Du Bois regarded social reform as a legitimate object for the scientist. He gave a place to non-epistemic values in scientific reasoning and, to counter the effects of scientific racism, he constructed his approach around the belief that scientists must adopt an assumption or scientific hypothesis that African Americans are human. His engagement in scientific research was a way to reform the society in which he lived, which in turn, led him to defend the faithfulness to fact as his conception (...) of scientific objectivity. This essay examines his sophisticated theory of facts, account of the difference between the natural and human sciences, and unique pragmatist theory of truth. (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Reviewed by:Philosophy and the Modern African American Freedom Struggle: A Freedom Gaze by Anthony Sean NealKordell DixonPhilosophy and the Modern African American Freedom Struggle: A Freedom Gaze Anthony Sean Neal. Rowman & Littlefield, 2022.Philosophy and the Modern African American Freedom Struggle begins with a clear and concise establishment of its aim: to analyze and expand upon those figures mentioned when discussing the academic project of studying black people. Neal (...) broadens the account of black scholars examining racialized existence by centering his work on the modern era and its initiator W. E. B Du Bois. Neal develops an ethnic reflective canon that documents the long history of black thinkers attempting to define their blackness and advance the conception of freedom. This book does an excellent job of capturing the genealogical structure of the struggle for freedom. Within the work, Neal denotes that all relevant figures in this tradition are freedom gazers. These gazers are spectators of a radically imagined future liberated from the oppressive systems that encumber the persecuted. Du Bois's approach to freedom gazing uses academic training to examine his blackness and inevitably to solve the "race problem." What Neal provides the reader is a road map of the intellectual work of black scholars. This road map details the common themes among black thinkers and how these themes relate to Du Bois. Neal's intricate network of philosophers uses their experience and their expertise to write about what is necessary for black people to obtain freedom. Neal composes a complex and remarkable catalog of black scholars that demonstrates the interconnectedness and progression of black thought on oppression and liberation.In the second chapter, Neal elucidates why Du Bois is chosen as the inaugurator of the modern era. As a formally educated black man, Du Bois questions his experience and what tethers him to oppression. Neal uses Du Bois as a focal point, not because Du Bois is the first black person to document their struggle with their racialized existence, but because he believes that Du Bois is the first scholar to analyze the black experience completely. The holistic nature of Du Bois's study of the existential conflict that race can manifest within its subjects allows Du Bois's analysis to be used as a tool to unify other works that discuss race and the struggle for freedom. Neal expresses how other scholars such as Frederick Douglass, Martin Delany, and Anna Julia Cooper all had work that takes up a similar task as Du Bois's but lacks the fullness of Du Bois's study. Here, Neal does not articulate clearly [End Page 87] how these figures are inadequate with respect to their work. It could be argued that each scholar named could be said to have accomplished a task similar to that of Du Bois. However, how these figures are studied throughout different disciplines gives the impression that their examination of race and freedom is much more focused on one specific field. This point speaks to how we interpret the work of these scholars and not to these scholars' work itself. Neal proceeds to describe Du Bois as a freedom gazer and explains how Du Bois's imagining of black persons as freed would allot a perceptual framework that motivates them to proclaim their right to mental and physical freedom. Further, Neal establishes that Du Bois's position as a freedom gazer allows him to expand the ethnic reflective canon. This canon includes Ida B. Wells, whose journalism on the lynching of black people during the Reconstruction era made headway on what social sciences could contribute to the struggle against injustice. Anna Julia Cooper is included in this canon; her radically imagined future was thought to be achieved through education. Wells and Cooper proceeded and directly influenced the work of Du Bois, creating a lineage of radical social thought. Neal maps his transition through the intellectual work of black scholars by using conceptions of peace, rebellion, revolution, and freedom as relational markers. The reader can identify the relationships among the varied work of freedom gazers despite the vast range of their spatiotemporal placement.In the third chapter, Neal examines the subjects Hubert Harrison, William H... (shrink)
