What Are You Reading…On Racially Charged Shootings

The shootings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Falcon Heights, Minnesota; and Dallas, Texas last week were tragic for many reasons. Not only did seven people lose their lives, but the implicit or stated intentions by the shooters in each seem to indicate that a ‘post-racial’ egalitarian world is still outside our grasp. There are serious questions about why the police officers in Baton Rouge used the amount of force they did, why the officer in Falcon Heights had his gun drawn during what at this point seems to be just a routine traffic stop, and what provoked Micah Johnson to take his drastic actions. Whether or not the individuals involved acted with explicit racist intent, it seems clear that each situation has significant racial overtones.

All of which raise the question of how racism perpetuates itself in our society. Studies have shown that, despite the law’s nominal neutrality with regard to race, serious disparities remain (including in the field of philosophy). As these disparities cannot all be traced back to the actions of individuals in the Ku Klux Klan, Nazi party, or similarly racist groups, many race theorists have begun thinking about how race affects perception, institutional practices, and personal habits. Here are some important articles and books on these topics written in the wake of recent movements for racial justice.

What are you reading?

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