Saturday, December 28, 2013


No, the title is not an oxymoron. I am a libertarian (for the most part). I also happen to be of West Indian descent. People who are familiar with the central tenets of libertarianism wonder how I managed to reconcile my ethnic background with my choice of political philosophies. They have a hard time figuring out why any person of color in their right mind would ascribe to a philosophy that encourages private citizens to “discriminate”, condemns the use of governmental programs that economically benefit a proportionally larger percentage of the minority community, and stands firm in its opposition toward using race as a determinant for preferential treatment in education and employment (affirmative action).

1 In a nutshell, the resolution of the conflict is rooted in the idea that once you begin thinking that every person has certain unalienable rights, applicability becomes universal and any attempt to limit these rights thus becomes a human problem, not a racial one. After all, if we are all created equal, should we not also be treated as such?

In theory that may sound like a good idea, but in reality we all know it’s not the case. Despite all the progress that has been made in the past few decades, racism is still alive and well. Moreover, anyone who suggests that racism does not exist is a fool, not a minority, lying through their teeth, or living under a rock. The fact remains we still live in a society that is very race-conscious. What that means is Americans tend to view their own world in the context of what the other person looks like—the other person’s race is an overriding feature that forms initial impressions.

On the contrary, in the West Indies, where my parents were born and raised, that society tends to be very class-conscious, meaning your race subjugates itself to the “level” any one individual has achieved in society. Unfortunately, in America, regardless of what you have achieved, many will still regard someone else as “the Asian guy” or “the Latin female”. The inherent downfall in this assumption is that the user of said shortcut limits the other person’s relevance by restraining them in a box bound by race.

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