Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Deborah Tollefsen

Committee Member

Mary Beth Mader

Committee Member

Thomas Nenon

Committee Member

Sean Gallagher


In this dissertation, I focus on aspects of the Black experience concerning African American responses to anti-Black racism in the United States. The ideas I examine allow me to further the dialogue concerning quintessential questions pertaining to anti-Black racism that arise from the Black experience in America that are now reformulated to help African Americans respond to current forms of anti-Black racism. Have Black intellectuals historically accepted shared responsibility for racism? Do contemporary shared responsibility models hold African Americans responsible for anti-Black racism? Is national minority status a viable response to anti-Black racism? In each chapter, I enter the respective discourse on the Black experience by examining philosophical models that have specifically addressed the Black experience and some aspect of racism, which is relevant to discussions of anti-Black racism. In the first chapter, I analyze the work of Alain Locke, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Alexander Crummell, who all contribute to a discussion of shared responsibility for dismantling racism within their work. In the second chapter, I interrogate the work of Larry May to discuss whether his arguments claim that Black people share responsibility for racism by virtue of community membership or shared attitudes. In the third chapter, I evaluate the work of Will Kymlicka for a discussion of the merits of national minority status. I interrogate this concept to ascertain whether it deserves to be included as a viable response to anti-Black racism. Finally, I conclude by explaining how each model is relevant for current discussions pertaining to the Black experience and anti-Black racism in America. I show that accepting shared responsibility to dismantle racism was an aspect of some nineteenth and twentieth theories of racial uplift, but I argue that African Americans cannot be assigned shared responsibility for racism within Larry Mays shared responsibility model. I claim that African Americans can only self-assign shared responsibility for racism, or to dismantle racism, which is voluntary and not obligatory. I argue that African Americans could qualify as a national minority and should have the right to consider it as one of many available responses to anti-Black racism.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest