In this virtual workshop we explored a series of issues about race with philosophers Desiree Valentine & Julia Jorati, beginning with the query: Is there anything wrong with saying “I Don’t See Color?”
This was (is) not an easy question to answer, but it is an important one to ask. And, as one might imagine, it led to several other clarifying and exploratory questions, like: What does saying “I Don’t See Color” even mean? Is it even possible? Is being “racially colorblind” something we should strive for? Is there harm caused (to others and ourselves) by embracing this perspective? If so, what harms and how so?
In the process of exploring these initial question, we also examined various historical and contemporary perspectives on defining race, racial identity, and racial cognition.
(Workshop Introduction & Session Recording)
“The Formation of Racial Categories” (Politika, July 2019)
“Is ‘Race’ Modern?” (Aeon, March 2020)
Racial Identity Case Studies
“They Look White But Say They’re Black: A Tiny Town in Ohio Wrestles with Race” (The Guardian, July 2019)
“Rachel Dolezal’s Definition of ‘Transracial’ isn’t just Wrong, it’s Destructive” (The Guardian, July 2015)
“Talking About Racial Bias with the Author of Biased” (Medium, August 2020)
Contemporary Perspectives on Race
Powerpoint slides prepared & provided courtesy of Desiree Valentine
About the Workshop Leaders...
Desiree Valentine holds a dual title Ph.D. in Philosophy and Women’s Studies and is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Marquette University. Her work lies at the intersection of critical philosophy of race, feminist philosophy, critical disability studies, and bioethics. She has published in Critical Philosophy of Race, Public Philosophy Journal, Journal of Speculative Philosophy, and Puncta: A Journal for Critical Phenomenology.
Julia Jorati is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her main area of research is Early Modern Philosophy — specifically, early modern philosophy of action, metaphysics, ethics, and philosophy of mind. She also dabbles in Medieval Philosophy and Philosophy of Religion. At present, she is particularly interested in philosophical arguments concerning slavery in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the notion of moral necessity in late medieval and early modern moral psychology. Her research thus far has focused mostly on the philosophy of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, though she has also published on other early modern authors.
Thank you to Humanities Montana and P.L.A.T.O. (Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization) for helping support our philosophy in the community programs and making events like this possible! This workshop was part of our 2020 “Thinking as a Community” project.