Concepts of Race and Civilization


The concept of race has been in existence since time immemorial. It was responsible for the profiling of people and played a critical role in propagating evils such as racism. Racism enabled colonialism and exploitation of some groups by races that considered themselves superior. This essay provides a critical analysis of this concept according to the reflections of Anthony Appiah and Du Bois.

Abandoning Race for Civilization

Race merely refers to the physical differences amongst different groups of people. The concept of race has been trivialized to enable human beings to focus on features such as skin color and hair color. Speaking about civilizations implies taking a deeper perspective on the differences that exist amongst different people (Basevich, 2020). The concept of race also propagates evils such as racism, causing the discrimination of different groups of people. Speaking about civilizations will enable the appreciation of the intricate similarities and differences in culture, beliefs, and practices amongst different societies.

Essentialism about Race

The essentialism about race is merely grounded on social and physical constructs without sufficient attention to the particular differences. The concept of race when Antony and Du Bois wrote their works were unexplored due to minimal scientific research on the issue. Scholars could not pinpoint the differences between black and white people or the similarities between people of the same race (Basevich, 2021). The concept of race was therefore a mere connotation based on bias and racial inequality amongst different groups.

Du Bois’ Error

Du Bois was wrong in asserting that the black community needed to be segregated from others to fulfill their destiny. He claimed that the Americans of African descent had a divine contribution to make to the world and should seclude themselves (Thomas, 2020). This assertion was capable of fanning the evil of racial prejudice that he was against (Trujillo, Jr., 2018). By setting themselves aside from the rest of the world, black people would be predisposing themselves to prejudice and harsh treatment.

Agreement and Conclusion

In conclusion, I agree with the assertions on the use of race as the concept of differentiating different groups. I agree that the parameter of race is a weak basis for classifying people and is ill-intended to segregate people based on their physical differences. I believe that we can do better in fighting inequality by employing the use of parameters such as civilization given their broad nature and boastful capabilities.


Basevich, E. (2020). W.E.B. Du Bois: The Lost and the found. In PhilPapers. Cambridge: Polity. Web.

Basevich, E. (2021). Review of Inés Valdez, transnational cosmopolitanism: Kant, Du Bois, and Justice as a Political Craft. Kantian Review, 26(3), 475–478. Web.

Thomas, K. B. (2020). Re-Reading Kantian cosmopolitanism through Du Bois’ transnationalism. Journal of World Philosophies, 5(2), 206–208. Web.

Trujillo, Jr., G. M. (2018). What race terms Do.? Southwest Philosophy Review, 34(1), 235–247. Web.

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