Elizabeth AndersonThe Imperative of Integration

Princeton University Press, 2010

by Robert Talisse on September 1, 2011

Elizabeth Anderson

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Demographic data show that the United States is a heavily segregated society, especially when it comes to relations among African-Americans and whites.  The de facto segregation that prevails in the US is easily shown to produce grave and systematic disadvantage for African-Americans.  The degree and extent of this segregation is difficult to explain in the morally innocent terms of individual choice and personal responsibility.  Furthermore, the disadvantages that result are not adequately addressed by standing government policies aimed at anti-discrimination and the redistribution of social goods.

In The Imperative of Integration (Princeton University Press, 2010), Elizabeth Anderson makes a compelling case for thinking that de facto segregation is a failure of democracy.  And the failure is twofold: first, a de facto segregated society fails African-Americans in denying them full and equal democratic membership; second, de facto segregation fails democracy in that it loses the positive social goods that emerge from the integration of diverse perspectives and experiences.  She presents a rigorous argument for thinking that integration across racial and other social dimensions is a requirement for a democratic society.

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mala john aeto August 20, 2012 at 1:43 pm

as long as we are stuck with our concepts about integration, segregation, blacks and whites, we absorb ourselves with effects of a society and its imperfections. we need to address the source in which these concepts originated from and notice that we are the cause of the matter. we need to examine ourselves as the victims and creators of this world view and why we continue to play such game. we need to move away from an observational perspective base on a third person objective view and distinctions of human beings base on form and structure. we need to base our distinctions on a first person perspective where we are the same and there is only one of us with many different forms and structures representing our state of being. integration is a function of our oneness in a democratic society. integration works only if we recognize the true source of who we are.

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