One of the only nice things about Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling is that they’re old. In spite of the fact that our nation’s criminal justice system is still stacked against the descendants of our “peculiar institution” and there is still widespread support for state-sponsored execution, it feels like racism is working its way toward inevitable death.
For 5,000 years it went down like this: people who lived in areas with scarce resources learned how to ride horses or build ships and they made weapons and went to places where the resources were more plentiful. When they got there they pillaged. Sacking and plundering were decent, middle-class jobs. Salt of the earth jobs. Union jobs. And the work was made easier if the plunderers could convince themselves that the plunderees were fundamentally different from themselves. Foreign. Alien. It wasn’t murder to kill one of these creatures.
The people who committed the worst atrocities – those who built an economy on slavery and those who built railroads to ferry innocents to camps for extermination – always believed themselves to be higher forms of life. More enlightened, more hospitable, more refined: the master race.
Now, in the early days of the 21st Century and the dying days of racism, people (especially young people) understand that there is no master race. In fact, there is no such thing as race. Differences in pigment and the size and shape of facial features have no more significance than your preference for a specific brand of toothpaste. After all these centuries there’s only one race left standing: the human race.