The words `racist' and `racism' have become so overused that they nowconstitute obstacles to understanding and interracial dialogue aboutracial matters. Instead of the current practice of referring tovirtually anything that goes wrong or amiss with respect to race as`racism,' we should recognize a much broader moral vocabulary forcharacterizing racial ills â racial insensitivity, racial ignorance,racial injustice, racial discomfort, racial exclusion. At the sametime, we should fix on a definition of `racism' that is continuouswith its historical usage, and (...) avoids conceptual inflation. Isuggest two basic, and distinct, forms of racism that meet thiscondition â antipathy racism and inferiorizing racism. We should alsorecognize that not all racially objectionable actions are done froma racist motive, and that not all racial stereotypes are racist. (shrink)
Since its original 1996 publication,Jorge Garcia''s ``The Heart of Racism'''' has beenwidely reprinted, a testimony to its importanceas a distinctive and original analysis ofracism. Garcia shifts the standard framework ofdiscussion from the socio-political to theethical, and analyzes racism as essentially avice. He represents his account asnon-revisionist (capturing everyday usage),non-doxastic (not relying on belief),volitional (requiring ill-will), and moralized(racism is always wrong). In this paper, Icritique Garcia''s analysis, arguing that hedoes in fact revise everyday usage, that hisaccount does tacitly (...) rely on belief, thatill-will is not necessary for racism, and thata moralized account gets both the scope and thedynamic of racism wrong. While I do not offeran alternative positive account myself, Isuggest that traditional left-wing structuralanalyses are indeed superior. (shrink)
Racist beliefs express value judgments. According to an influential view, value judgments are subjective, and not amenable to rational adjudication. In contrast, we argue that the value judgments expressed in, for example, racist beliefs, are false and objectively so. Our account combines a naturalized, philosophical account of meaning inspired by Donald Davidson, with a prominent social-psychological theory of values pioneered by the social-psychologist Milton Rokeach. We use this interdisciplinary approach to show that, just as with beliefs expressing descriptive judgments, beliefs (...) expressing value judgments have empirical content, or can be inferentially linked to beliefs that do; the truth or falsity of that content can be objectively assigned; and that assignment is amenable to rational assessment. While versions of this objective view of value judgments have been defended by moral realists of various metaphysical stripes, our argument has the virtue of appealing, instead, to accounts that are as naturalistically informed as possible. And, unlike the influential subjective view of value judgments, and racist beliefs more particularly, our arguments are better able to account for instances where rational, persuasive strategies have been effective in reducing the ubiquity of racism in American culture. (shrink)
Many people are talking about being in a post-racial era, which implies that we have overcome race and racism. Their argument is based on the fact that manyof the virulent manifestations of racism are not prevalent today. I argue that racism is not seen as prevalent today because the commonplace views of racism fail to capture the more subtle and insidious new forms of racism. I critically examine some of these views and indicate that (...) class='Hi'>racism, its forms and manifestations have changed over time. As such, racism may not be manifested in the standard obvious negative behaviors that people know and expect, but instead, it is manifested in even positive behaviors that the commonplace views may not identify as racism. I offer a view of racism that captures the new subtle forms of racism today, which are not as harmful and invidious as the older forms. Simply because the new forms of racism are not as obvious or harmful, this does not mean that racism no longer exists. (shrink)
This paper addresses racism from a phenomenological viewpoint. Its main task is, ultimately, to show that racism as a process of “negative socialization” does not amount to a contingent deficiency that simply disappears under the conditions of a fully integrated society. In other words, I suspect that racism does not only indicate a lack of integration, solidarity, responsibility, recognition, etc.; rather, that it is, in its extraordinary negativity, a socially constitutive phenomenon per se . After suggesting phenomenology’s (...) potential to tackle the question of racism, I will focus on the experiential oppressiveness of racism, i.e., the ways in which it affects its victims’ lived experiences, in transforming their habitual ways of life and, finally, their subjectivities. My major thesis is that racism works via both inter-kinaesthetically as well as symbolically inflicted distortions of the victim’s body schema. As such a process of “negative socialization,” racism, however, influences the embodied self-conception of the oppressor, who finds himself compelled to adhere to some kind of invisible norm such as, e.g., “whiteness.”. (shrink)
