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This is a wonderful piece, thank you Nathaniel. That this has happened seems like a logical result of the history of white supremacy and power. It's in the powerful's best interest to maintain certain narratives, which includes the gatekeeping that determines who we accept as legitimate philosophers (in history and today). These beliefs are so entrenched that it is difficult to see just how racism, and other oppressive systems have altered how we understand institutions of knowledge. This is the strength and importance of what Nathaniel and others are doing. It's easy enough for me, as a white woman to accept the white-dominated narrative of the history of philosophy and history in general. I suffer in philosophy from the history of gender bias and exclusion, however because of my skin color I am afforded a certain amount of unearned legitimacy. My white, male counterpart will certainly be taken as a serious philosopher, while I will have to prove myself. However this is nothing compared to my non-white counterparts. This is true in the second decade of the twenty-first century—so why do we not think that it was true in earlier ones? To think that an entire category of people were merely taking their oppression and not uttering a word, not philosophizing about the situation, is ridiculous. It’s our duty now to recognize the issue and actively work to resolve it. This is what social justice is—recognizing the humanity and philosophical acuity of those who were previously seen as inhumane. This work is important. Taking someone racialized as black as a knower and taking their account of the erasure of black voices in the history of philosophy, seriously is important. If we fail to do this, we are no better than our historical counterparts who failed so seriously to recognize non-whites as people capable of understanding the wrong and injustice of their own treatment. This whitewashing seems to be a vestige of colonialism, and the erasure of non-white philosophers in the history of philosophy is further dehumanizing of those people. Thanks again for this, Nathaniel. It was a wonderful read, and I look forward to reading those philosophers you citied. -Ashley
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Aug 30, 2015