Featured Philosop-her: Robin Jeshion

robinjeshion

Robin Jeshion is professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California. She specializes in the philosophy of language and mind, focusing especially on topics concerning the ways that language contributes to shaping cognition, and cognition shapes and is manifest in language.  Her research includes work on the relationship between the semantics of singular terms and the nature of singular thought; the semantics of demonstratives and the nature of perception and spatial representation; the semantic, cognitive, and social functions of proper names.  Most recently, she has been writing about slurring terms, and related expressions, attempting to understand to what extent attitudes and/or social structures are incorporated within their semantics and pragmatics.  Outside of mind and language, she has written about mathematical intuition, a priori knowledge, the epistemological status of proofs, and Frege’s logicism. Before returning to USC, she taught at Yale University, the University of California, Riverside, the University of Arizona, and spent a year as a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, supported by an ACLS Burkhardt Fellowship. This spring, she will deliver the Wedberg Lectures in Stockholm, presenting Dehumanizing Slurs, four talks that bring together much of her work on this topic.


Slurs, Dehumanization, and the Expression of Contempt

Robin Jeshion

Thank you, Meena, for running this terrific blog and inviting me to present a post.  I’ve lately been thinking and writing about slurring words, expressions like “Kike”, “Chink”, “Spic”, and “faggot”, pejorative terms that target individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, socioeconomic status, occupation, and various other socially important properties.  Such expressions raise a spate of questions regarding their semantics and pragmatics: Do sentences containing slurs ever express truths?  How can we account for what has come to be called in the literature the ‘offensiveness’ of slurs? Is it somehow semantically encoded as a proposition, perhaps a proposition encoding the stereotype of the group or a proposition encoding that the group merits contempt? Or is it rather that slurs are terms conventionally used for expressing a speaker’s attitude, perhaps an attitude of contempt?  Is a semantic explanation needed at all to account for slurs’ offensiveness – perhaps it can rather be explained entirely pragmatically, e.g., by reference to social prohibitions on uses of slurs or socio-linguistic facts regarding which groups tend to use slurs? Do those who use slurs engage in actions of “othering”, and if so, is this captured linguistically?  How can we explain the fact that uses of slurs are extraordinarily destructive – dehumanizing – to their targets and can tend to make hearers feel complicit?  What accounts for the fact that those who use slurs signal something about their social allegiances and affiliations? How should we explain the appropriation of slurs, the phenomena through which a slur’s offensiveness is neutralized?  What is the relationship between slurring terms and various other pejoratives, expressions like “jerk”, “freak”, “wino”, “blimp”, “commie” – are any of these of the same linguistic type? And how are they related to approbatives like “goddess”, “hottie, “saint”, and “ace”? And bare expressive intensifiers like “damn” and ‘effin”? It would be easy to go on, to spin out twelve more questions. With such a rich set of phenomena – and obviously deeply important social, political, and psychological matters at stake – it is no wonder that interest in such expressions has been rapidly accelerating.

The text that follows is adapted from a paper in which I offer a bare sketch of my semantic theory of slurs.  The view is inspired by two key ideas.  One is that there are multiple sources of the offensiveness in utterances of slurs, only some of which ought to be explained semantically. The dominant aspect of slurs’ offensiveness that should be explained semantically is needed to explain their capacity to dehumanize. John Amaechi, the first NBA player to openly identify as gay, called slurs “a threat to human dignity” and remarked about the slur “faggot”:

…young people are being killed and killing themselves simply because of the words and behaviors they are subjected to for being perceived as lesbian or gay, or frankly just different. This is…an indication of the power of that word, and others like it, to brutalize and dehumanize.

Amachi’s remarks are apt. Slurs dehumanize.

We need a theory of slurring terms that fully explains how and why they dehumanize, one that explains how they signal that their targets are unworthy of equal standing or full respect as persons, that they are inferior as persons. Extant analyses of slurs’ semantics have faired poorly on this score. I hope to do better with the account I offer.

The other key idea is that slurring terms function semantically in virtually the same way that their neutral counterparts function when given contemptuous intonation and when fronted by certain expletives or negative adjectives.

[1]Jake is a Kike.

[1a]Jake is a fucking Jew.

[1b]Jake is a JewC.

