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ALAIN LOCKE’S PLURALISTIC COSMOPOLITANISM AS A RESPONSE TO THE INTEGRATIONIST AND NATIONALIST/SEPARATIST DEBATE

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I propose that Alain Locke’s pluralistic cosmopolitanism can serve as a middle ground between integrationist and separatist measurements of racial progress. Using Gary Peller’s article “Race-Consciousness” as a focal point, I argue that Locke’s philosophy can adequately address concerns held by both integrationists and separatists. I offer Locke’s philosophy as an alternative to an either/or approach to racial progress. Locke is unique in that he recognizes the unique situation of African Americans with the larger goal of integration.

In the first section, I briefly summarize Peller’s argument and the concerns raised by black nationalists and separatists—primarily in the sixties and seventies. In the second section, I offer Locke’s pluralistic cosmopolitanism, his emphasis on unity in diversity, his three working principles, his critical relativism, and his heavy involvement with the Harlem Renaissance as representative of a potential middle ground.

Author(s):

Emily Humbert    
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
United States

 

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