Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rand Summary

Ayn Rand explores racism in her piece, Racism. But she is not simply exploring the stereotypical racism of white-to-minority race-racism but the idea of very racism itself; she claims that the "civil rights" that African Americans are demanding is also a type of racism, in a way that it is a "right" that violates another's right, which should not and cannot exist. For example, she mentions that "...to assign children to certain schools by reason of their race, is equally evil whether one does it for purposes of segregation or integration" (133). And she believes that racism is "the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism" (126) because it ignores the individual's rights and that it leads to backwardness in the US, not allowing equal rights among the individuals but promoting the privilege of "group(s)" that's divided by races. Thus, according to Rand, since the new legislation for the civil rights violate the rights of white people (or "the government is discriminating for some citizens (African Americans) at the expense of others (white Americans)" (134)), the problem of racism is not corrected but is still remaining.

I did not enjoy reading this piece, first because of so much hatred and ferocious styles in the writings, then because of her bluntly stated ideas that I couldn't and wouldn't agree with. I thought that Rand didn't have a proper understanding of the concepts that she was frequently using, such as collectivism and individualism because she took those ideas to the extreme and really focused on one (or a very few) aspect of each concept. I could see where she was going but she shouldn't have addressed collectivism as a whole to be the source of racism because "group before individual" is only a part of its aspect and it can't be put that simply. Same reason would go with individualism and capitalism. She also somewhat contradicts her argument because if what she wants is disappearance of civil rights, then the discrimination against African Americans will continue to exist and if individuals were allowed to choose whatever they want with their "equal rights", the segregation probably won't be fixed. For instance, an African American could say that he or she wants to be integrated in public services (such as schools) but a white American can say that he or she doesn't want that because of some other reasons. Then the compromise cannot be made since if the public services were integrated then it's violating the white American's right; if not integrated, then segregation remains, which is a type of discrimination. So she should've explained better on the part where she says that the civil rights law is an "inverse" discrimination, while she claims that the "mixed economy" with individualistic capitalism is good for America.

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