Black Lives Matter and the Paradoxes of U.S. Black Politics: From Democratic Sacrifice to Democratic Repair

Political Theory 44 (4):448-469 (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This essay seeks to understand the complex response to the current Black Lives Matter protests against police violence, which pose deeper questions about the forms of politics that black citizens—who are experiencing a defining moment of racial terror in the United States in the twenty-first century—can and should pursue. When other citizens and state institutions betray a lack of care and concern for black suffering, which in turn makes it impossible for those wrongs to be redressed, is it fair to ask blacks to enact “appropriate” democratic politics? These questions are explored via a reading of Danielle Allen and Ralph Ellison’s meditations on the problem of democratic loss and Hannah Arendt’s critique of school desegregation battles in the 1960s. I suggest that there is a conceptual trap in romantic historical narratives of black activism that recast peaceful acquiescence to loss as a form of democratic exemplarity.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,252

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

White on White/Black on Black.George Yancy (ed.) - 2005 - Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
The Special Moral Obligations of Law Enforcement.Jake Monaghan - 2017 - Journal of Political Philosophy 25 (2):218-237.
The paradoxes of confirmation and the nature of natural laws.L. Goddard - 1977 - Philosophical Quarterly 27 (107):97-113.
White on White/Black on Black (review).Lisa Heldke - 2006 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 20 (4):325-327.
The Politics of Black Representation in U.S. Congressional Districts.Carol Miller Swain - 1989 - Dissertation, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Added to PP

148 (#122,679)

6 months
17 (#134,829)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

Justifying Uncivil Disobedience.Ten-Herng Lai - 2019 - Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy 5:90-114.
From self-defense to violent protest.Edmund Tweedy Flanigan - 2023 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 26 (7):1094-1118.
Civil disobedience.Kimberley Brownlee & Candice Delmas - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
On a radical democratic theory of political protest: potentials and shortcomings.Christian Volk - 2021 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 24 (4):437-459.

View all 33 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references