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"Race is Destiny"

This is the belief that hides deep in the hearts of men.  From earliest days of pre-history, throughout recorded time and around the world, this passion has motivated politicians, preachers, academics, soldiers, as well as the common people.  This imperative is contained within (and hidden under) all manner of high-sounding dogmas, political constitutions, party platforms, religious creeds, civic laws and customs.  It often does not mention "race," but substitutes "tribe," "clan," "nation," "people." It posits an essential difference in human nature between "us" and "them."  "They" are to be enslaved, eliminated, colonized, ruled, civilized, because "they" are a threat, inferior, morally evil. 

We find this motto throughout the ancient world, in the clash of kingdoms and cultures.  We find it in the  Old Testament, in which the Jews are repeatedly identified as God's Chosen People.  We find it in the migration of tribes in the breakup of the Roman Empire, in the proto-nations of the medieval era, in the formation of the nation states, and in their conflict with one another.  It meant something to be Celtic, to be Welsh, Scottish, Saxon, Basque -- not just a political identity, but a people of shared blood.  We find race triumphant in colonial expansion.  Tired of warfare against powerful adversaries next door, European nations found weak adversaries and easy conquests overseas.  In the 19th Century, the "race is destiny" worldview became the dominant social system throughout the American South.  In the 20th Century, under Nazism, it captured an entire nation and destroyed a continent in five years.

And yet there has been a counter-current through much of world history.  The New Testament introduced a new community based on a faith that transcended tribe and ethnicity.  The Enlightenment looked back to classical principles and forward to an ideal state.  The Protestant Reformation empowered the common man against spiritual and political domination.  Abolitionists risked life and limb insisting that freedom was the divine right of every human being.  Gandhi and Martin Luther King enfranchised millions of the poor and outcast, giving them political rights as full citizens of a democratic state.

And what have we learned from all this?  That "Race is Destiny" is alive and well and thriving in American government and universities. Welcome to the 21st century, where race-based admissions, scholarships, jobs, and voting patterns have made a comeback.  Welcome to the hyphenated self-identification, where anyone who is non-white or of mixed background fills out his employment application with xxxx-American.  For xxxx, substitute Native, African, Hispanic, Irish, Italian, Asian, or something more exotic.  The xxxx distinguishes you from the common herd.  What? -- no claimed ethnic heritage?  Well, it sucks to be you.  You do not qualify for "inclusive" college admissions.  And welcome to government-sponsored race-based education:  in my city, there is a full pre-Kindergarten through highschool "African-centered" school with a curriculum based on "ancient Egyptian Virtues." 

Yes, the wave of the future is a backwash from the past.  What is your essence, your value, your uniqueness?  -- it is your skin color and your pre-Columbian tribal values!   Let's ditch the corrupt "Eurocentric" heritage of democracy, reason, freedom of speech and religion.  And most of all:  we must utterly deny and reject the idea that man is the "imago dei" -- we can be sure THAT concept will never be taught in a public elementary school or college. That idea would be declared unconstitutional in race-based 21st Century America.

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