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RECONSTRUCTING RACISM: TRANSFORMING RACIAL HIERARCHY FROM “NECESSARY EVIL” INTO “POSITIVE GOOD”

dc.contributor.author Munger, Michael
dc.contributor.author Grynaviski, Jeffrey D
dc.date.accessioned 2018-10-01T13:44:08Z
dc.date.available 2018-10-01T13:44:08Z
dc.date.issued 2017
dc.identifier.issn 0265-0525
dc.identifier.issn 1471-6437
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/10161/17544
dc.description.abstract Copyright © 2017 Social Philosophy and Policy Foundation. Our theoretical claim is that racism was consciously (though perhaps not intentionally) devised, and later evolved, to serve two conflicting purposes. First, racism served a legal-economic purpose, legitimating ownership and savage treatment of slaves by southern whites, preserving the value of property rights in labor. Second, racism allowed slave owners to justify, to themselves and to outsiders, how a morally "good" person could own slaves. Racism portrayed African slaves as being less than human (and therefore requiring care, as a positive duty of the slave owner, as a man cares for his children, who cannot care for themselves), or else as being other than human (and therefore being spiritually no different from cattle or horses, and therefore requiring only the same considerations for maintenance and husbandry). The interest of the historical narrative presented here is the emergence of racial chattel slavery as a coherent and fiercely defended ideal, rather than the "necessary evil" that had been the perspective of the Founders. The reason that this is important is that the ideology of racism persisted far beyond the destruction of the institution of slavery, through Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and in some ways persisting even today. This work is an example of the problems of assuming that there is a "feedback" mechanism by which moral intuitions are updated and perfected; to the contrary, as suggested by Douglass North, even socially inferior ideologies can prove extremely persistent.
dc.language English
dc.publisher CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS
dc.relation.ispartof Social Philosophy and Policy
dc.relation.isversionof 10.1017/S0265052517000073
dc.subject Social Sciences
dc.subject Arts & Humanities
dc.subject Ethics
dc.subject Philosophy
dc.subject Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary
dc.subject Social Sciences - Other Topics
dc.subject Identity
dc.subject ideology
dc.subject moral intuition
dc.subject political philosophy
dc.subject slavery
dc.subject SLAVERY
dc.subject SOUTH
dc.title RECONSTRUCTING RACISM: TRANSFORMING RACIAL HIERARCHY FROM “NECESSARY EVIL” INTO “POSITIVE GOOD”
dc.type Journal article
dc.date.updated 2018-10-01T13:44:07Z
pubs.begin-page 144
pubs.end-page 163
pubs.issue 01
pubs.organisational-group Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
pubs.organisational-group Duke
pubs.organisational-group Economics
pubs.organisational-group Political Science
pubs.organisational-group Sanford
pubs.organisational-group Sanford School of Public Policy
pubs.publication-status Published
pubs.volume 34


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