Some of the literature about teaching issues of race and racism in classrooms has addressed matters of audience. Zeus Leonardo, for example, has argued that teachers should use the language of white domination, rather than white privilege, when teaching about race and racism because the former language presupposes a minority audience, while the latter addresses an imaginary or presupposed white one. However, there seems to be little discussion in the literature about teaching these issues to an audience that (...) is in fact predominantly minority. Leonardo assumes that minority students need little convincing about the reality of white domination, but students of color are not a monolithic group. The paper addresses some specific challenges the author has faced teaching theories of white domination to a predominantly minority student audience in New York City. Leonardo is right that audience matters, but audience turns out to matter in ways that defy common assumptions. (shrink)
Today dominative power operates apart from, and exterior to, those state governmentalities that the "body politics" of Stanley Hauerwas disavows as "constantinian" entanglements such as military service, governmental office, and conspicuous expressions of civil religion. This is especially true with respect to those biopolitical modalities David Theo Goldberg names as "racelessness," by which material inequalities are racially correlated, thereby allowing whiteness to mediate life and ration death. If, as Hauerwas contends, radical ecclesiology is indeed a theopolitical alternative to the nation–state's (...) politics of violence, then it must prove itself resistant to such racialized violence. However, inasmuch as the (largely) uncontested fact of ecclesial segregation recapitulates these broader stratifications and exclusions, the church functions as a passive civil religion and itself participates in the politics of "nonviolent violence." Thus, Hauerwas must do something that he has been reluctant to do. He must talk about race and racism more directly, specifying how his ecclesiological theopolitics resists such forms of violence; more importantly, he must demonstrate how actual ecclesial congregations instantiate such resistance. In short, to be truly nonviolent, Hauerwas's body politics must become a politics of bodies. (shrink)
That the issue of racism is a pressing social concern which requires serious and detailed attention is, for ethnomethodology, not a first principle from which its own inquiry is launched but rather a matter to be considered in light of how mundane actors (both professional and lay) treat that very topic. This paper explores how the assumption of an ontological distinction between social structure and individual agency is integral to the intelligibility of racism as formulated in scholarly accounts. (...) In particular, I explore how recent scholarly treatments of racism pose as problematic the diverse formulations of racial identity assembled through the deployment of various measures, and then seek to adjudicate upon the resulting inconsistency with an analytic heuristic that assumes an underlying or foundational source for the various expressions it seeks to resolve. Further, I explore examples of analytic work that makes use of first-person accounts of racially significant episodes and experiences as a means to document the formulation of the events and actions those accounts describe in terms that warrant a reading informed by the assumption of the structure-agency distinction. I relate the corroborative work that takes place in the research relationships between students and teachers with ethnomethodology’s own project to explore how the efficaciousness of analytic readings of racism entail the pervasive assumption of the structure-agency distinction in order to be rendered them with the sense they have for the various participants involved. (shrink)
Tamar Gendler argues that, for those living in a society in which race is a salient sociological feature, it is impossible to be fully rational: members of such a society must either fail to encode relevant information containing race, or suffer epistemic costs by being implicitly racist. However, I argue that, although Gendler calls attention to a pitfall worthy of study, she fails to conclusively demonstrate that there are epistemic (or cognitive) costs of being racist. Gendler offers three supporting phenomena. (...) First, implicit racists expend cognitive energy repressing their implicit biases. I reply, citing Ellen Bialystok’s research, that constant use of executive functioning can be beneficial. Second, Gendler argues that awareness of a negative stereotype of one’s own race with regard to a given task negatively affects one’s performance of that task. This phenomenon, I argue, demonstrates that those against whom the stigma is directed suffer costs, but it fails to demonstrate that the stigmatizers suffer cognitively. Finally, Gendler argues that racists are less competent when recognizing faces of other races than when recognizing faces of their own race because, in the first instance, they encode the race of the face (taking up cognitive space that could have been used to encode fine-grained distinctions), whereas in the second instance they encode no race. I argue that in-group/out-group categorization rather than racism is the cognitive cost. I conclude that Gendler has failed to demonstrate that there are cognitive costs associated with being a racist. (shrink)
This controversial book is an impassioned African response to the racial stereotyping of African people and people of African descent by prominent white scholars. It highlights how the media contributes to the growth of racist ideas, particularly in reporting current events in Africa, and demonstrates how some of America’s most revered intellectuals cloak racist ideologies in ostensibly egalitarian discourses. The author seeks to rewrite the image of 'race' in order to show the damage racism can cause serious scholarship.
