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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 41, Issue 1, January 2015

Laura Papish
Pages 1-25

Promoting Black (Social) Identity

I argue in this paper that we can develop a conception of black identity—one I call “black social identity”—that African Americans can unobjectionably encourage one another to adopt. I develop a view that retains much of what is attractive in identity politics, theories of collective identity, and the politics of mutual recognition, while avoiding the philosophical weaknesses associated with such views. To motivate my account, I also engage and criticize Tommie Shelby’s argument that black political solidarity requires only a “thin” black identity, one based on the shared experiences of, and vulnerability to, anti-black racism.

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