There’s a need for more constructive conservatism on race

I have a question. If you’re a young person of good will who is concerned about racial division in this nation, longs to understand how race has played a role in American history, and seeks racial reconciliation — which is to say, one of millions of politically and culturally-engaged young people in America — how many thoughtful conservative voices will you encounter compared to thoughtful progressive voices? Yes, I know that there are conservatives who’ve written outstanding and compelling works on race and culture (Thomas Sowell is indispensable, of course), but if all you’ve got is curiosity and Google, conservative voices are simply swamped, and the conservative commentary that is out there is dominated by a particular tone and approach.

It strikes me that an enormous amount of conservative or right-leaning commentary on race is dedicated to mainly to debunking the excesses and hypocrisy of the identity politics left. Make no mistake, that is a target-rich environment (people twisted themselves into ideological and conceptual pretzels to justify Sarah Jeong’s malicious tweets, for example.) Less is dedicated to seriously grappling with the consequences of racism in American life and culture. And no, I don’t mean dwelling on microaggressions or proclaiming that police have declared some kind of “open season” on Black men. But it does mean having something to say after you’ve taken on Al Sharpton or Linda Sarsour.

In fact, at least in my experience, showing particular concern for issues of race is often seen as evidence by itself that you’re thinking like a progressive or that you’re somehow not sufficiently conservative.