An underexamined insight of W. E. B. Du Bois’s John Brown is that Brown worked for much of his life to cultivate democratic relationships with the Black Americans with and for whom he worked. Brown did so through practicing deference and deliberation, and by seeking authorization. However, Brown’s commitment to these practices faltered at a crucial moment in decisionmaking: when he raided Harpers Ferry absent widespread support. Examining this aspect of John Brown brings into relief an overlooked tragic choice Brown (...) made: To act in accordance with his own substantive vision of what justice required, Brown eschewed democratic ideals and practices that grounded the distinctive relations of equality he had cultivated with the Black communities with and for whom he worked. (shrink)
In this paper, I show how reading Hume’s moral philosophy in light of seminal works by nineteenth- and twentieth-century African American authors can provide resources for developing a richer and more intentionally relational conception of sympathy. I begin by identifying two phenomena to which African American intellectuals like Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Anna Julia Cooper refer with the term “sympathy.” For ease of reference, I label these phenomena “sympathetic commitment” and “sympathetic understanding,” respectively. I then (...) show that there are concepts in Hume’s moral philosophy that refer to similar phenomena and suggest that Hume scholars can draw on these concepts to develop an enriched and distinctively Humean sense of sympathy. (shrink)
Researchers, public health officials, and other community leaders seek strategies to address historic and well-documented mistrust of research that can impede our collective efforts to ameliorate a public health crisis. The need for culturally responsive research has become even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic as communities harmed by and distrustful of research are disproportionately burdened by the global pandemic. Community-Campus Partnerships for Health listens to communities to develop guidance for researchers and ethicists on how to ensure research accounts for (...) and honors the lived experiences within culturally diverse populations. This guidance fills a critical gap in the federal regulations for community-centered protections of human participants. This chapter highlights select findings from a PCORI-funded community engagement award, focusing on lessons learned during two listening sessions with African Americans in North Carolina facilitated by Community-Campus Partnerships for Health. Participants highlighted the importance of earning trust, building genuine relationships, and understanding the historic and contemporary factors that influence decisions regarding participation in research. (shrink)
The concept of white ignorance refers to phenomena of not-knowing that are produced by and reinforce systems of white supremacist domination and exploitation. I distinguish two varieties of white ignorance, belief-based white ignorance and practice-based white ignorance. Belief-based white ignorance consists in an information deficit about systems of racist oppression. Practice-based white ignorance consists in unresponsiveness to the political agency of persons and groups subject to racist oppression. Drawing on the antebellum political thought of Black abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Harriet (...) Jacobs, I contend that an anti-racist politics that conceives of its epistemic task in terms of combating practice-based white ignorance offers a more promising frame for liberatory struggle. A focus on practice-based white ignorance calls for a distinctive form of humility that involves recognition of the limits of one’s own political agency in relation to others, which is integral to democratic relations between free, equal, yet mutually dependent persons. (shrink)
This paper examines the interplay between hope and despair in David Walker's "Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World" (1829). I argue that, in his pamphlet, Walker mobilizes despair about the depth and seeming insurmountability of white supremacy to catalyze collective political agency and thereby emancipatory hope among Black Americans. This emancipatory potential of despair is grounded a distinction between the content of despair (a belief in the insurmountability of white supremacy) and its form as a political judgment made (...) in concert with others. Walker uses the form of despair as political judgment to effect a transformation in the political affect of Black Americans from a shared sense that there is nothing to be done to to a collective sense of a 'we' that can act to change the world. (shrink)
