This page features a collection of the best resources on the philosophy of race. To get started, simply choose the type of resource that best suits your learning style.
If you want an academic overview of race:
- Read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Race. However, you should keep in mind that the SEP is often quite technical and this article may be difficult for beginners. It’s also quite long at around 9700 words. Here’s a short excerpt that introduces the idea of race:
“The concept of race has historically signified the division of humanity into a small number of groups based upon five criteria: (1) Races reflect some type of biological foundation, be it Aristotelian essences or modern genes; (2) This biological foundation generates discrete racial groupings, such that all and only all members of one race share a set of biological characteristics that are not shared by members of other races; (3) This biological foundation is inherited from generation to generation, allowing observers to identify an individual’s race through her ancestry or genealogy; (4) Genealogical investigation should identify each race’s geographic origin, typically in Africa, Europe, Asia, or North and South America; and (5) This inherited racial biological foundation manifests itself primarily in physical phenotypes, such as skin color, eye shape, hair texture, and bone structure, and perhaps also behavioral phenotypes, such as intelligence or delinquency….”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and more engaging introduction:
- Read Gregory Smithsimon’s article: How to see race [3500 words]
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
While these resources are a great starting point, there’s only so much you can learn by using free online resources. If you want to learn more, check out this list of of the best books on the philosophy of race.
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