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  1. 1. Race, Racism, and Ethics Lawrence M. Hinman Send E-mail to Larry HinmanUniversity of San Diego 09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 1
  2. 2. Introduction The question of race continues to divide our society We have widely divergent views on whether a problem even exists – Most African-Americans see racism as a problem and many feel it has gotten worse. – The majority of white Americans see racism as disappearing and as no longer a significant problem in the United States. The Invisibility Thesis: Racism is often invisible to the majority for several reasons – They suffer less from it – They don’t attribute their misfortune to race – They don’t always see the suffering that people of color endure.09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 2
  3. 3. The Civil Rights Movement Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed of a society beyond racism Initially, the civil rights movement centered around injustices to African Americans.09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 3
  4. 4. The Movement Expands Two additional civil rights movements Cesar Chavez and emerged into thethe United Farm Workers public eye: – Rights for Mexican- Americans Russell Means first national – Rights for native director of AIM Americans09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 4
  5. 5. Five Fundamental Questions What is the actual condition today in regard to race and racism? What is the ideal that we want to strive to achieve? What is the minimally acceptable situation in regard to race? How do we get from the actual to the minimally acceptable condition? How do we get from the actual to the ideal?09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 5
  6. 6. Developing a Moral StanceHere’s a way of visualizing these issues:09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 6
  7. 7. Some Initial Distinctions Race – usually biological – Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid and sometimes Australoid Ethnicity – refers primarily to social and cultural forms of identification and self- identification09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 7
  8. 8. Some things to note Racial categories appear biological, but their significance is often social. Racial categories in the United States often appear mutually exclusive, but may in fact be overlapping. The 2000 census was the first that allowed individuals to claim multiple racial affiliations—e.g., African-American and Native American.09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 8
  9. 9. Racism Racism has long been a part of American history09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 9
  10. 10. What is racism? Descriptive: refers to certain attitudes and actions that – single out certain people on the basis of their racial–or, in some cases, ethnic–heritage and – disadvantage them in some way on this basis. Evaluative: a negative value judgement that racism is morally wrong because of: – intentions – consequences09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 10
  11. 11. Overt and Institutional Racism Overt racism: intended to discriminate against one or more groups on the basis of race – Example: covenants in deeds preventing property from being sold to people of color. Institutional racism: social and institutional structures that, as a matter of fact, disadvantage certain racial groups – For example, do standardized aptitude and achievement tests disadvantage some groups?09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 11
  12. 12. Official and Unofficial Racism Distinguish between – Racism sanctioned by the U.S. government (e.g., in laws) – Racism that occurs in the U.S. which is not perpetrated by the government We may all as citizens be responsible as a nation for official racism in a way in which we are not responsible for it when it was not official.09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 12
  13. 13. Compensatory Programs Compensatory programs are a way of responding to past injustices. They are justified up until the point at which the earlier wrong has been compensated for. – Rests on a notion of compensatory justice The country may owe compensation for officially-sanctioned racism – Actions against Native Americans – Actions against Japanese-Americans in WWII – Enslavement of Africans brought to America09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 13
  14. 14. Compensatory Programs Backward-looking Do not presume that the present state of recipients of compensation is necessarily impoverished Important symbolic value in recognizing that a wrong occurred and expressing sorrow or regret09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 14
  15. 15. Future-oriented Models Differ from compensatory models, which look to past injustices Depends on – one’s notion of an ideal society – the means acceptable to achieving that society09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 15
  16. 16. Affirmative ActionFour Senses of Affirmative Actions – Weak senses of affirmative action: • 1. Encouraging the largest possible number of minority applications in the applicant pool, and then choosing the best candidates regardless of gender, race, etc. • 2. When the two best candidates are equally qualified and one is a minority candidate, choosing the minority candidate. – Strong senses of affirmative action: • 3. From a group of candidates, all of whom are qualified, choosing the minority candidate over better qualified non-minority ones. • 4. Choosing an unqualified minority candidate over a qualified non-minority one.09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 16
  17. 17. Three Types of Models of the Ideal Society Separatist Models – Involuntary – Voluntary: rests on identity argument Assimilationist Models – Make race irrelevant – Often presumes assimilation to the dominant culture Pluralistic Models – Many, partially overlapping circles09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 17
  18. 18. Separatist Models Involuntary – Racial groups have often been involuntarily segregated from the rest of society • African-Americans • Native Americans • Asians, especially in World War II Voluntary – Rests on identity argument – Religious groups: Mennonites, ultra-orthodox Jews – Racial groups: Aryan Nation, Nation of Islam09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 18
  19. 19. The Identity Argument Premise #1: In order to have a happy life, one must be able to affirm one’s identity. Premise #2: A central part of one’s identity is dependent on race. – Is this true in different ways for minorities vs. the dominant race? Conclusion: Society must act in such a way as to permit, perhaps even encourage, the affirmation of racial identity.09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 19
  20. 20. Assimilationist Models Make race irrelevant – Make race like eye color – “Melting Pot” metaphor • Eventual blurring of any racial distinctions Often presumes assimilation to the dominant culture09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 20
  21. 21. Pluralistic Models Many, partially overlapping circles We are members of numerous groups, based on race, ethnicity, religion, geography, place in life, hobbies, etc. Pluralism sees identity as constituted by all of these affiliations together and does not see race-based identity as necessarily primary.09/07/12 (c) Lawrence M. Hinman 21