Mabogo Percy More’s Concept of the Problem of the Oppressed-Oppressor and Intraracial Sexism

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Sarah Setlaelo


South African philosopher Mabogo Percy More has devoted more than four decades of his work to the problem
of “being-black-in-an-antiblack-world.” This article interrogates the extent to which More homogenizes the
contingencies of black2 existence and black embodiment, as I feel black existentialists do; or subsumes the
phenomenology of the lived experience of blackness under a “black universalist” account that does not give an
adequate account of the gendered embodied experiences with antiblack racism. By “contingency” I mean More’s
concept of the contingency of existence, where he claims that human existence is without necessity, nor is it justified;
and so people resort to attempting to justify their existence and to find meaning by trying to assume the status of
God or superiority in relation to others. More argues that contingency is the source of antiblack racism, as white
people attempt to justify their existence by dehumanizing black people. I claim that contingency does not only play
out in the interracial domain, but is also one of the sources of intraracial sexism within the black community.
My interrogation aims to extend the reach of More’s work by giving an existential-phenomenological account of
“being-black-and-female-in-an-antiblack-antifemale-world.” To this end, I focus on two contingencies—the
contingencies of biological sex and the contingency of physical strength—that More discusses in his sole article on
intraracial sexism, “Black Attitudes: A Call for Personhood” (1981). I argue that within the black intraracial
domain, these two contingencies are ascribed meaning that creates a binary, which elevates black men to superior
status, while reducing black women to the inferior.

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How to Cite
Setlaelo, S. (2024). Mabogo Percy More’s Concept of the Problem of the Oppressed-Oppressor and Intraracial Sexism. Journal of World Philosophies, 8(2). Retrieved from