The Concept Of Racism In The Bad Faith Of Whiteness

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Racism has been defined in many ways from judgements and prejudices to actions on racial superiority. While there are many discussions on racism, its’ roots, and the implications on the lived circumstance of those in today’s society, I believe one prominent, modern Africana philosopher has a grasp like no other on the topic. Lewis Gordon describes racism and its dimensions in this quote. “Racism, properly understood, is a denial of the humanity of a group of human beings either on the basis of race or color. This denial, properly executed, requires denying the presence of other human beings in such relations. It makes such beings a form of presence that is, an absence, paradoxically, an absence of human presence. That being so, such beings …show more content…
Birt builds on the Sartrean idea that bad faith the act of deceiving oneself consciously or unconsciously. Sartre explains the division between normal deception or lying and bad faith comes from the quality of the deceived. When one lies, they have the truth and they have the intent to deceive or hide that truth from another person. Conversely, the deceived person in the relationship is unaware of the lie and the hidden truth. Bad faith is a form of lying, but both roles, the deceiver and the deceived, exist within the same human entity. While the deception can be individualized, bad faith can also be interpreted into a lifestyle or a social entity. When one lies to himself about an aspect of their own being, he inherently hides that aspect from every other being. Whiteness intends to hide from itself and others the existence of it’s own facticity. Sartre mentions that bad faith can also manifest due to a pleasing untruth as well as a displeasing truth. The pleasing untruth of whiteness is the pure transcendence and the absolute freedom that such transcendence entails. This belief creates a reality where all other beings are dehumanized into a pure …show more content…
The normative gaze, described in Cornel West 's writing “Prophesy Deliverance!”, is a fixed perspective masquerading as the singular lens for reality. Whiteness, in accepting a pure transcendence, seeks to answer the questions of humanity while simultaneously denying the ability for others to have a different perspective. In answering these questions, while denying all other perspectives, whiteness acts in bad faith to create a false reality. The single sided answers to these questions project a normative gaze, in which all real and valid perspectives view phenomena in the way whiteness does. Conversely, thinking outside of the pure transcendence of whiteness, denies your own transcendence. An example of this is a relationship with God in many of the monotheistic religions. Salvation is dependent upon thinking in a certain perspective, denying the reality of any other perspective, and engagement in another view point proves to be your own peril.
There are many ways to describe the relationship between bad faith and the normative gaze. Personally, I describe it as the normative gaze is a result of bad faith. Bad faith can be lived through any social conditions, while the normative gaze seems to only exist in oppressive cultures. Therefore the choice to live in bad faith can produce a normative gaze, but if you engage in any other cultural phenomena other than whiteness, your perspective means nothing. There are many

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