On the Perils of Race Neutrality and Anti-Blackness:
Philosophy as an Irreconcilable Obstacle to (Black) Thought
Tommy J. Curry @DrTJC and Gwenetta Curry @afropuffz
Abstract. Race-neutral philosophies often depend on the illusion of a universal humanist orientation. This philosophical position, while common, often misses what is concretely at stake in the diagnosis and analyses of anti-Black racism in the United States. This article argues that racism is part of a deliberate strategy of academic philosophy to keep the discipline white. When one considers the demographic underrepresentation of Blacks compared to other groups in the academy, the use of universal pretenses to negate the experiences of racial minorities, and the sociological realities of race and racism in America, academic philosophy emerges as one of many ideological stratagems used to deny the realities of death and dying in our society. The authors argue that race neutrality and colorblindness cloak the societal consequences and disciplinary practices that allow segregation, violence, and anti-Black death to continue unabated.
Dr. Tommy J. Curry is an American author and professor of philosophy at Texas A&M University.
He is the first African-American professor in the history of the philosophy department at Texas A&M University. Curry received his masters at DePaul University and his doctorate in philosophy from Southern Illinois University. His main research areas include critical race theory, Black Male Studies, and Africana philosophy. According to various documents including a signed statement by other faculty in Texas A&M University's philosophy department, Curry was hired specifically to research Critical Race Theory and revolutionary violence and armed resistance. Curry's publications and podcasts routinely give credit to radical race scholars such as Derrick Bell, Richard Delgado, and Robert Guthrie for their intellectual influence and guidance.
In 2017, Curry was targeted by white supremacists and the alt-right related to previous statements he had made comparing revolutionary violence and armed self-defense in the United States in a podcast analyzing Jamie Foxx's lead character in Django. Curry received death threats after the comments he made in 2012 on a conservative website Rod Dreher admitted in a subsequent interview with the Chronicle that he targeted Curry after a student at Texas A&M University said they were disturbed by his research and classes on American racism. Dreher then admitted that Curry's "language choices and rate of speech" offended him, whereupon he decided to write a series of blogs attacking the professor. Curry later blamed the situation on the alt-right's targeting of Black professors and other anti-racism scholars across the country.
Curry is the author of The Man-Not: Race, Class, Genre, and the Dilemmas of Black Manhood (2017).
Dr. Gwenetta Curry is an assistant professor in the Gender and Race Studies Department. She completed her Ph.D. in 2016 from Texas A&M University in Sociology.
Her dissertation, “The Relationship between Education and Obesity among Black Women in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Cycles 1999-2010,” revealed that education does not improve the health of Black women in the same manner as their white counterparts. In 2007, she completed her Master’s Degree from Southern Illinois University in Dairy Sciences which focused on the effects of linseed oil and omega-3 fatty acids in the diet of grazing dairy cow’s milk. The results of this study demonstrated that increasing the levels of linseed oil in dairy cows diets leads in higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid in milk. From 2007-2009, she worked as a Research, Quality and Innovation scientist for ConAgra Foods in Omaha, Nebraska. For six years, she created new products and technology for the food industry and saved Peter Pan after the salmonella recall, which earned her the CEO award. Her current research focus on improving the health of Black women and the Black family overall. Dr. Curry’s research areas include: Health Disparities, Africana Womanism, Black Family Studies, Food Insecurities and Food culture, and American Racism.
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