Racism in the USA not only takes place in law, economics, politics, mass media and new media, education, literature, and popular culture but also occurs in philosophy. An abundance of Latino philosophers, African-American philosophers, and Native American philosophers are excluded from the American philosophy canon. To discover whether racism happens in the field of American philosophy, the writer surveys 15 American philosophy books written between the 1940s and the 2020s by various American writers, the whites and the non-whites. The writer (...) carries out an ‗index-study‘: scanning philosopher names in the index of each book, identifying and scrutinizing the names, listing and categorizing them into race categories, counting them, comparing the number of non-white philosophers and white philosophers mentioned in each book, putting them in a table, and interpreting why there is a disparity between the number of non-white and white philosophers included in the books. The survey result shows that racism happens in American philosophy; the writers of the 15 American philosophy books exclude an abundance of non-white philosophers. There is a critical need to write a new, post-national American philosophy book that does justice to non-white philosophers in the near future so that racism diminishes. (shrink)
This collection demonstrates the strong influence that humanism and freethought had in developing the history and ideals of black intellectualism. Most people are quick to note the profound influence that religion has played in African-American history: consoling the downtrodden slave or inspiring the abolitionists, the underground railroad, and the civil rights movement. But few are aware of the role humanism played in shaping the black experience: developing the thought and motivating the actions of powerful African-American intellectuals. Section One of this (...) book offers biographical sketches of such prominent black humanists as Frederick Douglass, Cheikh Anta Diop, W.E.B. DuBois, Hubert H. Harrison, and Richard Wright. Section Two features essays by black humanists: Douglass, DuBois, Charles W. Faulkner, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Ishmael Jaffree, Claude McKay, Melvin B. Tolson, and Bruce Wright. Section Three offers the views of contemporary black African humanists: Freda Amakye Ansah, Emmanuel Kofi Mensah, Nkeonye Otakpor, Franz Vanderpuye, and Kwasi Wiredu. Section Four contains interviews conducted by Allen on the subjects of black humanist activism, the Afroasiatic roots of classical civilization, and the Harlem Renaissance with: Martin G. Bernal, Charles Faulkner, Leonard Harris, Norman Hill, and Alaine Locke. (shrink)
The Black Panther Party is now commonly associated with violence; however, this was far from what they aimed to represent. The Party was aimed at total social and political reconstruction and, their larger point, creating an equitable society in which Black Americans could thrive. The criticism which the Party faced (and still faces) was through their use of “armed self-defense” and methods of political violence. From a philosophical perspective, many interesting questions can be considered when evaluating the morality of the (...) utilization of armed self-defense. In this paper, I will use Just War Theory to answer the question: can non-state actors be justified in their usage of violence against states? Specifically, I will claim that the Black Panther Party’s use of armed self-defense and political, physical violence was morally justified under an expanded just war theoretic. To do this, I will first analyze political violence and resistance to clarify how my account will understand the two and their potential overlap. Next, I will clarify Just War Theory and provide thorough discussion of the “competent authority” criterion and argue that select non-state actors can be competent authorities. Finally, I will apply my expanded just war theoretic to the case of the Black Panther Party and their use of armed self-defense. (shrink)
For the purposes of this paper, I attempt to wrestle with the question of whether or not it is a requisite for a “believer” (which turns out to be a loaded and ambiguous term) to be a part of a formal/institutional Christian Church. This is a difficult task to accomplish, and this, I admit. There is no way to answer this, truly with certainty. But Metaphysics are rarely grounded in “certainty.” This is true for many Christian Theological tasks as well. (...) Nevertheless, this argument will be attempted by working with and off of the Black liberation theologian and philosopher, James H. Cone's basic structured argument found in "Black Theology & Black Power." It's important to note that Cone is a systematic theologian writing in 1969, a time where White America (and its "Christians") helped contribute to the assassination of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Not to mention, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was on a hunt for the next “Black Messiah,” had already infiltrated the Black Power movement, and that same year was making serious moves in undermining the Black Panther Party. Whereas White “Christian” America largely had his full support. After all the atrocities Black people in America have gone through, especially by its "Christians," many