Lewis Gordon presents the first detailed existential phenomenological investigation of anti-black racism as a form of Sartrean bad faith. Bad faith, the attitude in which human beings attempt to evade freedom and responsibility, is treated as a constant possibility of human existence. Anti-black racism, the attitude and practice that involve the construction of black people as fundamentally inferior and subhuman, is examined as an effort to evade the responsibilities of a human and humane world. Gordon argues that the concept of bad faith militates against any human science that is built upon a theory of human nature and as such offers an analysis of anti-black racism that stands as a challenge to our ordinary assumptions of what it means to be human.
Lewis R. Gordon teaches philosophy and African American Studies at Purdue University.