Dissertation Defense Announcement
College of Arts and Sciences announces the Final Dissertation Defense of
Samaiyah Jones Scott
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
May 2, 2019 at 10:00 AM in Clement Hall, Room 317
Advisor: Verena Erlenbusch-Anderson
Anti-Black Racism, Shared Responsibility, and the Role of African Americans
ABSTRACT: In this dissertation, I focus on four aspects of shared responsibility concerning anti-Black racism in America. Do Black people share responsibility for anti-Black racism, and if so, in what capacity? Do Black people who seem to be complicit in anti-Black racist environments share responsibility for racism? Have Black intellectuals historically accepted shared responsibility for racism? Do Black Nationalists share some responsibility for anti-Black racism by stoking racist tensions? In each chapter, I enter the respective discourse on anti-Black racism and shared responsibility by examining philosophical models of shared responsibility and the work of historical and theoretical scholars who have specifically addressed racism and/or some aspect of shared responsibility. In the first chapter, I interrogate the work of Larry May to discuss whether certain Black people share responsibility for anti-Black racism. In the second chapter, I analyze the work of Alain Locke, W.E.B Du Bois, and Alexander Crummell, which comprise a discussion of the history of shared responsibility for anti- Black racism within their work. In the third chapter, I evaluate the work of Will Kymlicka for a discussion of the merits of a modified version of Black Nationalism. I interrogate this concept to ascertain whether it bears responsibility for stoking racist tensions. Finally, I conclude by explaining how each is relevant for current discussions pertaining to anti-Black racism in America. I argue that African Americans should not be assigned shared responsibility for racism within Larry May's shared responsibility model, neither can they be assigned responsibility if their decision to pursue National Minority Status is mistaken for stoking racist tensions. I claim that African Americans can only self-assign shared responsibility for racism, which is voluntary and not obligatory.