Does the Correction of Racial Injustice Require Full or Partial Compliance?

26 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2022

Date Written: April 15, 2021


This paper analyses Charles Mills’ critique of ideal theoretical attempts to address racial injustice and Mills’ proposed theory of ‘black radical liberalism’. In doing so, this paper will determine the compliance model that Mills would logically utilise to address racial injustice. Understanding the compliance model of Mills’ theory will determine the obligations of individuals necessary to address racial injustice. This paper seeks to analyse the effect that methodology and theoretical assumptions has on the exact functioning of political theory. In seeking to determine the compliance model necessary to address racial injustice, it becomes increasingly apparent that the methodology, historical perspective and grounding assumptions of a theory has a paramount effect on its functioning. The extent to which a theory permits historical knowledge and factual restraints will prove vital in determining its functioning. This will dictate the extent to which the theory can sufficiently guide individuals in their response to racial injustice. This paper will argue that black radical liberalism logically demands a partial compliance model. The use of this model crucially ensures that individuals are not forced to comply with institutions on the false premise that they are ideally just and capable of consistently implementing racially just laws and policies.

Keywords: Racial Injustice, Charles Mills, Political Theory, Ideal Theory, Critical Theory, John Rawls, Black Radical Liberalism

Suggested Citation

Ratcliff, Kester, Does the Correction of Racial Injustice Require Full or Partial Compliance? (April 15, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Kester Ratcliff (Contact Author)

King's College, London ( email )

United Kingdom

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