Home » » The Distinctive Political Status of Dissident Minorities
Abstract: “Dissident minorities” are members of marginalized groups who dissent from the consensus group position on matters seen as critical to their group’s collective liberation. This paper articulates the distinctive political status—powers, vulnerabilities, and obligations—of dissident minorities. Dissident minorities may be especially vulnerable to slurs or ostracism as “self-hating.” But they also can wield significant public influence by positioning themselves as exceptional and exemplary members of their group. Both the powers and vulnerabilities of dissident minorities, in turn, converge around the prospect of “tokenization”—the use of the dissident minority’s dissident opinion by majority group actors as a means of discharging a stipulated obligation to engage with the minority group writ large. While dissident minorities should be free to hold and advocate for their divergent positions in public spaces, they retain a distinctive obligation to not offer themselves out as adequate replacements for engagement with the broader group.