Who are the gatekeepers in bioethics? Does editorial bias or institutional racism exist in leading bioethics journals? We analyzed the composition of the editorial boards of 14 leading bioethics journals by country. Categorizing these countries according to their Human Development Index (HDI), we discovered that approximately 95 percent of editorial board members are based in (very) high-HDI countries, less than 4 percent are from medium-HDI countries, and fewer than 1.5 percent are from low-HDI countries. Eight out of 14 leading (...) bioethics journals have no editorial board members from a medium- or low-HDI country. Eleven bioethics journals have no board members from low-HDI countries. This severe underrepresentation of bioethics scholars from developing countries on editorial boards suggests that bioethics may be affected by institutional racism, raising significant questions about the ethics of bioethics in a global context. (shrink)
Sociological explanations of racism tend to concentrate on the structures and dynamics of modern life that facilitate discrimination and hierarchies of inequality. In doing so, they often fail to address why racial hatred arises (as opposed to how it arises) as well as to explain why it can be so visceral and explosive in character. Bringing together sociological perspectives with psychoanalytic concepts and tools, this text offers a clear, accessible and thought-provoking synthesis of varieties of theory, with the aim (...) of clarifying the complex character of racism, discrimination and social exclusion in the contemporary world. (shrink)
I analyze Hegel’s conception of nationality in order to make clear how he conceives the precise relation between the state and religion. This analysis also allows me to draw conclusions about whether Hegel can be considered racist or Eurocentric. My project involves understanding nationality as Hegel presents it in the anthropology: viz., as a form of spirit immersed in nature and closely related to geography. The geographical features of a nation’s land are reflected in its national religion; its nation-state is (...) a positive expression of this national religion; national religion further functions to reconcile a nation to the particular positive character of its nation-state. Yet as nation-states clash and collapse in history (i.e. the state proper), an absolute (non-national) religion emerges which reconciles its adherents not to the positive form of a certain nation-state, but to the state proper, i.e. the course of world history: this is “Christianity.” Christianity is not a national religion, tied to a certain part of the natural world, but, oddly, it does emerge with a certain peculiar ‘nation’: the “Germans.” Contrary to appearances, the “Germans” for Hegel are necessarily not a nation or race in the traditional sense, because as the vehicle for the absolute religion, their ‘nationality’ is not a form of spirit immersed in nature. Instead, the “Germans” (the apex of history) are beyond race and nationality. Any representation of the “Germans” as exclusively white or European, by Hegel or anyone else, is thus false: the “German” and “Christian” spirit is really just the modern spirit, which is necessarily trans-racial and trans-national. (shrink)
This article focuses on the role that distorted Christian theology played in the construction of the racial ideologies of Nazism and Apartheid. The central theoretical argument is that these theologies were instrumental in sacralising the history of a specific group by creating origin myths, by idolising the ingroup, defining the outgroup, by providing racist ideologies with rituals and symbols and by creating final utopian solutions. The theological doctrines that were used are characterised by certain common features, such as a collectivist (...) anthropology, the identification of the church with an ethnic group, the view of history as a source of revelation, and the appropriation of myths. The article concludes with the remark that the modern global environment is particularly vulnerable to racism. It is therefore important for Christianity to clearly identify the common characteristics of pseudo-racist theology and to educate its adherents on the difference between authentic theology and pseudo-theology, so that they will not fall prey to destructive forms of religion that encourage racism. (shrink)
If racism is a matter of possessing racist beliefs, then it would seem that its cure involves purging one’s mind of all racist beliefs. But the truth is more complicated, and does not permit such a straightforward strategy. Racist beliefs are resistant to subjective repudiation, and even those that are so repudiated are resistant to lasting expulsion from one’s belief system. Moreover, those that remain available for use in cognition can shape thought and behavior even in the event that (...) one has recognized their falsehood. Yet if one is intent upon combating the racism within one’s mind, one is not without effective cognitive countermeasures that can render one’s racist beliefs ineffectual. (shrink)
This paper reviews the argument by Peter Singer that speciesism, the exploitation of other species without regard for their interests, is as morally objectionable as racism and sexism. Objections to this argument by philosophers such as Peter Carruthers, Mary Midgley, and Cora Diamond as well as conventional wisdom about notions of species differences are presented and critically examined. I conclude that Alaine Locke would have supported Singer's expansion of the moral circle.
