Dialogue and Universalism

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1/2021

RACISM

 

EDITORIAL

   There is some consensus that philosophical reflection and work aims to isolate and identify the essences of things rather than simply the specific manifestations of things. Philosophy seeks to uncover and thereby reveal the deepest and core structures of reality. This goal or task of philosophy is not simply an “academic” affair. It is intimately connected with projects of liberation, social justice, and the quest for a more humane, peaceful, and decent world. To change the world, we must first adequately understand the world. For this reason, philosophy is an intrinsically practical activity—although rarely recognized as such. During times of crisis and social upheaval, such as our own, this practical feature of philosophical inquiry becomes more and more vital.

   The traditional philosophical task of revealing the essence of things is often, and properly, understood to transcend the particularities of place and time. And yet, the projects of liberation, social justice, and the quest for a more humane, peaceful, and decent world are inherently timely. These projects require both an understanding of the essential nature and structure of the forces of oppression and the causes of injustice as well as an understanding of how those forces and causes manifest themselves in our unique moment in history.

   This issue Dialogue and Universalism is devoted to the promotion and encouragement of a deep philosophical reflection on the phenomenon of racism that aims at elucidating the essential structures of racism and the possibilities for its dismantling and cultural overcoming in our place and time. Although the phenomenon and tragedy of racism is global, the effects and lived experience of racism vary greatly. The essays published here typically reflect differing perspectives on the phenomenon of racism that emerge from within the generative histories of the home culture(s) and world(s) of their authors. This opening editorial echoes that pattern as it attempts to reflect on the current state of racial dynamics within the USA and from the perspective of this author.

   Just as the phenomenon of racism is experienced in many ways, the term “racism” is understood in varied and distinct ways. The word often serves as an umbrella term covering widely different practices, beliefs, prejudices, etc. While it has because common to recognize that racism is more than simply a belief or practice of individuals but also a systemic or structural feature baked into the taken-for-granted fabric of many societies, there is still no widespread consensus on how to properly understand the phenomenon of racism.

   Our moment in history is shaped by contradictory and contested cultural trajectories that are subject to acceleration, mutation, and tipping points. We are simultaneously moving towards ever greater forms of global integration and exclusionary enclaves of national, ethnic, and racial identities. At the very moment when the human capacity for a life of reason and a capacity for shared deliberation is needed most, we retreat into factionalism, delusions of exceptionalism, religious fanaticism, and the empty promise of authoritarianism. The lure of authoritarianism is increasingly tied to the rise of ethnic and racial nationalisms that are supported by exclusionary forms of identity politics. This is a fertile landscape for the propagation and cultivation of new and old forms of racism.

   The widely celebrated election of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the USA led to proclamations of a new post-racial and color-blind American society. This new moment of hope and optimism now appears as a prelude to the rise of new varieties of American exceptionalism supported by new forms of openly expressed and celebrated white supremacism and white nationalism in the USA. In recent years, the USA has suffered increasing violence and hate crimes against members of Jewish, Latinx, Asian, and Black communities. In these circumstances it becomes easy to think of racism as more than a concept, a set of practices, or a systemic or structural feature of society but as a movement with its own direction and inner telos. Racism seems to be on the march— headed towards some destination that is not yet settled.

   Political ideologies such as Liberalism or Socialism not only encompass an interrelated and reinforcing body of conjectures, ideals, goals, and values about human and political life, they also sketch a broad trajectory or directionality that guides the continual development of their core ideas and practices. Living political ideologies are always unfinished as they point to aspirations that can rarely be clearly anticipated from where we now stand. The same is true for social and political conjectures that do not rise to the status of ideology. Notions such as “Western Chauvinism” “American Exceptionalism” or “White Supremacy” are more than a body of assumptions about the characteristics of a civilization, nation, or race but are also implicit guides to the development and the longed-for or imagined “rightful” place in the world of a culture, nation, or race.

   The phenomenon of racism is similarly structured by a set of beliefs, goals, practices, and value assumptions that offer a guide for constructing the future. The expression and impact of racism, regardless of its conscious intent, is implicitly tied to a body of thought and a set of practices that assemble a directionality as it involves a reference to something beyond itself. It is an aspiration, a goal, a telos without predetermined criteria for fulfillment. Like the best and worst of philosophical and political ideas, it points towards something to be worked out in ways that are difficult and perhaps impossible to predict.

