X or MLK: Some Hesitant Reflections on Race

malcolm x.jpg

One of the most powerful leaders of the 20th century, Malcolm X.

Over at The American Conservative (edited by the brilliant Dan McCarthy), I had the chance to offer some thoughts on the recent and exceedingly unpleasant re-arising of racial tensions in the United States.

If one believes in the superiority or inferiority of a person based on accidents of birth, one is simply not a conservative. A conservative, going back to Socrates, understands the individual dignity of every person, regardless of skin color or gender. Socrates might have spoken for the Athenians, but he also spoke for all of humanity when he stressed the need always to do good, never evil, and certainly never to do evil for the sake (as it seemed) of good. The true conservative, with St. Paul, believes that the divine image in which we’re made transcends Greek and Jew, male and female. The true conservative, with Martin Luther King Jr., recognizes that we must judge another by the content of his character, not the color of his skin. The true conservative, with Robert Nisbet, recognizes that racism is entirely a modern construct, the result of perversions of science.


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