Black people had lost hope; they were broken, tired, many were angry—and righteously so. Cone’s 1969 argument reflects these Black sensibilities, a righteously angry theological and philosophical argument. I am attempting to wrestle with whether the basic structure of his argument is still applicable in contemporary America during the modern Black Lives Matter Movement. Thus, after rendering Cone’s argument from 1969, we imaginatively bend space and time to fast forward to the modern era 2020 and on, where we see if, by implication, Cone's argument is still relevant to the majority ("white") "Christian" Institutional/Formal Church. For the purposes of this paper, I will attempt to argue that Cone’s basic argument structure is still applicable, and that it is not a requisite for a Christian “believer” to be a part of a formal/institutional church. In this paper, I look at the ramifications of the Black Lives Matter movement in relation to the Christian formal institutional Church. (shrink)
In this paper, I consider Alain Locke’s critical pragmatism to see how he might address the problem of racist literature, particularly, the use of stereotypes. For my purposes here, it will be assumed that stereotypes are sustained by evil and malicious intentions, whether consciously acknowledged or not. Two issues arise when considering Locke’s critical pragmatism. First, Locke denies the objective status of morality—objective in the sense that moral absolutes exist “out there” and can be classified rightly or wrongly. Thus, claiming (...) that stereotypes are “evil” must have a different connotation for Locke than one might assume. The second issue is that it has been argued that Locke creates and uses stereotypes himself. The paper will progress as follows: I first address Locke’s use of stereotypes, contending that Locke does not in fact use stereotypes. He has a notion of collective identity or representation that he uses as a heuristic to counteract racist uses of stereotypes. While similar to a stereotype, collective identity is qualitatively different. Next, I discuss Locke’s understanding of cultural pluralism as the tool with which Locke is able to address racist stereotypes, on the one hand, and defend his use of collective identity on the other. I conclude that though Locke’s account is useful it lacks the moral weight, which I would like, to condemn stereotypes as fully wrong. (shrink)
Introduction : Philosophy of sports and the African American experience : perceptual observations and conceptual considerations -- What's philosophy got to do with it? : on the meaning of sports and the African American experience -- The emergence of the African American athlete in slavery : a materialist philosophical interpretation -- Who's on first? : the concept of African American firsts and the legacy of the "color line" -- The Black athlete and the 'white shadow' : the matter of philosophy (...) of history and the problem of the "color line" -- Keeping Black women in their "place" : the triple burden of sexism, racism and class exploitation -- He who make the rules, controls the games : the political philosophy of capitalist sports in black and white -- African American sports films. (shrink)
This essay fills in some historical, conceptual, and pedagogical gaps that appear in the most visible and recent professional efforts to “revive” Philosophy as a Way of Life (PWOL). I present “American Philosophy and Self-Culture” as an advanced undergraduate seminar that broadens who counts in and what counts as philosophy by immersing us in the lives, writings, and practices of seven representative U.S.-American philosophers of self-culture, community-building, and world-changing: Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), Frederick Douglass (1818–1895), William Ellery Channing (1780–1842), Henry David (...) Thoreau (1817–1862), Margaret Fuller (1810-1850), Henry Bugbee (1915–1999), and Gloria Anzaldúa (1942–2004). Students enter the class with preconceptions about who philosophers are, what they do, how they write, and the languages in which they write. Students walk out with new senses of self, place, and language that emerge through new ways of seeing, doing, and writing philosophy. (shrink)
This article is a discussion of the rabble in the context of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. The article will progress as follows: First, I present how Hegel discusses the formation of a rabble and consider Michael Allen’s and James Bohman’s arguments regarding the domination inherent in Hegel’s theory. Next, I critique Joel Anderson’s “Hegelian” solution to the problem of the rabble. Finally, I show that the rabble are precisely the “class” that Marx needs to bring about change in the organization (...) of society. Interestingly, there is a surprising similarity between Hegel’s discussion of the rabble and justified disobedience and the Marxism of Huey P. Newton. (shrink)