   Fortunately, the inner telos and drive that animates much of the world’s racism does not rise to the status of an autonomous vital force or entelechy. The directionalities of each of the various manifestations of racism are subject to various steering currents within particular societies, currents that are constantly and consistently maintained by people and institutions. The growing intensity, scope, and direction of racism is influenced by broader social forces and the shifting, intersecting patterns of multiple forms of domination and hierarchy.

   In the USA, anxiety about a unique American Identity has escalated as religious affiliation has waned, immigration and shifting demographics have upset traditional power hierarchies, and rising economic inequality has heightened a fear of being left behind. Growing partisanship in politics has sharpened and solidified formerly negotiable and permeable differences. Political factionalism is becoming a new source of identity formation and now resembles a form of secular political religion that is increasingly expressed and self-identified as White Christian nationalism.

   Within this framework, the complementary and yet opposing instincts of social solidarity and factionalism are easily manipulated as the celebration of religious, ethnic, gender, and racial diversity becomes seen to many as an existential threat to traditional American Identity and prevailing social hierarchies. In this setting, racism becomes one more tool to magnify fear and conflict as overt and covert forms of racism are pressed into the service of legitimating and rein forcing the caste-like boundaries within traditional social orders.

   For such reasons as these, philosophical reflection requires both a point of view that is distanced from our everyday practical concerns and yet is attentive to the unique particularities of our time and place. Philosophers must do more than contemplate the world and the meaning of human existence. We must offer insightful understandings that provide roadmaps to a better future. We must continue to provide compelling critiques but also provide compelling alternative destinations/directionalities to the unfortunate conjectures of “Western Chauvinism” “American Exceptionalism” and “White Supremacy.”

   A promising direction here may be found in the influential and prevailing critiques aimed at the aspiration toward a “color-blind” society. Many of the essays in this issue begin with the premise that a powerful and vicious form of racism “color-branding” must be eliminated to end prevalent forms of violence, injustice, and racial hierarchies that are too often passively accepted. While the path toward the elimination of color-branding necessarily calls for a systemic and global rethinking of taken-for-granted color-branding practices, the contemporary understanding of a “color-blind” society points us toward the wrong directions as it leaves us blind to racism and racial injustice. When we do not see race or color, we are unable to acknowledge the manifestations of racially motivated patterns of social injustice and thus unable to analyze its root causes or the conditions of its possibility.

   The familiar prescription of a color-blind society aims to end racism by ceasing to speak about race. The seductive illusion of a color-bind society is no more than magical thinking and the empty promise “If we do not speak its name, it will not exist.” Color-blindness promotes the notion that race-based differences do not matter and overlooks the realities of systemic racism, thus depriving us of the language and conceptual framework to examine and talk about important features of racial injustice. Color-blindness aims at raceblindness and is a not a path to the elimination of racial or color injustice but a path towards blindness to racial injustice as well as blindness to the culturally enriching diversity of racial and ethnic contributions in art, music, and ways of seeing the world, i.e., blindness to the multiple forms of cultural enrichment and renewal necessary for vibrant, thriving, and flourishing cultures.

   The editorial policy of Dialogue and Universalism features the hope and belief that dialogue and discussion between clashing philosophical traditions, ideologies, and conflicting points of view lead to a synergy which not only enhances the discipline of philosophy but is necessary to promote the projects of liberation and social justice. The current aspiration of a color-blind society aims at silencing racial dialogue and silencing the perspectives of those whose lived experiences are shaped and animated by racial injustice and thus seems to us a dead end. Constructive paths forward must begin with the recognition of the plurality of our differences and similarities both within and between cultures.

   The essays included in this Dialogue and Universalism issue demonstrate philosophy’s commitment to the project of making the world a better place through philosophical reflection on the essential structures of racism and its various historical and cultural manifestations. In differing ways, these essays attempt to clarify those essential structures of racism, to critique the rational legitimacy of such structures, and to offer strategies for the dismantling and overcoming of those structures and their attempts at legitimation. And finally, these essays attempt to point the way toward a renewal of cultural life that is immune to the seductive temptations of power, caste, and hierarchy.

   Many of these essays are on the border of philosophy, sociology, anthropology, geography, history, and political science and thereby reveal the practicality of philosophy and its productive relations with other fields of knowledge without losing any of its autonomy or identity. Their authors are situated in different cultures, in different socio-political situations, and feature different styles of philosophical and critical thinking. The resulting moments of tension, paired with the moments of overlapping consensus between these perspectives, provide multiple openings for creativity and future dialogue.

