Charles Mills has sadly passed away. @UCT_news Philosophy Dept had the honour of hosting him for a week in 2014. Besides delivering a conference keynote, he was generous with his time, and eager to hear students’ perspectives when he guest-lectured the Philosophy of Race course.
Charles W. Mills is an outstanding professor of philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He was born in England and grew up in Jamaica.
He is a leading thinker in the field of social and political philosophy because it is centered on class, gender, and race. His first book, The Race Contract, introduced the notional concept: a “contract” that allows whites to violate their moral principles when dealing with non-whites.
In his latest book “Black Rights/White Mistakes: A Critique of Racial Liberalism,” he believes that the history of depriving blacks and other people of color of equal rights fundamentally racializes liberalism, and we still live in this legacy Nowadays.Harvard Political Review: Some people claim that one’s academic work should reflect one’s identity. How does your status and background affect your scholarship?
I would say that they have had a significant impact, and I actually wrote about them in autobiographical articles, for example, in my 2016 APA Central Division Dewey Lecture, “Red and Black”.
Jamaica is a small country with a population of less than 3 million and is fundamentally affected by European imperialism. I come from a black-majority society, although like many other Caribbean and Latin countries, the race/color convention is different from that of the United States. The “one-off rule” does not hold. In the white/brown/black three-tier social pyramid, “brown people” initially had a clear boundary with “black people”.
As a “brown” Jamaican, I used to-and still to some extent-have a majority relative to blacks. So in a sense, after obtaining a PhD in Canada and working in the United States, I am changing my race to become part of a clearly subordinated “black” American ethnic group, and at the same time equipped with my “inherited” cultural capital and privileges. Brown”.