I posted this at the N&R site in response to this letter:
Leonard Pitts had an interesting take on collective guilt and apologies when he spoke here earlier this year.
He pointed out that people have no trouble with collective pride -- say, the feeling we might get when viewing the famous image of the Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima, even if we were born long after the fact and never wore a uniform -- and that the converse might thus also be relevant.
He also said that it's important, having processed unpleasant history, to move on and not let it fester as anger or as guilt.
I take pride and interest in things that happened in Greensboro before I was born, from the Battle of Guilford Courthouse to the Underground Railroad to the Sit-ins.
I was 17 when the killings happened in 1979, I don't have any direct apology to make.
But clearly that day and the outcome of the subsequent trials left some people feeling that not all neighborhoods are served equally by the cops, and that justice is meted out unevenly in Greensboro. That's a big part of what needs to be reconciled, and it's a big part of the value of this flawed but interesting process and report.