Latinos and the Categories of Race

Apparently, Latinos are “taking over.”1 With news that Latinos have become the largest minority group in the United States, the public airwaves are filled with concerned voices about the impact that a non-English dominant, Catholic, non-white, largely poor population will have on “American” identity. Aside from the hysteria, Latino identity poses some authentically new questions for the standard way in which minority identities are conceptualized.

The Political Critique of Identity

"Any man who carries a hyphen about him carries a dagger which he is ready to plunge into the vitals of the Republic."

-Woodrow Wilson, 1918

"Not everyone is male, white, hearing, heterosexual. Very well. But what is a Left if it is not, plausibly at least, the voice of a whole people? ... If there is no people, but only peoples, there is no Left."

-Todd Gitlin (1995, 165)

The Metaphysics of Gender and Sexual Difference


“It is certainly true, as nominalists have been concerned to acknowledge, that judgements about kinds are determined in part by human interests, projects, and practices. But the possibility that human interests, projects, and practices sometimes develop as they do because the real (physical or social) world is as it is suggests that this sort of dependence is not by itself an argument against essentialism.”

— Susan Babbitt (1996, 146)

On Prejudging the Duke Lacrosse Team Scandal

The Duke Lacrosse team scandal continues to raise heated debates, but hidden within much of the political and legal commentary are some important epistemological issues that need to be brought forward. I want to address those here.


Comparative Race, Comparative Racisms

In an article entitled, "Top Colleges Take More Blacks, but Which Ones?" the New York Times reported in June of 2004 on an increasing discomfort among some leaders in ethnic studies about the overly generalized racial categories used in affirmative action policies. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is quoted expressing concern about the fact that many of the black students accepted to Harvard are not of U.S. origin but come from the Caribbean or Africa. Mary C.

"Knowing Self in Power and Truth"

Linda Martín-Alcoff works in the areas of continental philosophy, epistemology, feminist theory, and race theory. From her first ground-breaking anthology, Feminist Epistemologies (Routledge, 1993), through her recent collection of autobiographical pieces by contemporary women philosophers, Singing in the Fire (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), to her upcoming book on identities (forthcoming with Oxford UP), Alcoff's work has been marked by an interest in knowledge's relation to historical/social context and subjectivity.

Sotomayor's Reasoning - full version