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Ayn Rand’s Unique Understanding of Racism

Onkar Ghate, Nikos Sotirakopoulos

Presented at: New Ideal Live

Date: Jan 12, 2022

As Martin Luther King Jr. Day approaches, the United States reflects on the legacy of racism. Is American society still institutionally racist? What really constitutes racism? Is power a prerequisite of racism, as Critical Race Theory claims? Can committed anti-racists fall into racist thinking?

Join Onkar Ghate and Nikos Sotirakopoulos to answer these and other questions addressed by Ayn Rand’s unique and philosophical understanding of racism.

Overview article available here

Among the topics covered:

• Why Rand thought racism is not fundamentally an issue of institutionalized power;
• Why Rand thought that racism is the idea that one’s character is produced by internal physiology;
• The difference between racism and having affection for one’s country;
• Why racism is a version of determinist collectivism;
• Whether individual freedom incentivizes racism;
• How racism rationalizes the desire for the unearned;
• Ayn Rand’s view of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
• The invalidity of the concept of “states’ rights”;
• Whether racial solidarity is a valid response to racist oppression;
• Whether today’s race consciousness is racist;
• Why living in a racist society does not grant anyone any privilege;
• Why people don’t understand that race consciousness is a form of racism.

Mentioned in the discussion is Ayn Rand’s essay “Racism” and the current Ayn Rand University course “The Road to Critical Race Theory” (taught by Ghate and Sotirakopoulos), which is still open to auditors.

0:00:00 Introduction
0:01:02 Racism and institutionalized power
0:02:52 Internal physiology as cause of character
0:08:17 Racism vs. affection for one's country
0:12:08 A version of determinist collectivism
0:17:43 Does freedom incentivize racism?
0:23:24 Rationalization of the unearned
0:27:40 Rand on the 1964 Civil Rights Act
0:35:44 "States' rights": an invalid concept
0:39:59 Racial solidarity
0:44:16 Is race consciousness racist?
0:49:52 No grant of privilege
0:53:55 Misunderstanding race consciousness

collectivismracismfree will

Parts: 1

Handout: none