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Color Conscious: The Political Morality of Race
     

Color Conscious: The Political Morality of Race

by Kwame Anthony Appiah
 

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In America today, the problem of achieving racial justice--whether through "color-blind" policies or through affirmative action--provokes more noisy name-calling than fruitful deliberation. In Color Conscious, K. Anthony Appiah and Amy Gutmann, two eminent moral and political philosophers, seek to clear the ground for a discussion of the place of race in politics and

Overview

In America today, the problem of achieving racial justice--whether through "color-blind" policies or through affirmative action--provokes more noisy name-calling than fruitful deliberation. In Color Conscious, K. Anthony Appiah and Amy Gutmann, two eminent moral and political philosophers, seek to clear the ground for a discussion of the place of race in politics and in our moral lives. "Color Conscious is an extremely welcome addition to the discourse on race. In different but complementary ways, Appiah and Gutmann articulate with precision and subtlety those intricate issues of race that confound us all."--Toni Morrison "Without dogma or cant, two of our most challenging and clear-eyed public philosophers explore the real meanings of culture and identity. An invaluable resource for all who want to think responsibly about the racial dilemmas facing our nation."--Henry Louis Gates, Jr."These formidable scholars each remind us that principles of justice and ideas about race are interdependent and must speak to the actual conditions in which we live."--Lani Guinier"[Appiah and Gutmann] have provided rigorous arguments about the vexing concept of race, its origins and its social and political implications for the American experience.... It is the authors' intellectual honesty and rigor that makes this book well worth reading by individuals of any ideological disposition who care about America's struggle with race."--Brian W. Jones, The Washington Times

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Appiah, a Harvard philosophy professor, and Gutmann, dean of the faculty at Princeton, add an academic gloss to two issues already much debated today: the legitimacy of the notion of "race" and whether color-blind policies can further justice in America. Appiah's sometimes ponderous philosophical excursion reminds us that the notion of race fails as a biological construct (despite contemporary efforts like The Bell Curve to prove otherwise), but he does acknowledge that race shapes social identity in America. But because America's racial groups do not necessarily share a single culture, Appiah protests, as others have, that there should not be one way to be "black" and hopes for the possibility of multiple identities and allegiances. Gutmann's essay returns us to the here and now, calling for color consciousness, which acknowledges the effects of race without assuming genetic determinism. She argues that "fairness" comes closer to justice than color-blindness, and that color-conscious policiesrather than class-conscious onescan address the effects of race. Gutmann makes a distinction between "affirmative action" and more regrettable "preferential treatment" that may be disputed; she does acknowledge that color-consciousness today aims to achieve a future color-blind society. (Nov.)
Henry Louis Gates
Without dogma or cant, two of our most challenging and clear-eyed public philosophers explore the real meanings of culture and identity. An invaluable resource for all who want to think responsibly about the racial dilemmas facing our nation. -- Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Boston Globe - James O. Freedman
Gutmann's essay shines with a brilliance of analysis worthy of widespread attention.
From the Publisher
Winner of the 1997 Ralph J. Bunche Award, American Political Science Association
Named an Outstanding Book by the Gustavus Meyers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America for 1998
Winner of the 1997 Book Award of the North American Society for Social Philosophy

"Gutmann's essay shines with a brilliance of analysis worthy of widespread attention."—James O. Freedman, Boston Globe

"Despite tremendous ongoing discussion of racial issues in this country, American opinions about race remain contentious and nowhere near a national consensus. . .Each co-author devotes one-half of the book to his or her efforts to bring insight and illumination to what is an often gloomy conversation."Washington Post Book World

Boston Globe
Gutmann's essay shines with a brilliance of analysis worthy of widespread attention.
— James O. Freedman
Washington Post Book World
Despite tremendous ongoing discussion of racial issues in this country, American opinions about race remain contentious and nowhere near a national consensus. . .Each co-author devotes one-half of the book to his or her efforts to bring insight and illumination to what is an often gloomy conversation.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691026619
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
09/17/1996
Pages:
232
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 9.29(h) x 0.82(d)

What People are Saying About This

Toni Morrison
Color Conscious is an extremely welcome addition to the discourse on race. In different but complementary ways, Appiah and Gutmann articulate with precision and subtlety those intricate issues of race that confound us all.
Toni Morrison, author of" Jazz", "Beloved", "Song of Solomon", and other literary works
Lani Guinier
This volume brings together two sets of conversations, one about justice and fundamental fairness, the other about racial identity. Anthony Appiah and Amy Gutmann, two 'passionate democrats,' lower the decibel level and raise by several units of decency and infinite degrees of intelligence the caliber of public discourse on race. Assisted by Harvard professor David Wilkins' wonderful introduction, these formidable scholars each remind us that principles of justice and ideas about race are interdependent and must speak to the actual conditions in which we live.
Henry Louis Gates
Without dogma or cant, two of our most challenging and clear-eyed public philosophers explore the real meanings of culture and identity. An invaluable resource for all who want to think responsibly about the racial dilemmas facing our nation.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W.E.B. DuBois Professor of the Humanities and Chair of the Afro-American Studies Department, Harvard University

Meet the Author

Kwame Anthony Appiah, the president of the PEN American Center, is the author of The Ethics of Identity, Thinking It Through: An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy, The Honor Code and the prize-winning Cosmopolitanism.
Raised in Ghana and educated in England, he has taught philosophy on three continents and is currently a professor at Princeton University.

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