“The truth is that there are no races” Kwame Anthony Appiah controversially wrote in 1985 launching him into fame and notoriety among his professional peers.
In this fascinating conversation between two of the most esteemed and provocative thinkers on racial identity, Appiah sits down with Professor Priya Gopal to unpack the philosophy of race, it’s historical development and why it’s not a ‘biological category.’
For both, race should be understood as a historical categorisation usually used to otherise people by physical characteristics or geographical location.
One of the most interesting talking points of the conversation is the question of “mixed-race” identity. Taking the example of Barack Obama, Gopal explains that despite having a white mother and black father Obama does not walk in the world as a white man. He is racialised as black and American society categorises him as if he had two black parents.
Similarly Gopal is racialised…
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