James A. Moffett ’29 Lectures in Ethics: “What’s Wrong with Anti-Racism”
Thu, 3/21 · 4:30 pm—6:00 pm · 101 Friend Center
Paul C. Taylor, University of California, Los Angeles
The Moffett Lecture Series aims to foster reflection about moral issues in public life, broadly construed, at either a theoretical or a practical level, and in the history of thought about these issues. The series is made possible by a gift from the Whitehall Foundation in honor of James A. Moffett ’29.
Paul C. Taylor is the Presidential Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his undergraduate training at Morehouse College and his graduate training at the Kennedy School of Government and at Rutgers University. His research focuses primarily on aesthetics, the philosophy of race, American philosophy, and Africana philosophy. His books include “Black is Beautiful: A Philosophy of Black Aesthetics,” which received the 2017 monograph prize from the American Society for Aesthetics (ASA), and “Race: A Philosophical Introduction.”
Abstract: The idea that racism is objectionable has become a fixture in US public discourse. Some people oppose racism only in public, for reasons of decorum, while either endorsing it or ignoring in private. Other people endorse racism to anyone who will listen, decorum notwithstanding. But these people know what sincere opponents of racism also know, even if they find the knowledge lamentable: promoting racism is a problem in polite company.
Why, then, has anti-racism fallen on such hard times? The clearest product of the so-called racial reckoning of the early 2020s may be the rise of an anti-racism industry. This sprawling constellation of policies, practices, experts, and analyses won a great deal of attention and investment for its singular focus on fighting racism. Support for this work seems to follow directly from the public consensus opposing racism. But key figures in the industry, like Ibram Kendi and Robin DiAngelo, and the policies and practices their work informs, have come under fire from every ideological direction.
“What’s Wrong with Anti-Racism” will explore some prominent critiques of anti-racism and consider their significance for broader questions of social ethics.
Department of African American Studies
Department of Philosophy