There are two competing ways of understanding nefarious expressions of nationalism in countries like the U.S., either as xenophobia or racism. In this essay, I offer a way of capturing what is attractive in both accounts: a way of thinking about the xenophobia of U.S. nationalism that does not miss or minimize the role that race plays in condemning such expressions, but at the same time does not risk overextending the definition of racism. To do this, the essay makes a (...) case for decoupling and slightly revising the meaning of the terms “racialization” and “racial formation” while also proposing a third term, “racial disintegration.” In doing so, we find that the xenophobia directed at certain pan-racial groups, at least in places like the U.S., promotes a unique brand of White supremacy and does so in ways that maintain or reshape the nation's understanding of race and specifically its racial categories. (shrink)
What does it mean to have “strong beliefs”? My thesis is that it can mean two very different things. That is, there are two distinct psychological features to which “strong belief” can refer, and these often come apart. I call the first feature epistemic confidence and the second identity centrality. They are conceptually distinct and, if we take ethnographies of religion seriously, distinct in fact as well. If that’s true, it’s methodologically important for the psychological sciences to have measures that (...) tease them apart. In this paper, I critique some measures that are currently in use and propose some strategies for developing measurement tools that track the distinction in question. (shrink)
Perfect for use at advanced undergraduate and graduate level, this is the first text to offer students a unified narrative regarding the place of the body in Western thinking. The body is simultaneously active and passive, powerful and vulnerable and as such, it fundamentally informs ontological, political, ethical and epistemological issues.
Drawing on Frederick Douglass’s arguments about racial pride, I develop and defend an account of feeling racial pride that centers on resisting racialized oppression. Such pride is racially ecumenical in that it does not imply partiality towards one’s own racial group. I argue that it can both accurately represent its intentional object and be intrinsically and extrinsically valuable to experience. It follows, I argue, that there is, under certain conditions, a morally unproblematic, and plausibly valuable, kind of racial pride available (...) to white people, though one that could hardly differ more from what is generally meant by “white pride.”. (shrink)
This essay is to invite a new form of theorizing Baldwin’s intellectual archive beyond a work of protest or as being contributory to Queer writing. I argue that Baldwin’s thought often in the form of the polemic is a form of non-violent resistance. Baldwin’s contestation against whiteness and the methods of Black erasure in general and Black male annihilation in particular is why he is challenging the complexity of protest. In pushing against traditional or what has become traditional ways of (...) analyzing Black thought, my essay highlights why figures like Baldwin are read in fragmentation. Hence, my insistence on Baldwin being categorized as a Gender/Genre theorist more so than a Queer theorist. Because his writings are on the erasure of Black Male existence within and outside of heteronormative spaces. (shrink)
Adam Hochman has recently argued for comprehensive anti-realism about race against social kind theories of race. He points out that sceptics, often taken as archetypical anti-realists, may admit race in certain circumstances even if they are eliminativists about race. To be comprehensively anti-realist about races, which also means rejecting all ‘race talk’, he suggests that racial formation theory should be abandoned in favour of interactive constructionism. Interactive constructionism argues for the reality of racialized individuals and racialized groups to the exclusion (...) of realism about races. Its supplementation of comprehensive anti-realism is meant to give us the ability to account for all relevant phenomena of interest surrounding the question of race without having to admit that races are real in any sense. I argue that although Hochman’s interactive constructionism succeeds in establishing the existence of racialized individuals and groups, it does not do so to the exclusion of realism about social races. Furthermore, I show that his comprehensive anti-realism, even when it is supplemented with interactive constructionism, is inadequate to deal with all relevant phenomena of interest surrounding the question of race. (shrink)
This article uses phenomenology to examine the way whiteness appears. It begins by discussing the phenomenologies of race done by Linda Martin Alcoff and Sara Ahmed, focusing on their accounts of how race develops and the role that proximity and visibility play in the production of racial categories. It then offers critiques of Ahmed and Alcoff for naturalizing part of the process by which race develops, arguing that a better account of race can be given if we avoid seeing race (...) as a function of proximity or visibility. A stronger account of whiteness can be given if we draw from the work of Merleau-Ponty, in particular his claims that there is always a directionality to perception and that we complete the world in our perceptions of it. A phenomenology that is motivated by these considerations will be able to explain how whiteness is able to appear in so many ways as it is constantly being completed differently in different contexts. The article ends by describing some of these contexts, such as how whiteness is often occluded but can also manifest the qualities of malignancy and autoimmunity. (shrink)
The dominant view in the philosophical literature contends that internalized oppression, especially that experienced in virtue of one's womanhood, reduces one's sense of agency. Here, I extend these arguments and suggest a more nuanced account. In particular, I argue that internalized oppression can cause a person to conceive of herself as a deviant agent as well as a reduced one. This self-conception is also damaging to one's moral identity and creates challenges that are not captured by merely analyzing a reduced (...) sense of agency. To help illustrate this claim, I consider experiences of people of color who internalize stereotypes regarding criminality and moral deviance. With these examples in mind, I show that internalized prejudices regarding criminality can cause people of color to view themselves as outlaws in the moral community, that is, as wrongdoers. This conclusion helps give voice to some of the challenges that women of color who experience multiple sorts of internalized prejudices often face. To conclude, I discuss one strategy for empowerment that women of color have used when confronted with multiple forms of internalized oppression. (shrink)
