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2022-23: Colloquium: Does Institutional Racism Presuppose Racist Ideology?

May 12, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Kaplan Hall 193,
May 12, 2023 | 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM PT
Kaplan 193 (and Zoom)
Zoom link: https://ucla.zoom.us/j/98656610498?pwd=TkRXeUMvdDVkRDlPY1piQVVxZ2gydz09


Join us on May 12, 2023 for a colloquium with Alberto Urquidez, St. Olaf College. The talk will take place in Kaplan Hall Room 193 from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM with a light reception on the Shostak Terrace in front of Murphy Hall to follow.




Does Institutional Racism Presuppose Racist Ideology?


What is racism? Standard definitions depict racism as a personal phenomenon thereby inviting questions about personal responsibility. A common definition analyzes racism as a cognitive phenomenon, as in the belief that race R1 is superior to race R2. A nonstandard version of the cognitive approach centers widely held beliefs (rather than mere individual belief) and, for purposes of moral assessment, stresses social consequences (not mere cognitive contents). This approach is typically put in the service of explaining the persistence of racial inequality/injustice. Tommie Shelby defends a version of the nonstandard cognitive approach. For him, racism is racist ideology. Roughly, racist ideology consists in a widely held set of racial beliefs that misrepresent racial oppression and that function, through this distortion, to bring about or perpetuate unjust social relations. One alleged virtue of the nonstandard cognitivist approach is that it explains institutional racism. In this talk, I will argue that at least one kind of institutional racism cannot be explained in terms of racist ideology. While I will not advocate rejecting Shelby’s analysis, I will underscore the limitations of his analysis as a general theory of racism


Alberto G. Urquidez is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at St. Olaf College. He will be an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion at James Madison University in Fall 2023. Urquidez works primarily on the nature of racism, drawing on the tools of analytic philosophy in conjunction with interdisciplinary insights to understand racism in connection with various topics, such as the problem of white identity politics, moral responsibility for racial oppression, and the relationship of individual racism to institutional racism. His aim is to develop an empirically-informed, comprehensive, structuralist analysis of racism as a system of racial oppression. He is the author of (Re-)Defining Racism: A Philosophical Analysis (Palgrave Macmillan 2020).






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May 12, 2023
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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UCLA Department of Philosophy


Kaplan Hall 193