Is racism in the United States alive and well? Do African Americans still experience alienation and social injustice because of racism? What are the various proposals that have been tendered by conservatives and liberals for overcoming racism? Can interracial coalitions be used as an effective tool for combating racism? I attempt to answer these questions in part by offering an analysis of Cornel West''s interracial coalition proposal in Race Matters.
At the end of a chapter in his book Race, Racism and Reparations, Angelo Corlett notes that “[t]here remain other queries about racism [than those he addressed in his chapter], which need philosophical exploration. … Perhaps most important, how might racism be unlearned?” (2003, 93). We agree with Corlett’s assessment of its importance, but find that philosophers have not been very keen to directly engage with the issue of how to best deal with, and ultimately do away (...) with, racism. Rather, they have tended to make cursory remarks about the issue at the end of papers devoted to defining “racism” or attempting to capture the essence of racism itself. In this article, we put the issue of how to best deal with racism front and center. We need not start from scratch, however. Despite not being central to many philosophical discussions about race, a number of different strategies for dealing with racism have been suggested. To that end, we have identified three of the most concrete proposals made by philosophers and social theorists, each of which seeks to mitigate racism by inducing psychological changes in individuals.2 For each, we formulate the.. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
This paper uses tools of philosophical analysis critically to examine accounts of the nature of racism that have recently been offered by writers including existentialist philosopher Lewis Gordon, conservative theorist Dinesh D'Souza, and sociologists Michael Omi and Howard Winant. These approaches, which conceive of racism either as a bad-faith choice to believe, a doctrine, or as a type of 'social formation', are found wanting for a variety of reasons, especially that they cannot comprehend some forms of (...) class='Hi'>racism. I propose an account that conceives racism chiefly as a motivational/volitional matter, in short, as a form of moral viciousness. I show how this approach offers a unified account that comprises inter alia individual and institutional racism, expressed and unexpressed racism. I point out advantages that my view has over Thomas Schmid's somewhat similar suggestion, and use the account to examine a number of claims made about racism by H. L. Gates, Jr, Elizabeth Young-Bruehl, Gertrude Ezorsky, and others. Finally, I defend this approach from the general criticism that Benjamin DeMott has levelled against any effort so to understand racism. Key Words: Benjamin DeMott Dinesh D'Souza existentialism Lewis Gordon moral concepts Michael Omi racism social formation Howard Winant. (shrink)
Two widespread strategies of resisting racism are the following. The first one is to deny the existence of races and thus block even the possibility of racist claims. The second one is to grant that races exist but insist that racial differences do not imply value differences. The aim of this paper is to outline a strategy of resisting racism that is weaker than the first but stronger than the second strategy: even if we accept that races exist, (...) we can still deny that there are projectible racial differences. And this is enough to block the possibility of racist claims without appealing to the slippery topic of value differences. I use some considerations from philosophy of biology in order to argue for this claim. (shrink)
Two classes of argument, logical and moral, are usually offered for the general assumption that racism is inherently irrational. The logical arguments involve accusations concerning stereotyping (category mistakes and empirical errors resulting from overgeneralization) as well as inconsistencies between attitudes and behavior and inconsistencies in beliefs. Moral arguments claim that racism fails as means to well-defined ends, or that racist acts achieve ends other than moral ones. Based on a rationality-neutral definition of racism, it is argued in (...) this article that none of these arguments establish exhaustively that racism is inherently irrational. Ways are suggested to proceed in condemning racism(s) as morally and socially unacceptable, independent of the irrationality claim. (shrink)
In this article, we argue that it can be fruitful for philosophers interested in the nature and moral significance of racism to pay more attention to psychology. We do this by showing that psychology provides new arguments against Garcia's views about the nature and moral significance of racism. We contend that some scientific studies of racial cognition undermine Garcia's moral and psychological monism about racism: Garcia disregards (1) the rich affective texture of racism and (2) the (...) diversity of what makes racial ills morally wrong. Key Words: racism • emotions • implicit bias • psychology • racial ills • pluralism. (shrink)
