E-LOGOS - University of Economics, Prague
Faculty of Economics, University of Economics, Prague

Against ‘Racisms’: An Invidious Concept Under Fire (2014)

Author: J. Kerwick

Email: jackk610@verizon.net

Affiliation: Burlington County College, USA

Burlington County College
Department of Philosophy
601 Pemberton Browns Mill Road
Pemberton, New Jersey 08068

Article type: Standard scientific article

Section: Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy

Language: language

Abstract (english):

In the contemporary Western world, it is impossible to go a single day without hearing about “racism.” Yet beyond thinking of it as something at once ubiquitous and especially, maybe even uniquely, awful, no one seems to know what “racism” is. In this paper, I subject the concept of “racism” to interrogation. I show, first, that in spite of what the singularity of the term may lead us to believe, there is no unitary phenomenon to which “racism” refers. In fact, there are at least four logically distinct and, in some respects, inconsistent conceptions of “racism.” The latter has been defined in terms of: (1) Racial Hatred (RH); (2) Racial Discrimination (RD); (3) Innate Inferiority (II); and (4) Institutional Racism (IR). Secondly, each of these conceptions is problematic on their own terms and, thirdly, none accommodates the popular sense that “racism” is both pervasive and particularly horrible. Finally, I recommend that “racism” is a word that we are better off retiring.

Download/View: kerwick14b.pdf

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