Each response should be at least 150 words.
- Do you think appeals to the Bible or God’s will can be good arguments for ethical views on particular issues? Why or why not? Do you think it’s good, or bad, that some people appeal to religion to justify their ethical views? Why or why not?
- Identity of an argument about homosexuality (either for the conclusion that it’s wrong or that it’s not wrong, or the more specific conclusion that homosexual sex is wrong or not wrong) and state that argument in logically valid form: state the conclusion and state the premises in a way that they lead to the conclusion, as a syllogism. Then explain whether each premise is true or false and why, and so whether the argument is sound or not.
Below is another students’ discussion posts and respond in Prompt #1 write a least 65 words on whether and why you agree or disagree with what they said.
Identity of an argument about homosexuality (either for the conclusion that it’s wrong or that it’s not wrong, or the more specific conclusion that homosexual sex is wrong or not wrong) and state that argument in logically valid form: state the conclusion and state the premises in a way that they lead to the conclusion, as a syllogism. Then explain whether each premise is true or false and why, and so whether the argument is sound or not.
I believe that homosexuality is not wrong. Why would it be considered wrong? Because you don’t agree with it? Well I could counter ask, who made you in charge? One may even say that the Bible says its wrong, but in actuality, things in the Bible are meant for you to gain your own understanding of what it means and not to take it verbatim and run with that idea. The world is constantly changing every day, and just because a male chooses to lay down with another male or a female with another female, does not make it wrong. To be a homosexual is not a sin nor is it a crime. We have to respect each other’s views and live our lives for ourselves. My conclusion is that homosexuality or even the act of homosexuality sex is not wrong, because it is just simply one’s personal life choice, or maybe it is just how we were born to be.
Each response should be at least 150 words. Do you think appeals to the Bible or God’s will can be good arguments for ethical views on particular issues? Why or why not? Do you think it’s good, or bad
1 Racialized Discrimination in Dating: It’s Not Just a Personal Preference by C.E. Abbate Abstract: Is it wrong for a person to consider dating people only of particular races or refuse to consider dating people of particular races? Many people say that racialized attraction is just a matter of personal preference. Against this view, it will be argued th at it often constitutes wrongful discrimination. It would be wrong for an employer or school to discriminate against people in comparable ways, and so it’s wrong to engage in similar racial discrimination in seeking romantic relationships. 1 Introduction Sarah is a white, female college student who decides to enter the dating scene. Much to her delight, there is an app called Tinder. After reviewing the profile of a potential match, which includes a few photos and a short biography, Sarah can swipe left i f she’s not interested, right if she is. When she swipes left on someone — say, James — James’s profile disappears and he can never contact Sarah on Tinder. If Sarah swipes right on James, and James swipes right on Sarah, the two match. They now have the chanc e to talk with one another. Sarah — like so many other people — often makes her swiping decisions based on the photos that appear. She has a habit of instantly swiping left on: ● Black men ● blond men ● men she deems physically unattractive ● men who hunt or fish ● men who love football Are any of Sarah’s habits morally problematic? In the dating context, is there a moral difference between skipping over Black men and skipping over men who like football? Many people say that dating preferences are just that: preferences . Some people prefer to date white people, while others prefer to date Black people, and we shouldn’t judge the dating 1 This is a shortened version of a chapter in College Ethics: A Reader on Moral Issues that Affect You , 2nd Edition. The original title of this paper is “It’s not just a personal preference: Racialized Discrimination in the Tinder Context.” The above is an edited title and abstract. 2 preferences of others. But Sarah’s habit of swiping left on Black men certainly feels different from her other habits. After examining it more closely, we can return to the others. Sarah is discriminating between people, even if not fully intentionally. This isn’t necessarily a criticism. You discriminate when you draw a distinction between people on the basis of some traits they possess or lack, and Sarah draws distinctions between prospective partners on the basis of traits she finds attractive or unattractive, appealing, or unappealing, such as race or hair color. Obviously, not all instances of discrimination are wrong. At an amusement p ark, people under a certain height aren’t allowed to go on some of the rides. The park is discriminating based on height, but that is justified based on a safety concern — you have to be tall enough to have the harness protect you from falling out. So, th ere’s no moral issue there. How should we think about Sarah’s discrimination? Is it wrongful or permissible? Charles Herbert Stember (1978) worries that, in the dating context, something that’s “just a preference” is actually a cover for harmful racial pr ejudice. Research shows that racialized attraction is closely associated with generic racist attitudes, which challenges the idea that racial attraction is just a matter of taste (Callander et al. 2015). Thus, instead of talking in terms of sexual preferen ce, some use the notion of sexual racism to describe the sexual rejection of racial minorities (Callander et al. 2015; Stember 1978). Can we make this charge stick? Consequentialist Concerns If sexual racism is wrong, there are going to be cases where we won’t be able to explain the wrongness by appealing to negative consequences. The people Sarah swipes left on won’t be harmed by Sarah’s habits. For instance, if Sarah swipes left on a Black m an, he’ll never find out that Sarah swiped left on him, nor will he ever find out that Sarah swiped left on him because he is Black. (We can safely assume that Sarah’s profile doesn’t say that she dates only white men, so that isn’t a potential source of o ffense to Black people.) One serious concern, though, is that Sarah’s Tinder habit will perpetuate racist tendencies or, at the very least, implicit biases — i.e., unconscious negative attitudes about people who aren’t members of her own “in group.” While ha ving implicit biases is distinct from being an overt racist, implicit biases still negatively affect human behavior and cause unintended harm (Banaji et al. 2015 ; Levinson and Smith 2012 ). For ins tance, it’s widely known that implicit bias in the hiring process leads to the unconscious favoring of white applicants over equally qualified Black applicants. Sarah’s Tinder behavior, then, may unconsciously cause her to foster negative attitudes towards Black people that may have real -life consequences later. This alone gives Sarah a moral reason to rethink her dating norms. But let’s stipulate that Sarah’s swiping behavior won’t cause her to have racist tendencies or implicit biases. Say that her swipi ng behavior won’t encourage her to be rude, unkind, or unfair to the Black people she encounters outside of Tinder. Let’s also assume that Sarah never tells anyone that she automatically swipes left on Black men, and thus her swiping behavior doesn’t norma lize or perpetuate racism or implicit bias in society. Assume Sarah’s race -based Tinder policy is completely private, so it doesn’t bring about any negative felt consequences. 3 Given all that, if Sarah’s behavior is wrong, the wrongness can’t be explained in terms of felt harm. But I think that some of the things Sarah does on Tinder are wrong. They are wrong because they deny the equal worth of persons — and this is true even if t hose who are discriminated against don’t experience harm from the discriminating act or policy. Equality My argument is based on a simple moral principle that we can all get behind: all people should be treated as having equal inherent value and equal m oral worth . Call this the Equal Inherent Value & Worth Principle .2 This principle entails that (1) all persons have inherent value, and (2) all persons have equal moral worth. That is, you don’t have more moral worth than others even if you’re smarter, better looking, richer, and so forth. There are two ways we can violate the Equal Inherent Value & Worth Principle . First, we can deny that a person has inherent val ue. To say that a person has inherent value is to say that the person is valuable in herself, regardless of her usefulness to others and regardless of whether others see her as useful. So, we deny that a person has inherent value when we treat her as if sh e lacks inherent value — that is, when we treat her just as we would treat a mere tool or instrument (Regan 1983). Because people have inherent value, we ought to treat them with respect, which is just to say that we ought to treat them in a way that recogni zes their inherent value (Regan 1983). Call this the Respect Principle . The second way we violate the Equal Inherent Value & Worth Principle is by failing to treat people as having equal moral worth. Some people, for instance, might recognize that both Br itney and Lindsey have inherent value, insofar as they agree that it would be wrong to treat them like mere resources. Still, they might say that Britney has more value than Lindsey, and thus they might treat Lindsey and Britney differently — for instance, b y giving extra weight to Britney’s interests. Say, for instance, you encounter Lindsey and Britney while out hiking. Lindsey and Britney have been lost for days and are equally famished. Say you have four granola bars with you, and you give three to Britne y and only one to Lindsey, because you find Britney to be more attractive. In doing this, you haven’t treated Lindsey like a mere resource; in fact, by giving her one granola bar, you recognized that she is a creature with morally important interests, incl uding the interest in eating. But, still, your behavior is problematic because you fail to treat Britney and Lindsey as having equal moral worth. Because people have equal inherent value, it’s wrong to treat some as if they have greater moral value than o thers. Call this the Principle of Equal Treatment . This principle, unlike the Respect Principle , is a comparative principle; it becomes relevant only when the treatment of one person can be contrasted with the treatment of another. 2 Note: This view is motivated by and draws on the rights -based theories developed by Tom Re gan (1983 ) and Deborah Hellman ( 2008 ). 4 The Equal Inherent Value & Worth Principle doesn’t require us to treat everyone in exactly the same way. It doesn’t entail that it’s always wrong to draw distinctions between racialized groups. Consider affirmative action laws, which often draw a distinction between Blacks and wh ites in order to make some form of restitution for past injustices done to Black people. Affirmative action laws often attempt to raise the status of Black people to the status that white people enjoy, and thus they are often created and enforced in the na me of equality . This involves discrimination, but it’s discrimination for the sake of justice. It isn’t wrongful . Deborah Hellman (2008) argues that we deny the equal moral worth of persons when we draw distinctions that demean — that “stamp a person or gro up with a badge of inferiority” (Hellman 2008, 41). When we demean others, we put down, diminish, and denigrate them. And when we do this to some but not to others, we deny the equal worth of the demeaned. Drawing demeaning distinctions thereby violates th e Equal Treatment Principle and, consequently, the Equal Inherent Value & Worth Principle . Racial Discrimination (in the Dating Context) Consider Mariah, who opens a small business. If Mariah wants to single -handedly run her business instead of hiring empl oyees, this doesn’t violate anyone’s inherent worth. No one has a right that Mariah hire them. But if Mariah decides to hire an employee, the Equal Treatment Principle requires her to treat applicants as equally worthy. For instance, it would be wrong of M ariah to dismiss or write off applicants solely because of their race. Likewise, if you altogether refuse to date, this doesn’t violate anyone’s inherent worth. No one — Black or white, blond or brunette — has a right that you date them. But once you decide t o begin dating, the Equal Treatment Principle requires you to treat potential suitors as equally worthy. It’s wrong to dismiss or write off possible partners solely because of their race. Someone might say that the dating context is relevantly different from the employment context. After all, when it comes to dating, Sarah is looking for someone she sexually desires. Physical traits, which are often associated with racial identities, are re levant to her sexual desires. Is it wrong for someone who finds blonds sexually appealing to pursue blonds over brunettes? If not, then what’s so bad about preferring certain racial identities? We should distinguish between preferences and deal breakers . S ure, many people prefer to date blonds over brunettes, and they may choose to date blonds over brunettes if given the option. But this choice doesn’t necessarily exclude brunettes from consideration. Sarah, though, expresses more than just a preference for white men. For her, being Black functions as a deal -breaker; she instantly swipes left on Black people. And when she draws a distinction based on race alone, she expresses that there’s nothing more to being a Black person than being Black