American feminism’s anti-Black racism is often presented as a failure of white feminists to integrate Black women into their movement. This historiographic approach presumes that feminism was a progressive movement that merely suffered from blind spots in its approach to women’s rights due to the biases of some white women. Unlike previous research which has pointed out the individual racism of suffragettes and mid-twentieth-century feminists, this chapter argues for an understanding of the theories created and endorsed by feminists from 1860 (...) to 1980 as the consequence of feminism’s dependence on racist theories predicated on research from ethnologists and evolutionary theorists in the nineteenth and criminologists in the twentieth centuries. By looking at the primary racial target of feminist thought and activism over the centuries, the Black male, I argue scholars can more accurately trace the theories feminists used to derail Black American’s struggle for civil rights. (shrink)
An artistic discussion on the critical potential of African American expressive culture In a major reassessment of African American culture, Phillip Brian Harper intervenes in the ongoing debate about the “proper” depiction of black people. He advocates for African American aesthetic abstractionism—a representational mode whereby an artwork, rather than striving for realist verisimilitude, vigorously asserts its essentially artificial character. Maintaining that realist representation reaffirms the very social facts that it might have been understood to challenge, Harper contends that abstractionism shows (...) up the actual constructedness of those facts, thereby subjecting them to critical scrutiny and making them amenable to transformation. Arguing against the need for “positive” representations, Abstractionist Aesthetics displaces realism as the primary mode of African American representational aesthetics, re-centers literature as a principal site of African American cultural politics, and elevates experimental prose within the domain of African American literature. Drawing on examples across a variety of artistic production, including the visual work of Fred Wilson and Kara Walker, the music of Billie Holiday and Cecil Taylor, and the prose and verse writings of Ntozake Shange, Alice Walker, and John Keene, this book poses urgent questions about how racial blackness is made to assume certain social meanings. In the process, African American aesthetics are upended, rendering abstractionism as the most powerful modality for Black representation. (shrink)
The existing research on the role of intellectuals in alleviating suffering has overlooked contributions by prominent Black intellectuals from the United States in the early 1990s. Two roundtable debates co-organised under the auspices of the Boston Review at Harvard and MIT in 1992 and 1993 in response to Eugene Rivers’ essay “On the Responsibility of Intellectuals in the Age of Crack” were central to these contributions, counting a star-studded line-up of Black intellectuals including bell hooks, Cornel West, and Glenn Loury. (...) Participants explore the role of Black intellectuals in the US, debating what they can and should do to combat oppression and domination. In this article, I recover the context of the debates, reconstruct their arguments, and make a case for their major historical and political significance. I comparatively interpret the two roundtables, identifying three major points of convergence. First, participants begin from a Gramscian conception of organic intellectuals, developing this further to defend the need for collective intellectual praxis. Second, the race-class-gender nexus plays a central role in structuring the very possibility of intellectuals affecting social change. Third, these intellectuals subscribe to a significantly pessimistic action paralysis, indicative of the relative powerlessness of intellectual debate in addressing structural oppression. (shrink)
“If the concept of God has any validity or any use,” James Baldwin writes in The Fire Next Time, “it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of Him.” This essay is a meditation on Baldwin’s claim. I begin by presenting Baldwin’s account of a grave danger that characterizes our social lives – a source of profound estrangement from ourselves and from one another. I (...) draw on the work of the theologian Howard Thurman in order to explain how faith in a loving God can enable us to cope with this danger in a manner that may render us, in some sense, larger, freer, and more loving. Finally, I sketch Baldwin’s account of how we might cope with this danger not by relying on God’s love, but rather by relying in certain ways on our love for one another. (shrink)
Through the back door: the problem of history and the African American philosopher/philosophy -- The problem of philosophy: metaphilosophical considerations -- The search for values: axiology in ebony -- Philosophy of science: African American deliberations -- Mapping the disciplinary contours of the philosophy of religion: reason, faith, and African American religious culture.
