The Good Kind of Racism

There is a large swath of the American public, mostly on the left, that believes Trump is a racist and that alone should exclude him from public life. Maybe he is a racist, maybe he isn’t. There’s evidence for both arguments, but it’s hard to tell if some of what he says and who he associates with is because he believes in a racial ideology, or because he will use whatever excuse or insult is close at hand when dealing with someone he doesn’t like. Personally, I’m inclined towards the latter, although I don’t think it is as much of a defense as others do.

But there is also a large swath of the American public, mostly on the left, who openly support and advocate for racist policies and believe doing so makes them morally superior.

Let’s start by defining racism. Whether going by the dictionary or just common sense, racism is beliefs or actions predicated on the basis of race. Believing one race is inherently better than another is racism. Treating people differently based on their race is racism. Giving a job to one person over another due to the color of their skin is racism.

What can we call affirmative action other than racism?

Using race as a determining factor in hiring, promotions, or academic acceptance meets the textbook definition of racism. In each case, someone is receiving a benefit because of the color of their skin, and someone is being harmed for the same reason. We recognize this as evil when this was done in the sixties. For some reason similar policies today are supposed to be virtuous.

Proponents of affirmative action will say it is designed to counterbalance historical racism that was far more pervasive and destructive. That is absolutely true. Minorities in this country faced horrible crimes at the hands of their government and fellow citizens that cannot be compared to not getting the job you want or settling for a different college. From slavery, to Jim Crow, to internment camps, minorities experienced a type of racism in the past that is simply not comparable to anything seen in modern America.

But racism that is not as bad as before is still racism. Supporters of affirmative action will say it is a good kind of racism. I say there is no such thing as good racism.

Treat people as individuals and by the choices they make, not by immutable characteristics they have no control over. Or, to paraphrase a far greater man than I, treat everyone according to the content of their character, not the color of their skin.

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