Philosophy and Social Criticism 43 (7):748-774 (2017)

Lantz Fleming Miller
University of Twente
Which types of group-typing amounts to racism? The answer seemingly has to do with deeper physical or cultural traits over which an agent has no deliberate control but which are formative of the agent. In this article, I look to the cultural or ethnic bases of division of humans into races, albeit of a specific type: a basis that sees humanity climbing in a certain, presumably improving, direction. Those ethnicities that appear not to opt for this climb are commonly presumed – if tacitly – inferior. This outlook is so common, particularly in industrial, governmental, economic-developmental, academic and other intellectual and influential, high-profile institutional settings, it is hard to descry. This article aims to bring this racism, referred to as ‘pan-institutional’ because it extends from local to national and international institutions, into fuller light. The article argues that prominent pan-institutions, including government, academia and industry, work together to propagate this racism, even while these institutions aver they are spreading benevolence to less fortunate cultures, in the cause of cultural, economic and social globalization. In this way, these pan-institutions follow precisely in step with earlier colonialism and missionarism. The article ethically assesses this covert racist pan-institutional movement, reveals the quandaries that many indigenous cultures, especially foragers, face as this movement encroaches on them, and analyses how it is best understood as a refurbishing of colonialism in the name of benevolence. The argument ends by describing how such benevolent globalization builds upon misanthropy and it analyses the moral implications and why this most covert and widespread movement is, like more visible and standard racisms, wrong-headed, unethical, fatal, misanthropist and perhaps self-hating.
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DOI 10.1177/0191453716685759
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