Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A New Paradigm of Anti-Racism: Why Discourse of White Privilege, Justice, and Equality Do Not Work

Lecture on a new way to think about racial oppression and anti-racism
Everyone is welcome to the free talk and Q&A
Thursday, Oct. 22. 5 p.m - 6:30pm in the Rasmussen Rotunda, Wheelock Student Center

How can we nudge American society toward racial justice and equality? Somewhat paradoxically, philosopher Naomi Zack argues that the best way to do so is to stop talking about justice and equality—at least in the way that standard liberal thinking often dictates. Instead, she argues, we need a new set of conceptual tools for anti-racism discourse.

Naomi Zack is professor of philosophy at University of Oregon. She received her doctorate in philosophy from Columbia University and is the author of numerous books on philosophy of race, political philosophy, feminist philosophy, and philosophy of science. Some of her earlier works include Ethics for Disaster (2009); Inclusive Feminism: A Third Wave Theory of Women’s Commonality (2005); Race and Mixed Race (1993); Philosophy of Science and Race (2002); and the short textbook, Thinking About Race (2nd edition, 2006).

Zack is also chair of the Community Philosophy Institute Homelessness project, at University of Oregon, that aims to support creative, intellectual, and practical means to address the problems of homelessness.

The lecture will present a new way to think about racial oppression and other forms of current injustice. Consider what Zack says about the term “white privilege.” Although this concept is prominent in standard liberal thinking about anti-racism, Zack argues that it leads to misdescriptions of the ethical landscape.

“A privilege is special treatment that goes beyond a right. It’s not so much that being white confers privilege, but that not being white means being without rights in many cases,” she said in a New York Times interview with George Yancy. “Not fearing that the police will kill your child for no reason isn’t a privilege. It’s a right.”

For more information about the talk and Naomi Zack:

Contact: Shirley Skeel,
ph. 253.879.2611, cell. 510.684.6715