, apologising, actually saying sorry, to discussing the future of not only the Aboriginal groups in Australia, but of all the citizens of Australia as a whole, Rudd is able to fit a sort of step by step process that the country should use to actually resolve the issue instead of avoiding it like the previous Prime Minister had done.
When used in conjunction with anaphora, the specific syntax used in his apology helps emphasise and drill ideas into the audience. During this speech the phrasing or syntax is relatively short, almost choppy. Even though the sentences themselves can sometimes be very long, the use of many commas, dashes and words such as “and” create a very straightforward and easy to understand message that the audience would receive well. When anaphora is used, it separates the different ideas in the apology clearly and the specific syntax will deliver each message within each idea very concisely.
Scrutiny of Jesus and Socrates in the Gospel of Matthew and Plato’s the Apology
The Pioneers of Moral Conduct
Whenever a radical form of thinking is introduced, it always faces some form of adversity. In The Gospel of Matthew and Plato’s The Apology, both Jesus and Socrates undergo scrutiny for their profound forms of teaching. Both men were determined to share their ideals, but this persistence was not perceived well by the state. By openly challenging the ¬principles of the government, Jesus and Socrates brought a great deal of attention onto themselves and not only gained many followers, but also a great deal of enemies and both of them ended up dying by the hands of those whom they’ve challenged. Although the ultimate goal of both protagonists was to help their followers lead more fulfilling lives, their methods were unusual and rejected by those who could not comprehend their unconventional methods. They both had teaching styles and methods that were too radical and controversial, due to the fact that they both strove to reveal, rather than hide, the illusions presented by society. Instead of just allowing their followers to take the easy way out, Jesus and Socrates urged their followers to strive for the truth at any cost.
Jesus and Socrates immediately come off as a threat because they both claim that they are on a divine mission by some type of higher authority. Socrates says, “I was attached to this city by the god … as upon a great and noble horse which was somewhat sluggish because of its size and needed to be stirred up by a kind of gadfly” (30e). Socrates is saying that he was sent to the city by god to stir up trouble and cause a ruckus. Socrates is hoping to inspire others into taking action, but instead he just angers those whom he questions. Socrates says, “I proceeded systematically. I realized, to my sorrow and alarm, that I was getting unpopular” (21e). Socrates realizes that in pursuit of his mission he is becoming disliked; nevertheless, he pushes continues his mission. Jesus’ ultimate mission was that he was sent to the Earth to save humanity from sin. Jesus tells his disciples, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28). In order to do this, Jesus establishes his divine power by performing miracles, which leaves the crowd in amazement. When Jesus heals the paralytic, the people “were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings” (Matthew 9:8). The people are recognizing Jesus’ god given ability and he is starting to appear as a powerful figure. The Pharisees respond to his acts of wonder by saying, “By the ruler of the demons he casts out the demons” (Matthew 9:34). The Pharisees are taking note of his actions, and they are trying to refute his powers in defense. Usually, emperors and rulers are portrayed as a god-like figure to their subjects, and Jesus acknowledges this when he says, “They (the Pharisees) love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces” (Matthew 23:6-7). The Pharisees are being described as attention seekers and people who humble themselves based on their reputation and enjoy being honored by the people. By Jesus and Socrates claiming that they are on a divine mission and associating themselves with god, their claim to power is very controversial.
Despite claiming to have good intentions, the actions of both men suggest otherwise. When Jesus says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets” (Matthew 5:17), he declares from the beginning that he does not want to rebel against the leaders. However, we see that despite this claim, he still ends up challenging the Pharisees. When Jesus tells his disciples, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear” (Matthew 6:25), he is suggesting that his followers need not concern themselves with earthly possessions. This claim is a threat to the rulers because he is telling his followers to neglect their daily necessities and responsibility. He is also attacking the values of the elite rulers. Members of the upper class often pride themselves on being able to wear luxurious clothes and indulge in delicacies, but Jesus is denouncing the importance of these things. This is shown when Jesus tells a young man, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven” (Matthew 19:21). In response, the young man “went away grieving, for he had many possessions” (Matthew 19:22). Clearly, this young many valued his wealth and could not bear to give it up. Socrates also similarly attacks the virtues of the Athenians when he says, “Good Sir, you are an Athenian, a citizen of the greatest city with the greatest reputation for both wisdom and power; are you not ashamed of your eagerness to possess as much wealth, reputation, and honors as possible, while you do not care for nor given thought to wisdom or truth or the best possible state of your soul?” (29e). Socrates is attacking the values of the Athenian state and claiming that the people have strayed from what he thinks are the core values of the city. Socrates is jabbing at the nobility, and ridiculing their ideals. They both rebuked people of higher authority and by having a group of loyal followers, they were perceived as a threat because people were so willing to accept their ideologies.
The ultimate mistake made by Jesus and Socrates was that they both picked a fight with the wrong people. People dislike being proven wrong, and both protagonists spent their lives refuting the ideas and beliefs that the people have always believed in. Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living” (38a). Socrates urges the people of Athens to reflect upon their lives and acknowledge their weaknesses in order to improve themselves. If Jesus were around during Socrates’ time he might have agreed with Socrates. Jesus spent his life acknowledging the faults of men and teaching them right from wrong through the use of parables hoping that he could build their faith, much like how Socrates is trying to restore the virtue of the Athenians. The methods and teachings of Socrates and Jesus were too radical to those who were in power and they were perceived as a threat. Despite preaching for good conduct and the intention to improve the wellbeing of their followers, their ideas were too controversial and they appeared too powerful because of their influence. The fact that these two characters were so different in their teachings and ideals gave them a great deal of unintended power and influence but it was not enough to save either one of them from an untimely death.