and that Black people are undesirable because of their race. She fails to see Black people as individuals who have unique identities, value systems, and preferences — identities, value systems, and preferences that may fit perfectly with hers. Through her race -based discrim ination, Sarah reduces Black people to their “Blackness,” while at the same time, she recognizes that white people are more than just their “whiteness.” Sarah’s 5 distinction drawing, then, expresses that white people are, while Black people aren’t, people w ith unique identities, values, and interests. There is thus a sense in which Sarah’s race -based distinction stamps Black people with a “badge of inferiority” in comparison to white people — and this expresses a rejection of the equal moral worth of humans . A nd, on the other hand, the person who swipes right on profiles without considering race is the kind of person who sees Black people and white people as moral equals — persons with unique value systems, interests, and identities that go beyond the color of th eir skin. Interest -Based Discrimination (in the Dating Context) Now, recall that Sarah also draws a distinction between men who love football and men who aren’t football fans. When she encounters dating profiles that include photos of men in football jers eys, she habitually swipes left. Does my argument imply that this distinction drawing is demeaning too? After all, it seems to express the view that men who love football have less moral worth than men who aren’t football fans. But there is an important d ifference between Sarah’s race -based distinction and Sarah’s football – based distinction. Sarah’s football -based distinction is made by considering that, beyond being people , super -football fans have interests and values that likely will conflict with her o wn. In the dating realm, it’s one thing to draw distinctions based on someone’s interests in sports; it’s another to draw distinctions based on physical appearance. Consider, for instance, Sarah’s Tinder behavior in a little more detail: While browsing th rough profiles of potential partners, the profile of Jake, a white man, catches Sarah’s attention. Sarah finds Jake to be attractive, and in his first photo, he is captured smiling with his grandfather. Sarah then skips to Jake’s second photo, in which he is seen at a Packers game wearing a Packers jersey. Sarah finally reads Jake’s short “bio,” and, to her dismay, finds that it’s all about his love for football. Sarah swipes “no,” and Jake disappears from her life forever. In this situation, Sarah recogni zes Jake as a person with a unique identity and interests. When she sees the first photo of Jake, she wants to learn more about his identity — she wants to know, for instance, what his hobbies are. She thus recognizes that Jake is more than just a white man. Unfortunately for her, he’s a white man who loves football too much and too deeply for her. Sarah’s Other Distinctions What I’ve suggested is that, when choosing potential romantic partners, we ought to consider potential partners as persons — that is, as individuals with unique values, preferences, interests, hobbies, likes, and dislikes. And we should, for the sake of a lasting relationship, pursue relationships with individuals whose preferences, values, and interests sufficiently overlap with our own. If a vegan swipes left on someone because of that person’s interest in hunting and killing animals, it doesn’t constitute wrongful discrimination. Rather, it’s a smart dating practice, as 6 hunters and vegans have deeply conflicting value systems that re nder them incompatible. If you think that animals have rights, and you swipe left on someone because he likes to take pictures of himself with the carcasses of the animals he’s killed and apparently enjoys killing animals, then you’re definitely recognizin g that the man in the picture is more than just the color of his skin. You fully understand that he’s a person with interests and values — they just happen to be ones that aren’t compatible with those of vegans. When Sarah rules out potential partners based on their football or hunting interests, she does not automatically dismiss these men based on their appearances; rather, she recognizes their personhood . For these reasons, Sarah’s interest -based distinctions don’t constitute wrongful discrimination. On t he other hand, when Sarah writes off men based on their race, hair color, or general appearance, she demeans them. She expresses that, because of their appearance, it’s not important to consider who these men are as persons — that is, as individuals with uni que interests, values, and preferences. My view entails that the distinctions Sarah draws between attractive men and unattractive men and blond men and non -blond men constitute wrongful discrimination. While this might strike you as implausible, remember that wrongness comes in degrees. For inst ance, while it’s wrong to cut off a piece of someone’s hair without their permission, it’s a much graver wrong to chop off their leg without their permission. Relatedly, some instances of wrongful discrimination are more egregious than others. For instance , it’s wrong for an employer to refuse to hire people with blond hair. But there is something even more problematic about an employer who refuses to hire Black people. Likewise, the wrongness of discriminating against blond people in the dating context isn ’t as problematic as discriminating against people because of their race. As I will now argue, given the historical significance of race -based discrimination, Sarah’s discrimination against Black men is particularly troubling. The Social Nature of Discrimination and Sarah’s Swiping Habit When determining how wrong a particular instance of wrongful discrimination is, we must look at the meaning of the distinction drawing (Hellman 2008). The meaning of an act often stems from the context in which the act is performed , as some contexts “invest” distinctions with a meaning that other distinctions don’t have (Hellman 2008). As Hellman (2008) argues, when there is a history of mistreating people with a particular characteristic, we sho uld take this into account when evaluating discrimination that’s based on that characteristic. For instance, as Hellman notes, there’s a relevant difference between denying someone a job because her last name begins with the letter A and denying someone a job because she is a woman. To deny a woman a job because of her “womanness” is to discriminate on the basis of an attribute(s) that define a group (i.e., women) that has been mistreated in the past or is currently of lower social status — and this explains why discriminating on the basis of “minority traits” (e.g., “womanness”) just feels different than drawing distinctions based on other attributes, such as the attribute of having a last name that begins with A (Hellman 2008). This feeling can best be expl ained by the claim that the history of mistreatment or current social status of the involved parties are relevant to determining the meaning of distinction drawing (Hellman 2008). 7 In this case, refusing to hire women is conventionally understood to suggest that the role of women is in the home and/or that women are not competent to be employed in the workplace. And this understanding stems from our knowledge of the historical oppression and wrongful discrimination of women in the workplace. As a result of a ll this, as Hellman points out, discriminating against women in the workplace is symbolically significant in a way that other discrimination isn’t. The historical and current social significance of gender discrimination means that, in the employment contex t, discriminating against women has a different meaning than does the discrimination against people with last names that begin with A (Hellman 2008). Relatedly, given the ways in which racial distinctions have been historically, and are currently, used to hurt and demean Black people, we must be especially careful when we classify people on the basis of race. “Black people,” or even just “Black men,” form a group that has been, and still is, subordinated in our culture. So, drawing distinctions based on Bl ackness often expresses that Black people are inferior to whites even when the speaker didn’t intend for his distinction to carry this meaning (Hellman 2008). There is thus a legitimate worry that Sarah’s distinction drawing demeans the Black men in the pr ofiles she views on Tinder. Using race to draw distinctions in the dating context is highly problematic because of the terrible history of interracial relationships in the United States. For instance, in 1691, Virginia ( Loving v Virginia ) banned interraci al marriage — a decision that was duplicated in many other states. It wasn’t until 1967 that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state bans on interracial marriages, commonly referred to as “miscegenation laws,” violate the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. Miscegenation laws reflect the deeply held view that Black people are inferior to white people, and that, because of this, they shouldn’t “mix.” Although such laws are deemed unconstitutional today and many people claim to be accepting of interracia l relationships, interracial relationships are still, to this day, viewed as abnormal in our society. According to a 2018 YouGov poll, 17 percent of Americans deem interracial marriage “morally wrong.” Moreover, a recent study demonstrates that Black and w hite interracial couples still elicit disgust in many white college students — including those students who claim to accept interracial marriage (Skinner and Hudac 2017 ). Feelings of disgust are associated with dehumanization, a nd this implies that many white college students implicitly dehumanize Black and white interracial couples. While 17 percent of all US marriages are interracial, over 40 percent of these marriages involve a Hispanic spouse and a white spouse. Black and wh ite interracial marriages, on the other hand, are rare occurrences. In fact, it’s estimated that Black and white couples represent only 1 percent of all marriages in the United States (Gallup 2013), which makes marriages between Blacks and whites the least common kind of interracial marriage. As Rockquemore and Brunsma (2001, ix) argue, “[b]lacks and whites continue to be the two groups with the greatest social distance.” This gives us reason to think that Sarah’s choice to swipe left on Black men, and not Hispanic men, is morally significant. 8 The meaning attached to the expressed “preference” against interracial relationships between Blacks and whites is, as Hellman puts it, “symbolically loaded” in a society with a “painful and complicated history attache d to Black –white unions” (Childs 2005, 545). And it’s in part because of this painful and complicated history that when Sarah swipes left on a Black person just because of his race, she expresses a devaluation of Black men because of their race. She expres ses that Black men are not the kind of men white women should date even if she doesn’t intend to express this . For these reasons, there is a relevant difference between swiping left on a person because he has blond hair and swiping left on a person because he’s Black. While both acts are wrong, there is an additional, deep wrongness attached to race -based discrimination in the dating context. Conclusion There will always be people who insist that it’s their “right” to date only white people, if this is wha t they prefer. And that might be true. But, still, this doesn’t mean that they’re in the moral clear. After all, as philosopher Rosalind Hursthouse (1991) puts it: you can exercise a right viciously . Those who draw race -based distinctions in the dating con text may act within their “rights,” but they still date in a manner that constitutes deeply wrongful discrimination. References Banaji, M., Bhaskar, R., & Brownstein, M. 2015. When Bias Is Implicit, How Might We Think about Repairing Harm? Current Opinion in Psychology 6: 183 –188. Callander, D., Newman, C. E., & Holt, M. (2015). Is Sexual Racism Really Racism? Distinguishing Attitudes toward Sexual Racism and Generic Racism among Gay and Bisexual Men. Archives of Sexual Behavior , 44(7), 1991 –2000. Childs, E. (2005). Looking behind the Stereotypes of the “Angry Black Woman”: An Exploration of Black Women’s Responses to Interracial Relationships. Gender and Society, 19(4), 544 –561. Gallup. 2013. In U.S., 87% Approve of Black –White Marriage, vs. 4% in 1958. https://news.gallup.com/poll/163697/approve -marriage -blacks -whites.aspx ). Hellman, D. 2008. When is Discrimination Wrong ? Harvard University Press: Cambridge. Hursth ouse, R. 1991. Virtue Theory and Abortion. Philosophy and Public Affairs , vol. 20, 1990 – 91. Levinson, J. & Smith, R. 2012. Implicit Racial Bias across the Law . Cambridge University Press. Regan, T. 1983. The Case for Animal Rights . University of California Press: Los Angeles. Rockquemore, K. and Brunsma, D. 2001. Beyond Black: Biracial identity in America . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage 9 Stember, C. 1978. Sexual Racism: The Emotional Barrier to an Integrated Society. New York: Elsevier. Skinner, A.L., & Hudac, C.M. (2017). “Yuck, you disgust me!” Affective Bias against Interracial Couples. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 68: 68 –77. YouGov. 2018. The Economist/YouGov Poll. https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/y3tke5cxwy/econTabReport. pdf
Each response should be at least 150 words. Do you think appeals to the Bible or God’s will can be good arguments for ethical views on particular issues? Why or why not? Do you think it’s good, or bad