Audre Lorde’s account of the erotic is one of her most widely celebrated contributions to political theory and feminist activism, but her explanation of the term in her brief essay “Uses of the Erotic” is famously oblique and ambiguous. This article develops a detailed, textually grounded interpretation of Lorde’s erotic, based on an analysis of how Lorde’s essay brings together commitments expressed across her work. I describe four integral elements of Lorde’s erotic: feeling, knowledge, power, and concerted action. The erotic (...) is a way of feeling in the work a person does, which makes possible new knowledge about the self and the social environment— particularly to counteract epistemic oppression imposed by an unjust society. The erotic is a source of power by providing vision and energy for actions integrating a person’s multiple commitments and political interests. It facilitates concerted action and coalition by enhancing a person’s appreciation of their interests and values, while fostering embodied, personal connections that build trust on the basis of shared vulnerability. Thus, the erotic helps build coalitions where genuine differences of perspective and experience can be examined, in resistance against an oppressive society’s epistemic distortions. (shrink)
In republican political philosophy, citizenship is a status that is constituted by one’s participation in the public life of the polity. In its traditional formulation, republican citizenship is an exclusionary and hierarchical way of defining a polity’s membership, because the domain of activity that qualifies as participating in the polity’s public life is highly restricted. I argue that Black American abolitionist Frederick Douglass advances a radically inclusive conception of republican citizenship by articulating a deeply capacious account of what it means (...) to participate in the public life of the polity. On Douglass’s conception of republican citizenship, what it means to contribute to the polity, and thereby be a citizen, is to act in ways that contest and shape what the polity values. We contest and shape what the polity values not only through public discourse traditionally conceived or grand political acts like revolt, but also through quotidian forms of social interaction. In his pre-American Civil War political thought, Douglass deployed his radically inclusive account of republican citizenship as the conceptual foundation of his stance that enslaved and nominally free Black Americans were already, in the 1850s, American citizens whom the polity ought to acknowledge as such. The everyday resistance in which enslaved Black Americans engaged—their plantation politics—is, for Douglass, a paradigmatic type of citizenship-constituting activity, because it involves modes of collaboration and confrontation that enact a recognition of mutual vulnerability and embody the assertion that one matters. Douglass’s conception of republican citizenship offers a normative framework for emancipatory struggles that strive to secure meaningful membership for the marginalized through the transformation of unjust polities. (shrink)
American history has been far from kind to Black and African Americans. As a group, they were subjected to the gruesome, racist human rights violations committed during the period of American slavery, then Jim Crow laws, economic and political rights violations, medical experimentation, redlining, and lack of representation in politics all came to remind Black Americans that their fight for equality was far from over. Recent periods of activism, however, have brought some of the current plights of Black Americans to (...) the forefront of media coverage. One such example is the greater Covid-19 vaccination hesitancy found among minority groups – specifically Black and African American communities. Despite the variety of implications such an issue has, literature surrounding the issue is relatively one-sided – often looking only at public health and medical education implications. This paper will analyze previous literature on institutional and political trust and epistemic norms, then apply them to the issue of Black American Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy. First, analyzing previous literature on institutions and trust to differentiate institutional trust from trust’s other forms. Then, developing this conception of institutional trust by applying epistemic normativity (Kauppinen 2018). Then, create an application of this conception of institutional trust to the case of Black hesitancy to Covid-19 vaccines. Finally, concludes with educational and political implications of this theory. (shrink)
The philosophical significance of rhythm in the United States has been undermined from both sides of what Adorno and Horkheimer called the ‘dialectic of enlightenment’. When rhythm has not been falsely exalted, promising a fetishised, racialised ‘return’ to the body, it has been devalued through the tainted associations of rhythmic synchronisation with fascist regimes and the demand for compliance. In this article, I engage these issues as they inflect the politics of musical form. Adorno’s notorious critique of jazz – developed (...) across a wide range of essays spanning three decades (1933-1962) – has been rightly disparaged, but his concept of the politics of metric regularity has not been repudiated. In what follows, I provide an analysis of how metric regularity works for Adorno as a concept – its limitations and presuppositions. Adorno opens up new critical thought about