"Heart" attack: A critique of Jorge Garcia's volitional conception of racism

Charles W. Mills

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34 Scopus citations


Since its original 1996 publication, Jorge Garcia's "The Heart of Racism" has been widely reprinted, a testimony to its importance as a distinctive and original analysis of racism. Garcia shifts the standard framework of discussion from the sociopolitical to the ethical, and analyzes racism as essentially a vice. He represents his account as non-revisionist (capturing everyday usage), non-doxastic (not relying on belief), volitional (requiring ill-will), and moralized (racism is always wrong). In this paper, I critique Garcia's analysis, arguing that he does in fact revise everyday usage, that his account does tacitly rely on belief, that ill-will is not necessary for racism, and that a moralized account gets both the scope and the dynamic of racism wrong. While I do not offer an alternative positive account myself, I suggest that traditional left-wing structural analyses are indeed superior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-62
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Ethics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2003


  • Analysis of racism
  • Jorge garcia
  • Racism
  • Virtue theory
  • Volitional account of racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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