This paper questions the prevailing historical understanding that scientific racism "retreated" in the 1950s when anthropology adopted the concepts and methods of population genetics and race was recognized to be a social construct and replaced by the concept of population. More accurately, a "populational" concept of race was substituted for a "typological one"-this is demonstrated by looking at the work of Theodosius Dobzhansky circa 1950. The potential for contemporary research in human population genetics to contribute to racism needs (...) to be considered with respect to the ability of the typological-population distinction to arbitrate boundaries between racist society and nonracist, even anti-racist, science. I point out some ethical limits of "population thinking" in doing so. (shrink)
Derogatory terms (racist, sexist, ethnic, and homophobic epithets) are bully words with ontological force: they serve to establish and maintain a corrupt social system fuelled by distinctions designed to justify relations of dominance and subordination. No wonder they have occasioned public outcry and legal response. The inferential role analysis developed here helps move us away from thinking of the harms as being located in connotation (representing mere speaker bias) or denotation (holding that the terms fail to refer due to inaccurate (...) descriptive content). The issue is not bad attitudes or referential misfires. An inferential role semantic analysis of derogatory terms shows exactly what is at stake between those who argue that the terms should be eliminated (Absolutists) and those who claim they can be successfully rehabilitated (Reclaimers). The Reclaimer maintains, and the Absolutist denies, that certain contexts can detach the derogatory force from deeply derogatory terms. The article looks at these claims with respect to ‘nigger’ and ‘dyke,’ setting out the inferential role of each term and examining detachability potential. Explaining detachability in terms of linguistic commitments, this article also addresses the issue of whether such terms count as political discourse, and examines the implications of that issue. (shrink)
Darker skin correlates with reduced opportunities and negative health outcomes. Recent discoveries related to the genes associated with skin tone, and the historical use of cosmetics to conform to racist appearance standards, suggest effective skin-lightening products may soon become available. This article examines whether medical interventions of this sort should be permitted, subsidized, or restricted, using Norman Daniels's framework for determining what justice requires in terms of protecting health. I argue that Daniels's expansive view of the requirements of justice in (...) meeting health needs offers some support for recognizing a societal obligation to provide this kind of ‘enhancement,’ in light of the strong connections between skin tone and health outcomes. On balance, however, Daniels's framework offers compelling reasons to reject insurance coverage for skin-lightening medical interventions, including the likely ineffectiveness of such technologies in mitigating racial health disparities, and the danger that covering skin-lightening enhancements would undermine public support for cooperative schemes that protect health. In fact, justice may require limiting access to these technologies because of their potential to exacerbate the negative effects of racism. (shrink)
In this article, we argue that it can be fruitful for philosophers interested in the nature and moral significance of racism to pay more attention to psychology. We do this by showing that psychology provides new arguments against Garcia's views about the nature and moral significance of racism. We contend that some scientific studies of racial cognition undermine Garcia's moral and psychological monism about racism: Garcia disregards (1) the rich affective texture of racism and (2) the (...) diversity of what makes racial ills morally wrong. (shrink)
