Radical Philosophy Today

Volume 5, 2007

Democracy, Racism, and Prisons

Dwayne A. Tunstall
Pages 159-173

Why Violence Can Be Viewed as a Legitimate Means of Combating White Supremacy for Some African Americans

Philosophers often entertain positions that they themselves do not hold. This article is an example of this. While I do not advocate localized acts of violence to combat white supremacy, I think that it is worthwhile to explore why it might be theoretically justifiable for some African Americans to commit such acts of violence. I contend that acts of localized violence are at least theoretical justifiable for some African Americans from the vantage point of racial realism. Yet, I also contend that the likely detrimental consequences of engaging in such violence on economically disadvantaged African Americans outweigh its possible benefits for them; hence, it should not be used by them to combat white supremacy presently.