(I use italics to denote intonational stress, and superscripts to italicized material to indicate the type of prosodic pattern given to the word, where the superscript letter denotes the affective attitude conveyed by that pattern. Here, “C” denotes contemptuousness.) In effect, [1],[1a], and [1b] all mean the same thing.

****

On the view I favor, slurring terms possess three separable semantic components. One is the group-designating component. A slurring term, references the group that is referenced by its neutral counterpart. The truth of sentence [1] depend only upon whether Jake is Jewish, and so is truth conditionally equivalent to [1NC].

[1] Jake is a Kike.

[1NC] Jake is Jewish.

So slurring terms share some semantic structure with their neutral counterparts. However, given that the slur and neutral counterpart make parallel semantic contributions along this dimension, the group-designating component does not account for slurs’ offensiveness. This marks its separation from the other two components of the semantics, both of which, likewise, make no contribution to the truth conditions.

The second component is expressivist:  slurring terms are used to express contempt for members of a socially relevant group on account of their being in that group or having a group-defining property. Note that this component involves the expression of the speaker’s attitude toward his targets, not a separately semantically encoded descriptive content, say, contemptible on account of being Jewish.  Views on which slurring terms semantically encode such descriptive contents are markedly different.  Suppose that “Kike*” encodes the descriptive content given by “worthy of contempt on account of being Jewish”. Then, although it is not misconceived to regard the utterances of

[1] Jake is a Kike

[1c] Jake is a Kike*

as communicating the same information, they do so in different ways.  While the utterance of [1c] encodes the proposition that the target is worthy of contempt on account of being Jewish, the utterance of [1] does no such thing.  It communicates, rather, the speaker’s contempt itself, which is expressed, not asserted.  A proponent of the analysis involving semantic descriptive encoding will be hard-pressed to explain why the negation of [1c], as in “Jake is not a Kike*” or “It is not the case that Jake is a Kike*”, are not what would be used to deny the derogating content of [1]. Yet they ought to do so if “Kike” is synonymous with “Kike*”.

This expressive component indicates that slurring terms share semantic properties with other expressives like intensifiers (“totally” in “That is totally interesting”), exclamatives (“holy crap!”, “Wow!” “Ouch!”) and other explicitly performative expressives (“right on!”) which similarly function to express speakers’ emotional or attitudinal states and do not contribute meaning by predicating a descriptive content.

Despite this similarity in semantic structure with other expressives, do not assimilate the expressive component of slurring terms to the “mere” expression of a feeling, like a flash of anger or a state of frustration. While contempt is an affectively laden attitude, often accompanied by feelings of abhorrence, hostility, and hatred, no particular “raw” subjective feeling need be felt by one who uses a slur.  Indeed, one could express contempt for someone coolly, without any “heat-of-the-moment” feeling.  Furthermore, the expression of contempt differs from the expression of purely subjective feelings like pain or fear or astonishment, which are largely insulated from normative assessment and neither implicate nor represent their objects as pain-, fear-, or astonishment- worthy.  By contrast, contempt, like resentment, is a highly structured affectively- and normatively-guided moral attitude that is subject to evaluation for its appropriateness.  As such, in using slurs, speakers not only express their own contempt for the target, but also implicitly represent (but still do not say or assert that) their targets as worthy of contempt. And because contempt is a moral attitude specifically held toward those one regards as inferior as persons, users of slurs thereby implicate that targets ought to be so-regarded as inferior.

The third component to slurs’ semantics is what I call the identifying component. Extant expressivist views neglect this component, and thus, to my mind, haven’t gone far enough in accounting for how the nature of contempt infects slurring terms’ semantics. Contempt involves taking those properties that are the basis for regarding the target contemptuously as fundamental to the targets’ identity as a person and this feature of contempt is semantically encoded. As a matter of the semantics of the slurring term, an utterance of

[2] He is a faggot

does not simply ascribe a property to the target, here, that of being gay.  It classifies the target in a way that aims to be identifying. In calling someone “faggot”, the homophobe takes a property that he believes someone to possess and semantically encodes that it is the, or a, defining feature of the target’s identity.  As such, it is used to shape the target’s social identity, and so to dictate how others ought to treat, regard, think of, and respond to its target. As a matter of their semantics, “Kike”, “Chink”, Nigger”, “faggot”, “whore” are used so as to signal that being Jewish, Chinese, black, gay, a prostitute identify what its targets are.

