The lovely and whip-smart host of “The Dark Side with Kira Davis” recently published an article here on Conservative Daily News making the contentious argument “Yes, Race Matters.”
This subject has been a running dispute between us regarding the “relevance of race,” and whether or not we as a country should seek to ‘move beyond race’ or to preserve a healthy deference for cultural differences within American society.
Kira Davis’ central point is that racial differences, as an extension of cultural differences, are obvious, unavoidable, and even desirable. As she wrote in her post:
So…does race really matter?
As a Black conservative woman, my answer is “Yes! It does.” Understandably this will make many conservatives feel uncomfortable. Conservative America has been the butt of blatantly cruel and false accusations of racism for decades now. Their words are routinely twisted and misrepresented in the media and Hollywood complex. The meme of “racist conservative” has led many of us to shy away from uncomfortable conversations about race. But I fear that in our attempts to pull our society away from the “race first” hysteria of outlets like MSNBC, some conservatives have pulled too far in the other direction. We completely discount the role of race in our society in our attempts to be “colorblind”. I think race does matter. I do think it’s important. In this world race is intimately tied to culture, and culture is what gives the human race it’s flavoring.
Kira Davis takes what I would characterize as a traditional conservative approach towards multi-culturalism, or to be perfectly clear, she has a praise for diversity in a non-leftist permutation. Certainly, America became a diverse, multicultural society over its scant centuries of existence due to its ability to attract immigrants around the world, particularly those fleeing from tyranny or seeking a fresh lease on life. But America became that way because it was a beacon of liberty, a manifestation of an Enlightenment vision that held out the possibility that all mankind would someday be free.
The Constitution, as such, held out a pathway toward the eradication of slavery, through the scheduled ban of the import of slavery in one generation after the document’s ratification, and through the three-fifths clause, which weakened the representative power of the southern states over time. The key architect of The Declaration of Independence, the slave-holder Thomas Jefferson, condemned the practice in the original draft of the document, a clause that was ratified by eleven of the thirteen colonies.
But unfortunately, there were some not sufficiently enlightened to permit the article to pass unimpeached. Therefore, the eventual compromise, the deal with the devil that forged this nation, made murky the power of the vision of a freed humanity, though it yet shone through the milky ether of universal oppression that had been the record of humanity unto that point in history.
What we citizens should seek is an America where men and women share the values of liberty and independence without respect to race, gender, or other differences. This is not a mutually exclusive argument to Mrs. Davis’, though I imagine it to be one of a vast difference in emphasis.
I do believe it is possible, someday, for mankind to look at one another as unique individuals, whose differences in ascriptive features, such as skin color, are received with the same impression of irrelevance as hair color, eye color, or other such variables. This is not to say that one cannot appreciate skin color as an aspect of an individual’s beauty, but I see arguing over differences on the basis of melanin content to be as objectively specious as brunettes arguing that they are in an interminable conflict with “gingers.”
Skin pigmentation is one human DNA variable out of billions, and thus our individual variability lay about 99.99% elsewhere. Even though skin color is not the sum whole of racial variability, for example, sickle cell anemia is more prevalent among African-Americans, there is far more individual variability than racial variability, genetically speaking.
The overall point is that aesthetic differences between races should not be conflated with moral differences between individuals.
This is not to say that American history is irrelevant in framing race relations or that one can simply ‘wish that away’ by refusing to see racial differences. It should be said, however, that allegations of racism according to the mere circumstance of one’s skin color is morally grotesque. Neither I, nor anyone I know who can be characterized as ‘melanin-challenged’ has engaged in slavery, nor is anyone I know supportive of racial bigotry in any shape, way, manner or form.
And it should be noted that evaluating people’s character on a person-by-person basis, without esteeming difference of appearance as morally significant, has won me many friends of diverse backgrounds. In my view, racial categorization elides the many significant and even wonderful differences that make us unique human beings.
With this disposition in mind, I find the notion that I belong to a ‘white community’ laughable, because assuredly, somewhat less than half of this imagined community is certifiably crazy in that it continues to vote for a radically left-wing party. Why would I want to deny my fellow Americans the same opportunity to denounce members of their own supposed “race” for their insipid views?
Instead, let us take sides on the battlefield of ideas according to those ideals we hold dear. Let us not be weighed down by the chance of our personal characteristics, as much as we may revere those familiar cultural surroundings that flavor our unique life-worlds. Let us aspire to what is noble and magnificent in each of us, and to put forth a vision for humanity where our arguments are based on ideas, and not incidental differences.
The human spirit should never be underestimated; we are not helpless creatures born in need of state provided privileges, but are rather tremendously powerful beings who needs only be given the opportunity to shine in a nation that holds aloft the promise of liberty.