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Beyond Redistribution: White Supremacy and Racial Justice
     

Beyond Redistribution: White Supremacy and Racial Justice

by Kevin M. Graham
 

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Since the publication of John Rawls's A Theory of Justice in 1971, political philosophers in the English-speaking world have shared a broad consensus that social justice should be understood as a matter of fair distribution of social resources. Many contemporary political philosophers disagree sharply about what would count as a fair distribution of social

Overview

Since the publication of John Rawls's A Theory of Justice in 1971, political philosophers in the English-speaking world have shared a broad consensus that social justice should be understood as a matter of fair distribution of social resources. Many contemporary political philosophers disagree sharply about what would count as a fair distribution of social resources, yet agree that if social resources were to be distributed fairly, then social justice would exist. In Beyond Redistribution, Kevin M. Graham argues that political theories operating on a distributive understanding of social justice fail to address adequately certain forms of social injustice related to race. Graham argues that political philosophy could understand race-related injustice more fully by shifting its focus away from distributive inequities between whites and nonwhites and toward white supremacy, the unfair power relationships that allow whites to dominate and oppress nonwhites. Beyond Redistribution offers a careful, detailed critique of the positions of leading contemporary liberal political philosophers on race-related issues of social justice. Graham's analysis of the racial politics of police violence and public education in Omaha, Nebraska, vividly illustrates why the search for racial justice in the United States must move beyond redistribution.

Editorial Reviews

Alison Jaggar
In Beyond Redistribution, Kevin Graham argues that the system of white supremacy still prevailing in the United States is characterized not only by an unfair distribution of economic resources, but also by derogatory controlling images of non-whitepersons. Graham contends that distributive liberalism is incapable of fully understanding the injustice of this white supremacist system; for instance, it can neither fully comprehend nor remedy the serious harms perpetrated by hate speech. In Graham's view, philosophers concerned to address white supremacy should begin by developing an understanding of participatory democracy, since schemes for distributing social resources can be devised only in a context of pluralistic deliberation. Graham's book makesa substantive contribution both to critical liberal and critical race theory and will be a valuable teaching tool. It is short, clear, incisive and full of examples of white supremacy, especially as this operates in Graham's own city of Omaha, Nebraska..
September 2010 CHOICE
In this thought-provoking new work, Graham (Creighton Univ.) explores the limits of distributive justice for understanding race relations in the US. He argues that white supremacy is a more complicated phenomenon than theories of distributive justice, which are animated by the protection of individual rights, can address. Graham discusses the work of John Rawls and John Stuart Mill to illuminate his argument that the assumptions that impact distributive policies can have disparate impacts without being obviously discriminatory. He advocates a broader approach that undermines the legitimacy of white supremacist attitudes through discussions of education, hate speech, and what he terms controlling images, which are widely held stereotypes that affect who is perceived as morally and socially worthy of public benefits. Graham argues for a theory that makes all citizens equal participants in the polity. This illuminating work challenges the assumptions of philosophers and political theorists in regard to race. Highly recommended.
Charles W. Mills
Discussions of justice in American philosophy continue to neglect race, that most salient and enduring American injustice. In this brief but compelling book, written with exemplary clarity, Kevin Graham challenges white liberalism to deal with the ongoingreality of white supremacy....

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780739130971
Publisher:
Lexington Books
Publication date:
11/16/2011
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
146
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Kevin M. Graham is associate professor of philosophy at Creighton University.

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