“Black and Proud”: Reconstructing Black Identity

in In a Shade of Blue

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780226298245
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226298269 | DOI:
“Black and Proud”: Reconstructing Black Identity

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One striking consequence of the tragedy of race in the United States has been a preoccupation with identity formation among African Americans. Because most African Americans entered this fragile experiment in democracy as chattel, the question of who they take themselves to be has been intimately connected to a political and social reality that denied them recognition. How should African Americans understand themselves as individuals and as a group in relation to a nation that historically denied them recognition? A lot is at stake when racial identity in the United States is discussed. And one thing is certain: conceptions of black identity continue to animate the political choices of many African Americans, prompting concerns about how such ideas might affect efforts to secure justice in the democracy that is America. How we think about black identity affects how African Americans understand notions of virtue, right, and the good. This chapter outlines two ways of understanding black identity—an archaeological approach and a pragmatic historicist approach—in each case focusing on its ethical dimensions.

Keywords: black identity; African Americans; virtue; good; right; archaeological approach; pragmatic historicist approach; democracy; race

Chapter.  8517 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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