2022 Elton Lecture: Lewis R. Gordon

headshot of Lewis Gordon, a Black man with long hair pulled back

April 8, 2022

Lewis R. Gordon: Professor and Head of the Philosophy Department, UCONN

Why Fearing Black Consciousness Is a Form of Bad Faith

Bad faith is a flight into a pleasing falsehood to avoid or evade a displeasing truth. Antiblack racism, historically and presently, is one of those displeasing truths. It takes more than violence to prop up the imagined superiority of one group and maintain the degradation of another. An edifice of lies across disciplines ranging from history to economics to psychology and philosophy to the everyday practice of institutions and images of society from popular culture. Exposing these lies often stimulates narcissistic rage on the part of those who refuse to address the contradictions of their societies and themselves. This talk will introduce this theme in the author’s book, Fear of Black Consciousness, alongside a brief outline of the problem of how talking about race and racism, especially antiblack racism, faces neurotic and personalized challenges that obscure what truth and reality offer. The talk will conclude with a short reading of the prologue and an historical example, from the book, of political commitment premised on radical love.