On Race and Racism in America: Confessions in Philosophy

Given the racial complexity of the United States--not to mention the racism of its foundations and its persistence--why is it that the most influential white philosophers have not addressed the issue of race, its social construction and myth, and the problems it raises on a daily basis? To answer this question, Roy Martinez, the editor of this volume, solicited contributions from eight of the most significant American philosophers working in the Continental and American pragmatist philosophical traditions. But there is no one answer: each contributor has a distinct perspective on the problem and provides an answer reflecting that perspective. Some approach the question in a personal manner by reflecting on how race has affected their own lives. Others resort to meta-analyses of features of philosophy as a discipline that account for its relative blindness to issues of race. Together they shed light on an anomaly that distinguishes philosophy from the other humanities as well as the social sciences--a relative lack of attention to race compared with class and gender--and thus help us better understand how the mental frameworks within which scholars operate can lead to differences in the subjects they take an interest in analyzing. Aside from the editor, the contributors are John D. Caputo, David Couzens Hoy, John Ladd, Joseph Margolis, Ladelle McWhorter, Shannon Sullivan, Georgia Warnke, and Cynthia Willett.