7/13/2021 Nathan Nobis, Ph.D. – Philosophy Professor and More: Moral Arguments from the Bible https://www.nathannobis.com/2020/09/moral-arguments-from-bible.html 1/5 Nathan Nobis, Ph.D. – Philosophy Professor and MoreNathan Nobis, Ph.D. – Philosophy Professor and More CV Publications Courses 1000 W ord Philosophy Abortion book Animals & Ethics 101 Ethics (T ext)Book Philosophical Counseling Writ MONDA Y, SEPTEMBER 14, 2020 Moral Ar guments from the Bible Som e p eo ple a p peal t o t h e B ib le i n g iv in g r e aso ns t o s u pport t h eir v ie w s o n e th ic al i s su es. S o, t h ey m ig ht s a y t h in gs l ik e t h is : ” T he B ib le s a y s d oin g t h is i s w ro ng, s o i t’s w ro ng.” ” T he B ib le s a y s d oin g t h is i s n ot w ro ng, s o i t’s n ot w ro ng.” ” T he B ib le s a y s w e m ust d o t h is , s o w e a re m ust d o t h is : i t’s a n o blig atio n.” S om etim es t h ere a re d is a g re em en t a b out w hat t h e B ib le s a y s o r ” re ally s a y s” : e .g ., s o m e m ig ht s a y t h at B ib le c le a rly s a ys t h is o r t h at ab out s la v ery , o r h om ose x uality , o r e atin g m eat, o r a b ortio n, o r e u th an asia , o r t h e r o le o f w om en , o r p oly gam y, o r c ap it a lis m , o r b ein g ric h , o r b ein g p oor, o r c ap ita l p unis h m en t, o r w ar, o r v io le n ce, o r a n yth in g e ls e , a n d y ou c an f in d o th er p eo ple w ho d en y t h at, a rg uin g t h at “th e B ib le c le arly s a y s” t h e o pposite . B ut b ey ond t h at, t h ese a rg um en ts , h ow ev er, a re a ll a lw ay s m is s in g e sse n tia l p re m is e s: s o m e l o gic al ” fil lin g i n ” i s n ecessa ry t o m ak e t h em lo gic a lly v a lid , o r m ak e s u ch t h at t h e p re m is e s l e ad t o t h e c o nclu sio n. T hese p re m is e s a re t h ese : If t h e B ib le s a ys t h at d oin g s o m eth in g – X – i s w ro ng, t h en d oin g X i s w ro ng. If t h e B ib le s a ys t h at d oin g s o m eth in g – Y – i s n ot w ro ng, t h en d oin g Y i s n ot w ro ng. If t h e B ib le s a ys t h at w e m ust s o m eth in g – Z , t h en d oin g Z i s a n o blig atio n: w e m ust d o Z . T he p ro ble m , h ow ev er, i s t h at t h ese p re m is e s a p pear t o b e f a ls e , a n d t h at n obody r e all y b eli e v es t h ese p re m is e s a re l ite ra ll y t r u e a n yw ay. T his i s b ecau se i t s e em s t h at t h ere a re co u nte re x am ple s fro m t h e B ib le t o s h ow t h at t h ey a re f a ls e . T here a re m an y lis ts o f B ib le v erse s t h at m ak e t h is p oin t: v ario us w ro ng actio ns a re c alle d not w ro ng ; v ario us p erm is sib le actio ns a re c alle d w ro ng , a n d w e a re s a id t o b e o blig ate d to d o t h in gs t h at w e a re n ot o blig ate d t o d o. ( W hat a re g ood v ers e s t h at i llu str a te t h is p oin t? S ee t h at l in k o r b elo w ) W hat’s t h e u psh ot? I t’s t h at ju st b eca use th e B ib le s a y s a n a ctio n i s w ro ng, t h at d o esn ‘t m ean i t i s . A nd ju st b eca use th e B ib le s a y s a n actio n i s p erm is sib le , t h at d oesn ‘t m ean i t i s . A nd ju st b eca use th e B ib le s a y s w e m ust d o s o m eth in g, t h at m ig ht n ot b e s o . S om etim es, h ow ev er, t h e B ib le d oes g iv e v ery g ood, i n deed e x celle n t, m ora l a d vic e: e .g ., t o l o ve y our n eig hbor a s y ours e lf . T his is g ood a d vic e, b ut t h e s e co nd u psh ot o f t h e d is c u ssio n a b ove i s t h at t h is i s g ood a d vic e n ot ju st b eca use th e B ib le s a y s s o . L ik e e v ery th in g e ls e , t h ere m ust b e g ood r e a so ns w hy s o m eth in g i s t h e c ase . G iv en t h at, w hat a re t h e g ood r e aso ns w hy w e s h ould l o ve o ur n eig hbors a s o urs e lv es? A nd w hat a re o th er m ora l g uid elin es – p artic u la r v ers e s a n d g en era l t h em es – f ro m t h e B ib le , a n d anyw here e ls e , t h at w e h av e g ood re aso ns t o a ccep t, a n d w hic h d o w e h av e g ood r e aso ns t o r e je ct? W hy? (N ote : t h ere i s a n oth er t y pe o f ” re lig io us” m ora l a rg um en t t h at a p peals n ot t o t h e B ib le , b ut t o G od’s c o m mands o r G od’s w ill . S o, t h e cla im i s t h at if G od c o m mands d oin g s o m eth in g, w e m ust d o w hat G od c o m mands . T his i s w hat’s c alle d ” th e d iv in e c o m man d t h eo ry ” o f eth ic s: w hat m akes , s a y, w ro ng a ctio ns w ro ng i s t h at G od c o m m an ds t h at w e d on’t d o t h em . A c o m mon r e sp onse , e v er s in ce S ocra te s, i s t h e ” E uth yphro D ile m ma” ( n am ed t h at b ecau se t h e r e aso nin g w as d ev elo ped b y S ocra te s i n c o nvers a tio n w ith s o m eo ne n am ed E uth yphro ): 1 . E ith er t h ere a re re a so n s w hy G od w ould c o m man d u s t o d o s o m eth in g, o r t h ere a re n ot r e a so n s w hy G od c o m man ds u s t o d o s o m eth in g. ( E .g ., G od w ould h av e re a so ns to c o m man d u s t o n ot, e .g ., k ic k b ab ie s f o r f u n). 2 . I f t h ere a re n ot r e a so n s , t h en t h e c o m man d i s a rb itr a ry a n d r a n d om . ( A nd s o t h at’s n ot c o rre ct: a c o m man d t o n ot k ic k b ab ie s w ould n ot b e a rb itr a ry a n d r a n dom ). 3 . B ut i f t h ere a re re a so n s , t h en t h ose r e aso ns a re w hat m ak e t h e a ctio n w ro ng, n ot G od’s c o m man ds. ( S o, e .g ., t h ere a re K an tia n o r c o nse q uen tia lis t o r R aw lia n r e aso ns t o o ppose k ic k in g b ab ie s.) ” 1 000-W ord P hilo so phy” “E ngag ed P hilo so phy” I n t A cad em ia .e d u A tla n ta U niv ers ity C en te r G oogle S ch ola r R ese arc h G ate PUBLICA TIONS, ETC. nath an. no [email protected] gm ail .co 4 0 4-4 8 0 -2 717 ( tex t f ir st CONT ACT Nam e Em ail * M essa g e * Send CONT ACT VIA WEB FOR “WHY WRITING BETTER YOU A BETTER PERSON OF HIGHER EDUCA TION 1000-WORD PHILOSOPH More [email protected] New Po 7/13/2021 Nathan Nobis, Ph.D. – Philosophy Professor and More: Moral Arguments from the Bible https://www.nathannobis.com/2020/09/moral-arguments-from-bible.html 2/5 And s o i t a p pears t h at D iv in e C om man d T heo ry i s n ot a c o rre ct m ora l t h eo ry . F or m ore d is c u ssio n, s e e “Because God says so: on Divine Command Theory . ”) On Punishing ‘Immorality’ Lev it ic us 2 0:9 If a n yo ne c u rs e s h is f a th er o r m oth er, h e m ust b e p ut t o d eath . 20:1 0 If a m an co m mit s ad ult e ry w it h an oth er m an ’s w if e — w it h th e w if e o f h is n eig h bor— b oth t h e a d ult e re r a n d t h e a d ult e re ss m ust b e p ut t o d eath . 20:1 3 If a m an li e s w it h a m an a s o ne lie s w it h a w om an , b oth o f th em h av e d o ne w hat is d ete sta b le . T hey m ust b e p ut t o d eath . D eut er onom y 2 2:2 0-1 If , h ow ev er, t h e c h arg e is t r u e a n d n o p ro of o f t h e g ir l’s v ir g in it y c an b e f o un d, sh e s h all b e b ro ugh t t o t h e d o or o f h er f a th er’s h ouse a n d t h ere t h e m en o f h er to w n sh all sto ne h er to d eath . S h e h as d o ne a d is g ra c efu l th in g in Is ra e l b y b ein g p ro m is c u o us w hile s till in h er f a th er’s h ouse . E xod us 35:2 F or s ix d ay s, w ork is to b e d o ne, b ut th e s e v en th d ay s h all b e y o ur h oly d ay, a S ab bath o f re st to th e L OR D. W hoev er d o es a n y w ork o n it m ust b e p ut to d eath . On Destroying Other People D eut er onom y 7 :1 -2 W hen th e L ord y o ur G od b rin gs y o u in to th e la n d y o u a re e n te rin g to p osse ss a n d dri ves o ut b efo re y o u m an y n atio ns . . . t h en y o u m ust d estr o y t h em t o ta lly . M ak e n o t r e aty w it h t h em , a n d s h ow t h em n o m erc y. 2 0:1 0-1 7 W hen y o u m arc h u p to a tta ck a c it y , m ak e it s p eo ple a n o ffe r o f p eac e. If th ey ac ce p t a n d o pen th eir g ate s, a ll th e p eo ple in it s h all b e s u b je ct to f o rc ed la b or an d s h all w ork fo r y o u. If th ey re fu se to m ak e p eac e a n d th ey e n gag e y o u in b attle , la y s ie g e t o t h at c it y . W hen t h e L ord y o ur G od d eliv ers it in to y o ur h an d, p ut t o t h e s w ord a ll t h e m en in it . A s f o r t h e w om en , t h e c h ild re n , t h e liv esto ck a n d e v ery th in g e ls e in t h e c it y , y o u m ay t a k e t h ese a s p lu n der f o r y o urs e lv es. . . . T his is h ow y o u a re t o t r e at a ll t h e c it ie s t h at a re a t a d is ta n ce f r o m y o u a n d d o n ot b elo ng t o t h e n atio ns n earb y. H ow ev er, in t h e c it ie s o f t h e n atio ns t h e L ord y o ur G od is g iv in g y o u a s a n in herit a n ce, d o n ot le av e a liv e a n yth in g th at b re ath es. C om ple te ly d estr o y th em — th e H it tit e s, A m orit e s, C an aan it e s, P erizz it e s, H iv it e s a n d Je b usit e s— a s th e L ord y o ur G od h as c o m man ded y o u. On the Evil of Biblical Law E zek ie l 2 0:2 5-2 6 I als o g av e th em o ver to s ta tu te s th at w ere n ot g o od a n d la w s th ey c o uld n ot liv e b y; I le t th em b eco m e d efile d th ro ugh th eir g if ts — th e sa c rif ic e o f e v ery fir s tb orn — th at I m ig h t f ill t h em w it h h orro r s o t h ey w ould k n ow t h at I am t h e L OR D. B ib le Qu ote s Edit e d w it h a n in tr o ductio n b y M ic h ae l H uem er. T ra n sla tio n: N ew In te rn atio nal V ers io n. ( C om pare : E SV , K JV .) H ap pin ess: W hat i s i t t o b A re W e A nim als ? A nim al Id en tity E th ic s a n d A bso lu te P ove an d E ff e ctiv e A ltr u is m F orm al L ogic : S ym boliz in S en te n tia l L ogic M oore ’s P ro of o f a n E xte r R esp ondin g t o E xte rn al W RECENT ARTICLES @ 1 PHILOSOPHY T hin kin g C ritic ally A bout THINKING CRITICALL Y A ABORTION Mis c arria g e & am p; A bort w ith S upport, R esp ondin g or B oth ? S ta r T re k : ” H um an r ig hts . n am e i s r a cis t.” T han k y ou n ote s, a g ain ! R esp onse t o K atie Y oder’ S ay s ‘ P ro -C hoic e E th ic s’ Is n ’t M urd er.” W hy t h e c ase a g ain st a b or eth ic ally s p eak in g “THINKING CRITICALL Y ABORTION” BLOG CHIMPANZEE RIGHTS: T PHILOSOPHERS’ BRIEF 7/13/2021 Nathan Nobis, Ph.D. – Philosophy Professor and More: Moral Arguments from the Bible https://www.nathannobis.com/2020/09/moral-arguments-from-bible.html 3/5 On Slavery & Subjugation of W omen Eph esia ns 5 :2 2-2 4 W iv es, s u b m it t o y o ur h usb an ds a s t o t h e L ord . F or t h e h usb an d is t h e h ead o f th e w if e a s C hris t is t h e h ead o f t h e c h urc h , h is b ody, o f w hic h h e is t h e S av io r. N ow as th e ch urc h su b m it s to C hris t, so als o w iv es sh ould su b m it to th eir h usb an ds in e v ery th in g. E xod us 2 1:2 0-2 1 If a m an b eats h is m ale o r f e m ale s la v e w it h a r o d a n d t h e s la v e d ie s a s a d ir e ct re su lt , h e m ust b e p un is h ed , b ut h e is n ot to b e p un is h ed if th e s la v e g ets u p afte r a d ay o r t w o, s in ce t h e s la v e is h is p ro p erty . 1 P ete r 2 :1 3 S u b m it y o urs e lv es f o r t h e L ord ’s s a k e t o e v ery a u th orit y in stit u te d a m ong m en . 2:1 8 S la v es, su b m it y o urs e lv es to y o ur m aste rs w it h a ll re sp ect, n ot o nly to th ose w ho a re g o od a n d c o nsid era te , b ut a ls o t o t h ose w ho a re h ars h . L ev it ic us 2 5:4 4-4 5 Y our m ale a n d fe m ale s la v es a re to c o m e fr o m th e n atio ns a ro un d y o u; fr o m th em y o u m ay b uy s la v es. Y ou m ay a ls o b uy s o m e o f th e te m pora ry re sid en ts liv in g a m ong y o u a n d m em bers o f th eir c la n s b orn in y o ur c o un tr y, a n d th ey w ill b eco m e y o ur p ro perty . Jesus, on His Second Coming M atth ew 2 4:2 9-3 4 [T ]h e s u n w ill b e d ark en ed , a n d th e m oon w ill n ot g iv e it s lig h t; th e s ta rs w ill f a ll f r o m th e s k y, a n d th e h eav en ly b odie s w ill b e s h ak en . . . . T hey w ill s e e th e So n o f M an c o m in g o n t h e c lo ud s o f t h e s k y, w it h p ow er a n d g re at g lo ry. . . . I t e ll y o u th e tr u th , t h is gene ra tion will ce r ta inl y not p ass a w ay unt il a ll th ese th ing s h a ve h appene d. [ E m phasis a d ded .] 1 6:2 7-2 8 F or th e S o n o f M an is g o in g to c o m e in h is F ath er’s g lo ry w it h h is a n gels , a n d th en h e w ill r e w ard e ach p ers o n a c co rd in g to w hat h e h as d o ne. I te ll y o u th e tr u th , s o m e w ho a re s ta n din g h ere w ill n ot ta ste d eath b efo re th ey s e e th e S o n o f M an c o m in g in h is k in gd o m . Scientific Errors (1 ) R ab bit s d o n’t c h ew c u d . D eut er onom y 1 4:6 -7 Y ou m ay e at a n y a n im al t h at h as a s p lit h o of d iv id ed in t w o a n d t h at c h ew s t h e cu d . H ow ev er, o f th ose th at c h ew th e c u d o r th at h av e a s p lit h oof c o m ple te ly d iv id ed y o u m ay n ot e at t h e c am el, t h e r a b bit , o r t h e c o ney. (2 ) N o in se cts ( in clu d in g g ra ssh oppers ) a re 4 -le g ged . L ev it ic us 1 1:2 0-2 2 A ll f ly in g in se cts th at w alk o n a ll fo urs a re to b e d ete sta b le to y o u. T here a re , h ow ev er, s o m e w in ged c re atu re s th at w alk o n a ll f o urs th at y o u m ay e at: th ose th at h av e jo in te d le g s fo r h oppin g o n th e g ro un d. Of th ese y o u m ay e at a n y kin d o f lo cu st, k aty d id , c ric k et o r g ra ssh opper. (3 ) T his is o nly p ossib le o n a f la t e arth . M atth ew 4 :8 A gain th e d ev il to ok h im to a v ery h ig h m oun ta in an d sh ow ed h im all th e kin gd o m s o f t h e w orld a n d t h eir s p le n do r. (4 ) p i d o es n ot = 3 . 