Appiah Cosmopolitanism

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Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers By Kwame Anthony Appiah In his two new books Kwame Anthony Appiah undertakes to combine a form of liberalism that aspires to universal validity with a full recognition and substantial acceptance of the important cultural and ethical diversity that characterizes our world. The Ethics of Identity is a philosopher's contribution to ethical theory; Cosmopolitanism is a more popular work of social and political reflection; but both are of wide interest--invitingly written and enlivened by personal history. Some of the issues Appiah addresses are familiar from contemporary public debates about multiculturalism, the relation of the state to religious pluralism, the effects of…show more content…
In these life-scripts, being a Negro is recoded as being black: and for some this may entrain, among other things, refusing to assimilate to white norms of speech and behavior.... It will not even be enough to be treated with equal dignity despite being black: for that would suggest that being black counts to some degree against one's dignity. And so one will end up asking to be respected as a black. Appiah tells the same story about gay identity after Stonewall, but he then adds: Demanding respect for people as blacks and as gays can go along with notably rigid strictures as to how one is to be an African American…show more content…
If this principle is re-applied consistently, it results in the "one-drop rule," according to which any African ancestry makes one black. But Appiah cites statistical studies showing that millions of Americans who look white and are regarded by themselves and others as white have ancestors who were African slaves--and that these Americans may even outnumber those who regard themselves as black. If that is so, then the ordinary conception of black identity is incoherent. This argument may impose too much logic on a vague concept, but it makes an important point. In trying to turn the tables on racism, the civil rights movement and black solidarity have not challenged the conceptual racism associated with the one-drop rule, and may thereby be missing an opportunity to undermine the grip of the categories themselves: Current U.S. practices presuppose, by and large, that there is a fact of the matter about everyone as to whether or not she is African American. One is required to fill in forms for all sorts of purposes that fix one's race, and other people--arresting police officers,
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