Recent advances in population genetics have made it possible to infer an individual's ancestral origin with a high degree of reliability, giving rise to the new technology called ‘DNA Ancestry Profiling’. Bioethicists have raised concerns over using this technology within a forensic context, many of which stem from issues concerning race. In this article, I offer some reasons why we ought to allow forensic scientists to use DNA Ancestry Profiling to infer the race or ethnicity of perpetrators — on a (...) particular understanding of race or ethnicity — in at least some cases. First, there is reason to think the process will meet our evidential standards in many cases. Second, the technology has serious prospects for improving racial justice. Third, the ethical concerns that have been raised can be addressed. And last, using Forensic DNA Ancestry Profiling to infer race or ethnicity has many benefits over its successor technology known as Molecular Photofitting. I conclude the essay by sketching the empirical work that remains to be done. (shrink)
This translation of Enrique Dussel's “‘Ser-Hispano’: Un Mundo en el ‘Border’ de Muchos Mundos” offers an interpretation of hispanos (Latin Americans and U.S. latinos) as historically, culturally, and geographically located “in-between” many worlds that combine to constitute an identity on the intercultural “border.” To illustrate how hispanos have navigated and continue to navigate their complex history in order to create a polyphonic identity, the essay sketches five historical-cultural “worlds” that come together to form the hispanic “world.”.
Through most of the twentieth century, life scientists grew increasingly sceptical of the biological significance of folk classifications of people by race. New work on the human genome has raised the possibility of a resurgence of scientific interest in human races. This paper aims to show that the racial sceptics are right, while also granting that biological information associated with racial categories may be useful.
Less than one percent of U.S. philosophers are Asian American. This essay contends that the low percentage cannot be fully explained by considerations of demographics, immigration, and "Asian culture." Completeness of explanation requires reference to racial politics and Orientalism in their historic and national dynamics. It also requires reference to various kinds of identity derogation specific to the academy and to philosophy, in particular. The essay concludes with reflection on how the "model minority" discourse adds another layer of complication to (...) the way Asian American philosophers and philosophy students negotiate their way through the academy. (shrink)
This essay is a personal philosophical reflection on particular dilemma privilege-cognizant white feminists face in thinking through how to use privilege in liberatory ways. Privilege takes on a new dimension for whites who resist common defensive or guilt-ridden responses to privilege and struggle to understand the connections between ill-gotten advantages and the genuine injustices that deny humanity to peoples of color. The temptation to despise whiteness and its accompanying privilege is a common response to white privilege awareness and it is (...) this initial frustration with the perceived inescapability of white privilege that I explore here. -/- What I call the "dilemma of white privilege awareness," leaves privilege-cognizant whites trapped in the awkward position of knowing that privilege is at once impossible to dispose of, and impossible to use without perpetuating those systems of domination I wish to demolish. The dilemma works like this. On the one hand, if my racial appearance and mannerisms act as a magnet for special treatment, then I cannot simply arrange my life so as not to have benefits and immunities extended to me. There appears to be no way to divest myself completely of race privilege. On the other hand, if the focus on privilege divestment is misguided, then perhaps whites ought to find responsible ways of using race privilege that do not perpetuate structural inequalities (e.g. assisting persons of color in surmounting everyday obstacles). Yet, if the power accorded to privilege is made possible by structural inequalities, then the very act of using privilege will automatically reinforce those structural inequalities. If the claims made on both sides of the dilemma are true, then I am trapped: I can neither divest myself of unearned privileges nor can I use them without reinforcing the systems I wish to demolish. -/- I carefully unpack each side of the dilemma marking detours, diversions, and natural sticking points (e.g. cultural impersonation, retreats to white ethnicity, and the temptation to shift discussions away from race to other oppressions) that prevent me engaging critically in discussions of racism. I suggest two possible solutions to the dilemma: conceptual and pragmatic. -/- If there is one lesson we carry away from the dilemma, it is that privilege is impossible to shake, and that using privilege reinscribes it. Rather than frustrating us, this phenomenon should alert us to the strengths of privilege as a resource. To use privilege as a resource for anti-racist activities is to give up its abusive power. (shrink)
I address the problem of how to locate "traitorous" subjects, or those who belong to dominant groups yet resist the usual assumptions and practices of those groups. I argue that Sandra Harding's description of traitors as insiders, who "become marginal" is misleading. Crafting a distinction between "privilege-cognizant" and "privilege-evasive" white scripts, I offer an alternative account of race traitors as privilege-cognizant whites who refuse to animate expected whitely scripts, and who are unfaithful to worldviews whites are expected to hold.