1 K ing s 7 :2 3 H e m ad e t h e S ea o f c ast m eta l, c ir c u la r in s h ap e, m easu rin g t e n c u b it s f r o m r im t o r im . . . It t o ok a lin e o f t h ir ty c u b it s t o m easu re a ro un d it . (5 ) T he e arth m oves. It d o es n ot h av e a f o un datio n. P sa lm s 1 04:5 H e s e t t h e e arth o n it s f o un datio ns; it c an n ev er b e m oved . Selected Contradictions ANIMALS & ETHICS 101 REAL LIFE: THIS IS NOT PERSONAL FINANCE FO ADUL TS (PAPERBACK) REAL LIFE: THIS IS NOT PERSONAL FINANCE FO ADUL TS (KINDLE) 7/13/2021 Nathan Nobis, Ph.D. – Philosophy Professor and More: Moral Arguments from the Bible https://www.nathannobis.com/2020/09/moral-arguments-from-bible.html 4/5 Lab els : e th ic s (1 ) 2 K ing s 2 :1 1 A s th ey w ere w alk in g a lo ng a n d ta lk in g to geth er, s u d den ly a c h ario t o f f ir e a n d hors e s o f fir e a p peare d a n d s e p ara te d th e tw o o f th em , a n d E lija h w en t u p to h eav en in a w hir lw in d. Joh n 3 :1 3 N o o ne h as e v er g o ne in to h eav en e x ce p t t h e o ne w ho c am e f r o m h eav en — th e So n o f M an . (2 ) Num ber s 2 3:1 9 G od is n ot a m an , th at h e s h ould lie , n or a s o n o f m an , th at h e s h ould c h an ge h is m in d. E xod us 3 2:1 4 T hen th e L ord re le n te d a n d d id n ot b rin g o n h is p eo ple th e d is a ste r h e h ad th re ate n ed . (3 ) E ph esia ns 2 :8 -9 F or it is b y g ra c e y o u h av e b een s a v ed , t h ro ugh f a it h . . . n ot b y w ork s. Ja m es 2 :1 4-1 7 W hat g o od is it , m y b ro th ers , if a m an c la im s to h av e fa it h b ut h as n o d eed s? C an s u ch f a it h s a v e h im ? . . . F ait h b y it s e lf , if it is n ot a c co m pan ie d b y a c tio n, is d ead . R ev ela tion 2 2:1 2 B eh old , I am c o m in g s o on! M y r e w ard is w it h m e, a n d I will g iv e to e v ery o ne ac co rd in g t o w hat h e h as d o ne. (4 ) ( J e su s s p eak in g) M atth ew 5 :1 6 L et y o ur lig h t s h in e b efo re m en , th at th ey m ay s e e y o ur g o od d eed s a n d p ra is e y o ur f a th er in h eav en . M atth ew 6 :1 B e c are fu l n ot to d o y o ur ‘a c ts o f rig h te o usn ess’ b efo re m en , to b e se en b y th em . (5 ) ( J e su s s p eak in g) Joh n 1 4:2 7 P eac e I le av e w it h y o u; m y p eac e I giv e y o u. M atth ew 1 0:3 4 D o n o t s u p pose t h at I hav e c o m e t o b rin g p eac e t o t h e e arth . I did n ot c o m e t o b rin g p eac e, b ut a s w ord . (6 ) G ene sis 3 2:3 0 S o Ja c o b c alle d th e p la c e P en ie l, s a y in g, “ It is b ecau se I sa w G od f a c e to f a c e, a n d m y lif e w as p re se rv ed .” E xod us 3 3:1 1 T he L ord w ould s p eak t o M ose s f a c e t o f a c e, a s a m an s p eak s w it h h is f r ie n d. Joh n 1 :1 8 N o o ne h as e v er s e en G od. (7 ) ( J e su s s p eak in g) Joh n 5 :3 1 If I te stif y a b out m yse lf , m y t e stim ony is n o t v alid . Joh n 8 :1 4 E ven if I te stif y o n m y o w n b eh alf , m y t e stim ony is v alid . 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P ic tu re W in dow t h em e. T hem e i m ag es b y m erry m oonm ary . P ow ere d b y B lo gger .
Each response should be at least 150 words. Do you think appeals to the Bible or God’s will can be good arguments for ethical views on particular issues? Why or why not? Do you think it’s good, or bad
131 DO BLACK MEN HAVE A MORAL DUTY TO MARRY BLACK WOMEN? Charles W. Mills I t is a measure of the continuing social distance between the races that the average white liberal, I am sure, would automatically assume that only a racist could think that the answer to this question is anything but an obvious “No!” The answer may, of course, still be “No,” but it might not be quite so obvious. At any rate, I want to suggest that this issue–a major point of contention in the black community for decades, particularly among black women-is worthy of philosophical investigation. What arguments could there be for such a duty? On what axiological foundation would it be based? How strong would it be? I Let me begin with some brief remarks about the framing of the question itself. It is not just a particularistic variant of the general “Do all people have a duty to marry within their race?” because I think that the answer to this question is obviously “No.” In other words, as will become clearer below, I am claiming that the differential social status of subordinated and dominant races, especially blacks and whites, generates moral asymmetries, so that whereas the claim, e.g., that “whites should only marry whites” m’ll in general be based on philosophically uninteresting racist reasons, the case for black endogamy is (at least in some versions) more respectable. Some other points. (i) Because of the ideological symbolism of marriage as an institution, and thematerial property considerations involved, this will be the special target of critics of interracial relationships. But many of the arguments against such unions would also be made (and hold as well or as badly) for common-law cohabitation, or just long-term relationships in general (or, for the most militant opponents, even short-term relationships and one-night stands). (ii) I focus on black men/white women relationships rather than also including black women/white men relationships because of another set of asymmetries: that in a sexist society, it is the economically JOURNAL of SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY, 25th Anniversary Special Issue, 1994,131-153 Q 1 994 Journal of Social Philosophy 132 CHARLES W. MILLS privileged male who usually gets to choose; that most interracial marriages are of the black male/white female variety; and that it is this kind which has historically stirred most controversy in the black community. (Since white men have historically had sexual access to black women, the motivations involved are usually significantly different in such cases.) (iii) Finally, it should be noted that though I have put the question in the strong, and positive, form, it is sometimes the case that what opponents really have in mind is the weaker (in thesenseof ruling out less), but more pointed, negative injunction that black men should (above all) not marry white women. Other “women of color” may sometimes be deemed acceptable, or at least less unacceptable. I1 That there could be such antipathies in the black community will come as a revelation to many whites, who will, of course, be used to thinking of the prohibitions going the other way. The famous line challenging would-be integrationists, after all, was always “But would you let one marry your daughter?” Indeed in the biracial coalitions of the civil rights movements, both communist and liberal, of the 193Os-l960s, acceptance of such rela- tionships was often seen as a kind of ultimate test of good faith, a sign of whether or not whites had genuinely overcome their racist socialization. This final intimacy (as the Klan warned: let ’em in the classroom and they’ll end up in the bedroom) has assumed such significance because of the deep connection between racism and sex. Various theories have been put forward to explain white racism: that it is just “primordial” ethnocentrism writ large and backed by the differential technological and economic power of the European conquest (so all human groups would have been equally racist had they gotten the chance); the “culturalist” explanations that tie it, more specifically, to militant Christianity’s jihad against non-European infidels and heathens, and the Manichaean white/good black/evil color symbolism in many European languages, particularly English; Marxist economic explanations that see it basically as an ideological rationalization of expansionist colonial capitalism (so that a naive ethnocentrism, and admitted cultural predispositions, would easily have been overcome had it not been for the need to justify conquest, expropriation, and enslavement); and psycho-sexual explanations focusing on the anal and genital regions, with their powerful associations of desire and shame, and their perceived link with dirt, blackness, and the darkbody. But all theories have had to come to grips-some more, some less, successfully-with the peculiar horror that black male/white female couplings have aroused in the European imagina- DO BLACK MEN HAVE A MORAL DUTY TO MARRY.. . 133 tion, the fear, as in Othello, that ”Even now . . . an old black ram/Is tupping your white ewe.”’ In the United States in particular, there were widespread laws against what used to be (and is sometimes still) called ”miscegenation,” and for many of the thousands of black men lynched in the post-Civil War decades, the pretext was the accusation of raping a white woman, with prolonged torture and castration often preceding the final killing. The fact that a black man with a white wife could gain conservative support for a seat on the Supreme Court (including backing from such well-known historical cham- pions of the black civil-rights struggle as Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina) is an indicator that times have somewhat changed in the interven- ing century.2 But it is by no means the case that such unions are now routine, raising only the occasional eyebrow. As late as the 1960s, in deference to white sensibilities, media representations shied away from depictions of interracial sex. Even the “trail-blazing” 1967 integrationist drama Guess Who‘s Coming to Dinner did not dare to show ”Super-Negro” Sidney Poitier exchanging anything more than a chaste kiss (and in the safely diminished frame of a cab’s rearview mirror) with white fiancke Katharine Houghton? and, as William Shatner has recently revealed in his autobiography, Star Trek’s boast that it had the ”first interracial kiss” on television was actually false, real lip contact between Captain Kirk (boldly going where no white man had gone beforwn television, that is) and Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) being avoided so as not to offend white viewers.‘ Many pornography catalogs have a specialty section of black-on-white videos where ”big black studs meet blonde sluts,” (How do I know this?, you casually inquire; a friend of a friend, I quickly reply), a testimony to the familiar Freudian point that revulsion and attraction often co-exist, or even merge. So for many this is truly, as some have called it, “the last taboo,” and in a world where we’re trying to eliminate racism, it would seem that interracial unions should be welcomed as a sign of progress. Yet many blacks, particularly women, are hostile to such relationships. Perhaps the single most celebrated scene from Spike Lee’s recentJungleFever (1991), an exploration of an interracial affair between a black man and a white woman, was the ”war council” where the bereaved wife isconsoled by her black women friends, and black men’s alleged desire for ”white pussy” is excoriated. (Anybody reading this article who has so far been completely bewildered by what I’m talking about could do worse than beginning by renting this video?) Similarly, in a class on African-American Philosophy I taught this year, this question came up in discussions, and, when I decided to pose it as an essay question, was far and away the most popular topic, the majority of students arguing for “Yes.“ If this notion seems strange and bizarre to most liberal white philosophers, then, this simply reflects the fact that, while the blackmale voice is still under-represented in the academy, the black female voice has until recently been silenced altogether. (In discus- sions of racism, the black man is the paradigm subject, and in discussions of sexism the white woman is the paradigm subject, so that, as one book title aptly puts it, the result is AZZ the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, going on defiantly to assert, however, But Some of Us Are Brave!) This paper is, in part, an attempt to reconstmct-doubtless somewhat presumptu- ously-some of the possible arguments from this usually neglected perspec- tive. So this is one for the sisters. I will go through what I take to be the most popular arguments, dealing with the weaker ones first and leaving the most interesting and challenging ones to the end? I11 1. The Racial Purification, or “Let’s Get the Cream Out of the Coffee,” Argument This argument is basically consequentialist in form, and obviously wouldn’t apply to couples who are not planning to have children, or to short- term relationships in general. In its classic version, the Racial Purification Argument is straightforwardly biologistic, with culture, where it is invoked, being envisaged as tied to race by hereditarian links. (Where the connection is somewhat more attenuated, this shades over into what I will distinguish as a separate argument, the Racial Solidarity Argument.) The claim here is that (i) there is sucha thing as a “pure” race, (ii) racial “purity” is good, either in itself and/or as a means to other ends, such as cultural preservation and future racial achievement, and (iii) members of the race should therefore regard themselves as having a duty to foster purity, or-when it has already been vitiated-to girding up their loins to restore it. The structure of the argument is unhappily familiar from its better- known white supremacist version, Nan or Nazi. This version will include corollary racist eugenic notions of degraded “mongrel” types produced by racial interbreeding. However, since blacks are the subordinated rather than dominant race, the boundaries hereare perforce drawn so as to include rather than exclude those of “mixed” race (the “onedrop” rul-some “black” blood makes you black, whereas some “white” blood doesn’t make you white). For white racists, then, the emphasis would originally have been on maintaining purity against black and/or Jewish “pollution” (seen-in the times when black/Jewish relations were somewhat happier than they are now-as collaborating on this joint contaminatory project: bring on those DO BLACK MEN HAVE A MORAL DUTY TO MARRY,. . 