Luvell Anderson, University of Memphis
"Understanding Racial Realities"
Our current situation is one marked by stark divisions along several lines: race, gender, class, economic status, immigration status. This is especially so with respect to race. The depth of these divisions is often on display, for instance, when we engage in conversations about topics that draw on assumptions about our racial history. People from different racial backgrounds or who have different racial identities can often view things quite differently. That is, race and differing racial histories often have profound effects on how we think and speak about things. In this talk, I explore this influence and its effects. I start by summarizing notions of 'realities' thought to undergird practices of thought and speech. I then provide a characterization of 'racial reality' and an analysis of the relations between different racial realities. I conclude with some thoughts about my account's implications for the possibility of cross-racial understanding.