Charles Brown

distinguished professor of philosophy

Emporia State University, USA   

 

 

 

ABSTRACTS

 

Robert Elliott Allinson

UNMASKING COLOR RACISM

   One reason Aristotle is distinguished as a philosopher is that he thought the philosopher investigated the causes of things. This paper raises the question: What are the causes of racial prejudice and racial discrimination. All ethical beings know that racial prejudice and racial discrimination are morally wrong, deplorable and should be completely eradicated. Deanna Jacobsen Koepke refers to Holt’s definitions in distinguishing racism from prejudice: “Racism is defined as hostility toward a group of people based on alleged inferiorities. Racism is a system of power and privilege that is at the foundation of society’s structures rather than prejudice, which is a hostile attitude toward a person based on trait he or she is assumed to have due to group membership.”1 This concept squarely places racism as the culprit to be extinguished. In this article, it is to be argued that to define racism as the target is only to observe the manifest phenomenon. The argument of the article is that racial prejudice and discrimination rest upon four pillars: political, economic, social and cultural. For simplicity of explanation, the social and cultural pillars shall be considered under the category of the political pillar, although the distinction between these pillars shall be noted. This article argues that these four pillars themselves, rest upon a foundation. The foundation is the deep psychological fear of the current, existing dominant economic group that the current existing dominated minority group will eventually usurp the power of the dominant economic group. The manifest form that this type of fear assumes is racial prejudice and discrimination. In its most extreme forms it then manifests as hate speech, hate action, hate brutality and hate murder. These manifestations provide the fuel that maintains the power imbalance and provides a camouflage for the four pillars that lie beneath the racist exterior. In this article, the political and economic pillars that racism will be examined first. The underlying deep psychological foundation shall be treated separately. In the end, the argument of this article is that color racism cannot be fully extinguished until its role as providing a mask for the underlying four pillars that consistently support inequality between different groups or classes are uprooted and the deep psychological fear that underlies them is eliminated.3 The masked function of color racism is its enormous power in perpetuating inequality; hence, the title of this paper, Unmasking Color Racism.

Keywords: color racism, functionalist color racism, color coding, racist ideas, capitalism, Marxism, Four Pillars of Color Racism, deep psychological fear.

Affiliation: Soka University of America, 1 University Drive, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656, USA.

E-mail: rallinson@soka.edu

 

 

 

Ana Bazac

THE PROBLEM OF THE COEXISTENCE OF THE CONCEPT OF HUMAN NATURE AND RACISM

   Although the concept of human nature may seem problematic, its a-historical essentialism can be used to show the fall of modern European philosophy into the historical pit of unsolvable contradictions. This paper explores the problems of logical contradictions between the modern and universalistic concept of human nature and the discriminative model of inferior-superior humans, mainly illustrated by racism. First, this papershows that the concept of human nature is valid beyond the arguments related to evolution and social contexts, although the human nature is modelled by them, and that the concept is not opposed to the specific cultural peculiarities of different human communities. Furthermore, common elements of racism both at the moment of its creation and nowadays suggest a radical possibility for resolving the antagonisms between the thesisof universality in the human being and the thesis of the particularity of unique cultures.

Keywords: human nature, racism, Kant, universality, cultural identity, essence.

Affiliation: Politehnica University of Bucharest, Splaiul Independentei, 313, sector 6, Bucharest, Romania.

E-mail: ana_bazac@hotmail.com 

 

 

 

