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ERIC Number: EJ1076542
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0160-7561
The Discourse of Humanness at the Intersection of Color-Blindness and Race Awareness
Sinha, Shilpi
Philosophical Studies in Education, v46 p121-133 2015
Color blind discourse often draws on sentiments such as, "When I look at you, I do not see color," or race should not matter since we are all human, we are all the same underneath. In other words, the desire to view others as individuals is often constituted on the back of the desire to understand the notion of the individual as one who inhabits a common humanness, or universal humanity, and thus operates from foundations found in liberal humanism. The language of humanness or humanity has often served to mask oppressive racialized structures, practices, and understandings, where the very notion of the human is understood through the imperialistic and colonizing gaze of the white subject. To complicate the situation, however, what often comes through in conversations with people of color and in African-American scholarship is that there is something of importance and value in retaining the language of humanity, since non-dominant groups "have struggled too long for the humanistic prize." In this article, Shilpi Sinha first maps out the problematic notion of humanness that emerges within color-blind discourse and then teases out the different tenor or valence that could be indicated by the notion of humanness when utilized by Black subjects, which, she argues signals a need for educators to shift their orientation away from the terms of the human as traditionally understood by the Western modern philosophical tradition. Drawing upon Frantz Fanon's critique in "Black Skin, White Masks" of Jean Paul Sartre's analysis of negritude in "Black Orpheus," and developing the former's thought through insights provided by Carolyn Cusick, Jacques Derrida and Emmanuel Levinas, she argues that the notion of the human or humanity can be seen to encompass a liberatory tenor, not merely an oppressive one.
Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A