Volume 48, Issue 3, July 2022
Self-Respect and Self-Segregation
A Du Boisian Challenge to Kant and Rawls
In this article, I develop W. E. B. Du Bois’s concept of double consciousness to demonstrate the limitations of Kant’s and Rawls’s models of self-respect. I argue that neither Kant nor Rawls can explain what self-respect and resistance to oppression warrants under the conditions of violent and systematic racial exclusion. I defend Du Bois’s proposal of voluntary black self-segregation during the Jim Crow era and explain why Du Bois believes that the black American community has a moral right to assert its self-respect by mitigating its exposure to racial violence and animus in a white-controlled polity.