[This is a guest post by Bryce Huebner.--ES]
Eric Schliesser is right to call attention to the connection between the tendency to “treat the LEMM as the CORE parts of philosophy”, the tendency to “mock SPEP-style Continental philosophy”, and the continued marginalization of the majority of Black philosophers. As Botts and her colleagues note, our current understanding of what counts as "real philosophy" is in need of a serious overhaul! But there is another important point that we should acknowledge: there are forms of structural and institutional bias that are produced and sustained by the relationship between these three factors.
The importance of this point was made clear to me in a recent discussion with Liam Kofi Bright. He rightly noted that one of the most interesting things that they uncovered was the fact that the majority of the Black women who are currently seeking PhDs are concentrated in a single school: Penn State. This makes the presence of Black women in academic philosophy dependent on the fate of these particular students, and this particular school. More specifically, because of the issues and methods that are most prominent at Penn State, this generates a situation where our judgments about what counts as “real philosophy” may end up having a seriously problematic effect on the presence of Black females in our discipline. Let me say a bit more about why this is.
The kinds of critical race theory and the kind of continental philosophy that are commonly taught at Penn State are precisely the kinds of philosophy that tend to be dismissed, rejected, and marginalized by philosophers working at fancier institutions. Assuming that there is a stable practice of treating this kind of work as "not really philosophy," we should expect these judgments to serve a gatekeeping function, keeping Black women out of academic philosophy, or at least keeping them from getting jobs at the ‘best’ PhD granting institutions. This is a crucial and important implication of the data reported by Botts and her colleagues, as the presence of a Black female mentor could have a highly significant impact on the recruitment and retention of Black female philosophers (establishing this point conclusively would take some work, but this recent set of studies is at least suggestive).