Why Apology Works

From the Greater Good Science Center: Why apology works (a 6 minute video).

And why our nation’s police need to think very deeply about it.

See my earlier posts on the importance of apology and why it must go beyond the past and into the present:


  1. Thanks for providing this video. Watching the video helped me formulate even stronger opposition to an apology for anything other than some specific act the officer/department may have committed. Any time we make a mistake we should be prepared to apologize for that error.

    This video helped me better understand the underlying assumptions that drive this desire for apology. There must first be a “transgression.” There were certainly transgressions in the past, but current officers/departments are not the transgressors. It seems that the underlying assumption is that the very existence of the police is viewed as a transgression.

    An effective apology must acknowledge the offense/accept responsibility for that offense. Recognizing the brutal realities of the past is important, but current actors are not responsible for that past.

    Another underlying assumption of this drive for an apology seems to be related to the desire to punish the offender. Most of those offenders are now dead or at the very least long since retired. It is immoral to seek to punish by proxy. If my next door neighbor’s deceased father harmed my ancestors is it right for me to punish my neighbor?

    Apologize for what you have done that is wrong. Recognize and educate about the brutal realities of the past. Police.


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