The Philosopher Redefining Equality

[Elizabeth] Anderson’s solution was “integration,” a concept that, especially in progressive circles, had been uncool since the late sixties. Integration, by her lights, meant mixing on the basis of equality. It was not assimilation. It required adjustments from all groups. Anderson laid out four integrative stages: formal desegregation (no legal separation), spatial integration (different people share neighborhoods), formal social integration (they work together, and are one another’s bosses), and informal social integration (they become buddies, get married, start families). Black students in integrated high schools, according to one study, had higher graduation rates than those in segregated schools, even controlling for socioeconomic background, parental education, and other factors. Students—black and white—at integrated schools went on to lead more integrated lives.

Some philosophers of color welcomed the book. “She’s taking the need for racial justice seriously, and you could hardly find another white political philosopher over a period of decades doing that,” Charles Mills, a philosopher at the cuny Graduate Center, says. 

Submitted on: JAN 7, 2019

Category: GC Press Coverage