Betrayed Expectations: Misdirected Anger and the Preservation of Ideology

Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (forthcoming)
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This paper explores a phenomenon that we call “justified-but-misdirected anger,” in which one’s anger is grounded in or born from a genuine wrong or injustice but is directed towards an inappropriate target. In particular, we argue that oppressive ideologies that maintain systems of gender, race, and class encourage such misdirection and are thereby self-perpetuating. We engage with two particular examples of such misdirection. The first includes poor white voters who embrace racist and xenophobic politics; they are justified in being angry about their own economic exploitation, but that anger is misdirected in a way that maintains capitalism (which is the appropriate target of their anger). The second includes so-called “incels” who embrace misogyny; they are justified in being angry about unrealistic and unhealthy standards of contemporary masculinity, but that anger is misdirected in a way that maintains patriarchy. One goal of exploring this type of justified-but-misdirected anger is to thread the needle between holding wrongdoers to account while also clearly identifying the oppressive ideologies that influence their actions.



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Author Profiles

Barrett Emerick
St. Mary's College of Maryland
Audrey Yap
University of Victoria

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References found in this work

Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 2003 - In Gary Watson (ed.), Free Will. Oxford University Press.
White Ignorance.Charles W. Mills - 2007 - In Shannon Sullivan & Nancy Tuana (eds.), Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance. Albany, NY: State Univ of New York Pr. pp. 11-38.
Love and Knowledge: Emotion in Feminist Epistemology.Alison M. Jaggar - 1989 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 32 (2):151 – 176.
Unreasonable Resentments.Alice MacLachlan - 2010 - Journal of Social Philosophy 41 (4):422-441.

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