Racial Interpellation and Second-personhood: Understanding the Normative Dynamics of Race Talk
Pitts, Andrea J
In this project, I combine theoretical resources from metaethics and philosophy of language with contemporary issues in critical philosophy of race. Drawing from these literatures, I examine the nature of racial norms by developing a non-ideal, situated, and intersectional approach to second-personhood. Second-personhood, as I propose in the first half of the dissertation, serves two explanatory functions with respect to the nature of racial norms. First, second-personhood highlights how manifestations of moral and political agency are embedded in interdependent forms of ‘I-you’ and ‘we-you’ relationships. Second, with respect to language, second-personhood provides an account of how speech acts, when understood as a subset of embodied action, come to bear normative force. These features of second-personhood then undergird the three distinct sites of analysis that I examine in the latter half of the dissertation. There, I propose that we can examine collective, interpersonal, and personal levels of racial discourse to see the functioning of racial norms through second-personhood.