135 white Christian virgins!). For blacks, on the other hand, because of the myriad rapes and economicallycoerced sexual transactions of slavery and post-slavery, the emphasis is usually on restoring a lost purity, getting rid of the “pollution” of white blood. Those of mixed race are counted, sometimes reluctantly, as black, but the idea is that they should try to darken their progeny. (So for light-skinned black men, the injunction is sometimes put in the stronger terms of marrying dark black women.) This argument is, of course, multiply vulnerable. To be convincing, it would really have to presuppose polygenism, the heretical hypothesis that popped up repeatedly in racist thought in the 18th and 19th centuries (and was endorsed by such Enlightenment luminaries as Hume and Voltaire) that, confru Christian orthodoxy, there were really separate creations for the races, so that blacks and whites were different species! The theology of the black version will necessarily be different (for example, the original Black Muslim claim that whites were created by the evil scientist Yamb9), but the logic, with the terms inverted, is the same. In a post-Darwinian framework that assumes a common humanity, it is harder to defend (which has not, of course, stopped 20thcentury white racists), though of course one can, and people still do, talk about “highex” and “lower,” “more” and ‘less” evolved, races. However, most biologists and anthropologists would today agree that there are no such things as races in the first place, so that, a fortiori, there cannot be “pure” races (this is, to use old-fashioned Rylean language, a kind of “category mistake”). Instead what exists are “clines,” gradients of con- tinuously-varying (i.e., not discretelydifferentiated) phenotypical traits linked with clumpings of genetic pattems.*O Humans share most of their genes, and, as ironists have pointed out, if you go back far enough, it turns out that we’reall originally African anyway, so that even those blond-haired, blue-eyed Nordic types just happen to be grandchildren who left the continent earlier. Moreover, even if there were natural ontological divisions between different branches of humanity, an auxiliary argument would still obviously be needed to establish why maintaining these particular configurations of genes would be a good thing and such a good thing that the duty to realize it overrides other claims. Culture is not tied to genotype-the familiar point that children of different “races” would, if switched at birth, take on the cultural traits of their new home. So the argument can only really plausibly get off the ground on the assumption, clearly racist whether in its white or blackversion, that moralcharacterand/orpropensityforintellectualachieve- ment and/or aesthetic worth is genetically racially encoded, and of such a degree of difference that promoting it outweighs other considerations such as freedom of choice, staying with the person that you love, and so forth. (The 136 CHARLES w. MILLS character claim, less often made these days even by white racists [though some sociobiologistsure now arguing for a hereditarian explanation of black crime rates], is somewhat more defensible as a basis for endogamy, since it has a moral dimension built into it. The black version will, of course, presuppose the innate evil of whites. The claim of differential intellectual ability, on the other hand, [more often made by whites than blacks, since the black version of the Racial Purification Argument usually credits whites with a real, if devious, intelligence] runs into the following set of objections. Suppose it were even true, which it isn’t, that races are biologically discrete entities, and that members of race R2 are on average less intelligent than members of race R1. In the first place, intru-racial differences would still be greater than interracial differences; we would have overlapping normal distribution curves, slightly displaced from each other on the horizontal axis, with some members of R2 being more intelligent than some members of R1 .I1 In the second place, do people, in searching for a marital partner, always require that their spouse be just as intelligent as they are? Obviously not; there can be all kinds of facets to a person that make him/her sexually attractive, with intelligence just being one of them. On the whole, human intelligence is a good thing, but why should promoting it be such an imperative as to generate ovemding moral duties, especially when our inherited educational and cultural legacy, “social” intelligence, is what is really crucial in distinguishing us from our ancestors?12) Finally, as a fallback position, there is the defiant assertion-what Anthony Appiah calls ”intrinsic racism”13-that one race is better than another in complete independence of these contestable claims about ability and character, so that it is just good in itself that there be more pure whites (or more pure blacks). And here one would simply point out that this is not so much an argument, as a concession that there is no argument. 2. The Racial Caution, or ”Don’t Get the White Folks Mad,” Argument Another kind of consequentialist argument involves quite different kinds of considerations, not questionable claims about racial purity but pragmatic points about strategy. This rests on the uncontroversial factual claim that, as mentioned, many, indeed the majority, of whites are disturbed and angered by such unions,” so that entering into them will increase white hostility and opposition to integration. (As surveys during the period of civil rights activism showed, many whites were convinced that integration of the bedroom was in fact the main thing on theminds of blacks who were pressing for “civil rights,” so that this would just confirm their worst fears.) The DO BLACK MEN HAVE A MORAL DUTY TO MARRY.. . 137 principle would not, of course, be that one should avoid white anger at all costs (since the advance of the black liberation struggle will necessarily anger some whites, and this would certainly not be a moral reason for abandoning it). Rather, the idea would be that black-on-white relationships unnecessarily infuriate whites. So since such unions stir up great passion, and are not a necessary component of the struggle, they should be eschewed. (Some versions might then leave it open for them to be permissible in the future non-racist society, or at least when racism has considerably diminished.) This argument is obviously somewhat more respectable. It does, how- ever, rest on the assumption that either no point of moral principle is involved, or that breach of the principle is justified by the overwhelmingly negative consequences for achieving black liberation of stirring such pas- sions. The reply to the first might take the anti-utilitarian, let-the-heavens- fall line that individual rights to choice trump such considerations, and that if two people love one another, they should not forsake their relationship for the sake of expediting a cause. (Or, less nobly, it might just take the in-your- face form of the joys of kpater-ing Whitey.) It could also be argued that such an approach panders to racism, and as such is immoral in its failure to confront it, since asserting full black personhood means exercising all the rights white persons have. Alternatively, on the second point (that any such principle is in this case overridden by likely negative repercussions), it might be conceded that a greater good sometimes requires restraint, discretion, and so forth, but denied that at this particular time, the consequences are likely to be so horrendous (so the viability of the argument may be in part conjunctural, depending on the situation, e.g., 1920s Mississippi vs. 1990s New York). Or it might be claimed that those who will be infuriated by “miscegenation” will be infuriated by thedvilnghtsstruggleanyway,so that it is not clear that there is a discrete differential increment of outrage which can be placed in the consequentialist balance pan, or maybe it’s not clear how big it will be. (And it could be argued that the allegations of interracial sex will be made whether it’s taking place or not.) Nevertheless, I thinkit is clear that this argument, unlike the first, does have something to be said for it, though there could be debate over how much. Note that here, of course, it will be the negative prohibition (“stay away from white women!”) rather than the positive duty that is involved. 3. The Racial Solidarity, or “No Sleeping with the Enemy,” Argument This argument usually accompanies, or is actually conflated with, the Racial Purification Argument, but it’s obviously conceptually distinct, iffor no other reason than that it can be addressed to couples who don’t plan to have children, or to those in short-term relationships. Both consequentialist and deontological versions are possible, cast in terms of the imperative to promote black liberation (and the putatively inhibitory effect of such unions on this project) or one’s general duty to the race (to be elaborated on later). Note that because of the defensibility of this consequentialist goal, the black version of the Racial Solidarity Argument is not as immediately and clearly flawed as the corresponding white version, with the goal of preserving white supremacy, would be. Let me run through the important variants, moving, as before, from less to more plausible. To begin with, there are those resting on straightfor- wardly racist innatist theses, whether in theological guise (whites as ”blue- eyed devils’’-the reactive black counterpart to the traditional claim that blacks are descendants of Ham’s accursed son Canaan) or pseudo-scientific guise (whites as biologically evil ”ice people” damned by melanin defi- ciency-the reactive black counterpart15 to the post-Darwinian ”scientific racism” of the late 19th-early 20th centuries). So the idea is that all whites are intrinsically evil, not to be associated with except out of necessity (e.g., in the workplace), and certainly not to be sought out as sexual partners. They are collectively, racially responsible for the enslavement of blacks (the thesis of innate evil implies that though these whites are not literally responsible, they would have acted just the same had they been around at the time), so that willingly sleeping with them is like Jews voluntarily sleeping with Nazis. Both for theconsequences and for the preservation of one‘s moral character, then, one has a duty not to enter interracial relationships. Since moral character and responsibility are not genetically encoded in this way (even the claims of sociobiologists wouldn’t stretch to this kind of reasoning), this variant is easily dismissable. The more interesting version need not make any such fantastic assumptions. The argument here readily, or maybe grudgingly, admits that whites are just humans like all of us, born as fairly plastic entities who will both be shaped by, and in turn shape, a particular sociocultural environment. But it will be pointed out that their socialization in a white-supremacist society makes them ineluctably benefi- ciaries and perpetrators of the system of oppression responsible for keeping blacks down, so that they are all, or mostly (claims of differing strength can be made), the enemy, whether through active policy or passive complicity. Even if they seem to show good faith, the entering of a social ”whiteness” into their personal identity means that they will never, or only very rarely (again, claims of differing strength can be made), be able to overcome their conditioning: sooner or later, their ”true colors” are going to come out. If nothing else, because of the numerous affective and cognitive ties-family, friendship, cultural attachment-that link them to this white world, and DO BLACK MEN HAW A MORAL DUTY TO MARRY.. . 139 help to constitute their being, they will naturally be less sensitive to its racist character, and more reluctant to confront the radical changes that have to be made to bring about a truly just society. In the absence of hypotheses about innate evil, the deontological version gets less of a foothold (though argument #6 below can be seen as partially falling under this category), and the consequentialist version is the one which would have to be run. The idea would be that, given these empirical claims, blacks in such unions are likely to find their efforts to attack white supremacy subtly (maybe even unconsciously) resisted and diverted,so that the long-term consequences will be to compromise black struggles. Since it is often the more successful black men (prominent black businessmen, lawyers, entertainers, intellectuals) who marry white women, such unions usually lead to a departure from the black world of the elite who (at least on some theories) are precisely the most potentially threatening to the status quo, and their entry into an immensely seductive white world of wealth, comfort and glamour where black problems, e.g., the misery of the inner cities, will gradually seem more and more remote. (This inflection of the argument makes the class dimension of black oppression particularly sa- lient. It has traditionally been claimed that blacks have a general duty to ”uplift the race,” and it is sometimes pointed out in addition that by marrying a white woman, the economic and status resources of the success- ful black male [material and cultural/symbolic capital] are likely to be removed from the blackcommunity.) Without even realizing it, and through familiar processes of self-deception and motivated inattention, one will gradually “sell out” to the white establishment. Unlike the innatist version, with its dubious biology, or biotheology, this version has the merits of being more in touch with social reality, and indeed of telling a not-implausible psychological tale. One response is the blunt denial that blacks should regard themselves as having any particular duty to combat white supremacy, the individualist every-man-for-himself solution, though this will, of course, rarely be said out loud (as against secretly practiced). A more defensible approach might be to accept the existence of this duty while simultaneously arguing, as some contemporary ethicists have done, for a restrided role for consequentialist moral demands.I6 So the idea would be that of course you do have some free-floating obligation to resist racism, but this can’t be a full-time job invading every aspect of one’s life, and unless one’s white wife is actually a Klan member or a Nazi (obviously somewhat unlikely), one’s personal