Chapter

The Racist Argument

Arvind Sharma

in Are Human Rights Western?

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195679489
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081714 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195679489.003.0028
The Racist Argument

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This chapter examines the racist argument for the claim that human rights are Western. It considers the attempt by Upendra Baxi to examine the concept of racism analytically (rather than mere polemically) in the context of human rights. He writes: The natural collective human right of the ‘superior’ races to rule the ‘inferior’ ones is the only juristic justification, if any is possible, for colonialism/imperialism, and it comes in many shapes and forms. One has but to read the ‘classic’ texts of John Locke or J.S. Mill to appreciate the range of talents devoted to the justification of colonialism: and the related but different logics combined for the production of a belief in the collective human right of the well-ordered societies to govern the ‘wild’ and ‘savage’ races. It is, however, one thing to say that racism can be understood in terms of human rights and quite another to claim that human rights are racist, either because those who drafted them, or the language in which they were drafted, are related to the Western race.

Keywords: human rights; racism; Upendra Baxi; colonialism; imperialism

Chapter.  734 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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