The Racial Veil: Racial Perception and The Inner Moral Life

Abstract

Philosophers of race and other writers in the Black and Latinx intellectual traditions have remarked on what it is like to live under “the racial gaze,” to be shaped and limited by the way whites perceive us. However, little work has been spent developing how the racial gaze functions in whites’, and other racially privileged people’s, moral psychology. I argue in this paper that there is a morally objectionable way of perceiving people of color. This claim builds on an insight from Iris Murdoch that our perception can be morally evaluable and extends it to issues of race. I articulate how racial stereotypes and misvaluing distort one’s perception of people of color and that these distortions are organizing around a dominant conception for race that plays an important role in the oppression of people of color. I believe understanding racist perception lays a foundation for understanding the moral dimensions of interpersonal (as opposed to structural) racism.

Author's Profile

E. M. Hernandez
Independent Researcher

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2023-04-26

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