Racial Responsibility Revisited

Public Affairs Quarterly 35 (3):161-177 (2021)
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A common claim in the philosophy-of-race literature is that the unearned benefits of whiteness can by themselves burden their recipients with special antiracist obligations, i.e., that these benefits can impose duties unilaterally, without the mediation of their recipients’ wills, and that these duties go beyond our general antiracist duties, which derive from our common liberal-democratic citizenship and shared humanity. I will argue against this claim, though I acknowledge that there may be duties that follow from these benefits when they are combined with the affirmation or assertion of, assent to, or even mere acquiescence in white identity. Without such ratification, however, there will be no basis for either special white duties or a distinctively white guilt.

Author's Profile

Robert S. Taylor
University of California, Davis


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