Earnest N. Bracey

ANDREW JACKSON, BLACK AMERICAN SLAVERY, AND THE TRAIL OF TEARS: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS

   Many revisionist historians today try to make the late President Andrew Jackson out to be something that he was not—that is, a man of all the people. In our uninhibited, polarized culture, the truth should mean something. Therefore, studying the character of someone like Andrew Jackson should be fully investigated, and researched, as this work attempts to do. Indeed, this article tells us that we should not accept lies and conspiracy theories as the truth. Such revisionist history comes into sharp focus in Bradley J. Birzer’s latest book, In Defense of Andrew Jackson. Indeed, his (selective) efforts are surprisingly wrong, as he tries to give alternative explanations for Jackson’s corrupt life and political malfeasance. Hence, the lawlessness of Andrew Jackson cannot be ignored or “white washed” from American history. More important, discrediting the objective truth about Andrew Jackson, and his blatant misuse of executive power as the U.S. President should never be dismissed, like his awful treatment of Blacks and other minorities in the United States. It should have been important to Birzer to get his story right about Andrew Jackson, with a more balanced approach in regards to the man. Finally, Jackson should have tried to eliminate Black slavery in his life time, not embrace it, based on the ideas of human dignity and our common humanity. To be brutally honest, it is one thing to disagree with Andrew Jackson; but it is quite another to feel that he, as President of the United States, was on the side of all the American people during his time, because it was not true. Perhaps the biggest question is: Could Andrew Jackson have made a positive difference for every American, even Black slaves and Native Americans?

Keywords: Racism, slavery, native Americans/Indians, Black Troops, civil war, white nationalism, white supremacy, American presidency. 

Affiliation: American Politics and Black American History at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, 6375 West Charleston Boulevard – W2, Las Vegas, NV 89146- 1164, U.S.

E-mail: earnest.bracey@csn.edu 

 

 

 

Evgeniy Bubnov

THE RELIGIOUS AND QUASI-RELIGIOUS GENEALOGY OF THE THEOLOGY OF NAZISM

   The article is dedicated to the understanding of the Nazi anthropology as an element of the quasi-religious concept. Adolf Hitler’s racial theory unequivocally rejected the human status of persons not belonging to the Caucasian race, labeling them as Untermensch (“under-man”). Such an attitude was due to several prerequisites. However, the core reason is manifested not in the rational sphere. In the twentieth century, concepts of quasi-religions and political religions became widespread due to the reign of two totalitarian ideologies in Eurasia—Nazism and Communism. Numerous scholars emphasized the fact that these ideologies performed religious functions thus occupying an intellectual space at the interface between the religious and the secular. Quasi-religion adherents may be equally fanatic as religious radicals. Questions about whether this similarity is mere coincidence or whether quasi-religions are derivatives from traditional religions and the meaning of this problem today deserve close attention.

Keywords: Nazism, Hitler, racial theory, quasi-religion, political religion, political theology.

Affiliation: Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of Far Eastern Federal University, Sukhanova, Primorskiy Kray, 690091 Vladivostok, Russia.

E-mail: knizniycherv@mail.ru 

 

 

 

 Michel Dion

THEISTIC AND NON-THEISTIC MODES OF DETACHMENT FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE INFINITE

   In this article, we will describe two theistic models of “paradoxical detachment” from the Presence of the Infinite, implying the coexistence of attachment and detachment. We will analyze two forms of Christianity-based paradoxical detachment: (a) being dependent on the Ground of soul, while being detached from the representations of the Infinite (Master Eckhart); (b) being absolutely dependent on the Infinite, while being detached from any religious morality (Friedrich Schleiermacher). The non- theistic mode of detachment from the Presence of the Infinite requires an absolute detachment. We will examine two forms of absolute detachment towards the Presence of the Infinite: on one hand, the all-encompassing emptiness in the Kagyu and Gelug lineages of Tibetan Buddhism; on the other hand, the Heideggerian notion of “groundless abyss.” In the Kagyu and Gelug lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, being absolutely detache is searching for the Enlightenment, while being detached from all concepts. Heideggerian notions, while remaining in a non-theistic way of thinking.

Keywords: Detachment, Infinite, Master Eckhart, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Tibetan Buddhism, Martin Heidegger.

Affiliation: Université de Sherbrooke, 2500 Boulevard de l’Université, Sherbrooke, QC J1K 2R1, Canada.

E-mail: Michel.Dion@USherbrooke.ca

 

 

 

Maraizu Elechi 

WESTERN RACIST IDEOLOGIES AND THE NIGERIAN PREDICAMENT

   Racism is responsible for discrimination against some citizens in Nigeria. It influences government’s policies and actions and militates against equity and equal opportunity for all. It has effaced indigenous values and ebbed the country into groaning predicaments of shattered destiny and derailed national development. Racism hinges on superciliousness and the assumed superiority of one tribe and religion over the others. These bring to the fore two forms of racism in Nigeria: institutional and interpersonal racisms. The Western selfish motive to dominate, marginalize, and sustain economic gains, political expansion, psycho-mental control, and socio-cultural devaluations escalated racism in Nigeria. Racist ideologies were entrenched through the selfish ventures of slave trade, colonialism and neo-colonialism, which enforced an unprecedented unjust harvest of impugnable systemic practices. Neo-colonial forces continue to promote ethnocentrism, cultural imperialism, and the dehumanization, exploitation, oppression, and suppression of Africans. Adopting a methodical approach of critical analysis, this article spotlights the negative effects of racism on Nigeria’s development. However, the bristling challenges of racist ideologies can be resolved within the epistemological compass of gynist deconstruction approach to human thought and action for a better universe of one human race.