life is one’s own business. (Often this is accompanied by the universalist/humanist claim that in the end, color doesn’t matter, we’re all just human beings, and so forth.) Another tack would be to challenge the crucial empirical premise that whites cannot ever purge themselves of a whiteness committed to racial 140 cHARLEsw.MTLLs supremacy (or the weaker version that their doing so is rare enough that the injunction is warranted on Bayesian grounds). It would be pointed out that people can resist and overcome their socialization, proving by their deeds that they are committed to eradicating racism. For those white women who are naive about the pervasiveness of racism, even among their own family and friends, embarking on an interracial relationship may actually have a salutary cognitive effect, the latteis hostile response awakening her to realities to which she would otherwise have been blind. An abstract oppo- sition to racism might then assume a more visceral force, so that the net result would be a gain for the forces of anti-racism. Once the innatist framework has been abandoned, the biological link between race and character severed, and the Racial Solidarity Argument put on the consequentialist foundation of ending white supremacy, there is the danger (for its proponents) of the argument being turned on its head. Since not all black women will automati- cally be activist foes of racism (they may have succumbed to racist socializa- tion, or, like the vast majority of human beings, just be trying to get along without heavy-duty political commitments), the question of which spouse will be of more assistance in fighting racism might then come down to simple empirical questions, rather than a priori assumptions. If other kinds of arguments are excluded, the foe of interracial marriages would then have to show why, in each case, the overall outcome is likely to be a debit for the anti- racism struggle. (For short-term relationships and one-night stands, neither side will be able to make much of a case for long-term consequentialist repercussions, so-if the premises are not innatist ones-the argument will usually shift to more symbolic issues, as discussed in #6, below.) 4. The Racial Demographics, or “Where Are All the Black Men?,” Argument The Racial Demographics Argument is interesting because, of those we have looked at so far, it is least tied to the explicit political project of fighting white racism, with its accompanying ideological assumptions. This argu- ment simply points to the relatively uncontroversial statistical fact that, because of the disproportionate numbers of black men in jail, unemployed, or dead at an early age (which may or may not be attributed to white racism), there is a significant imbalance of females to “marriageable” black males.17 (“Marriageable” may itself, of course, seem to have classist overtones, and it is true that this complaint comes most often from middle-class, or up- ward1 y-mobile, black women,18 but the problem is more general.) William Julius Wilson is famous for his claim that this putative shortage is in part responsible for the perpetuation of the underclass, since single black women DO BLACK MEN HAVE A MORAL DUTY TO MARRY.. . 141 of poorer backgrounds will then fall into poverty if they have children.19 (Some left critics have accused Wilson of sexism on this point, arguing that the real political demand should be for women to get what is now reserved as a ”male” wage.) The traditional race/gender status hierarchy in the Unitedstates is structured basically as: white men, white women, blackmen, black women. Because of this low prestige, black women have not generally been sought out as respectable partners (as against concubines, mistresses, prostitutes) by white men and men of other races. So if eligible black men differentially seek non-black, particularly white, women, then things will be made even worse for black women, who will then have been rejected both by their own men and the men of other racesm If black men therefore have a duty arising out of this fact, what would its foundation be? Since we are considering arguments in isolation from one another, we need to differentiate this conceptually from the Racial Solidarity Argument as such, though it can obviously be seen in terms of racial solidarity. The argument would not be the general one, corollary of #3, to ”sleep with the friend,” but the claim that in these contingent circumstances black men have such a duty. This could be defended in deontological or utilitarian terms, i.e., as a remediable unhappiness which imposes some sort of obligation onus to relieve it. (So this, unlike the previous threearguments, does require more than just not marrying white women.) How plausible is this? Note, to begin with that, as mentioned, no questionable racist claims about whites’ innate characters are being made, so it is not vulnerable on that score. But one obviously unhappy feature it has is that, as a putative duty, it seems to be naturally assimilable to duties of charity, i.e., thestanding obligations most moral theorists think we have (and invested with greater or lesser degrees of stringency) to relieve distress, e.g., through giving to the homeless, to Third World famine relief, and so forth. Isn’t it insulting to the person to think that sexual relationships, or marriages, should be generally entered into on these grounds? How would one react to the declaration, or inadvertent discovery, that one had been sought out as a charitable obligation? (The argument for endogamous marriage on the grounds of black self-respect is different, and will be discussed later.) So this seems a bit problematic from the start. There is also the question of how strong this putative obligation is supposed tobe. For Kant and most otherdeontologists, charity is an ”imperfect” duty, compliance with which leaves considerable latitude for choice (timing, beneficiary, extent of commitment, and so forth). In the case of something so central to one’s life-plans as a choice of partner, rights of individual autonomy and personal freedom would easily override an alleged charitable claim of this sort. Utilitarianism is in general, of course, more demanding, with-depending on the variety-less or no room for 142 cHARLEsw.MILLs what are sometimes called agent-relative “options,” if welfare can be maxi- mized through the policy in question. In this case, then, strategies of response would have to defend (non-black) commonsense morality against utilitarianism’s demands, or make a case that such a policy, if taken seri- ously, would be more likely to promote net unhappiness (through the constraints on the freedoms of black men, and the demeaning knowledge or uncertainty in the minds of black women as to why they had really been chosen). Nevertheless, it is clearly possible that some opponents of interra- cial marriage would be prepared to bite the bullet and insist on such a duty, arguing perhaps that the situation of black women is now so dire as to easily outweigh blackmale unhappiness at restriction of choice, and that as an entry in the welfare calculus, this unhappiness is not to be taken too seriously anyway, since it is likely, or necessarily, the result of a brainwashed prefer- ence for white women, and could be removed with a Brandtian “cognitive psychotherapy.”*l So this argument could be reinforced with considerations we shall look at later. 5. The Tragic Mulattos-to-be, or “Burden on the Children,” Argument Another possible consequentialist argument is that the mixed racial and presumably (though not necessarily) cultural legacy of such unions will impose a differential burden on children of such households, who will be caught between two worlds and fully accepted by neither. This argument is often put forward hypocritically, with the actually-motivating consider- ations being along the lines of #1-4. Nevertheless, it should obviously still be examined. To begin with, of course, it only gets off the ground if the couple do plan to have children. It could also be argued that it presupposes the continuation of racist attitudes, and that in a non-racist world such children would be completely accepted by both sides of the family. However, since there does not seem to be much likelihood of such a world coming into existence in the near future, this objection could not plausibly carry much weight. (I have encountered an interesting inversion of this argument, put forward perhaps only semi-seriously, that could be termed the Racial Elimination, or “Browning of the World,” Argument. The thesis is that if the bottom line is indeed fighting white racism, and/or racism in general, then interracial unions are not merely morally permissible, but desirable, to be positively encouraged as a long-term strategy for eliminating racism by making everybody some shade of brown. Unfortunately, I think this under- estimates human ingenuity in finding differences upon which to erect comparative aesthetic, moral, and intellectual claims. For many decades DO BLACK MEN HAVE A MORAL DUTY TO MARRY.. . 143 after the 19thcentury abolition of slavery in the Americas, there were elaborate color hierarchies in the blackcommunities in the United States, the Caribbean, and South America, structured according to one’s shade and presumed degree of “white” blood, e.g., Octoroon, quadroon, mulatto, Negro, and these persist today in a continuing preference in the West for light-skinned blacksa Even if [which seems genetically impossible, given the normal human variation even in the children of one set of parents] all of us were to become a uniform brown, there would still be differences in hair texture and facial features which could be traced back to differential racial ancestry, and which could be used as grounds for discriminatory sorting. In general, I would suggest that the notion that mere somatic difference is the sufficient, or major, cause of racism is historically and anthropologically naive. I am sympathetic to the general left position that if politico-economic differences require “racial” differentiation, then the categorization will be generated accordingly even if people are much closer somatically than they currently are. It’s worth remembering that in 19thcentury Europe, the white working class was sometimes thought of as a separate “race”. Where there’s a political will, it could be said, there’s a conceptual way.) But back to the burden on the children. One obvious reply would be that some parents-to-be will be able to speak with authority about the non-racist character of their side of the family. But what about those who can’t? And even those who do sincerely give such assurances about others’ feelings may, of course, be self-deceived, or even deceived by their relatives (whether through disingenuousness, and the fact that racism is no longer respectable, or by normal human self-opacity, and the genuine non-awareness of one’s actual gut responses when faced with a flesh-and-blood “mixed” grandson or niece). The way to argue around this might be to insist that extra-loving parental care can makeup for any family hostility. However, there is also the set of problems the child will face in the larger society, e.g., growing up in a school and neighborhood environment where racial polarization may lead to partial ostracism by other children of both races. So I think that this does raise genuine concerns, and even if they are outweighed by other factors, they should be given their due. (A magazine called Interrace addresses these and other problems of interracial couples.) 6. The Questionable Racial Motivations, or “Maybe You Can Fool That Stupid White Bitch, Nigger, and Maybe You Can Fool Yourself, But You’re Not Fooling Anybody Else,” Argument I have left to the last what Iconsider to be the most interesting argument, or set of arguments. This is the claim that black men who enter such unions, particularly with white women (as against women of other races), are either always, or usually (the claim can be made with differing strengths), moti- vated by questionableconsiderations. Theargument tends to bedeontological in form, the presumption being that some set of normative criteria can be imposed to assess the appropriate motivations for entering a marriage these days, basically revolving around romantic lov-nd that, absent these motives, and/or present some other set, the decision to marry is wrong. Since motivation is unlikely ever to be pure, and we are not com- pletely, or at all, self-transparent anyway, one might have to talk about the preponderance, and the likelihood, of certain kinds of motivations. In addition, there is the separate moral issue of the woman’s awareness or non-aware- ness of the nature of the motivation. Thus one would have to distinguish cases of ignorance and deception, where the white woman doesn’t know what is really driving her male spouse-to-be, from cases where both parties know what’s going on. (In other kinds of non-romantic marriages, for example marriages of convenience for immigration reasons, or the standard pragmatic tradings of financial security for youthful beauty, both parties often know the score, so that if these unions are wrong, it is not because of deception.) Now obviously interracial marriages have no monopoly on questionable motivations, but the claim of opponents would be that they are more likely to be present (or, more strongly, always present) in such unions. What is the basis of this claim? The argument is that because of the central historic structuring of the American polity by white racism,” the psychology of both whites and blacks has been negatively affected, and that this has ramifica- tions for human sexuality. (Or, as initially mentioned, there is the more radically foundational claim that sex is in fact at the root of racism in the first place, so the whole thing starts there.) In a patriarchal society, sexuality is distorted by sexism as well as racism, so that male sexuality characteristi- cally involves the notion of conquest, sexual competition, and a proving of one’s manhood by securing the woman, or the series of women, more highly ranked in the established hierarchy of desirability. But white wurnen will in general represent the female somatic ideal in our society: they are pre- eminently the beauty queens, fashion models, movie goddesses, magazine centerfolds, porn stars, whose images are displayed from a billion magazine covers, billboards, television screens, videos, and movie theaters?