"I'm Not a Racist, But . . .": The Moral Quandary of Race

Front Cover
Cornell University Press, Oct 3, 2002 - Philosophy - 272 pages
1 Review

Not all racial incidents are racist incidents, Lawrence Blum says. "We need a more varied and nuanced moral vocabulary for talking about the arena of race. We should not be faced with a choice of 'racism' or nothing." Use of the word "racism" is pervasive: An article about the NAACP's criticism of television networks for casting too few "minority" actors in lead roles asks, "Is television a racist institution?" A white girl in Virginia says it is racist for her African-American teacher to wear African attire.

Blum argues that a growing tendency to castigate as "racism" everything that goes wrong in the racial domain reduces the term's power to evoke moral outrage. In "I'm Not a Racist, But . . .", Blum develops a historically grounded account of racism as the deeply morally-charged notion it has become. He addresses the question whether people of color can be racist, defines types of racism, and identifies debased and inappropriate usages of the term. Though racial insensitivity, racial anxiety, racial ignorance and racial injustice are, in his view, not "racism," they are racial ills that should elicit moral concern.

Blum argues that "race" itself, even when not serving distinct racial malfeasance, is a morally destructive idea, implying moral distance and unequal worth. History and genetic science reveal both the avoidability and the falsity of the idea of race. Blum argues that we can give up the idea of race, but must recognize that racial groups' historical and social experience has been shaped by having been treated as if they were races.


What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - schraubd - LibraryThing

A clear, engaging, and sophisticated analysis of America's most confounding problem. Blum outlines a progressive and compelling structure of how race works in America, how race talk is stifled, and ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

If you want to be told that race is a social construct or that we all bleed red READ THIS BOOK.
If, on the other hand you happen to agree that ALL & ONLY White countries are being flooded with
hundreds of millions of non-Whites and that they are being force-assimilated into the White majority (against our will of course); please join us in pointing out to anti-White people like the author of this book that anti-racist is a codeword for anti-White. We also need your help today to inform these anti-Whites that when they force assimilate non-Whites into ALL & ONLY White countries this is genocide as defined by the UN genocide conventions. 


Racism Its Core Meaning
Can Blacks Be Racist?
Varieties of Racial Ills
Racial Discrimination and Color Blindness
Race What We Mean and What We Think We Mean
Race A Brief History with Moral Implications
Do Races Exist?
Racialized Groups and Social Constructions
Should We Try to Give Up Race?

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

Bibliographic information