Racial Eliminativism

imgresRacial eliminativism.  Try saying that three times fast.  This tongue twister is not the work of our beloved Dr. Seuss but scholars like K. Anthony Appiah, Lawrence Blum, J. Angelo Corlett, Ashley Montagu and Naomi Zack.  I hope to be added to this list and here’s why.  Racial eliminativists believe in the elimination of race.  Need I say more?  Perhaps, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says it best.

“Racial skeptics like Appiah and Zack adopt normative racial eliminativism, which recommends discarding the concept of race entirely, according to the following argument. Because of its historical genealogy, the term race can only refer to one or more discrete groups of people who alone share biologically significant genetic features. Such a monopoly on certain genetic features could only emerge within a group that practices such a high level of inbreeding that it is effectively genetically isolated. Such genetic isolation might refer to the Amish in America (Appiah 1996, 73) or to Irish Protestants (Zack 2002, 69), but they clearly cannot refer to those groupings of people presently subsumed under American racial census categories. Because the concept “race” can only apply to groups not typically deemed races (Amish, Irish Protestants), and because this concept cannot apply to groups typically deemed races (African Americans, Whites, Asians, Native Americans), a mismatch occurs between the concept and its typical referent. Thus, the concept of race must be eliminated due to its logical incoherence (Mallon 2006, 526, 533).”

This simply means that from the perspective of genealogy, race does not work and there are a group of people that believe that it should be eliminated.  I join with them though theology not genealogy led me to their side.  Still, I, too, am a racial eliminativist.  I’ll only say it once. Race atheist may be easier to repeat.

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