I here respond to several points in Faucher and Machery’s vigorous and informative critique of my volitional account of racism (VAR). First, although the authors deem it a form of "implicit racial bias," a mere tendency to associate black people with "negative" concepts falls short of racial "bias" or prejudice in the relevant sense. Second, such an associative disposition need not even be morally objectionable. Third, even for more substantial forms of implicit racial bias such as race-based fear or (...) disgust, Faucher and Machery offer no account or explanation of when we should consider these racist, in whom, in what respect(s), or why. So, findings of implicit racial bias pose no clear objection to VAR. Fourth, because VAR allows not only racial hate, but also callous indifference, disdain, and other forms of racially driven disregard, to be racist,VAR is not "psychologically monist." Fifth, as VAR allows racist attitudes to be immoral in more than one way, offending against both the moral virtues of benevolence and justice, VAR is not "morally monist" either. I also reveal problems with some of Faucher and Machery’s other claims: Faucher and Machery take too narrow a conception of the types of psychology that can contribute to understanding racism; the internal complexity of hatred, which they approvingly mention, is irrelevant to VAR’s truth and undermines part of their criticism of VAR; whether some forms of racial bias are "racial ills" is irrelevant to VAR, which only analyzes racism; over-attention to implicit racial bias may cloak or exacerbate some of our society’s racial ills, or even constitute a new one. I conclude by noting that Faucher and Machery are not just critics of VAR but also allies of VAR in important controversies against those who insist racism lies primarily in social structures and institutions. (shrink)
In discussing Drucilla Cornell's remarks about Toni Morrison's Beloved, I consider epistemological questions raised by the acquiring of understanding of racism, particularly the deep-rooted racism embodied in social norms and values. I suggest that questions about understanding racism are, in part, questions about personal and political identities and that questions about personal and political identities are often, importantly, epistemological questions.
This essay draws on a wide range of feminist, psychoanalytic and other anti-racist theorists to work out the specific mode of space as ‘contained’ and the ways it grounds dominant contemporary forms of racism i.e. the space of phallicized whiteness. Offering a close reading of Lacan’s primary models for ego-formation, the mirror stage and the inverted bouquet, I argue that psychoanalysis can help us to map contemporary power relations of racism because it enacts some of those very dynamics. (...) Casting the production of subjectivity on the field of the visual, Lacan performs some of the fundamental conceptions of space and embodiment that ground the dominant forms of racism in these cultural symbolics. Namely, he articulates a body that is bound by skin, structured by a logic of containment, cathected through aggression and distance, and read primarily through the way it looks – both how it appears and how it beholds the appearances of other bodies. Unraveling this nexus of power relations, I argue that a fundamental anti-racist strategy is to interrupt, interrogate and re-deploy this interpellation of images. Key Words: ego-formation • embodiment • historicity • Lacan • ontological • phallus • race/racial difference/racism • space • visual • whiteness. (shrink)
We tend to think that the two great scourges of humankind, sexism and racism, have been around since the beginning of time. With regard to sexism, this is true. Aristotle, for example, thought women are malformed men: they do not have rational souls; they do not have enough soul heat to think properly or to boil their menstrual blood into semen; and, the cruelest cut of all, they are inferior because they have one less tooth than men. Aristotle also (...) believed, along with his compatriots, that all non-Greeks were barbarians and that slavery, especially for those of an inferior class or those captured in war, was completely justified. But Aristotle, and all other ancients of whom we are aware, did not ever think of discriminating against people because of the color of their skin. (shrink)
Luc Faucher and Edouard Machery’s recent article in this journal uses evidence from psychological studies to criticize Jorge Garcia’s view of racism. This brief response argues that their critique fails because they misinterpret Garcia’s view and engage in some conceptual equivocation. It also argues that their focus on affect and human psychology is in fact compatible with Garcia’s view of racism as rooted in the human heart. Hence the evidence that they cite should be seen as empirical enrichment (...) of Garcia’s basic view, rather than as evidence against that view. (shrink)
This article addresses the impact of systematic ignorance and epistemic uncertainty upon white Western women's participation in anti-racist and transnational feminisms. I argue that a “methodology of the privileged” is necessary for effective coalition-building across racial and geopolitical inequities. Examining both self-reflexivity and racial sedition as existing methods, I conclude that epistemic uncertainty should be considered an additional strategy rather than a dilemma for the privileged.