The classification of the target in a way that aims to be identifying should not be conflated with any notions of metaphysical identity or essentialism.  In wielding slurs, racists, anti-Semites, and homophobes are not in the business of presenting their target’s group membership either as an essential, metaphysically necessary property, or as determining or explaining their other properties.   Rather, they express that the target’s group membership is the, or among the, most central characteristic(s) for classifying what the target is, as a person, construed along a broadly moral dimension.

Notice that the identifying component is dependent upon the expressive component because the identifying component partially captures what it is to regard someone with contempt.  That is, it follows from what it is to find someone contemptible on the basis of being gay that one takes that person’s sexual orientation as the most or among the most central aspects of that person’s identity. This dependence is, at heart, moral-psychological, but is manifest in the semantics. A speaker who expresses contempt toward her target for being G thereby also expresses and implicitly represents G as fundamental to her target’s identity as a person.  Thus, within a single speech act, the speaker expresses both her contempt and way of identifying the target as a person.

Together, the expressive and identifying components explain slurs’ common and conventional capacity to derogate. As a matter of their semantics, slurs function to express the speaker’s contempt for his target in virtue of the target’s group-membership and that his target ought to be treated with contempt in virtue of that group-membership, because what the target is, as a person, is something lesser, something unworthy of equal or full respect or consideration. In this way, slurs, as a class, conventionally function to dehumanize.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anderson on Democratic Ideals and Racial Integration

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Anderson on Democratic Ideals and Racial Integration

Meena Krishnamurthy

In her book, The Imperative of Integration, Elizabeth Anderson’s main claim is that integration is a core democratic ideal.[1]  She argues that citizens from all walks of life should interact freely on the basis of equality and mutual regard in all institutions of civil society, and on voluntary terms in the intimate associations of private life (p. 95).  Anderson argues that integration is central to democracy because it fosters democratic values of collective practical intelligence, accountability, and equality.[2]  Anderson makes her case for these claims through an examination of Black individuals’ struggle for racial equality in the United States.  Her careful consideration of historical facts teaches us that examination of a dark past can contribute positively to contemporary philosophical theorizing.

While I find much of what Anderson says in this work compelling, I have some concerns.  I am sceptical about the extent to which the kind of collective learning that Anderson argues for can take place, even with integration.  In what follows, I outline my concerns and try to offer some helpful suggestions where I can.

Anderson argues that, in a fully democratic society, public policy should take into account each citizen’s interests.  She argues that this requires integration.  By allowing people of different walks of life to meet face to face in political institutions and in greater civil society, integration will support public policy that takes into account the interests of a diverse populous.  Interaction with people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints, will enable citizens to form better conceptions of the common good and justice.  It allows members of the public to educate one another about the nature of public problems and appropriate solutions to these problems.  As an example of this phenomenon, Anderson describes the 1963 Civil Rights demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama (“educative acts”), which resulted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“the lesson”) (p. 96).

Three assumptions seem to underwrite Anderson’s arguments here.  The first assumption is that people have superior knowledge with respect to their own interests and the interests of people like them (i.e., those of similar class, racial, or ethnic backgrounds).  There is, to use Anderson’s own phrase, “asymmetrical knowledge” among different groups of people (p. 109).  The second assumption is that this asymmetrical knowledge can be conveyed or communicated from one group to another.  Anderson explicitly states that she is against the thought that “certain ideas possessed by one group are inherently ineffable to another” (p. 110).  The third assumption is that people will listen to and take into consideration the expression of such asymmetrical knowledge.  After all, without this, there could not be a transfer of knowledge or, in turn, collective learning.

I have some worries about each of these assumptions.  Begin with the first assumption that there is asymmetrical knowledge.  In general, this seems plausible.  People have a more intimate and more sensitive understanding of their own interests and of the interests of those who are similar to them than they do of others’ interests.  Anderson seems right in suggesting that it is only by interacting with others and hearing their views that we are able to fully understand their interests (what they are, what weight they give them, and so on).  There is, however, the worry that sometimes people do not know what is best, even when it comes to their own interests.  This may be particularly true when we are concerned with members of oppressed groups.  False consciousness arising from adaptive preferences and internalized oppression may, in some cases, limit the usefulness of integration.[3]  We might not always be enlightened about what justice requires by asking those who are suffering injustices what they want, for example.[4]  Oppressed people sometimes internalize and adapt to their oppression so well that they do not have a deep sense of what they are entitled to as human beings.[5]  They do not, in some cases, have a sense of what is just or unjust, right or wrong.  In short, because the preferences of oppressed people may be adaptive, they may not be reliable indicators of what is morally right or wrong or what we ought to do in a given policy situation.  Oppressed people may not have “asymmetrical knowledge” to translate to others.

