A friend of mine recently told me that I have a strong love of politics. The reason he said that is I am extremely vocal and outspoken on political issues. But the truth is, I don’t particularly love politics at all. Far from it. I love truth. And there are fewer fields where truth is more sorely needed than in modern politics. The reason for this is that truth is almost completely absent in the political arena.
But just like politics is an area where truth is tragically lacking, the idea of racism is a narrow scope of debate where the lack of truth is even more profound. This is partly because a broad spectrum of the mythology we hear about racism today is rooted (and effectively hidden) in critical theory. Therefore the fuel behind the modern racist narrative is not a desire to discover , but to promote an agenda. Truth is not secondary, it is irrelevant.
Enter Dinesh D’Souza’s book The End Of Racism. The most refreshing aspect of this book is that it is based on empirical evidence and facts, which is as rare as intelligence is in our modern social climate.
As I go through the parts of the book I haven’t read yet myself, I am tempted to offer reflections on it at certain breaking points. This is the first installment. If all goes well, it won’t be the last.
D’Souza outlines several general observations about racism early in the book. The first one is to ask the question, “is racism a Western idea?” His answer may surprise you: Yes. But that answer needs a little explanation, which he may very well provide later in the book as he explores these ideas in more depth.
To say racism is a “Western idea” can mean more than one thing. It could mean A. that racism originated within the scope of Western or B. that racism flows naturally and consistently from Western principles. A is worthy of our credence. B is not. Whether something like racism emerges out of any given culture has no bearing on the validity of the principles that form the bedrock of that culture. People who are riding the crest of a culture’s waves of success are likely to get overconfident and make mistakes. One of them can easily be to start thinking one’s culture is superior because of the ethnic identity of the majority of those who built it, rather than because its principles are true and valid. When a civilization’s formative principles are sound, outcomes like prosperity, justice, equality, and general well-being will unsurprisingly follow. There is no question that racism is foreign and contrary to the principles of a civilization that embraces ideas like all human beings being created equal, and the immutable rights they all share.
When one acknowledges that racism is a “Western idea,” without this supplemental insight, it can easily be misunderstood to the point that the casual observer will draw the conclusion that Western civilization is intrinsically racist. This would be a profound mistake in thinking, which is why it’s important to make these distinctions and clarifications. It’s bad enough that literally millions of people in our society have been brainwashed into the myth that the West is racist by its very and that systemic racism permeates, shapes, and drives all outcomes. We don’t want to make the problem worse by failing to clarify where racism came from and even though it did emerge as a horrible mistake from within Western culture’s awkward teenage phase.
The second and final idea (in this installment) I want to reflect on from D’Souza’s book is that slavery is not a racist institution. That slavery is about racism is another widespread myth the left has been pounding into the very consciousness of our society for decades. The left cannot give up this absurd prevarication, nor can it cease its endless repetition. If it did, it would lose its grip on the gullible, the naive, and those who will never bother to crack open a book with the intention of thoughtfully considering ideas other than the ones that have been programmed into their minds for a near-inestimable amount of time.
D’Souza is not the only scholar who has dispelled this myth. Black scholars like Shelby Steele, Walter Williams, and Thomas Sowell have been saying the same thing for as long a period as D’Souza has. The irony here is that this is one of the most straightforward truth claims to verify or falsify. All one has to do is examine the history of slavery in the world at large and the origin of slavery on the North American Continent. As Sowell has pointed out (and as I have quoted him as such on many occasions), the black slaves that came to North and South America from North Africa were not slaves because they were black, but because they were available. That they were sold into slavery by their black African countrymen is an excellent beginning to the wisdom that slavery was a purely economic enterprise motivated by a lust for status and has nothing to do with race.
To follow that observation with the fact that the worldwide phenomenon of slavery almost always happens within a single racial group has equal potency. White Europeans enslaved white Europeans, black Africans enslaved black Africans, Asians enslaved other Asians, Native Americans enslaved each other, and so on. The main exceptions have been whites buying and holding (mostly) black slaves in the antebellum United States, and blacks kidnapping and enslaving over a million white Europeans on the Barbary Coast of North Africa in the 16th and 17th centuries. Specific ethnic and racial groups enslaving their kind is far, far more common in world history.
It’s valuable to point out immediately that slavery was one of the causes of the formation of racism in the U.S. But it’s equally valuable to recognize that we must not confuse the cause with the effect. Most people believe that racism was the catalyst for slavery, and as usual, the most popular belief is the least factual.
There is a large and powerful group of people who depend desperately on you continuing to believe nonsense like systemic racial bias and that slavery was a racist institution. We should make it a point to disappoint them, and soon.