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Blackness Visible: Essays on Philosophy and Race (Cornell Paperbacks) Paperback – April 9, 1998
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From Library Journal
The title of this collection of eight engagingly written, erudite essays by an African American professor of philosophy at the University of Illinois is a take-off on Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, in which Ellison graphically portrayed the American black person as systematically obliterated from society's consciousness. There are two major themes here: the first concerns the philosophical professoriate, which is predominately?and, the author contends, dominatingly?white; the second is whether or not race moderates philosophical consciousness. These are deep questions, and in dealing with them, Mills addresses a broad spectrum of issues: black-Jewish relations, gender (the progress of women vs. blacks), white supremacy, racism, genocide, jurisprudence, and much more. The thought of philosophers and others from ancient times to the present is given incisive analyses, as are epistemological, metaphysical, ethical, political, sociological, and literary considerations. The subject of this book is long overdue for airing. Highly recommended for a variety of pertinent academic and larger public library collections.?Leon H. Brody, U.S. Office of Personnel Mgt. Lib., Washington, DC
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Mills, a philosophy professor, takes his profession to task for its silence on race even while it expounds on ethics. He skewers esteemed philosophers, including Immanuel Kant and John Locke, whose biased views so informed their work that they could exhort the sanctity of individual rights, taking as a given that nonwhites (nonpersons) were never intended to be covered by such rights. The upshot has been the seeming contradiction of a nation with a philosophical base founded on individual rights that nonetheless has a history of brutal treatment of nonwhites. There is no contradiction, according to Mills. Racism is not an aberration of an otherwise nearly ideal American democratic political system but is part of the political fabric, inherited from European imperialists. Mills examines emergent critical race theory and its movement beyond the political and sociological arena to the venerable territory of philosophy. Copiously researched and footnoted, this is tough going for the uninitiated but an outstanding work that addresses one of the many racial issues of our times. Vanessa Bush --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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He writes in the Preface to this 1998 book, "These essays represent my exploration of the possibilities generated when race is taken seriously in some of the standard areas of the field: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, applied ethics, social and political philosophy. With one exception, all were written within the span of four years and show the development of my thinking."
Here are some quotations from the book:
"The 'whiteness' of academic philosphy has long been a source of wonder and complaint to minorities. Among the humanities, it has been one of the most resistant to what have come to be called 'multiculturalist' revisions." (Pg. xii)
"What exactly is it about philosophy that so many black people find alienating, which would explain the fact, a subject of ongoing discussion in the APA Proceedings and Addresses, that blacks continue to be far more underrepresented here than in most other humanities and that black graduate students generally steer away from philosophy?" (Pg. 2)
"So Immanuel Kant, theorist of abstract noumenal persons equally deserving of respect, reveals himself simultaneously as one of the founders of the very ontology of subpersons and racial disrespect that black activists such as Garvey have traditionally had to fight against." (Pg. 74)