Conserving Race: In Defense Of Jeffer's Cultural Theory
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On the Importance of Conserving Race: In defense of Jeffer’s cultural theory of race.
Recent cases in popular media have intensified the question of what we mean when we use the term “race”. Traditionally, this has been divided into two perspectives: racial naturalism and racial constructivism. Racial naturalism holds that there are certain natural properties (such as genes), which are shared by only a certain group, defining race as a biological product. Overall, many have come to reject this idea and adopt a racial constructivist stance. Racial constructivism holds that the meaning is derived from human behaviour and decisions, making race a social construct. Since the idea of racial naturalism is now widely rejected, the…show more content… However, it should be noted that opinions on when we should eliminate race differ among eliminitivists, ranging between immediately to in the distant future. Racial conservationists hold that although race has been artificially constructed, it still has value. For this reason conservationists do not seek to eliminate race, but wish to preserve it. Among these racial conservationists is a philosopher named Chike Jeffers. Jeffers argues that race (although socially constructed) is worth holding on to. Despite its negative beginnings, race now has something positive to offer: culture and identity. Jeffers believes that if we take race away, then it will change identities. Therefore, the preservation of race is key. However, many eliminitivists protest this, explaining that race is and will always be something negative. So we must weigh the benefits. The following paper gives a brief outline of Jeffer’s cultural theory of race and his arguments for the conservation of race. Additionally, it presents some objections to his account, based on an eliminitivist opinion. Lastly, it provides potential responses and a short discussion on the preservation of race. Overall, if we hold Jeffer’s cultural theory of race we have both the incentive and opportunity to maintain…show more content… He asserts that race “has a distinctive cultural meaning and value which would be sadly lost were black people to try and fit as neatly as possible into the contours of a European-derived cultural framework” (Jeffers p.420). In other words, Jeffers believes that the elimination of race will result in a loss of integral parts of culture and incidentally a feature of identity. “While the political theory of race gives us clear reason to hope for and work toward the abolition of races, a theory according to which races are cultural groups suggests the possibility that races represent valuable forms of life to be celebrated rather than eradicated” (Jeffers