This dynamic new text for ethics and philosophy of race courses brings together subjects philosophers have generally kept separate—ethics and race. But every issue concerning race is an ethical issue, and it's time we studied them as such.
Naomi Zack introduces students to historical and contemporary issues of race and racism and provides an ethical foundation for students to critically engage with these issues in the classroom and in their lives. The chapters discuss affirmative action and diversity, current protests from across the political spectrum, police killings, the relevance of race to the effects of disasters and climate change, white privilege as a cause for political impasse, racial identity (including mixed race identities), race and gender, and media representations of race.
While treating issues of race as moral subjects with suggested moral foundations, Zack does not lead the student to specific conclusions. Rather, through thought, discussion, and writing questions, students learn to construct their own chains of reasonings based on explicit moral foundations.
The book features:
• Up-to-date social and biological scientific findings
• Hot-button current issues
• discussion questions and writing prompts
• further reading lists and video resources
• a comprehensive glossary
• international examples to supplement US-based discussion
Naomi Zack is professor of philosophy at Lehman College, CUNY. Her recent books are: The American Tragedy of COVID-19: Social and Political Crises of 2020 (2021), Progressive Anonymity: From Identity Politics to Evidence-Based Government (2020); Reviving the Social Compact: Inclusive Citizenship in an Age of Extreme Politics (2018).
Preface and Acknowledgments
Part I: Ideas and History of Race
1. What are Ethics and Race?
What is Ethics?
What is Race?
“Judged by the Content of Their Character”
2. Democracy and Social Ethics
Race, Friendship, and Marriage
The Tragedy of the Commons
The Common Good
3. The History of Race and Racism
Racism as Ideology
The History of Ideas of Race
White Supremacy and Eugenics
4. Science and Race
Moral Reasoning and Race
Race in Society and Social Science
The Lack of Physical Biology in Race
Intellectual Virtue, Science, and Race
Part II: Law and Policy
5. Civil Rights and Political Rights
The US Civil Rights Movement
The Voting Rights Act and Its Reversals
Welfare as Positive Rights
US Immigration Before and After 1965
The Moral Issue of DACA
7. Affirmative Action and Diversity
The History of Affirmative Action and Diversity
Affirmative Action and Diversity Today: Comparisons and Pros and Cons
8. Compensation, Reparation, Rectification, and Reconciliation
Part III: Social Institutions
9. The US Criminal Justice System
Reform Projects Impacting Prisoners of Color
10. Police Reform
Police Actions in High-Profile Killings
US Supreme Court Rulings and Police Impunity
Police Reform and Its Obstacles
11. Dignity, Income, and Wealth
Racial Minorities and Economic Dignity
The Structure of the US Educational System
Leisure Versus Work
13. Health and Disability
Disparities in Racial and Ethnic Health
Wellness and Food
Disabilities and Mental Health
Part IV: Social Disruptions
14. Everyday Racism
Anti-Racist Coping Strategies
White Privilege and White Status
15. Hate Speech and Hate Crimes
Reporting and Punishing Hate Crimes
16. Protests from the Left and Right
Protests from the Left
Protests from the Right
Do Protests Work?
Part V: Identity and Representation
17. Mixed Race
Mixed Race and Social Construction
The Importance of the One-Drop Rule
Moral Aspects of Mixed-Race Identity
18. Race, Ethnicity, and Culture
Complexities of Jewish Identity
Resistant Indigenous Identity
19. Intersectionality and Gender
Black Women’s Recognition
Constructions of Black Male Gender
20. Representation in Media and Society
Memorials for African Americans and Native Americans
How Racism in Sport has Mirrored Society
Vulnerabilities of Athletes
How Star Athletes Have Spoken Out Against Injustice
Part VI – The Natural and International World
22. Natural Disaster
Disaster and Racial Social Construction
Comparing Harvey and Maria
Increasingly Violent Racism Against Asian Americans and Jewish Americans
Pandemic Effects on African Americans, Hispanic/Latinx Americans, and Native Americans
24. Global Issues and Humanitarianism
The Capabilities Approach
The Human Security Paradigm
Climate Change and Humanity
About the Author
Race is the most powerful concept of social organization and terror ever created in human history. Naomi Zack’s Ethics and Race offers a conceptually rich study of the ethical dilemmas race creates in law, science, and moral reasoning. In this well-done book, students and scholars alike will become well acquainted with the perils the race concept poses for our contemporary thinking and ethical decision-making.
Dr. Naomi Zack’s Ethics and Race is a refreshing and desperately needed bridging of philosophical ethics and philosophy of race. Lucid and rigorous, this text is an invaluable resource for educators and for anyone who is trying to make sense of our fraught social-political landscape.
Philosopher Naomi Zack offers comprehensive, highly readable analyses of critical ethical dimensions of contemporary racism. Digesting much social science and philosophical research, she provides thought-provoking analyses for students, teachers, and general readers. A timely book for Americans facing major anti-democratic challenges from white supremacist uprisings!
Careful, complete, engagingly written, Zack’s approach in this book is fantastic. It is well organized, timely, and extremely useful for teaching.
Ethics and Race is a revolutionary book that re-frames the study of ethics and the study of race, showing their profound intertwinement and offering lucid, concrete discussions of such timely issues. There is no other book like this, and indeed no philosopher other than Naomi Zack could have composed this book. The twenty-four chapters of Ethics and Race are precise and fecund; each topic is systematically laid out and supplemented with questions for discussion, videos, and a glossary. Ethics and Race is a gift to teachers and scholars. Zack’s vision for philosophy is that it should illuminate our reality and provide the conditions for us to become better humans, not through an abstract commitment to human nature or the good life, but through police reform, redistribution of wealth, supporting health care for the vulnerable, rejecting sexism, and challenging white supremacy.
Professor Zack’s Ethics and Race: Past and Present Intersections and Controversies, offers instructors a very useful tool to help them engage and educate students on the perennial moral issue of race and racism.
• Discussion questions and writing prompts
• Further reading lists and video resources
• A comprehensive glossary
• International examples to supplement US-based discussion