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Black Rights/White WrongsThe Critique of Racial Liberalism$
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Charles W. Mills

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190245412

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190245412.001.0001

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Racial Liberalism

Racial Liberalism

(p.28) Chapter 3 Racial Liberalism
Black Rights/White Wrongs

Charles W. Mills

Oxford University Press

Liberalism is globally triumphant, and contemporary political debates either assume a liberal framework or take it as the main target. But in these debates, the historic racialization of liberalism is rarely discussed. This chapter argues for the recognition of the “whiteness” of liberalism and political philosophy more generally, both in constructions of the canon and in the ignoring of racial justice as an issue. Correspondingly, it contends that there is a need to deracialize liberalism. The suggested strategy for accomplishing this goal is to adopt the “domination contract” as a superior “device of representation,” recover the obfuscated and sanitized past of white racial domination, and thereby expose the centrality of racial exploitation to the American polity and its implications for social justice.

Keywords:   liberalism, racial liberalism, contractarianism, Rawlsianism, white supremacy, the domination contract, whiteness of political philosophy

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