rhythm by taking seriously the problem of the bass drum in jazz and its historical and structural relation to the military march. However, he gets seriously wrong the different implications of marching rhythm for African-American (and therefore American) history, failing to understand its radical difference from the dangers of European fascism for its victims. -/- Transnational rhythmic forms in the black diaspora (including the United States) and the interracial experiences that these forms enable, at least as in-principle possibilities, continually contest the ‘the divisions between life and thought’ that have been taken for granted by majoritarian philosophy in the West. From this perspective, the segregation of intellect from feel (a technical term among musicians to indicate those normatively right aesthetic choices that nevertheless emerge in excess of predetermined rules is not tenable given the polyrhythmic background that must be presupposed in order for any piece of diasporic music, including and especially in the United States, to be intelligible. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This article asks why African American Philosophy matters. The notion of the “Black philosopher” continues to be an enigma. African descendants are not generally associated with the revered location and status of “the philosopher” and with doing philosophy. In a celebration of the sustained work of the Black philosopher-practitioner, who continues to suffer a fate of deliberate academic “invisibility” and historical erasure, this article supports the expansion of philosophical categories, philosophical conversation, and philosophical inclusivity. This work contends that the (...) marginalization of African American philosophy can be understood from a synthesis of Foucault’s thesis of “subjugated knowledge” and Black philosopher Lewis Gordon’s explanation of “subverted realization,” which is built in to “white” modern thought. Both key philosophers help locate the problem questioned here. The overriding current of the “white stream” of philosophy, by its deliberate exclusion of African American philosophy, disqualifies it. (shrink)
I am broadly sympathetic to Dale Matthew’s analysis concerning phenotypic devaluation and disadvantage. However, in what follows, I restrict my remarks to a few areas where I think he either lacks empirical precision, or overstates his case.
Philosophy and the African American Modern Freedom Struggle: A Freedom Gaze analyzes the ways oppression and marginalization produced the philosophical space necessary for the development of a unique form of Black consciousness within the African Diaspora.
This paper examines W.E.B. Du Bois's Darkwater as an existentialist text offering a conception of socialism best characterized as Africana existentialist socialism. It argues for a conception of Africana existentialism as inclusive of issues of collective, and not solely individual responsibility. Darkwater is interpreted in terms of a unifying thematic of a humanist anti-theodicy, our of which emerges Du Bois's conception of an ideal of "service without servants." This socialistic ideal is in turn worked out in relation to the figure (...) of "the Immortal Child.". (shrink)
Cultural values influence how people understand illness and dying, and impact their responses to diagnosis and treatment, yet end-of-life care is rooted in white, middle class values. Faith, hope, and belief in God’s healing power are central to most African Americans, yet life-preserving care is considered “aggressive” by the healthcare system, and families are pressured to cease it.
This review essay surveys the contributions of the new edited volume African American Political Thought: A Collected History. The thinker-based approach to the study of African American political thought advanced in the volume highlights the ways in which thinkers reformulate the central political questions of the intellectual tradition and constitute the canon through the citation and invocation of earlier figures. It also draws attention to the rhetorical, strategic, and tactical dimensions of their political thought. The volume sets a new standard (...) for study of African American political thought and makes a persuasive case for the tradition’s important contributions to political theory broadly. However, by tying its significance too closely to its interventions within American political thought, the volume inadvertently minimizes the global resonances of African American political thought. (shrink)
The trial of Derek Chauvin, the man who murdered Mr. George Floyd Jr on May 25, 2020, has become a national spectacle. For many Black Americans, it is merely another rehearsal of the injustice that befalls Black men in the United States when they are targeted by police violence. Mr. Floyd was murdered in broad daylight by Chauvin, yet it is Mr. Floyd’s character and temperament that is being depicted as threatening to Chauvin and the reason for his murder. Throughout (...) the discipline of philosophy, the murder of Black men and boys is a topic most philosophy departments avoid and the American Philosophy Association neglects. This lecture argues that philosophy must abandon the martyrdom of the Black male body as the symbolic catalyst of racial change. Philosophy must not only accept that racism is a permanent feature of American society, but that this racism is misandric in that racist violence disproportionately targets Black males for death and dehumanization at levels not seen within other groups. (shrink)