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‘The Impossible Possibility of Love’: Reinhold Niebuhr’s thought on racial justice

‘The Impossible Possibility of Love’: Reinhold Niebuhr’s thought on racial justice Love has been long lauded for its salvific potential in U.S. anti-racist rhetoric. Yet, what does it mean to speak or act in love’s name to redress racism? Turning to the work of the North American public intellectual and theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971), this essay explores his contribution to normative theory on love’s role in the work of racial justice. Niebuhr was a staunch supporter of civil rights, and many prominent figures of the movement such as James Cone, Jesse Jackson, Martin Luther King Jr., J. Deotis Roberts and Cornel West drew on his theology. Indeed, Niebuhr underscores love’s promise and perils in politics, and its potential to respond to racism via the work of critique, compassion, and coercion. Engaging with Niebuhr’s theology on love and justice, then, not only helps us recover a rich realist resource on racism, but also an ethic of realism as antiracism. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of International Political Theory SAGE

‘The Impossible Possibility of Love’: Reinhold Niebuhr’s thought on racial justice

Journal of International Political Theory , Volume 17 (2): 18 – Jun 1, 2021

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References (45)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2020
ISSN
1755-0882
eISSN
1755-1722
DOI
10.1177/1755088220979003
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Love has been long lauded for its salvific potential in U.S. anti-racist rhetoric. Yet, what does it mean to speak or act in love’s name to redress racism? Turning to the work of the North American public intellectual and theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971), this essay explores his contribution to normative theory on love’s role in the work of racial justice. Niebuhr was a staunch supporter of civil rights, and many prominent figures of the movement such as James Cone, Jesse Jackson, Martin Luther King Jr., J. Deotis Roberts and Cornel West drew on his theology. Indeed, Niebuhr underscores love’s promise and perils in politics, and its potential to respond to racism via the work of critique, compassion, and coercion. Engaging with Niebuhr’s theology on love and justice, then, not only helps us recover a rich realist resource on racism, but also an ethic of realism as antiracism.

Journal

Journal of International Political TheorySAGE

Published: Jun 1, 2021

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