Racial conflict in the United States pushes people to positions of argument or avoidance, more or less intensely and for varying lengths of time, depending on external events like the murder of George Floyd. Neither stance produces the conversations required to seek common ground and compromise around racial issues. Argument alone deepens divisions and avoidance leaves them to metastasize in the social body. In an attempt to go beneath these two positions, this article first explains the role and form of interpretation in all conflict and dispute resolution and how it is shaped. Then it examines the concepts and strategies on race of seven identifiable groups. For example, whereas individualists reject identity politics and collective guilt for past wrongs and stress personal responsibility, pragmatists eschew ideologies on race, focusing instead on what they affirm. The article makes a deep critique of the antiracist assertion that those who fail to embrace its ideology are, by definition, racists. Finally the author discusses possible ways forward that reject dogmatic, either/or strategies in favor of a hermeneutical approach to matters of race including both sacred values and material interests.
Cowan, Michael A.
"Seeing Race as We Are: Avoiding, Arguing, Aspiring,"
New England Journal of Public Policy: Vol. 35:
1, Article 8.
Available at: https://scholarworks.umb.edu/nejpp/vol35/iss1/8