Monday, May 23, 2016

On Private Racism

In a civilized society “private racism” must never be illegal.

If people want to dislike people of certain religion, certain geographies, certain skin colour, etc., they must be free to do so. As long as people are not taking law into their own hands--as long as they are not violating the "individual rights" of those others who are different from them, they are not committing any "crime." In a civilized society people should have the right to “hate”.

Hatred for racist reasons can be illogical, immoral and perhaps even stupid, but it is not a crime to feel hate. Government has no right to prosecute private people or businesses that are racist, as long as they are not taking steps to violate the rights of people of other races. Individuals and businesses have the right to decide with whom they want to associate or do business.

The onus of dealing with instances of "private racism" must rest on the enlightened members of the society. They can boycott and socially ostracise the individuals and businesses that are racist; they can start a debate within the community to create more awareness against racism. However, the government can't get directly involved in dealing with such issues unless a crime gets reported.

On this issue, there are some interesting ideas in Greg Salmieri's 'A Companion to Ayn Rand'. Here is an excerpt from the book:

“Private racism,” Rand wrote, “is not a legal, but a moral issue — and can be fought only by private means, such as economic boycott or social ostracism”. Just as the law must protect a communist’s freedom of speech, she argued, it must protect a racist’s right to the use and disposal of his property. ~ (A Companion to Ayn Rand; Chapter: A Philosopher on Her Times)

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