Keywords: Racism, ethnocentrism, slave trade, colonialism, neo-colonialism, gynism.

Affiliation: Department of Philosophy, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Westend, Old Port Harcourt Twp, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

E-mail: drmaraizuelechi@yahoomail.com 

 

 

 

Maduka Enyimba

HOW SENSE-PHENOMENAL THEORY OF PERSONAL IDENTITY MIGHT LEGITIMIZE RACISM

   The major concern of the problem of personal identity gravitates around the question of whether a person’s identity is located in the mind or in the body. Scholars have developed different theories such as survivalist and physicalist criteria among others in response to this question. In this paper, I engage with the theory of sense-phenomenalism as an aspect of the physicalist criterion of personal identity to show how it might legitimize racism and colour-branding. Sense-phenomenalism is a body-only model of personal identity that holds that an individual’s identity is determined by the physical features sensually perceptible by other humans in the society. I argue that sensephenomenalism by reposing a person’s identity on his/her bodily traits might foster social discrimination, deepen the dichotomy between the self and the other and enhance the fabrication of justifications for the denial of individual’s rights.

Keywords: Sense-phenomenalism, personal identity, race and racism, colourbranding, social discrimination, self and the other. 

Affiliation: Department of Philosophy, University of Calabar, P.M.B. 1115, Etta Agbor Rd, Calabar, Nigeria.

E-mail: enyimbamauka@gmail.com 

 

 

 

Clement Chimezie Igbokwe

ELIMINATING RACISM: THE CHALLENGES OF PREVENTION IN THE CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY

   Slavery and slave trade gave birth to racism and society has been struggling towards its prevention and possible elimination with little success. Martin Luther King Jr wrote in his letter from the Birmingham jail: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” Until this undeniable fact is understood and emphasized our contemporary society is heading towards a state of an uncontrollable wildfire of anarchy. It is obvious that all fingers are not equal but that does not negate the fact that all men irrespective of colour or race are created equal—configured with brain, flesh, water, and blood. Racial discrimination is a moral and systemic sin that must be confronted and vehemently condemned. The main thrust of this paper is to expose various forms of racial discrimination ravaging the contemporary society with a view to postulating ideas geared towards its prevention and possible elimination. Relying on observational and historical methods, relevant data required will be elicited. The paper identified among other things that racism is resurging in the 21st century to a threatening dimension that if a coordinated action is not urgently taken, it will result into an uncontrollable wildfire of anarchy. The researcher therefore recommends the need to reemphasize respect and tolerance for all humanity.

Keywords: Racism, prejudice, inequality, economic power, discrimination. 

Affiliation: Department of History and International Relations, Abia State University, Uturu, P.M.B. 2000, Uturu Abia State, Nigeria.

E-mail: chimbest@yahoo.com 

 

 

 

Clara M. Austin Iwuoha

THE ROLE OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH IN COMBATING 21ST CENTURY RACISM

   The demons of racism, bigotry, and prejudice found in society at large are also found in the Christian Church. Despite the very nature of Christianity that calls on Christians to be a counter voice in the world against evil, many have capitulated to various strains of racism. Some Christian denominations have begun to explore racism in the Church and have developed responses to addressing the issues in both the Church and the world. This article examines the historical context of race and religion in the Christian Church, and addresses the current efforts of some Christian denominations to become proactive in the struggle against racism. Jesus, in His Word, calls believers to pursue peace and oneness. The paper holds that racial harmony and racial unity are possible, but there are many false, old and d beliefs that will have to be crushed under the hammer of God’s Word in order to get to a place of real peace.

Keywords: Race, racism, religion, Christianity, prejudice. 

Affiliation: Department of Religious Studies, Faculty of Humanities Imo State University, Imo State, Owerri, Nigeria.

