Diversity, Color-Blindness, and Other Hegemonic Discourses

Social Philosophy Today 24:91-105 (2008)
Abstract
In this paper I will examine the ways in which concepts and ideas that are used for emancipatory purposes eventually backfire and are used to perpetuate systems of domination. Part of my argument will be based on Herbert Marcuse’s essay “Repressive Tolerance.” In this essay, Marcuse examines the way in which the concept of tolerance, which has its origin in the struggle for liberation, is used by members of dominant social groups to advocate for tolerance of their oppressive views. Following Marcuse’s lead, I will argue that almost all emancipatory ideas, particularly diversity and color-blindness in this context, can be co-opted by the dominant social group and used to further domination. I will argue that even our best emancipatory concepts are formed within the context of a hegemonic discourse that alters their meaning and use
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