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The Systemic Stupidity of the Systemic Racism Claim

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

I am a man of color, a (legal) immigrant, and the son of a mentally ill socialist (yes, I know that is redundant). I earned three college degrees before the dark cloud of racial preferences descended on college campuses, and I paid off those college loans early, without help or complaint. I once had a negative net worth, which I rectified by becoming a serial entrepreneur, and thus retired young, healthy, and financially secure. This was doable only in America, the least racist country in history. Want more proof?


America elected an unqualified and incompetent black man as president. Twice. For eight years, this country was treated to affirmative action in its highest and most egregious form with a cabinet that supposedly looked like America but worked about as well as Venezuela’s. From Benghazi, to the Iran deal, to the red line in Syria and the rise of ISIS, to the unchallenged ascent of China, to Fast and Furious, we all learned quite pointedly that employing people because of what they look like is far less productive than knowing that a person can actually get the job done.

Obama’s ineptitude actually makes it even more remarkable that America is the only functional democracy to ever elect as president, in a free and fair election, a member of its most aggrieved and persecuted racial group. His election was an achievement unmatched, so far at least, in all of the world’s other major democracies. India has not chosen a Muslim; the United Kingdom has not elected a Scot or Northern Irishman; Canada has chosen no one from its First Nations; Australia, New Zealand, Japan, all of Europe, and the list of democracies all racially and culturally pure when it comes to choosing leaders goes on and on. Needless to say, totalitarian regimes such as Russia and China never chose as their leader anyone from outside the majority ethnic group; and no Muslim nation has ever selected a Christian and probably never will considering the demands of theocracy. 

If racism in America is a cultural constant, it is unclear to me how eight percent of millionaires in the U.S. are black (eight percent are Asian, and another eight percent are Hispanic), making nearly one-quarter of millionaires in the U.S. members of a minority group. This happens to align almost exactly with the demographic makeup of the country. 


Of the fifty biggest cities in America, 11 have black mayors (Chicago, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, Charlotte, Denver, District of Columbia, Kansas City, Baltimore, Atlanta, and New Orleans). Black men and women of both parties have served at the highest and most powerful levels of the federal government. Black athletes dominate the NFL and the NBA, and black non-athlete entertainers are amongst the richest and most influential people in the culture. A widely underappreciated black man sits on the highest court in the land, where he is routinely scorned because, while he is obviously black, he is also conservative, which somehow renders him not-black. State officials who are both black and conservative are deemed “skinfolk...not kinfolk” by the left.

The late Samuel P. Huntington wrote a book many years ago entitled The Clash Of Civilizations, in which he proposed that what differentiates countries (and binds societies internally) is not just culture (food, manners, style of dress, traditions, habits, business processes, etc.), but, more deeply, their civilizational traits. To summarize Huntington briefly, civilizations rest upon the twin pillars of language and religious faith, which combine to produce an understandable, sustainable, and transmissible set of values. As an offspring of Great Britain, America is bound to her mother country by both English and Christianity. This relationship is integral to understanding the wellspring of ideas that sprang from England, translated to the New World, and were eventually enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. 


The Magna Carta, signed in 1215, for the first time anywhere codified that the King was not above the law, and all citizens were entitled to equal and just treatment, fair taxation, and speedy trial by a jury of their peers. More than 400 hundred years later, John Locke ran with these ideas in his Two Treatises on Government, in which he brilliantly tied Christian beliefs to governance, producing the core concept that government is legitimate only with the consent of the governed and when it protects the life, liberty, and property of each individual, in the same way that God loves each and every person. Locke defined property broadly to include a person’s belief system and thoughts as well as tangible goods. 

Go forward another hundred years or so and the Founding Fathers, all well-read in Locke and, if not overtly Christian at the very least non-orthodox deists, virtually copied and pasted his essential ideas into the nation’s critical baseline documents. Imperfectly and incompletely? Yes, certainly. But consider for a moment what the country and world look like if they don’t do what they did. The very concepts of individual liberty, free speech, freedom of worship, and equal protection could not spring from any other civilization because those words, ideas, and ideals exist nowhere in civilizations of Asia, the Middle East, or Africa.

The most important documents ever written that venerate human liberty, the dignity of each person, and the individual’s obligation to respect the life, liberty and property of others to produce a civil society are all either English or American: the Magna Carta, the King James Bible, the works of John Locke, the Declaration, the Constitution, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Gettysburg Address. No equal body of work springs from any other civilization. All around the world, people struggling for freedom and dignity hold in their hands Bibles and copies of the Declaration and the Constitution. No one is waving around a Koran, Bhagavad Gita, or Mein Kampf while begging their rulers for their lives and equal protection. And no other body of work has produced so much good. With the exception of Japan, South Korea, and Singapore, the cleanest, safest, most prosperous and most generous countries on earth are in the Judeo-Christian west. 


It took America much longer than it should have to live up to its birth creed. But, it did. The abolition movement was (and is still today the fight against human trafficking) a Christian-driven movement that began nearly simultaneously in the 1830s in the U.S. and Great Britain. Without it, slavery, which is still frighteningly common in the Third World and totalitarian states, would be even more widespread than it is. 

The problem, then, is understanding how the claim of racism rises in such a facile, voluble, and uncontested manner in a nation that has done more than any other to put that particular evil out of its misery. It is easy to yell racism in a crowded theatre where a vanishingly small population cares about the civilizational values that undergird and bind the country together. This is a failure not just of the education system (from kindergarten through college) and government institutions but of families. Families are the single most powerful vehicle there is for the transmission of civilizational values, which must be taught and reinforced. 

It is not accidental that the most successful racial groups over the past 60 years are whites, Asians, and Hispanics, whose achievements in school and work far exceed that of blacks and Native Americans. Whites, Asians, and Hispanics are all more likely to have intact families (a father and a mother present), graduate high school, succeed in college or a trade, delay marriage, have higher household incomes, and lower long-term poverty rates. They are also far less likely to commit violent crimes, use drugs, or produce out-of-wedlock children. None of this was unforeseeable. The eminent late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynahan predicted it in 1965 when he wrote his seminal report, The Negro Family: The Case for National Action, on the demise of the black family as a result of the Democrats' domestic policies that reward dependence and fractured families instead of work, scholastic achievement, family stability, and financial success. 


Which brings me to the now ubiquitous claim that America is racist. The assertion is systemically stupid on its face. My question to the racism provocateurs -- many of whom are white and financially secure if not outright wealthy -- is simple: where is your racial nirvana? To where will you emigrate, while literally millions of people of color from every continent on the planet pine for a visa and an opportunity to work to become an American? If America’s racism is so deeply offensive and intractable, is it not hypocritical for you to stay here? Or, is the money and idolatry just too good? 

Mr. Khanna is a retired health policy consultant who earned his graduate degree in health policy and management at Johns Hopkins.

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