E-mail: ausiwuoha@yahoo.com 

 

 

 

Andrey I. Matsyna

THE OBJECTIVE ENERGIC APPROACH TO OVERCOMING RACISM

   Racism cannot be ousted by external social manipulations without philosophical reflection on distinguishing between the structure of this phenomenon and the possibilities of its cultural overcoming. This essay analyzes Russian traveler Nicolai MiklouhoMaclay’s heroic struggle against racism. His nap on the outskirts of a Papuan village is presented as an existential act of throwing off any objectivities of one’s personal “I” in an effort to overcome racist insanity using a universal dialogue between accepting each other as equals. As a xenophobic obstacle to a dialogue with the Other, racism generates a global demarcation of humanity that passes through the subjective core of each person’s identity. It is this subjectivity that should be brought to its utmost flexibility for the sake of a dialogue with the Other. The vanishing objectivity of the “I,” according to Karl Jaspers, can be defined as energeticism. It is the strife for achieving the universal “I” which is indefinite but still IS there.

Keywords: racism, overcoming, the culture of overcoming, object-energy approach, objectiveness, energy, objective identity, object core of individual, metamorphosis of identity.

Affiliation: Department of the Faculty of Eurasia and the East of Chelyabinsk State University, 129 Bratiev Kashirinykh st., 454001 Chelyabinsk, Russian Federation.

E-mail: matsyna@inbox.ru

 

 

 

Paul K. Michael

RACISM, VULNERABILITY, AND THE YOUTH STRUGGLE IN AFRICA

   Because youths are particularly vulnerable to social problems, philosophers since Plato to date have continued to show interest in developing, empowering, and protecting the youths. African youths are particularly far more than ordinarily vulnerable to various social problems including racism especially from outside the continent, mainly because of the shortfall in youth development and empowerment strategies in most African countries. Consequently, young people are pulled to countries with resources and infrastructures that provide them with opportunities to enlarge their capabilities and improve their quality of life, where they are also faced with discriminatory, prejudicial, and antagonistic treatments simply because of their skin colour. So, one way to look at racism and reduce its effects is to examine those socio-political as well as economic structures that constitute obstacles to youth development and empowerment, and which push and expose the young in Africa to the ill-treatments emanating from racism.

Keywords: Racism, racial discrimination, vulnerability, youth, youth development, Africa.

Affiliation: Department of Philosophy of the University of Benin, PMB. 1154, Ugbowo, Benin City, Nigeria.

E-mail: mandatedestiny@gmail.com; paul.michael@uniben.edu

 

 

 

Isaiah Aduojo Negedu

THE ILLUSION OF A POST-RACIALISED WORLD

   The presidential election of 2007 that sworn in Barack Obama as president of the United States of America heightened the idea that rightly, or wrongly, suggests the world (at least the U.S.) has become post-racialised. I will explain how the notion of post-raciality is a distraction to the demands of racial diversity in the twenty-first century. I use the conversational thinking as an alternative method to show how the possibility of both nuances in the form of racial conflict/diversity can subsist. The difference I envisage is that between highly melanated Africans and European Americans. Here, I argue that dialogue is still the most preferred option in racial conflict. However, the dialogue I propose is not a promise akin to the post-racialised, but a relationship that can exist in the midst of conflict, while at the same time acknowledging difference.

Keywords: Africa, conversation, post-racialised, race. 

Affiliation: Philosophy and Classics, Howard College, University of KwaZulu Natal, Mazisi Kunene Road, Glenwood, Durban 4041, South Africa.

 E-mail: NegeduI@ukzn.ac.za

 

 

Columbus N. Ogbujah

COLOURISM, ETHNICISM AND THE LOGIC OF DOMINATION IN 21ST CENTURY NIGERIA

   The 2016 launch of the courier giant—Dalsey, Hillblom, and Lynn’s (DHL) Advanced Regional Centre (ARC) in Singapore—was significant not just for the scale of the facility and its impressive level of innovation, but for the visual identity and branding of DHL’s red and yellow corporate colours. These colours, as is evident in all branding, set it out from the rest, and have become a symbol of power and domination. This resonates with the use of colour categories to isolate human beings into unjust classes that manifest divisive social and racial hierarchies. The symbolism of colourism and ethnicism viewed either plainly or as metaphors, lies in the “othering” of fellow human beings for discrimination and scapegoating. The markers are the same, whether in the case of George Floyd or the victims of discrimination and/or recurrent massacres in Nigeria. This essay explores how, by creating a visible barge of “otherness,” the current political leadership either shirked responsibility in the face of discriminations, or contrived excuses for the endless massacre of minorities in Nigeria.