The aim of this article is to establish—and explore—James Baldwin's significance for educational theory. Through a close reading of ‘Everybody's Protest Novel’, I show that Baldwin's thinking is an important (if unrecognized) precursor to the work of Stanley Cavell and Cora Diamond, and is relevant to a number of problems that are educationally significant, in particular problems of race and racism.
We use the construct of the “other” to explore how hate operates rhetorically within the virtual conclave of Stormfront, credited as the first hate Web site. Through the Internet, white supremacists create a rhetorical vision that resonates with those who feel marginalized by contemporary political, social, and economic forces. However, as compared to previous studies of on-line white supremacist rhetoric, we show that Stormfront discourse appears less virulent and more palatable to the naive reader. We suggest that Stormfront provides a (...) “cyber transition” between traditional hate speech and “reasonable racism,” a tempered discourse that emphasizes pseudo-rational discussions of race, and subsequently may cast a wider net in attracting audiences. (shrink)
Abstract The relationship of intention to moral responsibility in contemporary notions of racism is explored. It is argued that, although the moral import of efforts to reveal and recognise dominance in western society is to be lauded, the peripheral role attributed to intentions in ascriptions of racism can be counterproductive to the aim of helping dominant group members acknowledge their embeddedness in a culture which oppresses others.
After their voyage through the United States, Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont each wrote about the nature of race relations there. The author offers two theses regarding the nature of U.S. racism and its relation to U.S. democracy as revealed in Tocqueville's and Beaumont's texts. First, these works illustrate how European Americans, in subordinating Indians and blacks, produce not a politically and socially egalitarian democracy situated amid an otherwise racist society and culture but, rather, a social state (...) internally structured by inegalitarian relations with non-Europeans. Second, in Tocqueville's and Beaumont's portraits there operate (1) a critical narrative of European Americans' fraternalized relations with Indians, marked by sibling-rivalry-like democratic envy, and (2) a critical narrative of European Americans' relations of absolute differentiation with blacks, marked by desire to secure inalienable status. Both strategies are, nonetheless, rooted in European American anxiety over democracy's flux. (shrink)
This paper argues that the agency/structure dichotomy thatpredominates in racism discourse is problematic because itobscures how racism is produced and resisted at the local sitesof relations between individuals and between individualsand institutions. Racism permeates social relations,ensured by `knowledge' and guaranteed through self-regulation. Resistance to racism requires arecognition of racism's `local' character. As aresult, educators, particularly in classrooms,play important roles in resistance-practices.
This paper addresses a range of theoretical issues which are the topic of recent social psychological and related research concerned with the “new racism.” We critically examine examples of such research in order to explore how analyst concerns with anti-racist political activism are surreptitiously privileged in explanations of social interaction, often at the expense of and in preference to the work of examining participants' own formulations of those same activities. Such work is contrasted with an ethnomethodologically-informed, discursive psychology which (...) seeks to the explore how participants' talk is responsively oriented to foreclosing the same sort of critique implicitly made available in new racism research as a way for speakers to account for their own and others' activities within the controversy which that same body of research seeks to settle. More specifically, we examine how the rhetorical context of controversy surrounding race and racism is imminent to the situated activities whereby speakers provide for its relevance and not, as assumed in new racism research, some independent factor affecting that interaction. Finally, we conclude with an analysis of an episode of talk recorded in a social science interview having as its topic the nature of cross-cultural contact in which the participants take up the issue of racism as a way of managing the conflicting demands with which they are confronted in accounting for their involvement as Western expatriates living in the Middle East. Throughout our analysis of these materials, the issue of racism is approached for how it features as a participant concern, raised by speakers in the course of attending to the immediate situated interactional business in which they are engaged. (shrink)
In his speech at the University of Dakar in July 2007, the French president Nicolas Sarkozy referred to Africa as the continent that has not yet fully entered history. This article takes this obvious reference to Hegel as its starting point and examines the current significance of ‘Hegel’s Africa’. Through a close reading of The Philosophy of History and The Phenomenology of Spirit, it shows that Hegel’s remarks on Africa are by no means incidental. They constitute rem(a)inders of a modernity (...) that is based on the construction of Africa as its own limit. The return of Hegel’s Africa, the article concludes, can thus not be restricted to a problem of the new European right. It is part of an understanding of modernity that remains haunted by the specters of racism. (shrink)
In this paper, I will explore and attempt to define one very important type of egregious discrimination of persons, racism. I will argue that racism involves a kind of logical mistake; specifically. I hope to show that racists commit the naturalistic fallacy. Finally, I will defend my account of racism against two challenges, the most important of which argues that if racism is merely a logical error then racists are not morally culpable.
