Erica Preston-Roedder


The distinctive experiences of multiracial people have been underexplored in philosophy. For instance, it is not uncommon for a multiracial person to anticipate or encounter racial denials. A racial denial occurs when a person’s assertion of their racial identity, e.g. “I am Black,” is challenged or called into doubt. While monoracial individuals can generally assert their race without being challenged (e.g. “I am Black” or “I am White”), a multiracial person may be met with the rejoinder, “You aren’t really Black” or “You aren’t really White.” Utilizing Miranda Fricker’s work on epistemic injustice, this essay argues that some racial denials arise because our existing racial vocabulary has gaps, and that these gaps can be traced to unjust origins. Ultimately, this essay’s aim is threefold. First, it aims to understand the nature of racial denials. Second, it demonstrates that attending to the lives multiracial people can yield important insights into race and epistemic injustice. Third, by focusing on multiracial experience, this essay aims to redress — in a limited way — the marginalization of multiracial lives within philosophical theory.