Keywords: Colourism, ethnicism, domination, social hierarchies, political leadership.

Affiliation: Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria. 

E-mail: nogbujah@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Krzysztof Przybyszewski

POPULISM AS THE CAUSE OF LEGITIMISING RACISM IN WESTERN SOCIETIES

   The article aims at demonstrating that a spike in populist narratives (fear management in order to evoke fear of the Other) in Western societies leads to the legitimization of a new type of racism, xenoracism. Societies belonging to the so-called Western culture in the second half of the 20th century were attached to the liberal values where every sign of racism was negatively perceived as pejorative and attempts were made ateradicating it. In the 21st century, in turn, various economic and social crises caused by, inter alia, globalizing processes, were attributed to liberal values which contributed to doing politics through fear management towards the Other. The difference between racism and xenoracism lies in the fact that the former was an ideology focused on biological differences while xenoracism abandoned such differences in favour of socially and culturally imbuing them with objective and unalterable character. Populist narratives evoking fear of the Other question that behaviours triggered by this fear result from racism despite the fact that these actions are virtually identical to the ones motivated by the ideology of racism. Therefore, such behaviours and activities are more commonly perceived as positive and not pejorative and as in effect acceptable.

Keywords: human rights, racism, xenoracism, Other, Aliens, populism, globalized world. 

Affiliation: Institute of Philosophy, Szamarzewskiego 69 c, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland.

E-mail: kprzyby@amu.edu.pl

 

 

 

Aivaras Stepukonis

PAUL K. FEYERABEND’S METHOD AGAINST METHOD: A PLURALITY OF THEORIES?

   The article examines and criticizes Paul Karl Feyerabend’s seminal work entitled, “How to Be a Good Empiricist – A Plea for Tolerance in Matters Epistemological” which persuasively argued for pluralistic view of scientific knowledge and theoretical truth. Throughout the article, a number of polemical points, analytic elaborations, and broader philosophical concerns are raised regarding the notions of consistency condition, meaning invariance, theoretical alternatives, and the very principle of theoretical pluralism. The article concludes that Feyerabend’s call for a plurality of theories as the surest path to the progress of science is in need of numerous conceptual qualifications, provoking the reader into critical thinking about the deeper underpinnings of science while providing very few ready-made answers to the problems enunciated.

Keywords: Paul K. Feyerabend, philosophy of science, metaphysics, epistemology, empiricism, theoretical pluralism, consistency condition, meaning invariance.

Affiliation: Lithuanian Institute for Cultural Studies, Department of Comparative Cultural Studies, Saltoniskiu g. 58, LT-08105 Vilnius, Lithuania.

E-mail: astepukonis@gmail.com

 

 

 

Zilvinas Vareikis

THE BEGINNINGS OF THE ANARCHIST CONCEPT OF FREEDOM IN THE TEACHING OF THE GREEK CYNICS AND CHINESE PHILOSOPHICAL DAOISTS

   This paper links the beginnings of anarchism to the works of some ancient Greek Cynic philosophers. Its reflections are also visible in the Chinese Daoist civilizational paradigm, so comparatively relevant ideas developed by the Greek Cynics are analysed in relation to the Chinese Daoists ideas. Basing on the surviving works by the representatives of the above-mentioned schools or only fragments of these works, the author of the paper draws attention to the aspects of social behaviour and social activities of the thinkers of the civilizational paradigms in question. These aspects are discussed in the light of the idea of anarchism, which helps to reveal distinctive contents of values. These contents are fundamentally different from the models of anarchism of the New Ages that are oriented towards the transformation of social structure or its individual systems. The radical idea of social revolution was not important to the Greek Cynics and the Chinese Daoists, although, in the course of time, there have been attempts to link these ideas with revolutionary attitudes. However, due to the ideological divide and the divide in values, the author of the paper sees no basis for a more detailed comparative analysis of the ideas of anarchism of the New Ages and ancient anarchism.

Keywords: Greek cynics, Chinese Daoism, Cynics ethics, anarchism, utopia. 

Affiliation: Lithuanian Culture Research Institute, 58 Saltoniskes str., LT-08105, Vilnius, Lithuania.

E-mail: ilvinasvareikis@yahoo.fr


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