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date: 20 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Racial norms—norms that prescribe or proscribe behaviors based on racial identity—are common, but controversial. While they explicitly refer to racial identity, it is not clear how race, understood as a kind of person, could justify such norms. The existence of racial identity presupposes the existence of race, and certain understandings of what racial identity amounts to presuppose much more. In light of this discussion, we can consider whether any racial norms are justified and, if so, how. Racial norms, if they are to be justified by appeal to racial identity, require strong communal accounts of what race is. But these communal forms of racial identity require demanding social arrangements among members of a racial identity that are not in place for prototypical national racial categories in the contemporary United States. It follows that racial norms cannot be justified by appeal to racial identity.

Keywords: identity, identification, collective identity, racial norms, racial ontology

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