‘ Black males will inevitably be influenced by this, so that a wide range of potentially questionable motivations is generated: (i) sexual exoticism and forbidden fruit-picking, (ii) racial revenge, (iii) raciallydifferentiated aesthetic attraction, and (iv) racial status-seeking and personhood by proxy. DO BLACK MEN HAVE A MORAL DUTY TO MARRY.. . 145 (i) Sexual exoticism per sethe lure of the different-obviously has no intrinsic connection to black and white relations, and indeed need not involve racial difference at all, being felt across cultural, ethnic, and class lines. Moreover, on its own it would not really seem to raise any moral problems; people are sexually attracted to each other for all kinds of reasons, and if the strangeness of the Other is what is turning them on, there seems no harm in this-whatever gets you through the night, and so forth. The real concern here would be the prudential one that this is unlikely to prove a reliable foundation for a long-term relationship or marriage, exoticism rapidly being demystified in the quotidian domestic irritations of house- cleaning manias and toilet seats left up. It is really the coincidence of the exotic with the black-white racial taboo, the fact that this strange fruit is forbidden, that gives rise to what Spike Lee calls “jungle fever.” But again, assuming a liberal view of sexuality, which would deny the legitimacy of such taboos, and taking for granted that both parties know what’s going on, no moral, as against prudential, questions would really seem to be raised. I think when people advance this as a moral argument they are either unconsciously conflating it with one or more of the other possibilities ([ii] to [iv]), which we’ll examine separately, or assuming that one party, e.g., the white woman, doesn’t realize the real source of her appeal. So insofar as this is a successful moral argument, it would really just be subsumable under the general proscription against deceit in interpersonal relationships, perhaps with the added a priori reminder that, given people’s capacity for self- deception, black men are not likely to be willing to face the fact that this is really what’s driving them (a point we’ll encounter again). For (i), then, if there is a duty, it is derivable, given certain empirical assumptions, from the conventional set of duties to the other person, which can be founded either on welfare or Kantian grounds. (ii) By contrast, racial revenge as a motivation is clearly and uncontroversially immoral. The idea here (though this will not usually be said out loud, or at least within earshot of whites) is that marriage to, or sometimes just sex with, a white woman (or, better, many white women), is an appropriate form of revenge, conscious or unconscious, upon white men. This is linked, obviously, to acceptance of a sexist framework in which male combat, here interracial, takes place in part across the terrain of the female body, so that masculinity and honor are fused with ability to appropriate the woman. Sex with the enemy’s woman then becomes a symbolic retribution both specific-for the thousands of rapes and other sexual abuses visited upon black women over the hundreds of years of slavery and its aftermath, which black men were in general powerless to stop-and general-for the systematic humiliations of the denial to black men of their manhood in a society created by white men. Obviously black men who enter unions with white women for such purposes are just using them. (iii), (iv) I will discuss these together since, though the details are different, the root issue is arguably the same. Thus far the duty, insofar as it exists, has been easily derivable from standard prohibitions against deceiv- ing and using others. These final two subsets of allegedly questionable motives are to my mind the most interesting because they raise the possibil- ity of duties to oneself and/or duties to the race. First, the aesthetic question. As pointed out, in this country the white woman has traditionally represented the somatic norm of beauty.= It’s true this has recently begun to expand somewhat, with black Miss Americas (including one chosen just this year, 19931, and some preference in the fashion industry for “ethnic” models. But the first black Miss America, 1983 queen (though laterdeposed) Vanessa Williams, was so fair-skinned that the Congress of Racial Equality refused to recognize her as black, and the black models used in MTV videos will usually be light-skinned, Caucasoid blacks. White or light skin, long non-kinky hair, “fine” noses and narrow non- everted lips remain the norm, and as such are difficult or impossible to achieve without artificial assistance for black women of non-mixed heritage: hence the long-established cosmetic industry in the black community of skin bleaches, hair straighteners, wigs and hair extensions, and more recently (for those who can afford it) chemical peels, dermabrasion and plastic surgery. The argument is, then, that in choosing to marry white women, black men are admitting by this deed their acceptance of a white racist stereotype of beauty, and rejecting their own race. (Obviously there is a feminist, and indeed even more general humanist, argument that stereotypical physical attractiveness should not be the major criterion for marriageability unywuy, but I am not endorsing these norms but merely outlining their logic. This is in fact what motivates most men, and pending the advent of a utopia where physical appearance becomes unimportant, to be systematically disadvan- taged by race seems unfair. In other words, I am assuming, though I will not try to show this, that this racial dimension inflicts an additional unfairness on top of the normal genetic lottery by which, within a race, “plain” or ”ugly” people are socially disadvantaged through not meeting infru-racial stan- dards of attractiveness.) The other set of motives is conceptually distinct, though in practice it will usually go with the aesthetic set, and the ultimate source of both is arguably the This is the project of achieving social status through one’s white DO BLACK MEN HAVE A MORAL DUTY TO MARRY.. . 147 wife. White women are then a kind of prize who can both affirm one’s self- esteem, and help to provide an entree (at least in liberal circles) to the still largely white world of status and power of the upper echelons of society. Bluntly, a white woman on your arm shows that you have made it. As such, this is separate from the aesthetic argument, since the idea would be that even a white woman plain by conventional whitestandards of attractiveness will still provide the aura of social prestige radiating from white-skin privilege. Indeed, one of the arguments that black women who object to such unions frequently use is that black men go out or end up with white women whom they would never consider if they were black and of the same comparative degree of attractiveness (assuming that some kind of inter- racial translation of such measurements is possible, i.e., a 6 on a white 10- point scale becoming an equivalent 6 on a black 10-point scale, somehow relativized to different phenotype). Under these circumstances in particular, theclaim willbe made that “it‘s only because she’s white” that the blackman is going out with her. The more radical version of this accusation is that one is actually trying to achieve some kind of derivative personhood, personhood by proxy, in such marriages, insofar as black personhood is systematically denied in a racist society and the black man is likely to have internalized this judgment. (Personhood and status are linked, but separate, since obviously whites can have the former while still wanting to increase their ranking by some metric of the latter, e.g., through climbing the corporate hierarchy.) For both these sets of motivations, then, duties would arise in addition to the obvious ones of not using the white partner. (The latter set of duties is still pertinent since, while people don’t usually object to having been chosen at least in part on the basis of their looks, they would presumably not want to be chosen merely on the basis of being an abstract representative of an instrumental whiteness.) And these could perhaps be construed as duties to oneself, or duties to the race (or perhaps this could be collapsed into duties to oneself insofar as one is a member of the race, a subset of the more general duties we have to ourselves as humans). In modem moral theory, the notion of duties to oneself is found most famously, of course, in Kant. His idea was that in general we owe respect to all persons, a respect generating duties of differing degrees of stringency, and since we are persons ourselves, this means we have duties to ourselves (so that certain actions are wrong because we are using that self). The idea has been judged problematic by most contemporary philosophers, but some, for example, Thomas Hill, Jr., think that it is in fact a defensible and fruitful way of explicating the internal moral logic of the notion of self-re~pect?~So respecting ourselves precludes acting out of certain kinds of motivation. Applying this to the case of interracial 148 CHARLESW.MIUS marriage for reasons of types (iii) and (iv), then, the implication is that even if the white woman is fully aware of, and has no problem with, the black man’s motivation, such marriage would be wrong because it endorses a racist set of values and as such implies a lack of respect for oneself and one’s own race. I think that, though the other arguments I have discussed are also employed, and taken seriously, this really captures the essential objection that many black women have to interracial relationships. And it coheres nicely with the interpretation of racism as an ideology which, in anti-Kantian fashion, systematically denies full personhood to certain groups of humans- in effect, the whole race is thought of as sub-persons, Untermenschn. The Jamaican activist Marcus Garvey, one of the most famous black leaders of the twentieth century, is celebrated for his insight that white supremacy had left blacks as ”a race without respect,” and correspondingly the notion of ”dissin’” someone, so central to black popular culture, is arguably a recog- nition, on the level of folk wisdom, of the danger of this diminished moral standing.28 Could this then be seen as a friendly amendment to Kant? (I really mean ”Kantianism” rather than Kant; in general Kant’s own views on sexuality can’t be taken seriously.) The immediate obstacle is that race is part of the phenomenal self deemed morally irrelevant, so how could we have duties to ourself based on racial membership? Or how could we have duties to the race that are differentiated from duties to abstract noumenal (and hence raceless) persons? But I think this objection can be finessed in the following way. The claim is not that, because we’re black (or white, or any other race) we’re differentially deserving of respect; this would indeed be inconsistent with Kantian principles, presupposing hierarchy rather than equality of value for different persons. So the argument is not that race does enter at the noumenal level. The claim is rather that the historic legacy of white racism has been a social ontology in which race has not been abstracted from, but used as an indicator of one’s personhood, so that those with a certain “phenomenal” phenotype have been seen as less than human and so undeserving of full (or any) respect. Resistance to this legacy therefore requires that one affirm one can be both black and a person, that the phenomenal does not correlate with a subpar noumenal self. Retreat into typical philosophical abstraction (“we’re all human-race doesn’t matter”) evades confronting this, since the terms on which humanity will have been defined will be white ones. So the ”person” is tacitly constructed as white in the first place, which is why this hidden moral architecture, this colorlessness which is really colored white, has to be exposed to the light. Because of black socialization into this system of values, the fact is that marriage to a white woman will often be based on the continuing, if not consciously acknowledged, submission to this racist DO BLACK MEN HAVE A MORAL DUTY TO MARRY.. . 149 social ontology, and when it is, will imply a lack of racial self-respect, respect for one’s race (as all other races) as equally entitled to take the full status of personhood. It is, finally, I believe, something like this moral perception which, even if not always clearly articulated, underlies many black women’s intuition that there is often something questionable about these relation- ships. But what-the obvious reply will be-if one is quite sure, or as sure as one can be about anything, that one is not marrying for such motivations? Here, the opponent of interracial marriages has at least two interesting fallback positions (as distinct, that is, from any of the other arguments previously discussed). First, what the critic may do is introduce an auxiliary epistemic thesis (our knowledge of our motivation) as distinct from the substantive thesis itself (what our motivation is). The argument would then be that, though in some cases (a minority) black men‘s motivation might be pure, the combined effects of standard human self-opacity and the cognitive interference produced in these particular circumstances by the strong moti- vations for selfdeception (who will want to admit to himself he’s really trying to whiten his being?), mean that they can never know that it is pure, so the safest thing to do is to eschew such unions. If this fails, then there is, secondly, the ultimate fallback position of reintroducing a consequentialist framework to argue that even if (a) one’s motivation is pure, and (b) one knows one’s motivation is pure, there is always (c) the fact that, whatever one’s motivation, one will be perceived by other blacks as having married out of racial self-contempt, thus reinforcing white superiority. And this (as one of my black female students coldly informed me when I was trying to defend a liberal position on the issue) will be ”a slap in the face of black women everywhere.’’ So the bottom line for critics is that one’s actions will be perceived as being motivated by these self-despising beliefs, and-espe- cially if one is a prominent black figure of high status, with a correspondingly enhanced range of racial spousal selection-this action will be sending a message to the world that, once you do have this option to choose: black women just ain’t good enough. IV I have no neat, wrap-up conclusion to offer, since I think the issue is a complicated one about which a lot more could be said. Rather, my basic aim has been to demonstrate this complexity, and, as a corollary, to show the mistakenness of the knee-jerk white liberal (or, for that matter, black liberal) response that no defensible case could possibly be made for the existence of such a duty. Some of the arguments are obviously weak (e.g., #l), but others are stronger, though they may be of conjuncturalstrength (e.g., #2), involve empirical and normative claims which may or may not hold true (#3,4,5), or rest on speculative claims about motivation which are hard to disprove, with a consequentialist fallback line which may seem illegitimately to hold us hostage to others’ perceptions (#6). Whether singly or in combination (to the extent that this is possible, bearing in mind that different normative frameworks have sometimes been used) they do yield at least a presumptive duty I will leave, perhaps somewhat evasively, for the reader to decide, and if so what kind of a duty it is. At the very least I think I have shown that- using conventional moral theories, and without making racist assumptions about whites, or even appealing to any controversial separatist ideology- an interesting case can in fact be built for a position quite widespread in the “commonsense morality” of the black community. One common, misguided white liberal reaction to racism has been to move from the anthropological premise that “race” (in the biological sense) doesn’t exist, to the conclusion that “race” (in the social sense) doesn’t exist either, so that the solution is to proclaim an (ostensibly) colorless universal- ism in which we pay no attention to race. Sometimes this is expressed in the claim that race is “constructed” (true enough) and therefore unreal. But neither conclusion follows (try walking through the next constructed brick wall you encounter). As Aristotle pointed out long ago, treating people equally doesn’t necessarily mean treating them the same, and one could argue analogously that genuine race-neutrality actually requires not blind- ness to race but close attention to the difference race makes. The subtleties of unraveling and re-weaving conventional morality in a whitesupremacist society gradually transforming itself have only just begun to be worked on by philosophers. If discussions such as this one have rarely, if ever, graced the pages of philosophy journals, this is arguably a consequence not of the unimportance of such debates but of the demographics of the profession, and the absence of voices speaking from the day-today lives and concerns of a significant sector of the population. We can expect that, with the demographic “browning” of America that is under way, leading to a minority white population some time late in the next century, and perhaps even (dare one hope.. . ?) some more non-white faces around APA meetings, such issues will increasingly begin to appear in these formerly cloistered white pages. I would like to acknowledge thesupport of the Institute for the Humani- ties, University of Illinois at Chicago. DO BLACK MEN HAVE A MORAL DUTY TO MARRY.. . 151 Notes For discussions of racism in general, and racism and sex in particular, see, for example: Winthrop D. Jordan, White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 2550-2822 (1968; rpt. New York and London: W.W. Norton, 1977); St. Clair Drake, BlackFok Hereand There, vol. I (Los Angeles: Center for Afro-American Studies, UCLA, 1987); John D’Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman, lntimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in Ameria (New York Harper & Row, 1988), chapter five; Calvin C. Hernton, SexandRacism in America (1966; rpt. New York: Grove Press, 1988). *As Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. sardonically pointed out to Clarence Thomas, admon- ishing him for his cavalier disparagement of the work of civil rights activists, had it not been for their efforts, “if you and your present wife decided that you wanted to reside in Virginia [their present home], you would . . . have been violating the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which the Virginia Supreme Court as late as 1966 said was consistent with the federal Constitution because of the overriding state interest in the institution of mar- riage …. [Ylou could have been in the penitentiary today rather than serving as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.” “An Open Letter to Justice Clarence Thomas from a Federal Judicial Colleague,” University of Pennsylvania Law Reoiew, 140 (1992); reprinted in Toni Momson, ed., Rae-inglustice, En-gendering Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Construction of Social Reality (New York Pantheon Books, 3For changing (and unchanging) depictions of blacks in United States cinema, see Donald Bogle, Toms, Coons,Mulattoes,Mammies 6 Bucks: An Interpretive History of BZacks in American Films (New York Viking Press, 1973). William Shatner, with Chris Kreski, Star TrekMemories (New York Harper Collins Publish- ers, 1993). Nichols disgustedly describes the backstage drama: “[The network suits were] telling me that the kiss would make the show impossible to air.. . . I mean, they even went so far as to suggest changing the Scene so that Kirk gets paired off with Nurse Chapel and Spock ends up with me. Somehow, I guess, they found it more acceptable for a Vulcan to kiss me, for this alien to kiss this black woman, than for two humans with different coloring to do the same thing.” Star TrekMemories, pp. 284-285. The network arranged for the scene to be shot twice, the first take showing actual lip contact, the second take positioning the camera behind Shatnefs back at the crucial moment, so that an actual kiss did not have to be shown-and did not in fact occur. The second take was the one eventually aired. 5F~r an interesting discussion, see also theNewswek cover story (June 10,1991) on the movie, ‘Tackling a Taboo.” 6Gloria T. Hull, Patricia Bell Scott, and Barbara Smith, eds., AZZ the Women Are White, AZZ the Blacks AreMen, But Some of Us Are Bram: Black Women’s Studies (Old Westbury, New York: The Feminist Press, 1982). ‘1 should record here the fact that I have greatly benefited from exposure to, even when I have not always agreed with, the arguments put forward by my students in classroom discussion and essays submitted in the “African-American Philosophy” course I taught in Spring 1993. OFor a discussion, see, for example, Stephen Jay Gould, TheMismazsure ofMan (New York and London: W.W. Norton, 1981). gSee,forexample,chapterlO, “Satan,”ofThcAutob~~~~yofMnlcoZmX,as told to Alex Haley, (1965; rpt. New York Ballantine Books, 1973). ‘o”There are no races, there are only clines.” Frank B. Livingstone, “On the Nonexistence of Human Races” (1962); rpt. in Sandra Harding, ed., The “Racial” Economy of Science: Toward 1992), pp. 24-25. 152 CHARLESW.MILLS a Democratic Future (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1993). “The more radical obiectiofi made by some theorists is that the whole idea of quantifying intellectual ability as a single Rified number, and then ranking people on a unilinear scale, is inherently incoherent: again, see Gould, The Mismeasure of Man. This is sometimes summed up in the bon mof that the only thing IQ tests measure is the ability to do well on IQ tests. l2 I have benefited here from Joyce Trebilcot’s argument opposing sex roles: “Sex Roles: The Argument from Nature,” Ethics, 85 (April 1975); rpt. in Gamy Brodsky, John Troyer, and David Vance, eds., Contemporary Readings in Social and Political Ethics (Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books, 1984). l3Kwame Anthony Appiah, In My Father’s House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), pp. 13-15. 14Aslateas1978,anational survey showed that ‘70%ofwhites …rej ectedinterracialmaniage on principle”: cited in Douglas S. Massey and Nancy A. Denton, American Apartheid: Segregation and theMaking of fhe Underc.class (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 19931, p. 95. Though contemporary “melanin theory” is indigenous to the black community, the notion of “sun people” and “ice people” actually comes from the white Canadian author Michael Bradley’s The Iceman Inheritance: Prehistotic Sources of Western Man’s Racism, Sexism, and Aggression (New York: Kayode, 1978). I6See, for example, Samuel Scheffler, Human Morality (New York Oxford University Press, 1992). “Black unemployment rates in recent decades have been at least twice as high as white unemployment rates, and for the category of young black men in the inner cities the rate approaches catastrophic proportions. Another tragic figure frequently cited is the 1990 study that showed that, on any given day in 1989, nearly 1 in 4 black men from the ages of 20 to 29 were either in prison, on parole, or on probation. The leading cause of death for black men 15-34 is homicide. For some of these frightening statistics, see William Julius Wilson, The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Un&~class, and Public Policy (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1987) and Andrew Hacker, Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal (New York Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1992). “Terry McMillan’s recent bestseller, Waitingto Exhale (1992; rpt. New York Pocket Star books, 19931, revolves in large part around this theme. l9 Wilson, The Truly Disadvantaged. l0I have worked throughout within a heterosexual, and, some gays might say, heterosexist, framework. Why, it maybeasked, should blackwomen wait forblack, or any other, men? Why shouldn’t they embrace their sisters? I certainly don’t mean to impugn the legitimacy of lesbian relationships-I think that gay relationships and marriages should be mg- nized-but, on established assumptions about people’s sexual orientation, there will still be a maprity of straight women for whom this is not an attractive solution. If these assumptions are wrong, of course, so that the whole concept of a basic sexual orientation is misleading in the first place, and sexuality is radically plastic, then some of these arguments won’t work. But thegeneral issue of racism and sex obviously isn’t just an issue for straights. ?’See Richard Brandt, A Theory of the Goodand the Right (New York Oxford University Press, 1979). “For a fascinating discussion of the psychological ramifications of this, see Kathy Russell, Midge Wilson, and Ronald Hall, The Color Complu: The Politics of Skin Color Among Awn Americans (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992). “And many other countries too, of course. Though I have implicitly focused on the United DO BLACK MEN HAVE A MORAL DUTY TO MARRY.. . 153 States throughout, many of these arguments would be applicable elsewhere also. 24 A quick riddle for the reader: name a black female movie star other than Whoopi Goldberg (pop singer Whitney Houston’s one-shot appearance in The Bodyguard doesn’t count). My guess is that the average white reader will come up empty. Now think how remarkable this is in a country where for most of the century movies have epitomized American popular culture, and blacks make up 12% of the population. (Goldberg, bythe way, is theexception that proves the rule, in the original sense of that expression, now largely forgotten, of testing the rule so that an explanation for the anomaly is called for. At least until lately, she has standardly appeared as a de-sexed comic grotesque. After I completed the original draft of this article, Angela Bassett was nominated for a “Best Actress” Academy Award for her role asTina Turner in Whuf’s Low Got To Do With It. So that’s one more blackactress the white reader is now likely to know. But my general point obviously still stands.) ‘The following discussion draws on The Color Comphx. The notion of a racial “somatic norm” was first put forward by the Dutch sociologist Harmannus Hoetink; see, for example, Caribbean Race Relations: A Study of Two Variants (London: Oxford University Press, 1%2). 261t should be noted, though, that some researchers have argued, on anthropological evidence, that there is a pro-light skinned aesthetic bias in all societies, which preexisted, though of course it will be reinforced by, colonialism and white racism. Thomas E. Hill, Jr., Autonomy and SeZf-Respect (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), especially chapters 1 and 2. “Likewise, it is no accident that the work of black philosophers has so often focused on the particular importance of self-respect for blacks; see, for example, Laurence Thomas, “Self- Respect: Theory and Practice,” and Bernard Boxill, “Self-Resped and Protest,” both in Leonard Hams, ed., Philosophy Born of Sfmggk: Anthology of Afro-American Phibsophyfrom 2927 (Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., 1983).