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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 16, 2000

Race, Social Identity, and Human Dignity

Clarence Sholé Johnson
Pages 95-112

A Critique of Cornel West’s Christo-Marxian Prescription for Social Justice

This essay examines Cornel West's position that social justice for the socially marginalized, especially African Americans, can only be obtained through, among other things, a synthesis of Marxian critique of capitalistic culture and hegemony, and Black prophetic theological outlook. I bring out certain limitations in West's position, in particular, what I construe as his tendency to reduce all forms of oppression to the economic. Furthermore, even as I agree with West that capitalism needs to be examined, I argue, on the contrary, that social justice can still be effected within a reformed liberal capitalist system.

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