In Racism, author Ayn Rand makes the point that racism is evil, but individual rights triumph over any issue. Early in the piece Rand explains how no race is superior or inferior based on individuals. She states this by saying, “It is hard to say which is the more outrageous injustice: the claim of Southern racists that a Negro genius should be treated as an inferior because his race has “produced” some brutes or the claim of a German brute to the status of a superior because his race has “produced” Goethe, Schiller and Brahms” (127). For the concept of individual rights, she talks about how blacks’ rights were infringed on in South by whites. She also says that black leaders are attempting to infringe on business owners’ rights by placing a quota on the number of blacks they higher per population. Her final point is that even a racist’s rights should be protected when it involves their private property, which is her major disagreement with the 1964 Civil Rights act.
I thought this piece was interesting, also confusing at times. I thought the points Rand made on racism early on were very good early in the piece. The part that really confused me though was the last page where she disagreed with the Civil Rights Act. I’ve honestly never heard of anyone disagreeing with the Civil Rights Act that didn’t present a racist argument until reading this. The phrase, “Private racism is not a legal, but a moral issue” (134) led me into a huge philosophical argument with myself. Should a person be able to discriminate based on race when it involves a business that they paid for and they run? I strongly believe it is morally wrong, but should people be mandated how they use their money? It also led me to the question, can a government really control racism, or does it come down to the individual and their beliefs? I really have no idea what the answers to these questions are, but they were interesting to think about none the less.