Self-Respect and Self-Segregation: A Du Boisian Challenge to Kant and Rawls

Social Theory & Practice 48 (3):403-27 (2022)
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In this essay I develop W.E.B. Du Bois’s concept of double consciousness to demonstrate the limitations of Kant’s and Rawls’s models of self-respect. I argue that neither Kant nor Rawls can explain what self-respect and resistance to oppression warrants under the conditions of violent and systematic racial exclusion. I defend Du Bois’s proposal of voluntary black self-segregation during the Jim Crow era and explain why Du Bois believes that the black American community has a moral right to assert its self-respect by mitigating exposure to racial violence and animus in a white-controlled polity.

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Elvira Basevich
University of California, Davis


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