Lecture by Naomi Zack: “A New Paradigm of Anti-Racism: Why Discourse of White Privilege, Justice, and Equality Do Not Work”

5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22
Rasmussen Rotunda, Wheelock Student Center

NaomiZack_PhotoNaomi Zack is a leading figure in the philosophy of race. She has developed a distinctive brand of anti-racism in her recent and forthcoming books: White Privilege and Black Rights: The Injustice of U.S. Police Racial Profiling and Homicide? (2015); The Ethics and Mores of Race: Equality after the History of Philosophy(2011); and Applicative Justice: A Pragmatic Revision of Injustice Discourse (2016).

The lecture “A New Paradigm of Anti-Racism: Why Discourse of White Privilege, Justice, and Equality Do Not Work” will present a new way to think about racial oppression and other forms of current injustice. Consider what Zack says about the term “white privilege.” Although this concept is prominent in standard liberal thinking about anti-racism, Zack argues that it leads to misdescriptions of the ethical landscape. “A privilege is special treatment that goes beyond a right. It’s not so much that being white confers privilege, but that not being white means being without rights in many cases,” she said in a New York Times interview with George Yancy. “Not fearing that the police will kill your child for no reason isn’t a privilege. It’s a right.”

“Naomi Zack is one of a handful of thinkers who have convinced philosophers of the centrality of issues of race to philosophy,” said Douglas Cannon, professor of philosophy at Puget Sound. “She has cast the nature of race as a metaphysical problem, particularly highlighting mixed race as a pervasive challenge to resolving this problem. More recently she has dared to renounce shibboleths of equality in favor of what, to her mind, are more promising ideals of fairness.”

The free public lecture is part of the inaugural Cascade Lecture Series in Philosophy. Zack will also give lectures at Whitman College and Lewis and Clark College as part of the series. The series is organized by the philosophy departments of the members of the Northwest Five Consortium (NW5C), as part of their Philosophy in an Inclusive Key project. The NW5C, founded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, includes Lewis and Clark College, Reed College, University of Puget Sound, Whitman College, and Willamette University.

Naomi Zack is professor of philosophy at University of Oregon. She received her doctorate in philosophy from Columbia University and is the author of numerous books on philosophy of race, political philosophy, feminist philosophy, and philosophy of science. Some of her earlier works include Ethics for Disaster (2009);Inclusive Feminism: A Third Wave Theory of Women’s Commonality (2005); Race and Mixed Race (1993);Philosophy of Science and Race (2002); and the short textbook, Thinking About Race (2nd edition, 2006).  Zack is also chair of the Community Philosophy Institute Homelessness project, at University of Oregon, that aims to support creative, intellectual, and practical means to address the problems of homelessness.

To read an interview with Naomi Zack in the New York Times visit: opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/05/what-white-privilege-really-means/?_r=0

For more Information about the talk visithttp://www.pugetsound.edu/news-and-events/campus-news/details/1430/

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