On calling out racism

Posted: February 24, 2012 by Jender in whiteness of philosophy

At the Central APA, a friend and I sat beside a group of three white female philosophers at lunch. These women began breaking down the ‘conduct’ of a Black female colleague who in the Q&A called out the racism of a panelist’s argument. Of course, this Black woman’s ‘conduct’ was ‘unproductive’, ‘contentless’, ‘offensive’, and ‘irrational’. Without a trace of self-consciousness and using the most tired Othering scripts in circulation, they pathologized this woman. As a junior colleague, I am struck that they couldn’t even imagine that they were sitting next to two other philosophers (a white woman and Black man). Overhearing them confirmed to me that no call for accountability goes unpunished; unless you want to be trashed, beware of naming sexism or racism publicly.

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