If this is right, then there is a genuine reason to be sceptical about the tendency of integration to lead to the collective learning that Anderson has in mind.

In the end, this may not be a very strong objection.  Worries about adaptive preferences might actually support integration.  One way for members of oppressed groups to become more critical of their own preferences and values, to overcome false consciousness, may be to engage with others who are outside of their group and of goodwill.  Integration is valuable then not only because it allows White individuals to form better conceptions of the common good, as Anderson argues, but also because it allows Black individuals to form better conceptions of their own good.  Noting this point only strengthens Anderson’s argument.

A further point to make in response is that the oppressed are not the only ones who sometimes suffer from adaptive preferences.  As Anderson’s own discussion of implicit bias suggests, privileged peopled, simply because of their positions of privilege, may lack an appropriate sense of what is just or unjust or right or wrong.  They too may not be reliable indicators of what is morally right or wrong or what we ought to do in a given policy situation.  Noting this only adds additional strength to Anderson’s argument, since the only way around the adaptive preferences of the privileged may be to integrate them with the oppressed.

Turn now to the second assumption.  I am more sceptical than Anderson is about the extent to which asymmetrical knowledge can be conveyed or expressed.  Some things are difficult to teach and to learn because they can only be fully understood with experience.  To use a personal example, before having my own child, I had never understood why some women feel so strongly about breastfeeding rights.  I had always vaguely supported the rights of women to breastfeed at home, at school, and at work, but I never understood why it might be of great importance in the fight for women’s rights and women’s equality.  Having had my own baby and having breastfed her, I now understand the claim to breastfeeding.  Interacting and talking with other women did not convince me of the force of this claim.  Breastfeeding my daughter and having first-hand experience of the intimacy and closeness it underwrites, something that is rather difficult to articulate in its full, did.  For example, I now understand why it is important for women to be able to continue breastfeeding while in school or at work.  Moreover, I now understand why breastfeeding rights are of such importance in women’s fight for equality and why it is worth fighting for with such vigour.  In the same way, experience might be necessary to understand why certain ends take priority in Black individuals’ struggle for equality.  We might need to have certain experiences to understand why rights to assemble and protest rather than rights to vote have often to taken priority in Black individuals’ struggle for equality, for example.  My point is simply that, in many cases, it may be difficult to teach and to learn from one another without experience.

Once we acknowledge that experience is needed for full knowledge, the question is whether, outside of stepping into an experience machine, there are ways of communicating or sharing our experiences with others.  There are ways of sharing, at least in part, our experiences with one another and learning from them.  Discussion and protest are surely part of this, but are less well suited toward sharing experiences than storytelling, literature, poetry, art, film, and music.  These mediums are geared toward sharing the inexpressible.  They are geared toward the sharing of emotions, memories, and the imagined.  For example, though they may not fully communicate the experience of breastfeeding, stories, paintings, sculptures, and film might better convey the intimacy and emotion connected with breastfeeding.  In this way, storytelling, literature, poetry, art, film and music can help us to share our experiences and, in turn, can help to us to teach and to learn more from one another.  In short, these mediums are essential to the sort of integration and collective learning that are crucial to a fully democratic society.  This is something that Anderson’s account misses and would benefit from acknowledging.

Finally, putting these points aside – that is to say, even if there is asymmetrical knowledge and this knowledge can be conveyed – there are concerns about whether this knowledge will be assimilated.  In order to form appropriate conceptions of the common interest, we need to take into account the impact of various schemes and policies on a diverse populace.  To do this properly it is important to take other people’s interests and points of view into account adequately without exaggerating our own viewpoint.  Interacting with others and hearing their views is important to this process, for it is by interacting with others and hearing their views that we are able to understand their interests.  Nevertheless, this can be difficult because it is often hard to listen to those who are very different from ourselves. It is also easy to see the downside, without seeing the upside, of other people’s views, especially when they are very different from our own.  Anderson has shown us that the good listening and opened mindedness that are essential to collective learning are possible.  The Birmingham demonstrations are an example (see p. 95f).  But it is hard to know what to draw from this example.  It is certainly easier to listen to those who are different from ourselves when the only other option we are faced with is to take their lives, but many matters are much more mundane than this.  And I wonder, in these cases, what will lead to the kind of good listening and open mindedness that are essential to the collective learning that Anderson emphasizes?

