The racialized self: empowerment, self-respect, and personal autonomy Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 21, 2019
  • Thomas, Brian
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Philosophy
  • Much of the popular literature sees the inequality of African-Americans as a problem of differential legal standing that is solved through introducing complete legal formal equality with laws that are administered impartially and neutrally. Any further difficulties in the distribution of benefits and burdens are seen mainly as the problem of the group itself, as failures at being self-determining. But recently, social scientists have become increasingly wary of the claim that the blacks are simply failing at becoming self-determining, as even a cursory glance at the major indices of welfare reveal that the barriers to equality for blacks are systemic. The current view is that the best way to determine policies is to eliminate, or at least to seriously mitigate, the effects of race and racial identity on policies that distribute the benefits and burdens of society. The skepticism about race and racial identity is driven by the concern that racial identity is troublesome from the moral point of view because it is thought that racial identities, especially the racial identities of blacks, are predicated on self-defeating conceptions of race and racial identity. I argue that these views are predicated on a shallow and faulty understanding of racial identity and that with a more nuanced understanding of racial identity we can avoid these problems and we can understand how policies that promote racial identity might empower blacks.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Boxill, Bernard
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

This work has no parents.