Race and Mixed Race

Race and Mixed Race

Temple University Press
October 1993
232 pages
paper: EAN: 978-1-56639-265-5, ISBN: 1-56639-265-9
Naomi Zack, Professor of Philosophy
University of Oregon

In the first philosophical challenge to accepted racial classifications in the United States, Naomi Zack uses philosophical methods to criticize their logic. Tracing social and historical problems related to racial identity, she discusses why race is a matter of such importance in America and examines the treatment of mixed race in law, society, and literature.

Zack argues that black and white designations are themselves racist because the concept of race does not have an adequate scientific foundation.  The “one drop” rule, originally a rationalization for slavery, persists today even though there have never been “pure” races and most American blacks have “white” genes.

Exploring the existential problems of mixed race identity, she points out how the bi-racial system in this country generates a special racial alienation for many Americans. Ironically suggesting that we include “gray” in our racial vocabulary, Zack concludes that any racial identity is an expression of bad faith.

Table of Contents

Part I: The Existential Analysis
1. Introduction: Summary, Method, and Structure
2. The Ordinary Concept of Race
3. White Family Identity
4. Black Family Identity
5. Demography and the Identification of the Family
6. Mixed-Race Family Identity

Part II: The History of Mixed Race
7. Introduction to the History of Mixed Race
8. The Law on Black and White
9. Marooned!
10. The Harlem Renaissance: Cultural Suicide
11. Genocidal Images of Mixed Race
12. Mulattoes in Fiction
13. Alienation

Part III: The Philosophy of Anti-Race
14. Nobility versus Good Faith
15. Black, White, and Gray: Words, Words, Words

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