Anti-racism, multiculturalism and the ethics of identification

Philosophy and Social Criticism 28 (4):419-449 (2002)
Abstract
New York University, USA In theoritical and political writings, multiculturalism is most frequently understood in the language of recognition. Multiculturalist initiatives responds to the demands of minority cultures for political and cultural recognition so long denied them with devastating effects. In this article, we argue that the politics of recognition may have implicit dangers. In so far as it is articulated as a demand placed upon a dominant group and integrally tied to the substantiation of pre-given or fixed identity, it can easily mask or even reiterate cultural hierarchization associated with Eurocentrism. We argue that it is necessary to understand recognition in terms of equal dignity; at the core of our argument is the insistence that all of us must have our potential to shape our identifications recognized by the state, such that we - and not the state - are the source of the meaning that they have to us, as individuals and as members of groups. Key Words: multiculturalism • racism • recognition • U.S. politics and culture.
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