Oscar Wilde The society was so attached to the fake ideals of earnestness that it was ready to pay any price for it. This frenzied and frantic thrust towards the ideals pressurized individuals to live a double life. People became double dealers in an attempt to live life earnestly. The late nineteenth century British people gradually became hypocritical in their fashionable and faddish struggle to obtain the ideals of earnestness. This line of rush for the earnest life made people compromise with anything.
George Herbert Mead (1863—1931)
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This entry takes as its focal point the philosophical contributions of Anna Julia Cooper with an emphasis on her scholarship and some attention to her commitments as an educator and activist. Authoring one of the earliest book-length analyses of the unique situation of Black women in the United States, Cooper offers clearly articulated insights about racialized sexism and sexualized racism without ignoring the significance of class and labor, education and intellectual development, and conceptions of democracy and citizenship. The entry concludes with a biographical sketch of Cooper in order to prioritize her scholarship and critically engage her theories rather than commencing by recounting her life story. Cooper takes an intersectional approach to examining the interlocking systems of race, gender, and class oppression—explicitly articulating how Black women are simultaneously impacted by racism the race problem and sexism the woman question and yet she is either an unknown or unacknowledged by white women, white men, or Black men factor in examining or eliminating these systems of oppression. For these reasons, Cooper argues, Black women have a unique epistemological standpoint from which to observe society and its oppressive systems as well as a unique ethical contribution to make in confronting and correcting these oppressive systems.
While contradictions abound in her writings, she never wavered in her belief in the right to free speech and in its role in social and political critique. There is disagreement on whether she participated in or even occasionally hosted some of the literary and philosophic salons of the day. Her biographer Oliver Blanc suggests yes; historian John R. Cole turns up no evidence. Still, she was recognized among the fashionable and intellectual elite in Paris, and she was well-versed in the main themes of the most influential thinkers of her day, at least for a time.