If you had told me 10 years ago that in 2016, America would be more racially charged and divided than it had had been in decades, I would have laughed in your face. Race was no more significant to me (and to everyone I knew) than the color of someone’s hair, or eyes. Then came Obama, our first black president: the final nail in the coffin of racism in American culture — or so I thought. Fast forward to the end of his two terms and you can’t go a day — or a casual scroll through Facebook or Twitter — without seeing some new racially charged meme or headline. So, What happened?
Some would say that Obama (and his community organizing pals on the left) have intentionally acted to escalate racial tensions for the sake of bringing about their Marxist ideals — only instead of class warfare, they’ve changed it to race warfare. While this is true, it doesn’t explain how they’ve been able to do it. Americans, for the most part, are not racist. So, how is it possible to incite a race war in a nation full of people who really don’t care about race? Answer: Change the meaning of race.
Race vs. Culture
Racism could never become an issue in modern day America so long as race just referred to something people don’t care about, like the color of a person’s skin. But if you expand race to include stuff that people do care about, then you’ve got the kindling for a race war. And that, at least in part, is how we got here: race, or ethnicity (something most americans genuinely don’t care about) became synonymous with culture (something most americans do — rightly — care about). It was an easy shift too, because there is often an overlap between race and culture: people of any given ethnicity, particularly if they come from the same geographical area, tend to adhere to similar cultural norms. But they don’t have to. Anyone can reject the cultural norms of his family, or of those who happen to live around him, or of those who happen to share his skin color, in favor some other culture. Of course, most people never even think to question the culture of their ‘kin’ — and if they do think of it, they’re often too fearful to follow through. Most people just “follow the herd”. But that doesn’t mean they have to.
You Have a Choice
Unlike the color of your skin, you have a choice in what culture you wish to adopt. That’s because culture pertains primarily to ideas and values. Sure, it can also include relatively insignificant things like cuisine, fashion, and art — and even those things aren’t without a certain level of significance. But culture refers to an entire way of life, and therefore it primarily refers to those things which influence your way of life. Things like: what you believe about the nature of the world, what you believe about the nature of man, and what you believe about right and wrong — good and bad. These things are at the heart of culture, and that’s why culture is remarkably different from race. One is chosen, the other is not.
But do you see now why the cultural marxists might want to make you forget the distinction? Do you see the moral and political double-whammy they are able to perpetrate by equivocating race with culture? Not only do they get their race war, but they also get to intimidate american culture into self-imposed, guilt-ridden, silence. Why? Because valuing one culture over another is now the same as valuing one race over another — and that’s the one thing americans all hate: racism. It’s not that americans don’t want to be accused of racism. It’s that they genuinely do not want to be racist. We all know it’s evil — but have we forgotten why?
What Makes Racism So Evil?
Racism is evil because it judges people by the color of their skin, rather than the content of their character. In other words, it’s evil because it makes judgements about un-chosen traits (like skin color), rather than making judgements based on chosen ideas, values, and actions. The very evil of racism is in assigning moral significance to that which is morally insignificant. Race, as skin color, is morally insignificant. But as soon as we equate race with culture, racism no longer means the evil thing it originally meant. Now racism means valuing your culture — and the only way to avoid being racist is to bow down and pay homage to every other culture, in order to declare that all cultures are equal.
Not All Cultures Are Equal
And if culture pertains primarily to ideas and values, then that means renouncing your own ideas and values in order to declare that all ideas and values are equal. It means absolute ideological and moral relativism. Make no mistake: that is the goal. “Multi-culturalism” is relativism. It has been smuggled in for decades — and more recently rammed down our throats — under the auspices of racial and ethnic harmony. Of course, racial harmony is a good thing, if by race we mean skin color. But that clearly is not what has been meant.
The truth is that not all ideas and value-systems are equal. Not all worldviews are equal. And therefore, not all cultures are equal. Some cultures are objectively better than others — because some ideas and value-systems are objectively better than others. Modern Geology is objectively better than that of the Flat-Earth-Society. Medicine practiced at the Mayo Clinic is objectively better than the “medicine” practiced by witch-doctors in Africa. A woman’s equal protection under the law in America is objectively better than a woman’s being viewed as property in the Middle-East. A culture which promotes hard work, self-responsibility, and self-respect is objectively better than one which promotes thievery, blame-shifting, and self-doubt. The governing principle of individual rights is objectively better than feudalism, fascism, communism, and every other political theory in history. In fact, almost everything (almost) which comes from the foundational principles of America is objectively better than any alternative. American culture, in its founding spirit, truly is a great culture to be proud of. But even if it wasn’t, the point is that there are objective standards for what makes a culture good or bad, and since culture is voluntary, we should all — regardless of color — strive to achieve the best culture possible.
Don’t Be Duped
Unfortunately, many people on the right (that is, ‘the alt-right’) have bought into the false equivocation of race and culture, and in an attempt to fight back for their own culture, have actually fought back against race — against skin color. As Walter Hudson of PJ Media points out, “They merely substitute one brand of [racism] for another”. They’ve bought into the basic premise of the left, and as a result, are unwittingly embodying the caricature which the left has always made of the right: a bunch of racist bigots. This won’t save american culture. It will destroy it faster than any marxist could have dreamed. But there is another way: question the basic premise. Reject the false equivocation.
If we wish to save american culture, we must make clear the distinction between culture and race. They are not the same thing. All races are equal. All races are welcome. All cultures are not. Once that distinction is made, we need to boldly judge between cultures (and aspects within any given culture). We need to assert and fight for those things which are culturally superior. We need to condemn, with full and innocent clarity, those things which are culturally evil. And finally, we need to invite all people, of all skin colors, to join us in promoting the best culture possible; to join us in denouncing racism, but standing proud for the ideal culture. We need to repudiate the left, which does judge people by the color of their skin, and insist upon judging people by their culture instead. We need to reject racism, and embrace culturalism. We need to be radical culturalists.
Image By Currier & Ives [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Originally published at www.thechristianegoist.com on July 7, 2016.
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