In answer to this question, Anderson’s account might benefit from a discussion of the importance of empathy.  The cultivation of empathy among members of society would encourage good listening.  Empathy is the capacity to imagine ourselves in another person’s position and to discern her needs, motives, and feelings.[6]  Empathy also involves introspection.  We must look inside ourselves and determine our own needs, motives, and feelings.  To be good listeners and to genuinely learn from others, we must know which feelings and motives are our own so that we will not take them to be, or misrepresent them as, those of the other person.  Though there are important questions about how such a capacity can be encouraged in people and about the extent to which it will stimulate good listening, it seems clear that, if it can be encouraged, empathy will at least have the tendency to foster better listening and greater learning among diverse peoples.

In the end, Anderson makes an interesting and plausible argument for the value of integration in a democratic society.  Anderson’s arguments show us that, even if they are often difficult and incomplete, vital lessons about the common good and justice can only be learned with genuine integration at the level of the state and civil society.  However, literature, poetry, art, and film, and the cultivation of empathy among citizens have the potential to bring us even closer to complete learning and could work as a compliment to integration.

 

 

[1] Elizabeth Anderson, The Imperative of Integration (Princeton University Press, 2010).
[2] The core of her argument for racial integration as a democratic ideal is developed in chapter 5, “Democratic Ideals and Segregation” and chapter 6, “The Imperative of Integration.”
[3] A similar worry is raised in relation to “dialogic approaches” in Susan Moller Okin, “Gender Inequality and Cultural Differences” Political Theory 22.1 (1994), pp. 5-24.
[4] Ibid., p.19
[5] Ibid., p.19.
[6] On the importance of empathy and introspection to moral knowledge and good listening see Alison M. Jaggar, “Toward a Feminist Conception of Moral Reasoning,” in James P. Sterba et Al, Morality & Social Justice: Point/Counterpoint (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1995), pp. 115-146.

The Unfairness of a Racial Democracy

Jason Stanley and Vesla Weaver have written a powerful and compelling article, arguing that the United States is a racial democracy.  On their view, “a racial democracy is one that unfairly applies the laws governing the removal of liberty primarily to citizens of one race, thereby singling out its members as especially unworthy of liberty, the coin of human dignity.”  For example, Stanley and Weaver point to the fact that black individuals (in cities such as New York) are more likely than white individuals to be stopped and questioned by the police.  They are also more likely to be imprisoned in the United States than white individuals.  Stanley and Weaver show that this type of “punishment and surveillance by itself causes individuals to withdraw from political participation.” They conclude that (1) black individuals, in particular, are both formally and informally excluded from political participation in the United States and (2) that their being excluded in this way is patently unfair.

The evidence that Stanley and Weaver give for the systematic exclusion of black individuals from political life (claim 1) is entirely convincing.  So, I will focus on the second claim regarding the unfairness of such treatment, since I think more can be said to flesh out their point.   What I say here is more of a friendly addition than a critical commentary.

At this point, what I think is missing from Stanley and Weaver’s discussion is a notion of unfairness.  I take it that their claim is that the sort of treatment being discussed – e.g., being targeted by the police – is unfair if it happens only to one segment of the population, such as the black population, and there is no good reason for why this portion of the population should be treated this way (since black individuals are no different than other individuals).  This seems right, but for reasons that aren’t mentioned in the article and that I think are worth developing.

I think that fairness implicitly (or perhaps by definition) requires parity of reasons: agents advancing a reason in favour of or against a political measure must be willing to accept the similar relevance of similar reasons in other similar cases.  So, if white individuals and black individuals are relevantly similar (i.e., they are not inherently dangerous), and white individuals would accept certain reasons (such as the fact that they are not inherently dangerous) against stop and frisk policies in the case of white individuals and these reasons also hold true in the case of black individuals, then white (and non-white) individuals must accept those reasons in the case of black individuals as well.  This just seems to be part of what is required by fairness.  So, to the extent that black individuals are not being treated by police officers and the law, more generally, in a way that is consistent with parity of reasons, they are not being treated fairly.  This is morally objectionable because political systems should treat people fairly.

