Philosophical analysis and the moral concept of racism

Philosophy and Social Criticism 25 (5):1-32 (1999)
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 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
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0191453799025005001
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,463
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Luvell Anderson (2015). Racist Humor. Philosophy Compass 10 (8):501-509.
Polycarp Ikuenobe (2011). Conceptualizing Racism and Its Subtle Forms. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 41 (2):161-181.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

102 ( #45,574 of 1,925,534 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

10 ( #88,276 of 1,925,534 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.