On “The Rubin Report,” BlazeTV host Dave Rubin sat down for a "roundtable" discussion with Manhattan Institute senior fellow Christopher Rufo, Claremont Institute associate editor Spencer Klavan, and Newsweek opinion editor Josh Hammer about how the left tries to reduce people to racial or other "metaphysical" categories in order to pit them against each other and fuel "eternal conflict."
Dave brought up Rufo's interview with former CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill last year, in which the black TV host repeatedly tried to bait his white guest into making racist generalizations. Rufo argued against categorizing people based on racial identity, saying we should judge each other as individuals regardless of race. Obviously unsatisfied with his guest's refusal to take the bait, Hill repeatedly asked Rufo to "name something you like about being white."
A video clip from the interview began with Hill demanding, "Name something positive that you like about being white."
"There [are] a lot of documents that are floating around public schools that say things like timeliness, showing up on time, is a white supremacist value or a white-dominant value. Things like rationality, things like the enlightenment, things like objectivity — these are very strange things to be ascribed to a racial identity. My view is that these actually should be ascribed to every individual human being, every individual human being regardless of whatever racial category we impose on them," Rufo answered.
"That doesn't answer the question though," Hill interrupted. "You're making strawmen about things that are ascribed to whiteness, that you think are wrongfully ascribed to whiteness. I'm saying if whiteness isn't a negative thing and there's something that you actually, and that whiteness actually shouldn't be constructed as all negative, name something ... that you believe is positive about being white."
"Again, I don't buy into the framework that the world can be reduced into these metaphysical categories of whiteness and blackness. I think that's wrong. I think we should look at people as individuals. I think we should celebrate different people's accomplishments ... I think of myself as an individual human being with my own capabilities, and I would hope that we could both judge each other as individuals and come to common values on that basis," said Rufo.
After a moment of stunned silence, Hill conceded, "Fair enough."
Rufo told Dave that reducing people into categories and pitting them against one another is "how the world has worked for most of its history" and that "it's actually a magical thing that we've been able to transcend it as much as we have."
"I think we still have a way to go," he added. "We need to kind of depolarize and rise above some of these divisions in this country. But I think we can do it, and I think that we have done it and we shouldn't let people like Mark Lamont Hill drag us back down. Whoever you are, if you are black, white, Asian, Latino, straight, or gay, let's treat each other equally and respectfully and give each other a sense of dignity as individuals. Because what we learned in the 20th century, just like the centuries before, is that when you provide people with totalizing identity categories, things can get very ugly and very destructive in a very quick manner."
Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.
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