Arrogance Under Oppression


There is a curious phenomenon where people from marginalized populations are taken to be arrogant when they show no signs of superiority. In effect, their actions are misconstrued, and their attitudes are rendered unintelligible. Given that arrogance is standardly taken to be a flaw in one’s moral character, understanding such misattributions should give us insight into the affective marginalization many people face. This talk aims to give a thorough exploration of arrogance under oppression. I argue that arrogance is a kind of self-preoccupation that involves projecting one’s values, goals, and concerns onto others as if they were objective values, goals, and concerns. When the affectively marginalized communicate their self-respect through things like protest, people mistake that self-respect as self-preoccupation given how the affectively marginalized are constructed. Furthermore, given how affective marginalization not only inhibits how the marginalized are understood by others, but inhibits their own affective lives, I argue that taking up an arrogant attitude is not always morally vicious, but can be a beautiful form of political resistance but all things considered good.

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E. M. Hernandez
Independent Researcher


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