A symbol might have racist connotations in the sense that a substantial portion of the relevant population associates it with racist values or institutions. A governmental symbol display might therefore carry racist connotations that the government doesn’t intend, including connotations that haven’t always been attached to the symbol. So I claimed recently in the pages of this journal (Alter 2000b). I also explained how those claims create problems for some of George Schedler’s (1998) main views about governmental displays of the (...) Confederate battle flag. In his response, Schedler rejects my claims, arguing that they lead to absurdities when applied to various examples. He adds that one of his examples brings into question my “political savvy” (Schedler 2000, p. 5). Be that as it may, his arguments against my claims are entirely without force, and serve to confirm the weakness of his initial position. So I’ll argue. I’ll also identify a problematic assumption in our dispute, which is not uncommon in discussions of symbolic meaning and racist speech. (shrink)
Overt racism and discrimination have been on the decline in the United States for at least two generations. Yet many American institutions continue to produce racial disparities. Sociologists and social critics have predominantly explained continuing disparities as results of continuing racism and discrimination, albeit in increasingly covert, anonymous forms; these critics suggest racism and discrimination have to be understood as historical, systemic problems operating at the level of institutions, culture, and society, even if overt forms are now (...) rare. With increasing reliance upon a proliferation of notions including “institutional racism,” “institutionalized discrimination,” and “glass ceilings,” however, scholars and critics alike have grown increasingly dependent upon statistical data on inequalities and institutional outcomes as grounds for theoretical and political inferences concerning collective motives or prejudices. In this crucial respect, insights from beyond studies of race and inequality, drawing especially on Wittgensteinian and Schutzian contributions to social thought, stand to illuminate the pragmatic, moral reasoning at work in the institutional racism argument and similar approaches. Such reflexive attention to a central conceptual resource of contemporary social criticism stands to bring attention back to the basic empirical and critical questions of how to study and engage with continuing inequalities in the post-civil rights era. These questions can certainly be addressed through theoretical stipulation and political claims-making, but a more viable conceptual and empiricalfoundation for both theory and criticism can be gained by attending more respectfully to foundational issues of meaning and interpretation in the human sciences and human relations. (shrink)
There has been a great deal of philosophical analysis supporting the position that race is semantically empty, ontologically bankrupt and scientifically meaningless. The conclusion often reached is that race is a social construction. While this position is certainly accepted by the majority of philosophers working within the area of critical race theory, the existentially lived and socially embodied impact of `race' is often left either unexplored or under-theorized. In this article, I provide a philosophical analysis of how `race' operates at (...) the level of the embodied within the context of the quotidian, and how the recognition of instances of racism is grounded within an epistemological community. I demonstrate that race as lived is a powerful experience that emerges within an interstitial space of enduring myths and habituated bodily postures. My elevator example demonstrates that, as a lived reality, race is insidious and negatively impacts the integrity of, in this example, the black body and the white body. The black body is shown to undergo a process of `confiscation' through the phenomenon of the white gaze, which is a form of learned embodied seeing, while the white body elides any responsibility for holding the black body captive. The white gaze is theorized as a cultural achievement, which is productive of a form of ignorance. Instances of anti-racism, then, are not restricted to mere cognitive shifts in one's perspective, but must involve performing the body's racialized interactions with the world differently. (shrink)