One might now ask a more foundational question: why is it important to treat individuals fairly?  Again there isn’t a clear answer found in Stanley and Weaver’s article.  Stanley and Weaver make some gestures toward answering this question in their appeal to Aristotle, who suggests that “human dignity” is at stake, but I think a better and more complete answer is found in John Rawls’s work on self-respect.

Rawls argues that a fair political system is one that ensures that the grounds for each individual’s sense of self-respect are secure.  In Rawls’s sense, self-respect can be understood as a having a sense of one’s equal value or worth.  Rawls notably argues that there are social bases of self-respect.   “Self-respect depends upon and is encouraged by certain public features of basic social institutions, how they work and how people who accept these arrangements are expected to (and normally do) regard and treat one another” (A Theory of Justice, 1996, 319).  On Rawls’s view, citizens’ sense of self-respect is diminished unless social institutions express equal respect for them.

Rawls suggests that self-respect is “perhaps the most important primary good” because “without it nothing may seem worth doing.”   He also suggests, in his discussion of the difference principle, that a lack of the social bases of self-respect is likely to lead individuals to withdraw from public life.  As individuals come to see the social system as a potential source of a diminished sense of self-respect, they come to resent that system and become apathetic and cynical toward it and, as a result, are likely to withdraw from participation in that system.  For these reasons, Rawls argues that individuals would “wish to avoid at almost any cost the social conditions that undermine self-respect.”

Some of the considerations that Rawls raises are empirical considerations and they must be empirically validated.  If, however, they are right, then I think that they lend themselves to a helpful development of Stanley and Weaver’s argument.  Rawls’ arguments not only help to explain why unfair treatment of black individuals by officers of the law may lead to their withdrawal from public life but also why this sort of unfair treatment is objectionable.

Turning back to Stanley and Weaver’s arguments, they persuasively demonstrate that black individuals are more likely than white individuals to be stopped by police officers (even when they have committed no wrong doing).  Stanley and Weaver argue that an individual’s being stopped by a police officer often causes her to withdraw from public life.  A Rawlsian analysis may help to explain why this is the case.  Being stopped by a police officer, often for little or no good reason is unfair because it involves treating black individuals in ways that are not consistent with parity of reasons.  This is objectionable because it is insulting and undermining of one’s sense of self-respect (in the Rawlsian sense).  This type of treatment of black individuals suggests that, in contrast to white individuals, black individuals are not of equal value.  They are not entitled to the same sorts of reasonings and considerations that white people are entitled to.  To the extent that how we see ourselves and our worth is dependent on how others treat and regard us, such treatment may undermine individuals’ sense of self-respect.

This potential connection to self-respect may explain why black individuals, after being stopped and questioned by the police, pull away from public life in the way described by Stanley and Weaver.  It is difficult to maintain a sense of self-respect while participating in a society or a political system that allows these sorts of unfair social practices to perpetuate.  So, the best option, if you are concerned with maintaining your sense of self-respect, is just not to participate in these broader social and political systems.

In conclusion, I think that Stanley and Weaver have written a powerful and persuasive argument about the exclusion of many black individuals from the political process in the United States.  A Rawlsian analysis can only strengthen their argument by illustrating why such exclusion is morally troublesome.  It may also help to explain why such exclusion results.

[For an illuminating discussion of the contributions that Du Bois and Douglass’s work can make to Stanley and Weaver’s discussion see Tommy J. Curry and John Drabinski’s post here. Stanely also provides some thoughtful replies in the comments section.

Michele Moody-Adams’ paper on “Race, Class, and the Social Construction of Race,” Philosophical Forum 25.1-3 (1992-1993): 251-266 is very relevant to the discussion of self-respect in this context.  I am currently think this paper through and suggest that others who are interested in the connection between fairness, self-respect and racial discrimination take a look too.

I also develop some related ideas in my article, “Completing Rawls’s Arguments for Equal Political Liberty and its Fair Value: The Argument from Self-Respect,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43.2 (2013): 179-205.]